Name: Michael Raymond
Who is Michael? A technology expert with a love of science fiction novels, writing, robotics and video games.
Book: “The Robinsons’ Dark Matter (The Robinsons # 1)”
Genre: Young Adult
It is Motif Ink’s honor to present our readers an interview with Michael Raymond, writer of “The Robinsons’ Dark Matter.” Interviewed by Tania Lasenburg, Michael was able to break down his process as an author in what we call the Quick Five©. His book, which is the first of his career, can be bought at Barnes and Nobles as well as on amazon.
Enjoy the Quick Five© below:
You majored in computer technology . . . do you think your love for video games and technology shines brightly in this book? If so, in what sense?
I don’t want to give anything away, but there are definitely a couple of characters in the story that grew directly from my interest in computers. The overarching theme is broader, and inspired by my love of science, in general, and the desire to understand how the world around us works. The entire story is set in the “real world” and although some of the science can generously be called “speculative” a lot of it comes from real experiments and theories–without all the dry, boring stuff, of course. Science always gets my imagination sparking and I put as much of that as I could into the book to share that with my readers.
What is your thought process when you have an idea for a book; more specifically the second book to this series.
I swear that what I am about to tell you is one-hundred-percent true. I combine a theme with a dream. I didn’t set out to do that, it just sort of kept happening that way. In the case of this first Robinsons novel, I knew I wanted to write a YA/SciFi/Adventure story, I modeled some elements on MG/YA Fantasy books I loved, and I selected some relevant real-world locations I really wanted to include. Then I figured out how all of that fit together with a dream I had about some weird aliens accidentally setting off the airbags while trying to hot-wire a car. Yes, that was a real dream that I had, and I have no idea why. I don’t normally have dreams about aliens (or car theft).
For the second book I obviously knew the theme, the cast of characters, the unanswered questions and story arcs that needed to grow out of the first book, but I didn’t have a plot. Then one night I had a dream about a particularly violent poltergeist (again, I generally do not have dreams about paranormal activity of any kind). It fit together perfectly with some of the ideas I’d been thinking about and suddenly everything just snapped together.
Why Young Adult?
I decided on YA for two reasons. First, it’s my absolute favorite. Probably three-quarters of what I read is YA. The second reason is the readers. By definition YA is intended for a teen audience, but plenty of adults still love that combination of imagination and fun you only find in YA and more than a few ambitious ten-year-olds start a few years early. I was one of them. A surprising number of people who work on the cutting edge of science today say they were inspired by Star Trek. If my stories inspire just a few people from a new generation in the same way…I can’t think of anything that would make me happier.
This being your first published book how long did it take for it to become noticed by publishers? Was it as frustrating as every author makes it seem? How did you deal with it?
To be honest, I didn’t even try. The state of publishing today is a mess, by all accounts. Large publishers are trying to adapt to the new market and small publishers are popping up all over the place, trying to get a foothold. Everyone is squeezing the authors as hard as they can in the struggle to stay alive. Two major problems seem to be universal: (1) It can sometimes take six months or more to be rejected by a publisher, and you cannot shop your manuscript to more than one at a time, and (2) Once accepted by a publisher they often cease promoting a title after the initial launch (if they ever really promoted it at all).
Considering that anyone can effectively become a publisher these days, and that the average new author will have to do the same amount of work either way, I decided to go it alone. I think this is becoming the new path to traditional publication. Amanda Hocking is one of the biggest names to make the move, but if an author can sell a few thousand copies of a book on their own they will have a much easier time finding a traditional publisher than an author with a killer manuscript but no following. Once you have a following, the question becomes whether you’re willing to give up the incredible level of control you have (most traditionally published authors have no official say on their own book covers, for instance) in exchange for the infrastructure and support a traditional publisher can offer.
Finally, what book are your currently reading now that is influencing your writing?
I’m reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, a crime novel written by J. K. Rowling under a pseudonym. I just got finished reading Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian. Put those together and I’m not sure what you get . . . The Robinsons’ Quantum Entanglement, quite possibly.
To know more about Michael and his books there are a few things you can do:
Follow his Goodreads account here
Follow his twitter here or
Check out his website here
If you are interested in having your book reviewed or having a Quick Five© with Tania, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org