Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
My name is Michael John Finley and I was born in British Guyana.
I’m what you may call a late bloomer, as I only started writing a few years ago. My parents were avid readers and the house was always full of books, so it just seemed natural that I would take a liking to reading. I have read most of the classics like Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, Agatha Christie, Herman Melville, among others, and despite their wonderful stories, I always wondered what could have happened if the hero failed to complete his mission or a character had different traits than those presented by the author.
For most of my live I was a logistics manager and writing could not be farthest from my mind. I always admired those who write, but never thought of it as something for me. Life however has a curious habit of shifting things around and one day I decided to put a few short stories to paper and discovered the wonders of writing. What started as an experience in writing became something much more serious as I kept at it. Even so, until that point, I had never considered printing any of my stories. They just seemed frail, lacking something that could make them stand on their own.
The reason for this, I found out later is that the stories were actually small parts of something bigger, so one day, my daughter suggested that all the stories would make more sense if I gave the characters a common goal, a quest, and that brought everything into perspective. That was the genesis of my first book and only book thus far, Tales of Valoris – The Rune Seekers. What began as a single book soon evolved into a five book saga, most of which is still in my mind, but I’m working on getting it out.
Tell us about your books.
So far, I have published only one book, Tales of Valoris – The Rune Seekers. It was originally supposed to be a fantasy adventure, however, by the time I finished the first one, I had more and more ideas, so the single book evolved into a five book saga. The stories take place in the fictional land of Valoris where magic, knights, gods, and other fantastic creatures are part of the daily life. The story arc follows seven warriors on different quests to assure the balance of the land and to keep evil in check.
How did you go about getting published?
Shortly after I finished writing my first draft, I realised that the final product would never see the light of day if I depended on the publishing industry. From what I gathered from blogs, magazines, and my own exploits, self publishing was the only way to go. So I started by signing up with Smashwords and learn all I could about the subject.
When it came time to publish, I found that Amazon’s KDP seem to have the better reach and distribution arc for my books, even if it meant signing an exclusivity deal with them. But what really kept me with Amazon was the print on demand service offered by Creative Space, one of Amazon’s companies. My book was published in March 2016 and thus far, I have no complains.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I’m a person of habit. I try to keep my schedule as tight as possible. Being a teacher, I use my class intervals to write and in the afternoons I type what I wrote in the morning. It doesn’t always work since lady inspiration isn’t always available. Nevertheless, I still get approximately 500 words per day.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
My main sources of income are classes and translations which take up most of my day. As for
Hobbies, I enjoy reading and playing MMORPG’s, which also serves as a source of inspiration when it comes to cities and other locations I use in my books.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
I was lucky enough to have an artist in the family. My brother is a remarkable artist who quickly grasped the idea of my first novel and produced its cover, so I’m afraid I can’t offer much help on this topic.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
To be honest, I’m still working marketing my book. I have tried Facebook, Amazon, and even some free email lists sites. I can’t really say any of them worked as expected. What I have learned so far, however, is that getting the word out about your book is far more important than sales. The more people you have talking about your work, the higher the possibility of sales.
What’s your favorite book?
Pet Semetary by Stephen King
What are you reading now?
Deception Point by Dan Brown.
What’s your next book project?
I’m currently working on the second volume of Tales of Valoris. The volume name is still a work in progress, so I won’t divulge it right now, maybe in a few months after I have decided on one.
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