Conclusion…an Interview with author, Michael Saad

Photo # 1 - Mike in Waterton CroppedPart III  My interview with Canadian author, Michael Saad

Q.  Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

MS. Yes, absolutely. I know exactly what that means. A few of my fictional stories have literally ‘written themselves.’  It’s hard to explain, but I think many experienced fiction writers can identify with that.  I can think of two stories in particular that I’ve published where I’ve looked back and asked ‘did I really write that?’ and ‘where the heck did that come from?’

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

MS. I have many. Right now I am totally into musical artists like Hozier, Rachel Platten, and Virgina to Vegas. Their lyrics and sounds speak to me in their various messages of hope and optimism or, in Hozier’s case, the exact opposite. In the past year these artists have been an inspiration not only to my writing but also for my teaching, as I see how many of our young people today have had to be resilient in the face of adversity. Exploring the natural world is certainly another muse.  Many stories and ideas have come to me just standing in the outdoors, on a mountaintop, in a stream, or watching a bull moose feed in a pond.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

MS. Probably 18 years ago (in 1998), when I first started my teaching career. I knew I needed a bonafide hobby. I had been playing a lot of sports and going to the gym, but I felt I needed a constructive interest that exercise couldn’t quite fulfill.  I need to create, and I had always had in the back of my head that I wanted to write stories and articles, so that was the direction I decided to go.

Q. How long after that were you published?

MS. I was published two years after that. I have had many short stories, novellas, and historical articles published since then. Incidentally, I’ve also had hundreds of rejection letters in that time.  Only a fellow writer would appreciate that last statistic!

Q. What makes a writer great?

MS. I may have a different answer for you 20 years from now, but today I would say having the ability to display resonance with your reader. Only the very best writers can do this with as many readers as possible. Notice I state ‘with as many readers as possible’ and not ‘every, single reader who’s ever read their work.’  There’s a reason for that, and it’s the very reason why you’ll hear many people praise the Stephen Kings and Shakespeares of the world as literary geniuses, while others condemn them as laughable and boring.  Some writers connect with certain people and others don’t.  It’s that way with all art, not just literature.  It’s all about resonance for me, and for every reader that’s different.

Q. …and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

MS. Well, for All the Devils Are Here it was a step-by-step journey in the truest sense. It started off as a short story assignment I did 25 years ago in a class called Writing 11.  My English teacher at the time, whom I dedicated the novel to, gave me good feedback on it, but told me it was incomplete, and challenged me to delve more into the main characters’ story lines.  This soon became one of my ‘back-burner’ projects while I ventured into other pursuits like university, history, teaching, and sport.  About 10 years ago, I encountered my English teacher again in a chance meeting, and we conversed and he asked me about my story.  I decided to turn it into a novella, taking his advice from 25 years ago to heart.  From there, I still found myself with unanswered questions about the main characters, and so then turned it into a full-fledged novel, which I now realize was what my teacher was steering me towards all along.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?Photo # 6 - Family Hike in Red Rock Canyon

MS. I have encountered drugs and drug use in my time, and have seen and experienced the cycle, agony, and destruction that addiction can bring. That subject has been a big part of my fiction writing now and in the past. Life experiences are very much an influence for my writing – I would best describe them as the thread that weaves in-and-out of the fabric of my work.  All of my characters and plots are imaginary, but there are elements of them that are reflective of various experiences I’ve encountered in my trials and tribulations of life.  Like everyone, I am not perfect and have my fair-share of demons in the closet.  Every now and then I turn some of them loose in my writing.

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?

MS. Yes, I have written science fiction and horror stories. My science fiction carries explicit warnings and themes, whereas my horror stories are more subtle in their message.  I have always been drawn to the serious stuff, and that includes all other types of media – video games, movies, television, theatre.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

MS. Yes. [Haley Joel Osment] I see dead people. Kidding… 😉  See, I can be funny−or maybe not.

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