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The closest thing I have to a schedule is to write after everyone else is sleeping.

Interview with Mike Hartner, author of ‘I, James’

Mike HartnerMike Hartner is nearing 50.  And the closer he comes, the more things he realizes he wants to do.  He’s already been a number of things in his youth from a computer technician to a network designer, from a tutor and teacher, to chauffeur; life has thrown many things his way.  He is even a certified scuba Dive Master. And yet, the three designations which bring Mike the most pleasure are Husband, Father, and Writer.

Mike is currently touring the blogosphere and promoting his historical romance, I, James, a tale of love, courage, and adventure.

Congratulations on the release of your latest book, I, James. When did you start writing and what got you into historical romance? 

I started writing in elementary school, but it was just private writings.  Then, in 2000, shortly after my grandfather passed, I started writing about the family genealogy.  This was the first example of historical fiction.  I kept with it after I diverted away from the family history to create The Eternity Series.

Did you have a mentor who encouraged you? 

Every author that I’ve met, from Jack Whyte to Michael Slade and Robert Dugoni has encouraged me.  Agents and editors alike have encouraged me. 

Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?

The only struggles I’ve ever encountered with my writing are A) finding the time to write; and B) understanding some of the characters.   On understanding the characters, a perfect example is Gerald.  As Walter’s brother, and again as James’ uncle, he has a place in both I, Walter (Book One) and I, James (Book Two).  But a man like Gerald is very sickening to me, because I’ve never seen that kind of evil.  So his type of person is perhaps the hardest to write. 

What was your inspiration for I, James ?

Once the end of I, Walter had been written, it became evident that James wanted to tell his story.   So, James introduced himself to my muse, and the rest, as they say, is backstory. 

I JamesWho is your target audience?

My target audience includes everyone over the age of about ten. 

What do you hope readers will get from your book? 

The Eternity Series as a whole deals with different individuals, and like Chaucer, the lesson from me is not to judge another person unless you’ve walked in their shoes.  I hope that people reading I, James will come across the passion, romance, uncertainties, and trials that encompass his life and understand that we are all limited by our experiences, no matter what the results, and we are all unique in our responses to those experiences. 

What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?

Usually when my muse refuses to cooperate, she’s telling me that there are a few lessons that I need to learn.  So, I go forward working on those issues, and find that there is a much broader spectrum to continue with the story.  

Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined? 

The closest thing I have to a schedule is to write after everyone else is sleeping.    And the only person who is allowed to discipline me is my wife.   But, seriously, at the end of the day when the time is available for writing there is a great possibility that I’ll also be ready for sleep. So, no, I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be.  On either count (blows raspberry and smiles). 

How do you celebrate the completion of a book? 

I celebrate the completion of a book by publishing it and enjoying that yet another of my muse’s creations are in public.  And then, I start the next book. 

How do you define success?  

Success is defined by publishing the book, and then allowing it to be enjoyed by others. 

Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work? 

Readers can find out more about I, James  and The Eternity Series at www.theeternityseries.com.  They can find out more about me at www.mikehartner.com. 

What is your advice for aspiring authors?  

Write, write, and write some more. Revise, edit, revise again.  Don’t take rejections too seriously, since each individual’s book tastes are different.  And write what you know and are passionate about.  Your passions writing will translate into someone’s passions reading. 

George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

I think that quote is highly appropriate.  As is another quote that relates publishing a book to giving birth.  It’s highly cynical, and highly negative but I do understand it.  Because writing is an interesting process; nobody can see or feel your muse… it is tangible to only you.  That story that your muse is telling you is meant only for you.  And that is a solitary act that only you can understand. 

Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Just a very big shout out of thanks to Robert L Bacon at www.theperfectwrite.com for his editing; to Brian Schwartz (www.50interviws.com) for all his formatting help; to Luna Casnaghi, a fantastic graphics artist; to Kiffer Brown and Chanticleer Book Reviews, whose contests have awarded the first book I, Walter with first place in Historical Fiction and Young Adult; to the large community of authors on FaceBook who have befriended me and who are amazing; and to the readers who amaze me everyday by being passionate enough to not just read, but to review my writings.  Thanks to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

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