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Great fantasy novel: interview with Michael Diack January 22, 2015

Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
Tags: , , ,

511WeB2EoYL._UY250_Shadows in the Sand is a fantastic fantasy story that is reminiscent of Tolkiens.  The following is an interview with the author.

 What inspired you to become a writer?

Writing has always made me happy and I’m motivated by a personal sense of achievement not a financial one. It’s great to see your hard work pay off by having one of your own books in your hands.   I still have a day job that I love and that pays the bills, but it’s great to have a hobby.

How did you come up with the idea for the Shadows in the Sand?

I used to work in Oman in the middle of the desert.  I was there for nearly five years on a seismic crew looking for oil and gas.  Everything in Shadows is inspired by the Omani landscape: the rolling dunes, the rugged mountains, the lifeless voids of endless flat terrain and, of course, the snakes, scorpions and other creepy-crawlies!

The world you have created is very detailed how did you come up with it?

I am inspired by the environment I live in.  I’ve had a lot of good feedback about the descriptions of the landscape and that’s because I essentially lived in the world of Shadows in the Sand.  I sweated in the heat, felt the hot, desiccating wind and I know what’s it like to be alone on top of a sand dune with no sound but your own breathing.  I consider myself very lucky to have experience an environment like Oman and in this modern world of big cities and hectic noise, it was very other-worldly to be in terrain like that.  I think my descriptions are strong but character dialogue is something I need to work on for future novels.

How do you come up with good names for your characters and beasts?

Again, some of the names have an Arabic feel to them while others are normal Western-style names.  I actually find it hard to think of strange names for the beasts and I usually just write a list down while a little half-drunk and then see if they make sense when I’m sober!

 This is part of series called Empyria. How many books are in the series and how do you plot your books?

There are actually only two books, the final being The Light and The Glass.  I found the second book much more fun to write as I had already set up all the plot in book one.  So book two is basically one non-stop epic of huge battles and life-changing scenarios.  As for plot, I have a general sense of where the storyline is going but I’m never too detailed.  I usually find that when I’m in the ‘zone’ and writing thousands of words each day the book just takes on a shape of its own.  However, that’s not to say it is perfect as it’s usually editing that is the very hard part and ironing out the plot-holes you find and sticking points.

Do you know the ending to the series?

I must be honest though, the ending to Book Two does leave open the possibility to writing more.  I never actually specified how large the world of Empyria is as I only talked about the one continent.  Perhaps there could be another land, inhabited by other monsters or another race, on the opposite side of the world.  That’s the great thing about writing fantasy, you are unrestricted and there is no limit to the scope of your imagination or world-building.   I know I said I’m not motivated by money but the truth is it also costs a lot to self-publish if you’re putting quality work out there.  A good thousand dollars for paying an editor to proofread your 75,000 word novel and then the cover design.  I’m simply not making the sales from Empyria to justify writing a third and paying to have it edited again.  I appreciate that’s negative talk but you have to prioritize everyday life and rent!

 What fantasy authors have inspired you?

I’m a huge Tolkien fan.  I think my entire bookcase is taken up by almost all his works.  It’s incredible how one man created so much detail and even a language.  I also find that Tolkien’s books are the only ones I regular re-read and never get bored of.  As a child I also enjoyed Brian Jacque’s Redwall series about heroic mice and other animals taking on the evil rats and similar foes!

 61d2n2MCKML._UX250_Author bio:

My name is Michael Diack and I’m from the UK, but currently living and working in Denmark.

I studied geology at the University of Manchester and, after graduating, I was lucky to find a job in the Middle East working for a geophysical company.

My favorite authors are Haruki Murakami, JRR Tolkien, Markus Heitz and an Italian author called Niccolo Ammaniti. I love fantasy books but I’ll read almost any genre that catches my eye, yet it is the world of Middle-earth that fills up my bookcase.

I released my debut novel, The Super Spud Trilogy, back in April 2012 as a paperback and e-book for Kindle. Book 4 of the Super Spuds – Over Land and Sea, was released on Kindle in December 2012. In July 2013 I branched out from writing about magical crisp packets and released Shadows in the Sand, the first part of my fantasy series Empyria – a survival story set in a dystopian world in the desert.

I’ll happily interact with any readers through Twitter, my website or on Facebook.

Be sure to check this book out on Amazon.  What are your favorite fantasy and science fiction books ?



1. mariacatalinaegan - January 22, 2015

Fascinating! Is Michael Diack in Copenhagen ? What an interesting bio. Best wishes for the greatest success.

heidi skarie - January 22, 2015

It’s a great book. I’m not sure where in Denmark he is.

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