One of the goals of SPFBO is to give a chance to self-published authors to get more exposure. This year I’m taking part in the competition as an advisor for Fantasy Book Review’s judging team. I decided to offer a spot to the authors in our group and will post them throughout the year. To see all of our content regarding the competition, check out my SPFBO page!
Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn’t reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn’t put that great book down). Though he has read all sorts of genres he has always been drawn to fantasy. It is his way of escaping to a simpler time filled with magic, wonders and heroics of young men and women.
He also enjoys hiking, discovering nature, playing a little basketball or volleyball, and most recently disc golf. He has a lovely wife who has always supported him, and three beautiful children who have been the center of his life.
Welcome to the Asylum! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!
I released my first book in 2016 and now by the end of this year will have four series out. They are all YA fantasy full of magic and adventure. I have a wonderful wife, three children, and numerous extended family who has always supported me in my writing. When I’m not writing I enjoy reading and hiking.
Say, you can live in the fantasy house/lair of your dreams. What would it look like?
The fantasy house of my dreams would definitely need to have some hidden rooms and passageways. At least a few times a year I wake up dreaming that our house has a hidden basement or room, and I really want one! It would also be in the forest with waterfalls and large trees surrounded it.
What is your favorite fantasy creature and why?
My favorite fantasy creature would have to be a dragon. They are just so big and majestic. Two of my series have dragons in them and I love them to have a sense of humor, have powerful magic, and communicate in some form to humans. I recently wrote a blog post about dragons and other mythical creatures. https://www.michaelsheltonbooks.com/single-post/2018/09/07/Dragons-And-Other-Mythical-Creatures
Why did you decide to become an author and how did you end up choosing self-publishing?
I have enjoyed writing as a hobby since I was a small child. In fact in third grade I wrote my first book and had it bound in class. My first two books have taken over 20 years until they were published. I didn’t want the restraints and time that came with traditional publishing and so once self-publishing became easier and I had time (ie most of my children grown) I dove in.
Which author would you say is your greatest influence as a writer?
I don’t think I have one author that has had the greatest influence on me, but I would say that Terry Brooks, Raymond Feist, and Robert Jordan would have to be some of my top ones.
If you could go back in time and offer any advice to a younger Mike prior to releasing TruthStone what would it be?
Hindsight is always great to get advice from. Before TruthStone I had already published two series. These took place in the same general area, had the same rules of magic, and even a few cross-over characters. When I released The TruthSeer Archive (TruthStone being the first book) I went a whole different direction. It was fun and I loved it, but I probably should have stayed with familiar characters and setting longer. It is a book that makes you think a little though. The main character feels physical pain whenever they hear or tell a lie. How would that make you feel?
What SPFBO means to you? What do you hope to gain (fame and wealth aside)?
Honestly, I had never heard of SPFBO until the day they were asking for submissions this year and a few author friends mentioned it. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how it works, but I hope to get a bit more noticed.
What inspires you/your world?
I am inspired by good triumphing over evil in the midst of struggle, horrible odds, and other distractions. I love reading and writing about young people coming of age and overcoming something to accomplish greatness. Of course in my books this is done partially through magic.
Which character of your book do you identify with the most and why? Who would you like to live with in an asylum?
I love Prince Basil in TruthStone. He is a young prince who although has wealth and power, wants to use it to do good (unlike his twin brother). He treats everyone with respect and truly wants to help, even to his own detriment. Not sure I’d like to be locked up with any in an asylum – LOL, but it would have to be someone who had magical powers, so we could get out. ☺
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the good or the bad ones?
I do read my book reviews. When I first started I was obsessed with them and it really hurt to get a bad review—and some can be pretty scathing and horrible. But I realized that not every book is for everyone and that I could learn (form some of the more reasonable negative reviews). In the end I am proud of my books, I enjoy writing them, and the majority of people leave good reviews!
Are there any books that have been/ are being released in 2018 that you are excited to read?
I really don’t look at books that are coming. When I want to read I look at what is out right now. Of course there are some authors that I am always anxious to read the next book in their series. Some of these are D.K. Holmberg, Jeff Wheeler, AC Coble, and Aaron Hodges.
While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?
Now, in reality I would choose a religious book to keep me grounded, sane, and doing the right thing. But if it had to be a fiction book, it would definitely be one with lots of magic and adventure; most likely The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson or the Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist.
Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*
Thanks for the interview. I really enjoy sharing my fantasy stories with my readers. If you like clean, adventure filled, character driven stories with lots of magic, give my stories a shot. Hope you enjoy.
If you’d like to get in contact with Mike Shelton, you can find him on social media:
Get TruthStone by clicking on the cover or get the whole boxset of the series for 0.99!