Friday, February 27, 2015

Interview With Michael Blackbourn

I have wanted to interview Michael Blackbourn for some time now. I had to be patient, because it's so much more fun to interview a person after their book is out. Well guess what? Michael's book is now out!

I personally love stories about magical beings. Elves, Mermaids, Unicorns and Seelies are some of my favorites. Michael Blackbourn's new book, "Cindercast: A Tale of Tides" is all about a Seelie on a wonderful adventure. Don't know what a Seelie is? Read on to find out!

Also be sure to pick up Michael's book today (Friday) because the Kindle version is free all day long on Amazon! Missed it free? It's still a great price. And the pictures! Oh goodness the pictures are lovely!

1. Why Fantasy?

Thanks for asking, and thanks for the interest in my book. The answer to that question is a little complicated. It's easy to classify Cindercast: A Tale of Tides as fantasy but I'll let you in on a little secret, it's not. It's actually sci-fi in a tiny bite-sized package. My protagonist is a ten-year-old girl who is the size of a grain of rice. Everything else about her world is pretty much the same as ours. The change of perspective allows for some pretty interesting adventures where you can hide from the rising tide by inside a barnacle, or be blown away by a great gust of wind. Crabs roam the tidepools as giant monsters and the only sign of us (the big people) are bits of technology, waiting to be to be discovered, washed up on the beaches.

2. Are you a Seelie or an Unseelie?

My little people are named Seelies. I struggled for quite a while trying to find the perfect name for them that wasn't 'little people'. Sea imps was something that lived on for too long in the manuscript until a search into faeries found me the terms Seelie and Unseelie. The Seelies were the helpful spirits, and the Unseelies were the mischievous ones that would ruin your day. I grabbed these names and the Seelies became the little people... and the Seelies refer to us, the big people as Unseelies. But my story isn't about a clash of the sizes, that story has been told many times before. In Cindercast: A Tale of Tides the story stays with Ollie, a Seelie, and her struggle to survive on the beach and find her way home.

3. Finish these thoughts:

I wish...

I had really, really long arms. I would hook my toes under a rock or something and reach way, way up and grab the moon to try and slow the earth's rotation speed. It never seems like there is enough hours in the day to accomplish what I want.

I'm hiding...

Nothing. But I could hide if I wanted to. I was a paratrooper before becoming a visual effects artist and now an author/illustrator. I spent years with that green camo makeup on my face. Trust me, if I wanted to disappear I would just need to find a place that sells that green stuff in civilian-land and I'd be good. Don't ask me to hide when the stores are closed.

The ocean...

Is the reason I wrote this book. I spent my childhood camping at a sandstone covered beach on an island. It inspired the world of Cindercast. What if you had to run and hide, sheltering between tides. Instead of worrying about day and night, the receding and rising tide would be your major concern. With two high-tides a day you would always be on the clock to get to the next place of shelter. In my book Ollie comes up with come creative solutions when she gets cornered by the rising water.

4. What makes your work special?

The thing that makes my work special is that really, at it's core, it's about something normal. The scenes that play out in my book are things that anyone can go see. Go to a beach, lie down on your belly and look. There is a whole alien world playing out between the tides. I did exactly that while I was doing research for the book and put a borrowed macro lens to good use, getting tons of images for reference. It's a beautiful place we live in. Our oceans are important, I wanted to communicate that to our kids.

5. What is your ultimate goal in life?

Life is window of opportunity. You only have so long to influence the world and the lives of those you love. My ultimate goal would be to make the most of that time. To not squander the unique ability to have a dream and then act on it, and make it real.

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