Hi Readers, I have another Spotlight Interview with author J. Michael Gallen about his novels and novellas Saga Terra: Odysseus, Saga Terra: Judge of the Haven, Saga Terra: Judge of Stellasolum, Saga Terra: Jordan the Wanderer, Saga Terra: The Lone Star Adventure. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a high-functioning autistic adult who lives with my family in Central Texas, and have lived in my town since I was four years old, having beforehand spent four years with my military family in Wuerzburg, Bavaria, Germany, and before then for a few months in Ft. Riley, Kansas, where I was born. I’ve always had a fascination with videogames and talking animal literature, and when I’m not writing I enjoy playing primarily Japanese roleplaying games, which I also write reviews of, and reading other author’s work.
What inspired you to write?
The late Brian Jacques’ Redwall series was one of my favorite series when I was in grade school, and I definitely want to follow in his footsteps with my own series, which is geared primarily towards grade-school students.
What inspired your novel?
Mainly, the question of who would succeed humans as inheritors of the earth, and I began what would eventually evolve into Saga Terra: Odysseus when I was in ninth grade, and have rewritten it several times.
What is the genre?
Fantasy, science-fiction, and adventure.
What draws you to this genre?
The escapism of imaginary worlds.
How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I modeled many characters after real-life family members and public figures, and as the title of the latest version of my first novel, Saga Terra: Odysseus, indicates, Homer’s Odyssey was the original inspiration for the book, although I would heavily deviate into Norse mythology, which I know has inspired other fantasy such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.
What inspired your protagonist?
Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey, with his full name being Ieremia Odysseus Deerlord Otterland. I got the idea of hybriding vastly different species, which plays a big role in my novels, from Disney’s old animated cartoon The Wuzzles, with Prince Odysseus being a deer-dolphin-otter hybrid.
What inspired your antagonist?
I named the main adversary Alec Gogh after two public figures, a celebrity and a politician.
What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The events that follow the characters’ encounters at Malice, which were not originally part of earlier version of my novel, and I newly added a few years back.
What was your favourite part of your book to write?
The battle scenes, which some scenes from movies and video games inspired.
Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I’m definitely part-time since I devote time heavily to other hobbies such as playing and reviewing video games, and reading other authors’ work, chiefly fantasy and science-fiction.
What are you currently reading?
Kathryn Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole series and the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga.
Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Brian Jacques, Terry Goodkind, and George Orwell.
How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, Phillip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Brian Jacques’s Redwall series, and Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth saga.
What are your future projects, if any?
I eventually plan to continue the story of Judge Victor Piers Bucks, the titular protagonist of the Judge of… subseries, and write a few prequels, one of which will take place about sixty-five hundred years before Odysseus.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
Definitely email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m always seeking beta readers for my work, particularly Odysseus, which I’ve heavily revised in recent time, so I know how to improve and make them better. My first book can be reached on Amazon and I also have a DeviantArt account at http://jmg124.deviantart.com and a videogame review wiki at http://jmgreviews.wikidot.com.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep on writing, and get advice from fellow authors and readers.