The Bear Cave Sagas

About the Author

About Michael Micchelli

 

I'm from New Jersey.  I don’t expect too much. If the world should end tomorrow, I can adjust. I spent most of my life adjusting to school, married life, working as a fisherman, ditch digger, inspector, office worker, educator, evaluator and public relations artist.  My best job ever was with the real stars at the neighborhood Blockbuster.  They called me “the cat” because the boss man enjoyed throwing me up in the air to see how many times I could land on my feet.

 

After thirty-two years of staring at the blue screen trying to make the numbers add up, Alice and I made a list. Things like breaking eighty on the golf course, backpacking through Europe, SCUBA diving the Great Barrier Reef, hiking the Grand Canyon and the Appalachian Trail, biking the Trans Canada Highway.  My personal favorite was writing a book. Sure could use some help on the last item.

 

New Jerseyites have the Jackie Gleason gene, so now we live in Central Florida. Number one son, Anthony teaches at Texas University  showing nurses how to use the library. Jeffrey is busy being Jeffrey, writing and playing mountain music while working with autistic children in Asheville, North Carolina. You can find me and Alice most days in hot pursuit of the items on the list.

 

Interview

ON WRITING

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?

The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dean Koontz and the likes. Always since high school but at Goddard College I discovered writing is a craft, like building birdhouses. There is a method to it rather than random chance. Create some characters and let them write their story. My wife and sister read the first draft of THE BEAR CAVE, a tale of small town cops caught up in a larger event.

 

What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?

Stories where characters face the drama of discovery. Wish I had a link. The writing is tough; getting it out there is a stacked deck.

What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?

I write in my recliner with my notebook PC on my lap. I work the outline into a coherent beginning, middle and end. I start at the middle and work my way back and through to the end. Like a news article, I assume I got two minutes to hook the reader to continue. I create a character list with traits and roles and let them interact. I revise the outline as the characters challenge each other. I stick to a theme. THE BEAR CAVE's theme is what happens when the hunter enters into a cave to face the bear Dave Crockett style. The cave is a crucible where each character in the tale either runs, prevails or tastes like chicken.

What type of reading inspires you to write?

Newspapers. The silliest things are inspiring. Garrison Keller wrote a piece about going to Paris to wait out the pending volcanic eruption of Yellowstone Park. Now I read the same article but he was inspired while I just turned the page.

 

What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?

The plot and the characters. The simpler the better. Mark Twain was just deep enough for the river boat to head upstream with the least amount of effort. Irony is the fun that keeps the characters from falling asleep.

What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?

The best tales are told by dialogue. Red Barber did the radio play by play for the Cincinnati Reds, the real (New York) Dodgers and the Yankees. He brought the game to life through the action of the players reacting to the ball. Characters describe the scene and move the plot with their words. "Holy Crap, the house's on fire".

 

What well known writers do you admire most?

Hemingway and his use of the red pencil affectionately known as his instant bullshit detector. Kurt Vonnegut for his ability to thumb his nose at the cosmic prankster and my all time favorite, Jonathan Swift whose distain for hypocrisy is legendary.

 

What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?

Characters create themselves. Just give them a name and let'um talk. If they're real, they'll walk and talk their heads off. Jim Buller in THE BEAR CAVE is an Agent with the FBI who clings to the routine. His novice partner, Sharon Forrest must elbow her way around "the Bull" to rise above that routine. The interaction between them is the friction that moves their tails (tale) as they face the bear in the cave.

Are you equally good at telling stories orally?

My stories come in wake dreams. I tell them to myself and then let my characters tell them to you.

 

Deep down inside, who do you write for?

I write for a wished for self absorbed Agent who will love to sell THE BEAR CAVE to their self absorbed friends who beg for its sequels (INSIDE THE BEAR CAVE, ESCAPE FROM THE BEAR CAVE and BEYOND THE BEAR CAVE). We all make a million bucks and I go to Disneyworld. Believe it or not, Walters heirs already built the set for a scene in THE BEAR CAVE where Croom and his soldiers of fortune follow the Russian Faraday into a cave and recover stolen gold and soviet era tactical nuclear weapons as the sons of an Afghan warlord pursue them through a CIA induced inferno. It's a Small World after all.

 

Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?

Certainly. Always looking to feed the ego of self worth. Conflict liquefies the grease that makes the burger tasty. Characters need encouragement to face the fears that prevent the discovery of their capacity to feel emotion and their ability to save themselves and prevent perishing from boredom.

 

Does reader feed-back help you?

Sometimes. It is best if the reader gets what the characters get. The stage is set as the reader is seduced as the characters tell the tale. Then the reader edges to the end of her seat and yells. "Don't go down in the basement". Hannah Arendt wrote in "Human Condition" that we are all experts in isolation. It's tough out there so it's comforting to be absorbed in self.

 

Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?

No, they are all scams.

 

Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?

Yes, test and verify

 

Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?

There are more things under the sun than I can imagine. Voices are just a few. The characters' voices are manifestations of my own, yours.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?

I write always in the same place at the same time. Routine is my master. The outline is my guide. The plot is the limitations. Marshall McLuhan describes art as the delineation of time and space within which the artist creates. Again, art takes method. Talent is a small part of it. Rube Goldberg's dad had many sons. Rube got to go to college, not because he was the smartest but because he had the most patience.

 

What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?

I just stare at the blue screen trying to make the numbers add up.

Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?

I use a Toshiba laptop. I never print until it is done for my second reader. I then let the characters relate things they missed the first time.

What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?

Writers Digest, Booknix, Duotrope.

What has been your experience with publishers?

They are very polite. They are overwhelmed. They are con artists. They are gatekeepers. They are the givers and takers. They like THE BEAR CAVE query but it is not for them. They have reasons: Only women read and only to their children. about How to books or tales with romantic heroes. One day I might meet a real publisher and punch him right in the gut with THE BEAR CAVE and he will be my friend and give me a present. Two minutes on the Daily Show is all I need.

What are you working on now?

The third book in the Bear Cave Sagas - Escape from the Bear Cave. Sharon Forrest meets Croom in a knock down drag out. Will she prevail? Will Croom seek redemption? What is all the fuss with Frankenberg? Does Victor O’Borrien really have dog breath?

What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?

Toss 'um unless you're planning to run for president. Alvin Toffler (Future Shock) once wrote in The Third Wave that it is best to walk into the future backwards. It's tough to walk loaded down.




[101kreasons] Michael Micchelli
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