About JB Michaels:
J. B. Michaels, a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, has written stories since he was in fourth grade. He is a history teacher and department chair who loves his job.
Married and with a son, Michaels has a great love of family. He has two sequels recounting the further adventures of the Tannenbaum Tailors ready for publication. The Order of St. Michael: A Bud Hutchins Thriller is JB’s Young Adult book.
What inspires you to write?
“If you can dream it you can do it.” -Horizons, Ecpot. I spent an entire summer reading a very large biography on Walt Disney, this man, who would lose touch with the world around him to provide us with quality entertainment. Sometimes his priorities were a little off but he nonetheless profoundly influenced me. So thanks Walt.
Also my Grandfather’s words echo in my mind every time I think about my writing endeavors. When I was fourteen years old, he told me that I can be anything I want. Anything. When he passed away two months later after several bouts with bad health. Those words have forever changed me. I strive to live by his example and take literally all the wonderful things that man taught me. I love him so much that my heart hurts just writing about him. It is my grandfather’s legacy that keeps me writing.
What can I say? I am a child grasping with the throes of growing up, maturing, whatever you want to call it. My ideas come from my childhood zeal for all things adventurous and fantastic. I have come up with my book ideas at random times but all in the spirit of my fervor for movies, comics, and books. There really is no one place I draw inspiration from. No place I go to. No well of original ideas I can dip my bucket brain into. I have had to create the place really. Sure there are places where the wheels start turning but the real great ideas I formed in no particular place.
I do draw inspiration from the structures of stories that I love to watch or read. What kind of a story should I tell? There are only a certain amount of stories all of which share similar plot elements. I learned that in high school. So pick a kind of story and then make it your own. Create a world then tell a structured story. Is it an adventure story? Is it a suspense/thriller? Is it all of the above? One thing I promise myself to do is try to make my story different enough to be considered original. Blazing my own trail is paramount for me to continue my writing endeavors.
With my “original” ideas I write my stories. I suppose I write stories thanking those who have written or created an awesome world that I enjoyed in my man and childhood whether in film, book, or theme park form. Lastly, I get my ideas and motivation from a need to stop living in other people’s imaginations and creations. A great deal of my life is spent reading other people’s words, watching other people’s movies, and playing in other people’s worlds. One day I decided I had had enough. I needed to create my own worlds people could live in and enjoy. So I did and I love it here. I just hope that someday more people can enjoy the world I have created with me.
Tell us about your writing process.
Well I tend to plot out all my books before I even touch my mac. I have a diagram of events. Wait. No. Diagram sounds far too organized. I have scribbles of the plot line scattered through out my black journal. The plot points arrive in my brain at all different places, a few have dropped in while at theme parks, some in bed, and school when I should be teaching. Anywhere inspiration is scheduled to visit with me I scribble. Never neatly I might add. Neat enough. Oh and the scribbling doesn’t always happen with pencil in hand, sometimes, I have to hound those around me to remember what inspiration gave me.
So with all the plot drudged up, the action chapters mulled over, I fasten my seat belt on the recliner and pound the keys. I have written for 15 hours straight at one point. I have to get it all out and I need to have little or no distraction. Sometimes no distraction can be achieved but then hunger, thirst, my dog Poof, and Bing Crosby movies set in.
In conclusion, I am a binge writer with a spot in inspiration’s appointment book. I admit it. Okay I am done now. Or shall I write for a few more hours on the subject?
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters for sure. The characters images in my head are all over the place. I honestly am not sure what they look like. I know the people who I have based characters on and can imagine them in some elven form. So that is cool but then sometimes they tend to look like Vulcans. Anyway, I have done sketches of my characters and I waver between the cartoonish and the realistic.
My characters greatest appeal is their size. I wish I could shrink down to their size and experience the world from their perspective. The best thing about it is scale. So I have to put myself in their shoes of course. I suppose I can feel what my characters are feeling better than picturing. I can feel the whoosh of their movements and the gravity that pulls them from place to place.
One can derive that my characters should look accessible, enchanting, familiar, and well… downright cute. I do plan on selling action figures and plush toys so they have to be. I know for sure though that one of my fellow Write 6ers has definitely cornered the market on the cuteness of our characters. Nothing like a little competition to keep the creative juices flowing.
If empires can be made with three circles on a piece of paper then the sky is the limit with the look of characters and how they can affect the child within all of us. The power of illustration is indeed a mighty one.
What advice would you give other writers?
I like many other writers resisted the whole critique group idea because I felt like I could be so damn hard on myself that I couldn’t bear what others might think or say. BUT I was wrong joining a critique has been helpful. I feel great having the outlet and how each of the members keeps me honest with every critique given. It is quite the experience to take work that we toil at and work so hard on and then give it to other people to look at. Ugh so incredibly vulnerable I feel sometimes. (Did I just sound like Yoda there?)”They are gonna think this part sucks? I know it.” That thought has assuredly gone through my head many times. Oftentimes my perception of things is way off.
So join a critique group! Leave your insecurities at the door and just do it. Live it. Love it. I am incredibly lucky and grateful that I found the Write 6. I have learned and will continue to learn from this group. Thanks 6ers and Carmela!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to publish my book in Fall of 2015 after watching a Walt Disney documentary. That man did it all himself and didn’t really need anyone to approve him, except for maybe his brother Roy(the money man). After years of rejections from agents and publishers too hung up on the fact that my marquis franchise is Holiday themed, I decided to do it myself and consider my venture a success so far. You can do it. It is a lot of work but you can do it. You can get your ideas/work out there! My first book has an average of 5 star reviews! My first book even garnered some great press. The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball made Popsugar.com’s Top 27 Best New Holiday Books for Kids 2015!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future is both scary and exciting! There is a lot of opportunity out there for original thinkers and entrepreneurs! Alas, we have to hold fast with how we sell our books and with whom. Amazon is mighty but also wields great power and wants to satisfy their massive customer list. How they do that can affect us as indie authors!
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Chapter books, MG, Holiday Action/Adventure, Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Thriller
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.