Don’t rush it. Find people who have no filter and will tell you how it is. Don’t expect everyone to love it, and get ready for a lot of doors slamming in your face. If you still want to do it, find someone who writes, so you have someone to talk to. Mortals will get sick of hearing about your books as you write them.
NLK: You started writing in college and took some courses in creative writing, what was the most important thing you learnt from taking those courses?
MR: Two lessons I learned drive most of what I write. The first, is show don’t tell. You need to reveal how the character is feeling rather than just tell someone. In that, you give more emotion, empathy, and character traits. Admittedly, it’s difficult to do, because it requires more creativity. The second lesson is – write what you know. It’s orders of magnitude easier to write about things you know. For example, try describing a city you love and have visited multiple times. Now, try to describe a city you’d like to visit but haven’t been to. That’s one example, but I think it becomes pretty clear. However, I love to learn, experience, and grow so get out of my comfort zone a bit and write about things I don’t always know about. This requires me to do a lot of research and it helps bring my books, the plots, and the characters to life. The research makes the writing easier to execute, and it also makes it better reading.
NLK: In your writing, are you more character driven than plot driven? Have your characters ever surprised you?
MR: This is a tough question, as I believe I do both. I love strong characters, but I also really like a hard-charging plot. For my terrorism thriller, Debt of Fear, I think the plot drives the book, and secondly, the characters are very genuine and realistic. For my upcoming book, The Beyond Experience, the characters drive the story in an incredible way. The plot is purely driven by their emotions, their relationships, and the past they struggle to overcome. It’s a beautiful story about relationships but the plot also provides some glue.
Characters surprise me all the time. I love the way I write. I have a very loosely defined outline, written in basic one-sentence fragments double spaced over 5-6 pages in word. From there, the characters just get to run a muck. I love it because it keeps me on my toes as a writer, and it forces me to stay true to who THEY are, and not what I want them to be. It’s lead to some pretty amazing plot points and situations. I have to rewrite on occasion but I certainly wouldn’t change a thing.
NLK: What’s the biggest hurdle in your writing?
MR: Time. I have a million ideas, but I have a full-time job outside of writing, a wife, a young man the age of 4, a dog, and nothing means more to me than spending time with my family. So that being said, writing takes a back seat sometimes. Or, more often than not, I sleep a lot less than I should. But the blame for that falls on my characters because they always horse around and make me want to keep writing.
NLK: You’ve written a number of books and they’re all self-published. In your opinion, what is the biggest pitfall of being an indie author? Conversely, what is the biggest advantage to self-publishing?
MR: Without question, I feel the biggest pitfall for me is how to gain exposure. The uncountable numbers of strangers who reach out to me to thank me for writing such wonderful works is humbling, but I still haven’t reached a wide enough audience to make this my career and that’s OK. I think in time things will continue to improve, but there’s got to be a reason why James Patterson and Stephen King still have agents and publishers.
Biggest advantage: Freedom! Nobody really gets to dictate what you do, but that in itself is dangerous. I still think you need to have TOUGH and HONEST people who can sit you down and tell you something sucks. Which thankfully, I do, and I love them for that.
NLK: What advice would you give to new writers?
MR: Don’t rush it. Find people who have no filter and will tell you how it is. Don’t expect everyone to love it, and get ready for a lot of doors slamming in your face. If you still want to do it, find someone who writes, so you have someone to talk to. Mortals will get sick of hearing about your books as you write them.
NLK: What was your inspiration for The Beyond Experience? Is there one main message you are hoping to convey with the book?
MR: I don’t often talk about emotional things, so I think this was an outlet for me. I hadn’t even realized how close to home this novel was until some of the test readers and editors came back to me and asked if the characters were modeled after my personal life experiences. After re-reading it myself, my experiences did parallel with some of the characters. Without giving away plot points, I’ve suffered quite a bit of loss in my life. The ideas in this book are very appealing and, although impossible, makes you wonder; what if? This book is so rich with emotion and events we all go through in life. I think it’s relatable to all people of any generation and, for that matter, all time. You could have picked this book up 200 years ago, read it, and felt the same emotions as the characters. This book will stand the test of time. In a thousand years, people will still be feeling the emotions of loss, love, regret, guilt, sorrow, heartache, joy, elation, disappointment. They’ll still taste success, failure, battle ethics and work hard. And even if they never talk about it, they’ll always crave one more moment with someone they lost.
Get a taste of ‘The Beyond Experience’ with this teaser:
AN EMOTIONAL MEDICAL SUSPENSE NOVEL WHICH FLIRTS WITH SCIENCE FICTION, AND THE PREMISE OF VISITING THE AFTERLIFE.
“Forgive me,” were the final words Lily whispered as Dr. Ethan Lewis held her close. The request haunted him for years, but it was her eyes that kept him up at night. This tragedy provided the catalyst to perfect their drug which cured anxiety and depression.
The experience for those under the drug was visceral, heightened, most said they visited heaven. Dr. Lewis believed the source of the experience was in the brain but his lab assistant, Kyle, disagreed. Kyle requested to forgo the protocol and go deep into the treatment himself; the Beyond Experience. Kyle’s encounter allowed a frightening glimpse into Dr. Lewis’s past and a gateway to answer why Lily spoke those heart-wrenching words.
Chaos ensues as Dr. Lewis and his cure gain worldwide fame. An emotional chasm forms between himself and Kyle. A rival attacks him at a conference and his suspicious past is brought into the light. Dozens of former patients go missing and Dr. Lewis gets a visit from the FBI. His entire belief system begins to crumble when something he’s rejected for years presents itself in the most undeniable way. Dr. Lewis knows the answers lie within the Beyond Experience, but will he be able to face his traumatic past, his addictions, and the biggest mistake of his life?
About Mike Reid
Mike is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis, where he received his doctorate in physical therapy. Prior to this, he worked at Great Lakes Naval Base where he interacted with a wide range of military personnel, both past, and present.
Outside of writing novels, he blogs professionally for Veritas Health, in their Spine and Sports sections.
His interests include writing, woodworking, and exercise, and has been known to work on cars and motorcycles. He is the husband to a beautiful, supportive wife, and a father to a wonderful son.
About Mike’s Writing
Mike’s unique writing style allows him to work across genres, already having completed additional works in medical suspense, religious fiction, and historical fiction. The excerpts section will allow you to sample his other works.
Mike has a wide knowledge base to help drive his electric writing. His undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and psychology allowed him a wide range of experiences and help generate his well-developed plots. He’s also spent considerable time in religious studies, and grew up in the Christian church.
Specifically regarding his military thrillers, Mike has worked with various individuals from government and military backgrounds, drawing from their conversations to develop his visceral stories. He has interviewed U.S. Marshals, FBI, retired and current military of all branches. He’s had the opportunity to talk with pilots and captains of a wide variety of aircraft and vessels, as well as members of special forces which allows him to go into great detail on how missions are run. He often speaks with police, firefighters, and EMT’s to determine how certain situations would be investigated and responded to, as their protocols often change.
Connect with Mike
You can buy Mike’s books on Amazon, but they can also be ordered through most bookstores, including Barnes and Noble and any independent places.