Michael Willetts – author interview

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Michael Willetts, author of Lake Fear, to bring his new novel, Capture Kill, to life.

This post is equal parts promotion and interview. I’m very keen to see Capture Kill become a success.

To grab your attention, here’s the book description:

Ray Cleary, ex-Special Forces, is a janitor in a kids’ home. It’s not much, but it keeps his head above water and pays for the booze and drugs that help him cope.

And he has Grace and Adam – two young teenage residents who look up to him, trust him, give purpose to his life.

Until they’re taken by the Hive, a vicious Triad off-shoot, dealing in organs for wealthy clients.

Then Cleary remembers who he is, what he is, and the hunt begins, the killing begins, because he wants his kids back.

Just one broken man against a ruthless gang.

And the countdown has begun.

Not bad, right?

It’s a gripping story.

Totally worth checking out!

Click here to get your copy of Capture Kill on Amazon.com.

And click here if you want Capture Kill via Amazon.co.uk.

Back in November 2014, I left a review for Lake Fear on Amazon. As with all my reviews I was honest and said while it was a little rough around the edges, it sure was a page turner and I was rooting for my favourite character by the end.

Michael contacted me with a request to help edit his next novel, Capture Kill, as well as design the cover and interior layout for ebook and print editions.

I considered saying no, for the simple reason that I couldn’t guarantee another author enough time to do a good job. I didn’t want to mess Michael about, make promises I wouldn’t keep because I didn’t have the spare time.

However, I then changed my mind because it was too good an opportunity to pass on.

With my own writing, part of the battle is always getting my arse into the chair and starting the words going. Then it’s all hunky-dory.I love the editing process. It’s that

When it’s done I can’t wait to dive into the editing process. I love the chopping, slashing, killing, ripping apart, fine-tuning, slicing and dicing, smoothing away the rough edges, polishing over and over until I’m sick to death of looking at the same goddamn irritating words that hunt me with relentless pace through my waking days and even into dreamland!

Yeah…um…it sure is…um…fun…

(you bought that, right?)

I’m pretty sure all writers (and indeed editors) grow weary of staring at the same pages.

Lake Fear book description:

A bond that no one may break:

Seth and Nate Stone are more than just brothers. They have an unbreakable bond forged through a lifetime of shared pain and threat.

As teenagers they used to camp near the rural Maine community of Lake Fear. It was sanctuary from their miserable, abusive childhood.

Later the Army, and then Special Forces, taught them how to survive, how to kill. Then after an episode in Iraq, hunted by the CIA, they seek refuge once more by Lake Fear.

But there is another incident. Now everything threatens to break the bond between them.

But that can’t happen.

No power on earth can do that.

They swore to it as kids.

Editing is Learning!

I figured that editing another author’s book could be every bit as enjoyable as my own. It has taught me how to spot flaws from plot holes, character defects, scene imbalances and missed opportunities, to how scenes/chapters/plots flow and small issues such as word repetition.

I’m far from perfect. Being self-taught I’m always learning as I go. Writing and editing are of the few things in life I still take pleasure and pride in. Discovering new details all the time is pretty cool.

I once sent Michael an email about how some of his characters acted and spoke, and offered reasons to tweak them, to create more depth, more intrigue and realism. Michael’s response was interesting as he seemed surprised at my own insight into his characters.

That was reassuring. It made me think about how I viewed the characters I created, and how to reflect on feedback from my own beta readers.

Editing, like writing, is a strange journey, full of unexpected twists, jolts, highs and lows.

Michael Willetts interview.

It has been a privilege to work with Michael, and I’m grateful to him for taking time to be interviewed.

So, let’s dive in and see what makes him tick!

Michael Willetts

Where did the idea for Capture Kill come from?

I’d read a newspaper article about an Eastern European gang engaged in such activities, who had been caught by the authorities. It wasn’t a lengthy piece, but truly ghastly.

It stuck with me for a while and re-emerged as I was casting around for ideas as a follow-up to Lake Fear.

Is Capture Kill linked to your previous novel, Lake Fear?

Only in as much as I re-used some of the characters (Byrd and Donna from the CIA) as I needed such key roles to facilitate the storyline. There is no connection between the actual stories.

Will we see more of Ray Cleary in the future?

Good question. I’m grappling with that right now – whether to write a follow-up to CK with some of the main characters in order to conclude one of the fundamental matters left unresolved or whether to switch to a new subject.

I’m going to spend the autumn developing ideas, but I’ve grown quite close to Cleary so I would like to think we will see him again!

What was your favourite scene in Capture Kill? And why?

The scene where Cleary visits the hospital just after his Mother died. Much of that was taken from a real event when I lost my Mum a couple of years ago, (a shocking loss for a mummy’s boy!). I was blubbing most of the time I wrote it. Still do as I re-read it during editing.

What did you enjoy the most about writing Capture Kill?

I loved exploring the human psyche of the `broken hero`. I spent many hours talking to several ex-soldiers to get their insights into PTSD – a very real and debilitating condition. I tried to capture its unpredictable and harrowing nature as I developed Cleary’s character.

And what the least fun aspect?

Editing!

I love being faced with a blank sheet – conjuring up a universe from original thought.

But re-visits I can do without – although you did make the experience as enjoyable as it gets!

Did you consider writing yourself into your novels as a character?

Hell No!

I’m no hero, unfortunately, or villain for that matter. Far too boring (I spent 30 plus years in I.T.). But I did the next best thing in the research for CK – interviewed army people, cops, doctors – real hero types who do their stuff every day in the real world as I sit here, safe and warm typing away.

How much of Mike Willetts is in your characters?

Can’t think of a damn single thing! No, wait, maybe one aspect. A few years ago, I spent a little time with a psychiatrist. I remember her characterising people into two very broad categories: Users and Rescuers.

In as much as there is any substance to what first appears as a rather simplistic analysis, I would like to think I was a rescuer. (Just speak to my latest pair of rescue cats – one of which I managed to slip into the CK storyline)

Which writer or artist do you draw inspiration from?

Oh – so many! But If I had to choose just one – it would be HG Wells. I say that because The First Men in the Moon was the first book I ever read as a kid. I reread it a thousand times, eventually nicking it from the library because I couldn’t be parted from it… and I sure couldn’t afford to buy a copy.

How long have you been writing for?

Must be thirty plus years. Hundreds of short stories, two full-length novels before I got lucky with the publication of Lake Fear.

Why do you write?

I just love the feeling as I develop plots, characters out of thin air, build it all into a (hopefully) interesting story that people can immerse themselves in. I particularly like the idea of writing scenes that affect people’s emotions around sadness or anger.

Do you have any ambitions for your novels? Movies? Big publishing deals?

Well, what writer doesn’t? To see your work up on the screen, your characters brought to life…that would be pretty damn wonderful.

I like to listen to music when I write. Do you find music a distraction or are there particular styles you find aid your writing?

I do enjoy music as I write – just easy listening in the background. But sometimes, I love something a little heavier when I’m writing an emotional piece.

Do you write every day or wait for the mood to be right and let it pour out?

The latter.

Some weeks I write very little, others pretty much all day every day, sometimes just late at night. Mainly scribble it down by hand in one of my many notebooks, then transfer it to my laptop the next day.

Are you working on new novel? When can fans expect a new story? And can you give anything away about it?

Sort of (see my previous answer).

I’m toying with a story (working title: All the Dark Things), about a troubled young boy in a children’s home who…

That’s all folks!

If you’re in the mood for some crime thriller suspense reading, I encourage you to check out both Lake Fear and Capture Kill.

All The Dark Things. Oh man, I’m loving that title!

As for me, it’s time to get my arse back in front of The Holt and get the fucking thing finished, once and for all.

Oh darkness, my pretty, come walk me.

It is time to show some fang.

Time to spill blood.

Let us dance.

 

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