Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to host Michael Bailey on our Friday Spotlight interview! Michael Bailey is one of our authors on our Novel Superheroes panel happening on Saturday, July 8, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. He’s been a long-time friend and supporter of our “bigger on the inside” 65 James Street, store, and we’re happy to have him back for an event and on our blog!
Michael Bailey is a professional writer from Falmouth, Massachusetts who kind of hates writing bios.
Michael has been a working writer since 1998. In 2013, Michael ended his tenure as a reporter at the Falmouth Enterprise to focus on his creative writing.
In September 2013, Michael released his debut YA novel Action Figures. Every book in the series has landed on Kindle top ten best-seller lists, and Secret Origins was the number one book on two Amazon best-seller lists (June/July 2016). His first adult novel, The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, a humorous fantasy adventure, was released in 2015.
Thank you for joining us Mike! For those who don’t know your work as well, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing?
I grew up on Cape Cod and spent my childhood either reading superhero comics or writing and drawing my own. I thought I’d one day grow up to become a comic book artist, but after spending two years at the Joe Kubert School – which specializes in grooming artists for sequential storytelling – I realized I wasn’t going to realize that dream. I just wasn’t a strong enough artist.
But Joe Kubert himself understood I was nevertheless a storyteller and he suggested focusing on the writing side of it, which is what I did. Near the end of my time working as a staff reporter for my hometown newspaper, I started to develop Action Figures, a concept I’d been playing with on and off for several years, as a young adult novel. I came close to landing an agent for the first book but she ultimately decided there was no market for superhero YA fiction, so I decided to self-publish. Best decision I could have made!
How would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Action Figures?
One of my readers said I write “snark fiction” – stories that both honor and gently poke fun at the tropes of their genres. That holds true with Action Figures. I draw a lot of inspiration from classic comic characters and storylines, but they’re all filtered through my sardonic sensibilities, which enhances the sense of fun I try to inject in my stories.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
I always love writing the main character, Carrie. She’s personable, funny, caring, and smart – sometimes too smart for her own good, which is what makes her especially interesting to me. She always comes from a well-intentioned place but often overestimates herself, and it trips her up. It’s fun and challenging to write a protagonist that really tries to do the right thing but fails because she over-thinks a situation and outsmarts herself.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
A traditional superhero world is a crazy mishmash of genres. Look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s done straightforward superhero adventures (The Avengers), rollicking space operas (Guardians of the Galaxy), political thrillers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and gritty crime dramas (Daredevil), all in the same universe, and it all works. It’s a great sandbox to play in. And I’d like to think readers like superhero tales not just because of the action and adventure, but because they embrace the classic heroic ideal of selflessly trying to make the world a better place.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
Outside of writing, my greatest passion is stage combat. I’m a regular stage fighter and longtime assistant stage combat director with the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, and this past spring I was CTRF’s fight director for its spring Robin Hood’s Faire. When I’m not performing, I often put my stage combat experience to use crafting the fight scenes in my stories.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
The greatest challenge for me is admitting that sometimes the best thing I can do is take a break from writing and go do something else. I know the conventional wisdom among the pros is, “You must write every day!” but that simply doesn’t work for me. I’ve had plenty of times when trying to power through a block has just resulted in me sitting and staring at my laptop for a couple of hours, and I have better results when I put the laptop away for a while.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
My books are all available on Amazon and, for those who’d prefer to buy directly, on my website: Innsmouthlook.com. Print copies ordered directly from me will be signed.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Go to my website (again, Innsmouthlook.com) and you can follow me there, or connect to my social media pages on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Tumblr, and more.
Thank you again for the great interview, Mike! We look forward to having you at our Novel Superheroes panel on Saturday, July 8, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM.