Today we will interview one of our authors who released a middle grade book with us. Michael James is the author of Junior Paranormal Investigators: The Haunting of Room 909. Welcome, Michael.
HH: What inspired you to become a writer?
MJ: I feel like I’ve always been a writer in one form or another. When I first learned to read and write, I’d make up these little stories and staple the pages together and hand them out to relatives. I continued to write through my teen years and into my twenties, but it was something I did almost in secret. Nobody knew I wrote at all. I was a hockey player and I didn’t think this pursuit would go over too well with some of my peers. I finally started submitting my work in my thirties and I think it’s something I’ll always do. Writing is where I find myself when I’m trying to slow down my day and relax.
HH: Tell us about your latest book.
MJ: My latest release is called The Haunting of Room 909 and it’s the first book in a middle grade series called the Junior Paranormal Investigators. The series focuses on the exploits of Ben, the brave and somewhat stubborn twelve-year-old son of paranormal expert, Percy Littleton, and Hanna, a bright and ‘by the book’ eleven-year-old with a keen attention to detail.
The children investigate all aspects of the paranormal, including ghosts, aliens, and mysterious creatures of cryptozoology, all within a North American setting incorporating the various legends and myths of different states and provinces.
HH: What made you decide to write in this genre and for this age group?
MJ: I loved scary books as a kid. I read everything I could find by R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and other authors like them. I think I’ve read every Goosebumps title there is at least three times. It’s where my love of reading first started and now it’s the place where I have the most fun as a writer.
HH: What are you working on right now?
MJ: I’ve been working on an adult horror novel that is pretty much complete but for the most part I’ve been working on the next Junior Paranormal Investigators stories. As the books are all tied together, it’s been fun to develop the whole picture and drop hints and clues as to what drives Ben and Hanna’s interest in the paranormal and how they can solve the disappearance of their mother.
As a lot of the books are based on actual myths or legends, the research has been enjoyable as there’s quite a few actual paranormal cases that are close to where I live so I’ve had the chance to go and check out sites. Subscribers to my website will get to see some of the sites and stories on video.
HH: Are any of your characters or settings based on real people or places?
MJ: The main characters are purely fiction but most of the cases are influenced by actual paranormal cases. I try to find interesting North American myths and legends and try to tie them into the overall Junior Paranormal Investigators universe. Hopefully, people from certain areas might recognize a local case near them.
HH: Do you have any writing rituals? Somewhere you have to go to write or music you must hear to get inspired?
MJ: Due to my hectic schedule, I really don’t have time for the luxury of rituals. I write whenever I can. Early morning, or late at night, lunch time, on a plane. Anywhere I can to hit my daily word count goals. I do prefer to write early in the morning before my day begins.
HH: What is your favorite thing to snack on or drink while you are reading or writing?
MJ: Black coffee and water. That’s about it. It’s boring but it works for me.
HH: Do you have any furry companions who try to “assist” you with your writing?
MJ: Ha, ha, yes, I have a couple of boxers who are high-energy dogs. When they want my attention, the last thing they do is “assist” with my writing but they’re great to have around for breaks.
HH: What goals have you set for yourself as far as your writing or publishing?
MJ: Honestly, I just want to write fun books that kids want to read. I’d be happy with that.
HH: Who are some of your favorite authors?
MJ: Stephen King, R.L. Stine, Dean Koontz, Cormac Mccarthy, and J.K. Rowling.
HH: Give us your top ten favorite reads.
MJ: The Shining by Stephen King
– The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
– The Road by Cormac Mccarthy
– Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
– A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
– Strange Highways by Dean Koontz
– The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
– Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine
– James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
– Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
HH: What advice do you have for other writers just starting off or still deciding if they want to publish their work?
MJ: I think it’s important to read as much as you write. Also, I think everyone has a story in them if you have the patience and dedication to working on a project long enough to finish. It’s important to respond to criticism well and to realize your work can always improve.
HH: Where can we find your published works?
MJ: My first novel Magpie can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V41FIFQ/
My second novel The Will of the Raspberries can be found here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07N14F8BS
HH: Where can we find you online?
MJ: I can be found on Twitter at @mjwritesagain
Instagram at @mjinvestigates
Or on my website at www.thejuniorparanormalinvestigators.com
Thanks so much for stopping by and answering our questions, Michael!
Find out more about Michael James on the Meet Our Authors page of the website.