Feb 16, 2016

Interview with Michael-Israel Jarvis

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
When I realised that books were the most important cultural artifacts on earth.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen?
Developing stories around characters has been an obsession since very early childhood, so in a way, a combination of both options. Truly I dreamed of becoming something more like one of the characters in my early stories, rather than a writer.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
My early fiction (from the age of 6 to about 12) is all in the oral tradition, shared in the playground with one or two (mostly) willing listeners. Interestingly, it was almost all sci-fi or space opera, rather than the variations of fantasy I write today.

What was the inspiration for your book?
Gravedigger was inspired by a number of things. Firstly, I’d been reading old-fashioned, traditional fantasy of the zero-to-hero type. I wanted to try out just writing the beginning of such a tale. In terms of setting, I was weirdly inspired by the graveyard in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Not that it resembles Perin’s graveyard that much in the end…

Who is your literary hero?
I’m deeply in love with Rowling. But I’m not monogamous when it comes to literature. Terry Pratchett and Brandon Sanderson are also right up there in my highest levels of admiration.
How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
All and none. Each character is intended to be a new individual, but all writers are thieves and whether I like to admit it or not, my experiences of people around me provide the DNA for every character I’ve ever written.

Describe your main character in six words.
Perin can be described by the following words:
Straightforward, loyal, needy of companionship, brave.

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
The Claimfold is: Landlocked, mountainous, scarcely populated, wildly bleak.

What scene was your favorite to write?
Probably the climactic melee in the last few chapters, or possibly the discussion that takes place just before it.

What scene was the hardest for you to write?
I wrote and rewrote some of the Borderers sections often. There’s a couple of scenes with saddening deaths in, as well…

What are you working on now?
The sequel to The Maker’s Bloodline: Land Rising which is available in its self-published form and still pretty popular, though my publisher will eventually republish it for me in the grand style it deserves! It’s called Hunter’s Path and it’s really exciting me at the moment. I’m also working on early stages of the sequel to Gravedigger, which will probably be titled Warprince.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
More readers. Better books. My craft can always stand to be improved; don’t trust any writer who tells you differently.

Are there any authors or books you recommend?
I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy for magic worldbuilding, Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns for characterisation, especially antiheroes, and Mikey Campling’s Darkeningstone series for sci-fi suspense, time travel and intrigue.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Reading, watching great television or enjoyable films, video games… Acting, when I can get a gig…