Author Interview: Michael Cargill

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hello everyone, I've decided since so many authors are so willing to do interviews I'm going to try and post one every Sunday so if you want to participate in this let me know. I have one for next Sunday and the one after, you see I'm actually trying to use a schedule. I may become impatient and post one early though so look out for them. As for today I have an interview to keep you going until next Sunday.

Tell me about yourself
I am 32 years old and currently living in the harsh ghetto that is Surrey in England.  Writing books is actually a recent thing and by day I work in IT for a large company.  In school I wasn't a fan of writing stories at all but I was a dab hand at fiddling around with computers.  At home I had a Commodore 64 and spent hours and hours of my youth typing in outrageously long codes and commands just to get a ball to bounce around the screen. These days I can be found pounding the treadmill down the gym trying to breathe life back into my creaky knees.  Listening to old Prodigy songs from the early 1990s helps with that actually.  Occasionally, when the endorphins are in full flow and my favourite beepity-boppity techno nonsense tune is playing, I kid myself that I can still climb trees and run up steps without feeling stiff the next day.

Tell me about your book/s
So far they are all short stories but each one I have written has been longer than the one I did before it.  My very first one, Diary of a Dork, is actually completely different to the others and is a collection of short and sarcastic humorous article type things I wrote over the course of a few months.  I love reading about World War II and I couldn't resist the temptation of telling a couple of stories set during that time.  They are probably my favourite of what I have written so far. I dipped my toe into the world of horror with Slaughter in Barnaby Close but I don't think I will write many more.  I created backgrounds for people who just ended up having their heads chopped off which sort of spoiled the fun really.  Maybe it was my lack of self-control that was the problem but I think thriller-esque stories are far more interesting.  You can setup scenarios that leave people clenching their buttocks in anticipation of what happens next and then POW!  Something unexpected happens.

What are your favourite books?
Good question this.  Pet Semetary by Stephen King was, I think, the first non-fantasy novel I read and is still a favourite.  Many people have said that it takes too long to get going but in all honesty I didn't notice it as the characters were so good.  I enjoyed The Stand as well.Some of Michael Crichton's books have had a scary amount of research put into them but this has resulted in the man putting out some very believable and engrossing stories. More recently I have been enjoying the various books written within the Halo universe.  Yes, that's 'Halo' as in the Xbox game!  No doubt some would turn their noses up at them but as a fan of the games they are a top read.

Who is your inspiration?
I would say that Stephen King is my biggest inspiration.  The characters he creates are fantastic and the way he uses italics to show what the character is thinking is something I have, erm, utilised to one extent or another.  Other writers do the same thing of course but King seems to do it the best. Michael Crichton as well to an extent.  If you are going to do write about a particular theme or topic then you need to do some research on it.  As a reader of WWII history I have been able to draw on my knowledge to write stories set during that time.

Are you working on any books we should look out for in the future?
Yes!  Well, sort of.  I only recently finished my latest one so nothing has been written down or typed in anger yet.  I have some ideas bouncing around so it won't be long before I break the seal again.  I know the general theme/angle I am taking which makes things easier for my pretty little head to deal with. I think it might well turn out to be my first novel rather than being a short story.  Only time will tell!

What is your favourite quote?
"Beans, beans, the more you eat the more you fart" - My grandad, 1988. To be honest my answer to this could change day by day.  "It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it." by General Lee during the US Civil War is a good one.
"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon." by Napoleon as well.  It borders on satire and is potentially insulting to some.  But ultimately it is true.
If you could be any character from any book who would you be?
I read a book about the Apollo moon landings so I would love to be Neil Armstrong as he went to the moon.  But that's a cheating answer. I quite liked Nicholas in The Runaway Jury by John Grisham.  He was a normal bloke who knew when the big, nasty tobacco companies were trying to exploit him and he was a smart one.  John Cusack played him in the film which I wasn't too keen on.  The man looks like he has never shaved.  I bet even Justin Bieber could beat him in an arm wrestle.

Who is your favourite author?
Stephen King is the main one.  Honourable mentions to Michael Crichton and John Grisham.
Gosh, I never realised how mainstream I was.  I also like Max Hastings and Antony Beevor for their historical non-fiction books.
Take that hipsters.

What advice would you give young aspiring writers?
Practise and confidence is the key really.  If you re-read something you wrote a few days ago and feel embarrassed about the mistakes with the grammar, sentence structure, etc. then take that as a positive sign.  No writer is capable of pouring forth paragraphs and paragraphs of perfect prose right off the bat; they have an army of proof-readers and editors who pick and pluck away at every single sentence they write. When you first write a story it is more about getting the ideas down on the paper than anything else.  When writing I am usually aware that I have typed an awkward sentence but I leave it as I know I will fix it during the proof-reading stage.  And believe me you will need to proof-read it more than once!

Want to do an interview? Let me know!
Email me at: confessionsofabookaholic@LIVE.CO.UK

3 People dared to comment.:

Michael Cargill said...

Look at that, that's me! Wowsers.

Thanks Emily, I rather enjoyed answering the questions.

Everyone else should know that Emily has really posh surname.

Raine said...

Michael! You're famous! You've done an interview and EVERYTHING! *applause*

I really enjoyed your answers! I actually shared the one about editing with a friend who's attempting to pen a novel. She doesn't realize the lengthiness of the editing process. She got frustrated when I spent a few hours on one page. Haha.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan already!

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