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Author Interview : Michael F Stewart

Let’s welcome Michael F Stewart

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Author of 'The Boy Who Swallows Flies' 

Special question- How did you come up with idea of “Bug-Boy”?

I’ve always been fascinated by bugs. Bugs, if you think about it, all have little superpowers of their own. But I prefer superheroes that aren’t all that powerful and it struck me as a pretty funny superpower to be able to see bug memories. So … Bug-Boy.

Tell us about your books.

That’s a big question. I’ve written over twenty different books now in a whole variety of genres. I tend to write contemporary novels with some supernatural twist. So in The Boy Who Swallows Flies, Jarrod discovers why he’s been fainting all these years—he can see bug memories--and that kicks off a mystery to solve.

One super power you’d love to have yourself?

Super-fast reading. I’m a slowish reader. As a writer, this is a problem. I love to read. I read a ton, but I need to read more. Our imagination is only useful when well fed. I guess I’m going to want a better memory as well … Can I pick two superpowers?

Are your characters based on real-life people?

Well … they’re always bits and pieces of real people, right? I had an old friend who is pretty close to Jarrod’s bestie. He’s a certifiable genius.

Your favourite bugs, if any?

Crickets with some salt and pepper. Or did you mean favorite as in which are cool … ? Ants rule the world. But specifically, I’d have to say Histeridae—Clown Beetles. They’re pretty smart. Predators prefer live prey so by feigning death it gets them out of all sorts of trouble (spoiler: this doesn’t work as well for Jarrod).

Why did you choose this particular genre/s?

I believe genres choose themselves. If you're going to write a story about a kid that eats bugs and can see their memories, then you're going to have a middle grade mystery.

The day you decided you will be a writer?

It’s a process. Really. I decided when I was about eight while reading the Dragonlance Series. That was when I knew I wanted to write. But I needed to remind myself of this when I was eighteen, twenty-five, and finally I left my job on my 30th birthday. Haven’t looked back.

What profession you’d choose if not an author?
I’d write code. Seriously, I think being able to build software of all sorts using code is the closest we can come to magic. It also allows you to innovate and be entrepreneurial.

Do you think it’s easy/ difficult to write for children?
Hard. You have to put yourself into the mind of a child, but then write like an adult. You can’t dumb anything down. You have to balance the craft elements with the crazed fun of a kid. Kids writing and humor go hand in hand and humor in writing is hard.

Would you ever go for traditional publishing? (If you’re a self published author or vice versa)

Sure! Some books make more sense to self pub, but I think traditional publishing has a lot of advantages when it comes to distribution and marketing access. I’ve done both. I tried to find a traditional publisher for this book. No luck.

Your favorite place on earth? Why?

Oh, boy, I’m blessed. I’d say it’s kayaking on a river. In the arms of my wife. (maybe I should put that one first?) Skiing an awesome trail. Diving a reef. It's a coffee shop with my laptop open.

Your thoughts on life? What helps you to deal with ups and downs of life?
Ha, wow, you go for the easy questions, huh? Life’s alternately frustrating and amazing, right? But you wouldn’t know what’s amazing without the frustration. So I try to suck it up.

Your favorite quote?
I recall Neil Gaiman talking in a video commencement speech about dandelion fluff and how you have to get your ideas, your fluff, out there, and that you never know where it’ll take seed. (that’s the opposite of paraphrasing, btw!) It’s always stuck with me.


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