Interview with Rayme Michaels for AuthorMePro

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  1. APKY/AMP: Hello. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer. What inspired you to write your first book?

When I was really small, the very idea of books fascinated me, and I felt intuitively that a truth could be found in each of them.  But I felt it on a mystical level, because I was still just a child, filled with the wonder of the unknown.  When I was eight years old, in grade three, I turned into a bookworm.  I used to walk around the schoolyard with my nose buried in whatever it was that I was reading at the time.  Writing always came naturally to me, and the older I got the more I had an inner compulsion to write, and it reached a point in adulthood where, if I did not write, it felt like a form of self-denial, and one thing I’m not is an ascetic.

I originally wrote my book, Incorrigibility, found here – www.lulu.com/spotlight/Rayme - in screenplay form back in 2005.  It was the third one I had ever written, and then I pretty much just pigeonholed it, not showing it to anyone, or even talking about it.  Then I realized in late December of 2011 that it could be turned into a novel, and immediately decided to do just that.  It’s actually a short novel – a novella - to be exact, but that’s all it needs to be.  I’ve always wanted to make people laugh and think, and I hope that Incorrigibility does that for a lot of people out there.  The reception has been good thus far, I can tell you that.  It’s not for those who dislike raunchy, bawdy humor, however, because it’s fuelled by it.  I’ve always instinctively loved to push the envelope, it’s how I am.

  1. APKY/AMP: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?

Well, the genre of Incorrigibility is comedy.  My next book, which I am currently in the process of publishing, is a dark, gory, romantic vampire novel with erotica in it.  It’s nothing like the Twilight Series, in case that’s what you were thinking.  It’s much more along the lines of Anne Rice and Quentin Tarantino.  

  1. APKY/AMP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are a few of those, actually.  One is that the puritanical ideals regarding sexuality, and the very topic of sexuality, don’t really help us any, nor are they realistic by any means.  A big thing for me is how unfortunate it is that so many people out there walk around from day to day with the baggage of unwarranted guilt weighing down on them, instead of taking joy and satisfaction in fond memories, and anticipating still greater ones yet to come.  All this does is make life so much harder than need be, when really they should just be enjoying their lives to the fullest!  Life is really beautiful and filled with laughter and fun, despite all the suffering and hardship we all go through.  I agree with Friedrich Nietzsche that even the suffering should be affirmed as well, not just the joys.  Amor fati, as he called it:  the love of fate.  Basically, life is super short, so live it up, and stop wasting precious time worrying about the petty hang-ups that people want to infect you with, sucking out all the pleasure you could be getting out of it, simply because they want you to be as miserable as they are!   

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you have any advice for other writers?

When you feel compelled to write, do so!  Don’t let that inspiration fade away, because once it’s gone, it might never come back, and you may have lost a great piece of writing, be it a great maxim, poem, essay, prose or book.  Inspiration is a truly beautiful gift.  Never take it for granted.  That’s a terrible thing to do to yourself.  Some thoughts and ideas are like shooting stars.  You don’t want to lose them.  They may only come once in your lifetime.

  1. APKY/AMP: Why should we buy your book?

Incorrigibility is a quirky relationship comedy, filled with sex-appeal and the search for meaning, and is driven by side-splitting satire.  It’s unique, that much I can promise you.  You will not have read anything like it before, and if you like outrageous courtroom humor, then it’s definitely for you, because the trial in chapter 16 (the third-last chapter) has just that and more.  It is also existential and critical of religion.  I think it is the perfect book for those who like movies like Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, There’s Something About Mary, American Pie, Old School, Wedding Crashers, and Woody Allen and Kevin Smith movies.  Those are my two favorite filmmakers.  My favourite movie of all time is What’s New Pussycat? (1965), Woody Allen’s screenwriting debut.  It’s absolutely hilarious, and fuelled by the vigor of life and Rabelaisian humor.  Basically, if you love to laugh, and enjoy the differing points of view of contentious characters, then wait no longer:  buy my book TODAY!  It’s a shot of life.  It’s also a good way for women to get inside the heads of men.

But I’m gonna be honest and say that those who don’t like sex-comedies, shouldn’t even bother.  I’m a prurient guy.  I always have been; hence the three main characters in my book.  To be fair, though, one of them, Brent, the guy the book starts with, is somebody who is seeking love, and is convinced that there is more to life than just pleasure-seeking and empty flings.  He wants more, but he’s very conflicted and naïve.  In one chapter he seeks advice from his histrionic, grouchy, cynical grandfather, which becomes what is probably the most heartfelt scene in the book.  You could say that Brent is the polar opposite of Matt, a rude, crude, completely incorrigible, womanizing chauvinist and criminal lawyer, who naturally ends up defending Brent in court, given they are the best of friends.

  1. APKY/AMP: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?

Not really.  I can write anywhere; be it at home in bed, on a couch, or at a table, or I can also write in the backseat of a car, on a plane, in a café, in some jazz bar, in a waiting room – you name it.

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you write under a pseudonym? If so, why and do you think it makes a difference?

No, I don’t.  I never felt the need to.  I should tell you, though, that you do pronounce the “e” in my first name.  Some people think it’s silent, and make the mistake of pronouncing my name “Raym,” instead of Rayme.

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?

I don’t have one as of yet, but I hope to find one in the not-so-distant future, as I think that agents are a key way to getting yourself known to others who may require your services.  If the agent is good, (s)he will be working for you even when you’re not.  Besides, why not use as many avenues as possible to promote yourself either as a writer, or any other kind of artist, for that matter?

  1. APKY/AMP: What are you working on at the moment / next?

I finished my next novella back in February, and it will be out soon enough.  It’s a completely different animal than Incorrigibility, but it does have its existential and comical moments as well.

  1. APKY/AMP: What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?

The closest thing to writer’s block that I’ve ever experienced is not feeling the need to write at all.  But when I know what I have to write about at the moment, and sit down to do so, it flows out of me fairly easily.  I would say that if I ever did experience writer’s block, I would try to get to the root problems of what is causing it, i.e., other things going on, or which have happened, in my life that are draining and distracting me. 

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and off you are with it?

Well, it depends.  Sometimes I just build from scene to scene, and other times I have the ideas of different scenes that I then try to connect together in writing them out.  I don’t brainstorm a beginning, middle and end in great detail before I start writing, though.  I never found a use for that.

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?

I don’t have a method for creating the characters, but I do enjoy forming and shaping them as I work on a new project, and revise what makes the most sense for them to say. Incorrigibility is purely dialogue driven.  As for the names, they often come from people that I’ve known, or are just names that I like.

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?

I do tons of editing, but not much to the story itself; rather to the fixing of minor errors here and there, or making the words flow better.  Flow is very important to me.

  1. APKY/AMP: Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?

When writing a book or an essay, I go straight to my laptop.  When I write a poem or prose, I write it in my black book first.

15. AMP: What do you like to read?

I actually mainly enjoy reading non-fiction, hence why I got a Master’s Degree in Philosophy.  Nietzsche and Ernest Becker are my favourite writers, but I also love the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain.  Fiction-wise, I have no specific genre that I stick to.  If it grabs me, it grabs me.  You probably won’t catch me reading a science-fiction novel, however, but that could change.  I eventually want to finish reading The Decameron, by Boccaccio.  I think he was an absolute genius, and had a LOT of guts to write like that back then in the Middle Ages.  I can’t imagine having that kind of courage.  And you have to admire that unrelenting, inner need he had to make people happier and more light-hearted through his writings, during such a horrific time as the Black Death, even going as far as to poke fun at monks and the clergy itself.  Laughter truly is the greatest medicine.    

  1. APKY/AMP: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?

I read, listen to rock music, watch movies, and play the electric guitar.

  1. AMP: Where can we find out about you and your work?

Well, I have two blogs:  www.rayme-michaels.blogspot.com and http://wordsdonewrite.net/blog/.  As for my current book, Incorrigibility, and my next, soon-to-be-released vampire novel, you can find them at my Lulu site:   www.lulu.com/spotlight/Rayme

  1. APKY/AMP: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I’ve really enjoyed this interview.  It’s the first one that I’ve done regarding my writing.  It was a lot of fun.

  1. APKY/AMP: Thank you. I invite you to include an extract of your writing:

You can preview the first bit of it at the Lulu URLs of the paperback and eBook.

  1. APKY/AMP: Thank you. 

My pleasure.  Thank you.