# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi! I’m Rory Michaelson, I’m the author of the LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS series, which is a new adult contemporary urban fantasy full of queer characters, monsters, and silly jokes. Overall themes are found family, self-actualisation, and love, within a story full of adventure, horror, and lots of teeth.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
We have a lot of books and movies about well-known monsters, like vampires, werewolves, and zombies—but there is a whole host of relatively untapped urban legend and folk-lore stories from different regions featuring interesting and more unusual things. Lesser-known monsters if you will. I wanted to write stories that incorporated as many of these weird and wonderful myths and legends in a fun and interesting way, and centre it on characters that we need more representation for.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I believe that everyone has creativity within them, it’s just a matter of whether we have access to that stream, or the ability to translate it into a medium that we can share with others. I couldn’t tap into my creativity until I was in my thirties. Many people don’t do it until they’re older, and some people are able to inherently do it from early childhood. I don’t think there’s a specific trigger, it’s just a different journey for everyone, and I’m very much still at the beginning of mine.
# How do you deal with creative block?
Stop creating. Lots of people will probably disagree with that, but personally, when I hit a block it’s because I, or my story, need something else. It may be that I need to refill my creative well, or that I need to give my ideas room to breathe and mature and come back to them with fresh eyes before moving on. If I try to force myself, not only is it a very painful process, but I end up redoing most of it when I am finally in the right headspace anyway.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Outside of platforming any form of bigoted views? I’m a big believer in content warnings. As creators believe we have a responsibility to provide information to people who may be vulnerable to certain content and want to consume media safely. Signposting sensitive content is both the responsible and ethical thing to do. I’ve seen some people complain that including a content warning is a ‘spoiler’, but I don’t think that shocking things happening in a story is the real meat and bones of it. Ultimately what leaves the mark is how the characters respond to events, and how that shapes the narrative flow, not the fact that a shocking event occurs.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I love a title. I think intuition is very important. I’m sure that having a title that encapsulates the themes, content, style, and current market trends for your book is part of the formula – but because many of us can’t navigate that on a technical level, be it due to depth of understanding or resources, we tend to go with what feels right. I also think some sentences or titles are more fun or feel better to say than others, again I’m sure there are technical linguistic intricacies to it, but what I normally end up thinking is; is it fun to say, does it fit, and does it feel right. For covers, I’m kind of hopeless myself. I depend a lot on working with talented cover designers (like my cover designer for the LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS series, Dean Cole) and getting opinions from a couple of skilled people who I trust.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I generally try not to look at any reviews at all nowadays for the most part. I think they’re more for readers rather than the authors themselves. If people enjoy my book, then that makes me incredibly happy, but if they hate it then honestly that’s fine too. If someone writes a lovely review and wants to share it with me, that will usually leave me smiling for the next few hours, but I don’t go hunting in the wild for them…
# How has your creation process improved over time?
Honestly, it’s become rougher. It started off as very strict, structured, and specific. I listened to a few lectures, had tools and aids and notes… When I did the first draft of LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS, it was quite carefully plotted, but when I did the second draft I just kind of did whatever I wanted, and for me that was when the book really got its soul. I wrote THE BONE GATE flying completely by the seat of my pants, and I think it’s all the better for it. For the third book, I’m using a combined approach as there are a lot of threads to bring together, and I want to make sure everything is nicely tied up. Honestly, I think just trusting myself more, and having fun telling my story – because if I have fun writing it, people might just have fun reading it.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
I had no idea that the publishing was going to be harder for me than writing. The entire process of co-ordinating assets into a final product and completing tasks to meet all these deadlines, oh and forms…all the forms…just…no. Promotion is also such a hard thing to do, or even gear yourself up for. In terms of best, the community is incredible. I’ve made some amazing friends, which is something I never expected.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I’m one of those people who kind of sees their story playing like a movie in their head all the time. Like, in the shower, falling asleep at night, anywhere – I am playing scenes out and getting a feel for what works. Because I’m a big consumer of media, and love to experience story telling in everything from computer games, to television, and books, I hope I’ve developed a feel for a satisfying rhythm in a story and hitting all the right beats to let it play out right. So, even though I’m writing the story for myself, because I’m watching it play out in my head with little control over how it unfolds before I write it, I’m kind of my own reader too…
# What are your plans for future books?
THE BONE GATE, book two in the LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS series is out on Friday 13th August this year, and the third and final instalment will be released on Friday 13th May 2022. After that, I have a few other stories on the boil, and I’m not sure which is going to be finished cooking first. It may be a YA Horror, or an adult high fantasy, but all I can say is that I am full of books that I can’t stop thinking about, and I just can’t wait to share them with you all.