What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Specific to the writing of “The White Lake Chronicles” series, I have made trips to take pictures of the primary high schools in these stories. In addition, I constantly drive past my former home that serves as the back ground of this work, to pull into the driveway and allow myself to for a brief second to once again be on this property. In fact, one time when this residence was up for sale, my wife and I pulled up to the house and spent time just walking the grounds and peeking into windows.
What is the first book that made you cry?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I am too detailed, which means more words on paper than might be necessary. I feel comfortable, however, in this approach. I once read a mystery novel that was 300 hundred pages in length. One sentence was dedicated as to a clue of who the murderer was. Right or wrong, from that day on if ever got lucky enough for a person to read my book, then they were going to be given a road map of who the characters were and the direction of where the story was going. Details!! Details!! Details!!
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I grew up reading book series. i.e., The Hardy Boys; Chip Hilton, Tom Swift and Nancy Drew. Part of the excitement was waiting to read the next book or await when a new one was coming out. That was half of the excitement. Thus, in the writing of The White Lake Road Chronicles, I have decided to make this into a series. Just like I did as a child some 1,000 years ago.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
This did not really change my process of writing. However, it did change my thought process of instead of just writing for family and friends, that I should be trying to write for other people that I have never met before.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A golden retriever. Somehow their name and picture always end up on the cover of any books that I have had published. And, as it should be.
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
I will not say that I did any specifically editing. However, I have made is a strict point not to use any curse words. They are alluded to, but never actually used.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Trying to please friends who want to have roles in my stories, when there is really no room for them as a necessary character part. It is hard to say no!!
What is your favorite childhood book?
The House on the Cliff and Touchdown Pass. Both books were part of the Hardy Boys and Chip Hilton series books authored by F.W. Dixon and Clair Bee.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Sitting down and pounding out a numerous amount of words in one sitting. I have heard authors say that they can sit down at the computer and belt out thousands of words in one session. Since I have an attention span of seven seconds, I instead chunk it out on a daily basis.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
For better or worse, it is coming up with background information or side bars for new characters or events.I love doing that.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
What few authors that I have been in contact with, I have not found them to be socially inept at all. In fact, get us started on what our books are about, we may never stop talking.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
When I was in sixth grade. I would write stories of how I was a Secret Service agent and how I would be protecting the President of the United States or be on secret missions in Viet Nam.
Who are your biggest literary influences?
As mentioned above, F.W. Dixon and Clair Bee for the book series that they wrote. I also like the style of David Rosenfelt with his Any Carpenter character. However, the biggest influence was a former offensive lineman of the Green Bay Packers. He, along with the late Dick Schaap, authored a book by the name of Instant Replay. A day-by-day log of the Green Bay Packer’s 1967 season. And that is the style that I have adopted for The White Lake Road Chronicles. Basically, a journal of my senior year of high school. In addition, I read a book by the name of The Colville Terriers that gave me the idea of how the four main characters of TWLRC ended up transferring to another high school outside of their local school district.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
The Godfather. I read this novel about six months before seeing the movie, and did not understand much of it. An outstanding cast for this flick allowed me to comprehend the book much better.
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
Since I knew that this was going to be an ongoing series, I did not have any great elation because I was far from being done with this writing journey. There was a scene from the television show, Castle, where Richard Castle is playing poker with Michael Connelly and James Patterson. I believe it was Michael Connelly that said when he completed a book, “He just shut up and started writing another one.” That’s probably what I did as well. I am lucky that friends and family are always glad when another work product of mine comes out.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
That they are consumed with what project that they are currently working on. The mind rarely strays far away from that undertaking.
When it comes to research for your books, are you a hunter or a gatherer? Talk about your research process.
I would put myself in the category of a gatherer. I keep an ear and eye out for a line or situation that I can use in a future work. Example: I overheard a person once say. “If this does not get a middle school named after me, then nothing will.” I will use a variation of that for my works. In addition, since my books are time specific, the 1969-70 school year, I have to research to make sure that a movie was produced for that time frame; how the Detroit Lions did in their game; and, if a TV series was still on and the night and time slot involved. I use a resource called, Paper of Record that provides an electronic version of the Sporting News magazine. A wealth of information for my writing needs.
Could you be housemates with your characters? Why or why not?
I have known a majority of my story characters, which includes my wife, Terese Fitzpatrick. I like and respect these people too much to be housemates with them. I probably have more of a grandparent rather than a parent mentality. I like picking up and departing from my friends before becoming a burden to them.
What’s your typical writing routine or schedule?
I try to type every day, preferably in the morning. I set a goal of what I want to accomplish every day. “X” number of words, minutes, developing basketball box scores, etc. While I do not type thousands upon thousands of words per day, I feel great when I reach my daily goal and extremely guilty when I do not.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. How do you recharge?
I walk every day, usually for 30 to 45 minutes, plus ride an exercise bike as well. This is where I plot out what is next for me writing wise.
Do you prefer music or silence when you write? Do you have a writing playlist? What’s on it?
I do not have the concentration capability to listen to music and type at the same type. I write my books in complete silence. I admire people that can have a lot of commotion surrounding them when creating their works. If I did have a playlist, however, it would consist of the musical arrangements of Raphael Mendez. Once considered the greatest trumpet player in the world.
Which celebrity would you choose to narrate your audiobook?
This is a great question!! If this gentleman was still alive, it would be actor Lorne Greene of Bonanza fame. A beautiful voice. Gene Hackman I think would be excellent as well. Toss in an occasional Bill Murray for an occasional sound bite as well.
What well-known author, living or dead, do you wish could be your mentor? Why?
Clair Bee of the Chip Hilton series as he wrote 20 some books using this character. David Rosenfelt for the humor that he injects into the Andy Carpenter character and, John Grisham for his ability to create an immediate interest for the reader in his books.
What is your favorite of the six senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight, intuition) to write about, why?
Sight and intuition would be the ones I use in my writing. Sight for reading and researching. Intuition for when I hear a phrase or story that I can implement in a book at some point.
What is a favorite location you’ve written about? Have you visited that place? How did you choose which details to include?
Since this is a story about my senior year of high school, I use my childhood home at the time, 12074 White Lake Road, Fenton, Michigan. Specific locations include the Family Room, Beardslee’s Barn and 15,000 pine trees. I drive past that site every chance that I get. I also refer to a high school Band Room numerous times.It was a sanctuary for me in my high school days.
Travel back in time (without negative effects for you or the timeline) what year do you visit? Why?
The specific genre is 1969-70. With many flashbacks included. This is a point in my life where a lot of things went well for me and wanted to remember it. And yes, as enjoyable as that time frame was for me, there were still some rough spots.
What is something about your hero or villain that drove their character, but you didn’t specifically tell your reader?
There are two individuals who come across as bad guys in The White Lake Road Chronicles. A high school coach and a Band Director. The former is based upon a former brother-in-law. A truly miserable you know what. The latter is based upon a combination of former bosses who all had one thing in common. It was all about them.
Have you ever resuscitated a project you'd shelved? What helped it work better the second time around?
The White Lake Road Chronicles have been stopped and started too many times since I first wrote a rough draft of it in 1971. When I retired in 2015, I finally got serious about actually starting and completing this series. I now had the time to concentrate on this project and could look at it from a person who now had been around the block a few times.
What do the words “literary success” mean to you? How do you picture it?
That phrase means that I have finally reached the stage of a writing just not for friends and family, but others as well. I am still trying to reach that thought process and stage in my writing career.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
The White Lake Road Chronicles will have a total of 20 books by the time it is completed. So that is the number one project. Currently, I am also experimenting of having a companion book about the various sports seasons that are portrayed in my works, i.e., there will be a football book dedicated to the Hartland High School season. Drive by drives; statistics and articles. I enjoy doing this but have found that it will take some time to complete.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
I put myself in the category of being an aspiring writer. So, things that have helped me write include: being passionate about your story; read and write as much as you can; always be aware of your surroundings as a good idea for a story is always out there.
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
My books are available on Amazon both in the softback or in Kindle format.
Amazon.com : michael beardslee
My Facebook page with more information about myself and my writings is at:
Michael Beardslee Author - "White Lake Road - Bad Hombre" | Facebook
Please feel free to message me through Facebook or email me at:firstname.lastname@example.org
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