Friday, March 11, 2011

Michael T. Hertz interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

Normally, it's morning that's best. Sometimes, I wake from a dream about some aspect of the book I'm working on. That gives me a real head start.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

Generally, I work at my computer, but I've been on vacation to other countries and have written quite a bit on paper and then transcribed to the computer, adding as I go. I've experimented with Dragon Naturally Speaking but to date have found it a bit cumbersome. (I'm a lawyer who is quite at home with dictation machines; I did many of the first drafts for briefs using dictation).

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

From just about anything. I've written and self-published “Slaughterhouse” ( and “Seven Victims In Marseille,” ( both thrillers set in southern France in the 1960's. The basic inspiration was a year I lived in Marseille (1961-62) at the height of the Secret Army terrorism. I completed several drafts of “Special Assets,” a detective novel about an ex-policeman turned bankruptcy lawyer. The inspiration was my years of practice as a bankruptcy attorney (and the wisdom of writing what you know about). I've self-published “Lord Gordon,” an historical novel based in 1870s. ( It was inspired by a magazine article I read about the main character and my great love for research (I did a tremendous amount of online and library research for the book, including lengthy forays into old newspaper accounts). I love science-fiction and wrote “ElderCare,” about New York City in 2036 (it's really a novella, so I'm turning it into a graphic novel). “Spaghetti Western,” which I've self-published as an illustrated novel, started just from thinking about the title and trying write a story that would incorporate the Wild West with the Italian Mafia as well as Native Americans and black magic.
4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I've never done that. I set out a certain amount of time to write. If things are going well, I keep going.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

I've published a lot of articles on law topics, including one published book. All of my fiction writing has been self-published. I love graphic design and illustration as well and therefore do the covers myself.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

I've been writing since I was 14 (I started a novel in my late teens and another in my 20s. The first time I finished a novel was when I was about 40. Meantime, I was working and writing all those legal articles).

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?

I really love “I, Claudius” by Robert Graves. I recently finished “In the Woods” (Tana French) and enjoyed it very much. I've read virtually everything that John D. Macdonald ever wrote (the man had a marvelous style). Also Mark Haddon (“The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time”) and Niall Ferguson (“The War Of The World”).

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

Since I love illustration, I've tried doing book trailers myself, using animation in Vue with Poser characters. (All self-taught). I've been teaching myself Photoshop CS4 Extended animation and have done trailers for “Slaughterhouse” ( and “Seven Victims In Marseille” ( and several for “ElderCare.” ( I'm still working on my skills in this area.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
My latest book is “Lord Gordon,” which is the name of a real person and the book's central character. I'm currently working on a book of fantasy, which I initially called “Ye Gods and Little Fishes,” a favorite phrase of my father's. More recently, I thought about renaming it “Suppose . . .” I'm now thinking of calling it “The Mystical Salvation of Humanity By Artemus B. Kelso.”

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I'm about half-way through the first draft of the book about Artemus B. Kelso. His mother Margot, a fabulously beautiful woman from Haiti who was raised in New York City, travels to Vancouver, BC, because a mystical voice tells her to go there to give birth to “he who will be the salvation of all mankind.” When he's age 10, a great Flood (which the voice predicts) drowns the entire world except for a single Haida Gwaii canoe built by Artemus' parents and carrying only 12 passengers.

It is a sort picaresque novel along the lines of Voltaire's “Candide.” Needless to say, it is evolving. (I wrote the first three chapters about six years ago but could never get any further. In the past year, though I've been able to get much further along).

No comments:

Post a Comment