LDSP: Hey, Michael. You’re the first male author I’ve had the opportunity to interview this week. The women outnumber the men, 5 to 1, in this anthology. What do you think about that?
Michael: I’m honored to be in such good company.
LDSP: Oooh. Smooth. When I interview people, I like to get a little biographical information first. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up?
Michael: I grew up all over the place—my dad was a pilot in the US Air Force. We moved every few years and even got to live in Japan for a while.
LDSP: Wow, Japan! What was the weirdest thing you ever ate there?
Michael: You know, the candy was actually really weird. I remember eating a piece of candy with edible wrapping that melted in your mouth. I was pretty young, so I don’t remember eating too many weird things.
LDSP: And now that you’re all grown up, what do you do for a living?
Michael: I am looking for full-time work in teaching or instructional design, but getting a lot of writing done in the meantime. I’m trying to land a literary agent, and having a great time with all sorts of fiction and non-fiction projects.
LDSP: I wish you the best of luck in that job hunt, and also in your writing. What do you do in your spare time?
Michael: I love music, both writing it and performing it. Right now I’m living my dream as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
LDSP: You sing! That’s great. And I know about your Christmas book involving music. Tell us about that.
Michael: Sing We Now of Christmas: An Advent Anthology includes 25 days’ worth of stories based on Christmas carols that can be used as an advent calendar. All the proceeds are going to the National Down Syndrome Society in honor of my son, Bryson, who has Down Syndrome.
LDSP: That’s great—and it’s a charity dear to my heart, as well. I’ll be buying a copy as soon as we finish this interview. And I totally don’t hold it against you that we’re in direct competition for Christmas spending.
Michael: Thank you for that.
LDSP: Your story, Checkin’ It Twice, is the lead story in my anthology. Congratulations on that, by the way. What inspired you to write this particular Christmas story?
Michael: I wrote this story in response to my growing realization that Christmas needs to be more about strengthening relationships and less about coming away with an enviable stack of presents. I like Santa stories and stories that speak to the true meaning of Christmas, which is why the story I wrote for this anthology has a little of both. As long as you don’t lose sight of the reason for the season, I think you should have as much humor and fun with Christmas as possible.
LDSP: I agree and that’s what I liked about your story, too. It certainly made me laugh a few times and I really liked that Santa wants to follow the example of Christ. Aside from this story, do you have other published stories or books?
Michael: Yes, I’ve got quite a few. The novels The CanticleKingdom and the The Last Archangel, and I have two stories in Parables forToday. I also wrote the pamphlet Portrait of a Mother and compiled the anthology Sing We Now of Christmas: An Advent Anthology. I’ve had stories and articles in magazines such as Mindflights, Allegory, The New Era and Ensign.
LDSP: You are one busy writer! What are you working on now?
Michael: I’m working on a morning-study guide for missionaries, my second Christmas anthology, a science fiction novel, and a handbook for church choir directors…among other things.
LDSP: Do you see writing as a career?
Michael: I sure hope so. I work hard at it every day, and am determined to keep working at it until I break through.
LDSP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Michael: Persistence pays off. Don’t back down at the first rejection nor stop after your first project. Be patient and let your writing grow over time.
LDSP: Patience is a good attribute for a writer. It’s also something we get to practice during the Christmas season as we wait for Christmas morning, right? Have you started any fun traditions with your children to help them wait patiently?
Michael: Because I lived in Germany for a few years, we have adopted the German tradition of St. Nicolas Day, which is December 6th. The kids leave out their shoes the night before to find them filled with toys and candy.
LDSP: What a great idea! What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
Michael: My favorite part about Christmas is the music. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir always brings incredible guests to its Christmas concert, and I’m walking on air the whole week.
LDSP: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Michael: I would say David Wolverton/Farland. I read his “Daily Kick” all the time and have been to many of his panels and workshops.
LDSP: How do you stay motivated to keep writing?
Michael: I find that goal setting and keeping tracking of your progress really helps and that you need to have people with whom you talk about your writing and cheer you on.
LDSP: Where can readers learn more about your writing?
Michael: The best place is to go to www.writermike.com.
LDSP: And, that’s a wrap! Thanks so much for stopping by, Michael, and have a wonderful Christmas!