Our Author Spotlight book of the month is The Eye-Dancers by Michael S. Fedison! Throughout the month of January Lovely Books Blog will be hosting exclusive interviews, character profiles, and other exciting features! Check back on alternating Friday’s and Saturday’s to be the first to see exciting new posts!
For our final post this month we have an exclusive interview with the author of The Eye-Dancers, Michael S. Fedison! Check out the interview below and don't forget to pick up his novel, The Eye-Dancers, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or Kobo!
What inspired the idea behind The Eye-Dancers?
Way back around 1990, while still in high school, I had a dream—the kind of dream that really leaves a mark and stays with you. In this dream, I felt drawn to look out the front window. When I did, I saw a little girl, perhaps seven years old, standing in the road, beneath the streetlight. Except . . . she wasn’t an ordinary-looking girl. The light from the streetlamp filtered through her, as if she were only partly there—more spirit and ghost than girl. And she had the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.
She gestured for me to come outside. She seemed agitated. But she scared me, startled me, and a moment later I woke up. Right away I knew I had something—but what? What had provoked such a dream? Who was this strange little wraith-like girl? And, the writer that I am, I wondered: How could I place her in a story?
For days afterward, I thought of potential story lines involving the blue-eyed “ghost girl.” Novels, novellas. short stories, you name it. But nothing worked, Reluctantly, I gave it up, jotted down a note about the dream, and mentally stored the whole thing away in an “idea box.” Maybe some time, some day, I would come up with a plot to revolve around the “ghost girl.”
But nearly two decades went by, and nothing. Then, out of the blue, in 2008, I had the same dream! There she was—the “ghost girl”—standing in the street again, beckoning, calling. . . . This time, upon waking up, the genesis of The Eye-Dancers was in place. It’s always an amazing feeling when an idea strikes like that, out of the ether, and demands you to write about it. This was like that. I didn’t have the whole story yet, but I had enough, and I began chapter one shortly thereafter. Anyone who has read chapter one of The Eye-Dancers will no doubt recognize the “ghost girl” from the dream I experienced.
Put all that together with a desire to write a story incorporating some of the memories and experiences I had growing up along with a plot that explores the very concept of what we term “reality,” and The Eye-Dancers was born.
What made you interested in writing science fiction instead of other genres?
I’ve always enjoyed science fiction. From the time I was a kid, I’ve liked stories that introduce you to new and different worlds, places, time periods. I also have been a lifelong lover of old comic books—and they certainly would fall under the genre of sci-fi/fantasy as well.
Many of my short stories are mainstream, not sci-fi. For The Eye-Dancers, I wanted to have some fun and explore some of the questions and themes that only science fiction can navigate.
Which character was most fun to write about?
They were all enjoyable. But of the four main characters, I would say Marc Kuslanski was the most fun. I have always had a soft spot for science geeks and know-it-alls. They can be annoying to talk to in real life sometimes, but they are an awful lot of fun to write about.
Are the characters based off people you know or are they entirely made up?
A little of both. No question, the four main characters, and even a couple of the supporting characters, are inspired by some of the friends I grew up with. There are even a few “inside jokes” thrown in for good measure. (Hopefully I chose those “inside jokes” that will appeal to a broad audience and not just me and my childhood friends!) But as so often happens when you create fiction, the characters rapidly took on a life of their own. They fleshed out, became their own unique personalities, and as I wrote the book, I often no longer even thought of my childhood friends who initially inspired them.
What was the most difficult part of the writing process?
I think, just the grind of writing a novel when you can’t devote yourself to it full-time. I do have a “day job,” and so I always have to be able to fit my creative writing in to an already busy schedule. And sometimes, when I hit a tough chapter or slogged through a sequence that just wasn’t clicking, and continued needing work, it was hard to stay motivated. Writing a novel is a humbling experience and takes a lot of want-to on the part of the author. But ultimately, I cared deeply about the book’s characters, and I had a story I very much wanted to tell. So I kept on going, and got through the rough patches.
How long have you been interested in writing?
For as long as I can remember! I was writing short stories way back in the third grade.
What were some of your favorite novels growing up?
Probably my all-time favorite novel is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I also enjoyed some of the great Victorian novels, from David Copperfield to Wuthering Heights and all the way down to Anne of Green Gables. A Separate Peace is a favorite, along with some of Stephen King’s earlier novels (The Shining, It, The Dead Zone). I read My Antonia by Willa Cather in college, and thought it was one of the most beautifully written novels I’d ever come across.
Do you have plans for any future novels?
I am in the planning stage for a sequel to The Eye-Dancers. I hope to have all the necessary details in place within the next couple of weeks so I can begin the writing process. I’m looking forward to delving into that world again.
What books would you recommend for readers who enjoyed The Eye-Dancers?
I would recommend any young adult sci-fi novels or stories that tackle questions of parallel worlds, alternate realities, etc. Perhaps The Maze Runner by James Dashner or The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Or any novels, really, that deal with the confusion, feelings, and struggles of adolescence and the ability of the main characters to confront and hopefully overcome them.