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Interview: Michael Ferris, Author of Crossing Borders

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Originally from St. Joseph, Michigan, Michael Ferris began working in his father’s music store, Ferris Music Center, at the age of sixteen.  Hit with the music bug, at the age of seventeen, Mr. Ferris began playing the classical guitar. He went on to be taught by many wonderful teachers, all with great talent as well as great souls. Michael Ferris then proceeded to study at the internationally acclaimed Mozarteum University for Music and Applied Arts in Salzburg, Austria (*-Die Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Mozarteum) where he also completed his M.A. in Guitar.  A few renowned guitarists that Mr. Ferris studied under are Maria Isabel Siewers de Pazur, Joaquin Clerch, Augustin Wiedemann, Ricardo Gallen, and the world-renowned player Eliot Fisk.

Throughout his travels in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, Mr. Ferris learned to speak several languages, fluently, and works at an international company in Vienna.  At present time, he teaches guitar and holds courses in Business English at a local college on the weekends.

Michael Ferris newest work is his novel Crossing Borders.  Readers can learn more about Mr. Ferris by visiting the following:

Website, Facebook and Twitter

Please tell us a bit about your book, Crossing Borders, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

The book is basically about how I went to Austria as a young man to live out my dream to study the guitar. I did what a lot of people said was impossible. I started playing when I was seventeen years old, went to a world famous university overseas and ended up studying the guitar with one of the most famous classical guitarists on this planet and had a ball doing it. Of course, traveling abroad, I learned a lot more than just the guitar. In my book, I aim to take the reader on a cultural trip, sharing a great deal of my successes and follies. The book is not just about studying the guitar; it is about traveling, meeting people and going places. I would hope that my book is entertaining and that when the reader puts it down, the world might be looked at from a different perspective. The most important message in the book is to “follow your dreams” and not let anyone stop you.

What inspires you the most within your book?

I like the progression of it. In the beginning of the book, I am a mere teenager and at the end, I was married and thinking about children. By the way, I have one now and he just turned two months old!

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

Chapter two’s title is my favorite. It’s called “The Prater, the Bear and the Bilingual Pimp.” That is not meant to be vulgar, but really describes the chapter quite well. It is quite comical and covers one of the strangest experiences I have ever had at Vienna’s amusement park.

If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

To be honest with you, I think that is what makes my book kind of special. It is not really meant for the movies. It leaves a lot to the imagination and that was one of my main goals when writing it.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

I think communication in general is a fascinating topic and everyone knows there is nothing more exciting than the written word. Think of it, every time you write a text message, an email or even a birthday card, you provoke an emotion or reaction of some kind. Even text messages make people cry; a birthday card can be so beautiful that a person reads it again and again. Well, a book is a huge piece of writing. If you as an author are keen enough to keep a person’s attention throughout the piece, just imagine how powerful that is! A book is a lot bigger than a birthday card, but if it is really good, a person might even read it twice. Thinking about that while writing and imagining how people might react to my words is probably the most exciting thing.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

I guess writer’s block gets to me a bit. I work at a translation office as a project manager. I don’t translate, but I am involved in organizing translations for big companies. It is a lot of work and involves dealing with lots of texts and tons of documents in every language you can think of. Writing is a past-time activity for me, something I enjoy. When I can’t think of what to write next, I usually sit in front of the computer and start answering emails or researching. It reminds me of work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I don’t like mentally turning a leisure activity into one.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

Wow, that is easy. I love Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli. My other personal favorites are The Collector of Worlds by Iliya Iroyanov and The Physician by Noah Gordon. They all have to do with travel, but they add an interesting touch, namely travel mixed with history. I think the research done to write them is just fascinating.

What are you reading right now?

It is going to sound really silly, but I am reading Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It was a book that I was forced to read in high school and never did. I was going through my bookshelf for books in English and saw that my wife owned it. I took a fancy to it right away and have been reading it when I have time.

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?

I have met a lot of very famous and renowned people in my lifetime and it was fascinating to meet them. Yet, I have also had conversations with street workers at a local bar whose experiences I’ve admired and could even learn from. People are just people, yet it is their actions that make them, not just what they write down. So, I guess I would like to meet any author with great personalities. I’d probably invite them to eat steak. I love steak!

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

I am content to have written my own book of course. But, I think it would love to be able to say I wrote Lord of the Rings. It is not only creative but is really a work of genius. The amount of time a research that went into that book is really incredible.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

Learn to appreciate things. That is the best advice in the world. Whatever you have, whatever you do, learn to find something good and positive about it and appreciate it. If you are writing a book, making dinner, or even drinking a glass of water, try to notice even the smallest detail and enjoy it. It makes life incredibly pleasurable.

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