Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Author Spotlight: Michael A. Ventrella, Author–Not That Guy On The World’s Biggest Loser (Part 2)

Written By: Tracy - Nov• 30•10

This is the second part of an interview with author Michael A. Ventrella.  To read the first part, click here.

What is about to come out?

My strange Uncle Rupert. And it’s about time, too.

I have a few projects in the fire. First is a short story about pirates and magic (Arrr!) which will be a sequel to “X Spots the Mark” from the collection RUM AND RUNESTONES. A further collection is planned for 2011, and this new story is called “Get Kraken!”

Second is a collection of short stories that I am editing which take place in the world of my two novels. I have a number of excellent writers contributing, and I’m very excited about it. (I have a story in it as well, which continues the adventures of the main characters from my books). The collection will be called A BARD’S EYE VIEW and is due out early 2011.

Third is my new novel, which is about a vampire who runs for President. It’s the West Wing meets the bat wing!

Any upcoming appearances we should know about?

I’ll be at various science fiction conventions here on the right coast; you’ll find me as a guest at Philcon, Arisia, Lunacon, Albacon, and Ravencon every year, and sometimes others depending on my time. There’s a schedule on my web page.

Tell us about you as a writer.

I like fun adventure stories with humor and danger. I make no bones about being a writer of escapist literature. All of my work tends to have unexpected plot twists, and I love hearing back from readers who say they were surprised!

I also hate clichés. I want people to act like they really would. My characters argue, make mistakes, and don’t always do the right thing.

More importantly, they are not superheroes. They’re just regular folk who have found themselves in an adventure.

Many fantasy novels, for instance, involve “the chosen one” who has powers no one else has. By using The Force or the family’s Magic Sword of Noonah, they can save the day. I don’t like those kinds of stories. When Superman wins the day, it’s kind of expected, isn’t it? To me, real heroes are everyday people who rise above their circumstances and solve the problems themselves.

ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL involve a boy named Terin who is not the “chosen one” – the problem is that everyone thinks he is! So they grab him and tell him he must save the day according to the prophecy. He gets pulled into the adventure having no great skills or super powers and is in way over his head. He ultimately is successful by being clever and brave, and to me, that’s more heroic than seeing the hero simply hit the bad guy with the sword until he dies.

Tell me a little bit about you as a person.

Back in the 1980s, I started a magazine about film animation called ANIMATO, and I’m still fairly well known as an animation historian. I’ve been quoted in books and magazines such as ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

In the 90s, I founded the first nationwide fantasy medieval role-playing group (LARP) and now run The Alliance LARP, which has chapters all over the US and Canada. My Rule Books and Players Guides can be found in gaming stores and on Amazon and places like that.

I’m a criminal defense attorney in my spare time.

Do you have any pets?

I wouldn’t be a proper fantasy author if I didn’t have cats, now, would I? Four at the present: Abigail, Einstein, Tess, and McGonigal.

Have they ever found their way into your work?

They’re like my editors. If I leave a manuscript lying around, they rip it to shreds. And I mean that literally.

What do you do to spark your creativity?

Well, it’s more of a matter of dealing with the spark. It’s always there. Writing, however, is work, and really there’s no other way around it than to sit at the computer, move McGonigal out of the way, and write.

Any advice out there for people who want to get started writing?

Lots, and that’s what my blog is all about. Please visit!

The most important is to just keep writing, and finish what you start. I talk to lots of people who want to be writers and so many of them have half-finished works. Don’t polish what you have, finish it first! No editor is willing to look at a half-finished book no matter how great it is.

What are your favorite books to read? What are you currently reading?

I like the same thing I’m writing, of course. I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter books, and mine have been favorably compared. But I also read a lot of biographies, political books and history – and lots of magazines. My bachelor’s is in Political Science so I have never lost an interest in it.

I wish I just had more time to read! Between writing books and short stories, running a law office, and heading up a national LARP organization, I’m surprised I get any sleep at — zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

 

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

42 Comments

  1. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

    • Tracy says:

      Thank you! I have so much fun writing these because each author that I’ve talked to has had some interesting story or personality trait that is almost as interesting as the work that they produce.

  2. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  3. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  4. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  5. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  6. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  7. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  8. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  9. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  10. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  11. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  12. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  13. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  14. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  15. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  16. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  17. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  18. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  19. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  20. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.

  21. bogwitch64 says:

    Another great author interview! Thank you, Tracy!

    Michael–I too have four cats. They like to sit on my manuscript pages when I leave them laying around. I like to think they’re absorbing the story through some sort of magical kitty osmosis. My daughter tells me that they’re learning how to read so that they can then take over the world.

    I agree with you about everyday people making the best heroes. Great stuff, that.