Keep Calm And Write: Interview With Michael Dunne

Welcome back for another interview. Michael Dunne’s voice goes straight to the point with a hint of sarcasm, so I thought it best to let him introduce himself with his own bio:  I am Michael Dunne, author, freelance writer, proofreader, sometime-editor and blogger.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
What makes you think I’ve grown up? Seriously, this may sound weird, but as I think back on my life I’m not overwhelmed with this clear feeling of paradise lost; some nagging sense of a dream that died.

I’m sure I had the usual, “I’m going to be X when I grow up,” thoughts. Probably the first thing I wanted to be was a race car driver. My dad managed the AAR (All-American Racers) team for Dan Gurney back in the late 60s and also raced himself for a few years – not in Formula 1, but in things like autocross and then, eventually, Formula 3. I think that particular dream died when us kids were given the task of scrubbing the muck off of Dad’s Formula 3 wheels before each race. However, the travel and life I experienced traipsing around Europe and the UK was phenomenal. I would not trade those days for anything.

After that, I went through a lot of phases. Going to junior high school in the UK, I fell in love with Wimbledon and dreamed of being a professional tennis player like Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe. I learned how to play with one of those old wood racquets, hitting by myself against a rough stone wall. The ball bounced in a million random directions, which made it very hard to return my own serve! I never made the pros, but do still enjoy playing the game.

What do you do now?
I have a day job in what I suppose everyone calls Corporate America. I work for a global provider of telecommunications gear, helping our sales team navigate the labyrinthine paths of process-oriented business. In fact, it’s likely that people who visit your website are able to do so because one or more of our products sit between them and the server upon which it (your website) is hosted.

Outside of that, I am an author, freelance writer, proofreader and editor. Back in 1990, my lovely wife grew tired of me grousing about mistakes that authors made in their published books. She looked at me over the cover of the latest fantasy novel I was reading at the time and said, “If you can do better, why don’t you?”

I dashed off to this new contraption called a PC and wrote furiously for a couple of hours. I came up with what I thought (at the time) was a fantastic story idea and banged out the first couple of chapters. As it happens, life intervened. Job losses, new job pressures, raising our two boys while moving back and forth to the Middle East a couple of times; shall I go on? Like so many, I put the writing thing on the back burner. A little over ten years ago, I pulled out those old words and stared at them in horror. Thank goodness I hadn’t thought to try and publish back then.

However, in between working to grow my freelance client list, completing proofreading and editing projects, publishing a few short stories, and writing whenever the opportunity presents, the two protagonists I created over twenty-five years ago are alive and well. My New Kingdoms fantasy novels – the ones I started so long ago are taking shape! Each of the first two books has about fifty thousand or so words in the bank, with more being added every week. The goal is to have book one – Night’s Edge – ready for publication by the end of this year, with book two – Dawn’s Light – to follow in 2017.

I’m giving you a super power that will make your biggest dream come true—guaranteed. What’s going to happen?
I will complete the first three New Kingdoms books this year, publish them in six-month increments and then negotiate the movie rights with WingNut Films. Once we have the project green light from the studio, I’ll sit down and review casting decisions with the series director, Peter Jackson.

Did you ever give up on your dreams?
I’m living my dream as we speak!

What advice do you have for people who are trying to decide if they should chase their dreams?
I am probably not the poster child for chasing your dreams – or giving advice. I’ve certainly taken the road less traveled when it comes to my writing dreams. I feel like the literary equivalent of the ancient Israelites, wandering in the writing desert for forty years.

My advice would parallel much of what I hear through interaction with other writers on a daily basis. In a nutshell, that advice is:

I had a favorite book series in fifth and sixth grade: Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Three Investigators. The series featured a group of boys who worked together to solve mysterious happenings around their home in California. To me, these guys were so much cooler than the Hardy Boys. Fast forward to the year 2000 when I had the dual task of finding good material for our boys to read, and working to jump-start my own writing dreams. During this time, I managed to connect with the daughter/son-in-law of the original Three Investigators author, Robert Arthur, Jr.

Both Elizabeth Arthur and her husband, Steven Bauer, are authors as well. We enjoyed a great email exchange and, near the end, I asked them the $64,000 question. “What would be your best advice for me as a fledgling writer?”

Their response was simple:

If one can follow that advice, continue learning the craft of writing each and every day, and polish one’s own stories, then keep chasing that dream!

If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
There are so many superheroes out there, which makes this question a lot harder than it seems at first. Historically, I always wanted to be Superman. Why? He can fly – even in outer space – and he’s ultra-strong, has x-ray vision . . . the list goes on and on. However, if I were to dig in, I mean really sit back and ponder this as a serious question?

I would go back to my childhood and pull from the early cartoons I used to watch. A couple of candidates came quickly to mind. The first was Space Ghost. He could fly around in space and he battled the bad guys with these neat power bands he wore on his wrists. The second was Jonny Quest. Now, technically speaking, Jonny was just a boy, and not really a superhero. Still, he had the neatest adventures and, along with Dr. Quest (his dad), Race Bannon, and best friend Hadji, Jonny always managed to pull off some pretty superhero-type stuff.

However, I’m going to go with a character named, Bez aka The Beast. Bez was a shape-shifter on the old animated Arabian Knights cartoon. He used his talent to help Prince Turhan and the other Knights as they battled Bakaar, the Black Sultan. Bez could change into any animal from a tiny mouse to a huge elephant. He could also change into mythical beasts like a roc or flying horse.

Michael_Dunne_Writes - Full Rev 2


Twitter: @MikeDunneWrites


Angela Ackerman, co-author (along with Becca Puglisi) and co-founder of Writers Helping Writers™ and One Stop for Writers
What an absolute pleasure to work with Michael. Over the course of five (5) books, my co-author and I have outsourced editing work to many individuals, and we know just how difficult it is to find the right fit. Michael was nothing short of amazing – professional, prompt, and he understood the scope of the work. His proofing edits were easy to read and therefore easy to implement, which I sincerely appreciated being under a tight deadline. If you need a second pair of eyes on your manuscript, make sure they are Michael’s.

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