Monday, 31 August 2015

Meet Our Featured Author Michael R Stern.

Hi everyone,
I'd like to introduce to friend and fellow member of The Awethors Of Awesomness, Michael R Stern. At The time of writing I'm currently reading Michael's time travel novel, Time Portal, not only is it a great read, but it provides some fascinating history lessons. Michael has just released the sequel, Sand Storm, which is now on my TBR list. Say Hello to Michael.

Writers Emporium Interview

WE-When did you begin writing?

Mike-I’ve written for years. My wife always said I should write a book. Cosmic forces came together about six years ago. My dad died. I intended to write some anecdotes for my family about him. As I began to dig through his papers, I found a treasury of original documents and photos. I began to look at the events that occurred in his life as a backdrop, the scenery if you will, for a generation. Growing up in the Great Depression, an Army officer during World War II, and an active community member through his life, I wrote about the impact that one man can make on the world, and about the many men and women of his age and generation who shared those experiences. Dad was born in 1911 and died at the age of 97. What a remarkable time to see the changes in the world.

WE-What are you writing now?

Mike-One day, while showering, I had a thought that I would like to have met Robert E. Lee and talked with him about the Civil War. Having written a book, and given that Lee had been dead since 1870, the only way to meet him would be to travel through time. That idea spawned a series that has generated five books, two of which are now published. The last one is reaching the end of the first draft.
WE-What has been the hardest thing about writing for you?

Mike-No single thing. The first has been learning to craft a story, build characters and plot, “show, not tell,” basically learning to write fiction. Every step has been a lightbulb moment. I think the most difficult change is lifestyle. Writing is solitary. Sometimes I miss being around more people, but my characters keep me company.

WE-Do you have any advice for new authors?

Mike-Yeah, don’t. Stop now. Give it up. Stick to your day job. That leaves more room for me. Seriously, study the craft, read as wide and deep as you can. Learn how other authors structure story and sentence. Then let loose all those words waiting to climb out. Learn how to edit. Ask lots of questions—you won’t know what to ask until you’ve made all the mistakes of a new writer, which I still consider myself to be. And ignore all the naysayers.
WE-Do you have a favorite author?

Mike-No. I’ve read a great many. The list is long. My idol is J.K. Rowling. I’d love to write stories that have commercial success. But wouldn’t we all?
WE-You’ve written both fiction and non-fiction. Do you have a preference?

Mike-That’s a hard question. I consider myself to be a fan of history. I like historical novels. John Jakes, Jeff Shaara, Michener. But I read history too. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Rick Atkinson, Joseph Ellis to name just some. I think history provides perspective for the future.
WE-What keeps you going, motivates you to keep writing?

Mike-I would like to end my career as a successful author. So learning to write well, to create memorable stories, to explore strange new worlds, to boldly go, wait a minute. Hold on. Someone else did that already. There’s just not enough time to write all the things my brain comes up with. And some should never be written down.
WE-What is the most important aspect of writing?

Mike-Story. A writer who tells a compelling story can get away with all kinds of mistakes that critics will point out. But beautiful description, perfect sentences and punctuation, interesting characters will mean nothing if the story doesn’t work.
WE-Tell us about your work space and how you write?

Mike-I work at my kitchen table. I write by hand. I get interrupted regularly. I try to write daily, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Writer’s block is real, but so is taking the dog for a walk. I share a Muse with a writer friend, and she’s been hogging it for a while. She told me our Muse was on a summer vacation. You may know her, Vicky Savage. Her trilogy, Transcenders, was a lot of fun to read.
WE-The publishing industry is undergoing major changes with the digital age. Do you prefer traditional or indie publishing?

Mike-I’m 67 years old. If I had begun writing earlier, I might have a different answer. I’ve been told by traditionally-published authors that a book can take up to four years to reach publication. If you can find an agent who can sell your book, then go through all the creative gymnastics of edit and cover design etc., then wait, well, good luck. I’ll write as long as my bones allow, but I’ll take care of the rest too. Maybe I’ll be one of those folks that are discovered after they die. So my books are actually part of my estate planning.
WE-What’s next for you?

Mike-When the series is finished, I have a number of other projects I’d like to complete. But before that, I intend to spend the time exploring the world of book marketing in this changing environment. I believe that marketing, which so many writers hate, can be fun. I’ve said that marketing is nothing more than making new friends. What could be more fun!
WE-We would like to know more about you, so tell us.

I live in southern New Jersey, about twenty minutes from Philadelphia. I’m married to Linda C. Bennett Stern, who has just completed her first book. That’s not a plug, yet. I have two adult children, and a Wheaten Terrier, named Katie Scarlett. When I’m away from my computer, I like to dig in the dirt (some
people call that gardening), I read, I watch TV series, mostly to see how the writers have crafted the stories. If you’d like to know more about me, here’s a link.



  1. I've enjoyed chatting it up with you, Time Lord Miff. And hello to all your friends out there. Thanks for the opportunity. But you know, there's a kangaroo in your kitchen.

  2. It was our pleasure to feature you Michael. Wishing you great success with Sand Storm and all the works that follow :)