The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website open to interviews and guest posts from other authors. One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better – and occasionally may offer features from Shannon herself that support readers to discover words.
This week, find out more about the book MONSTERLAND in an interview with its author.
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Author: Michael Okon
Publisher: Wordfire Press
What initially got you interested in writing?
I’ve been writing since kindergarten but I really started ramping up writing when I turned 15. Really, it was watching movies and wanting create stories with unforgettable characters that did it for me. I began writing screenplays in college, then a while later, I turned them into self-published novels. I became a published author at 39.
What genres do you prefer to write in?
I love writing in Young Adult Thriller & Suspense. It keeps me fenced in (which I like) from being too gory for the tweens, but it allows me to write just a bit of gore for the teens and adults.
Are there any authors you prefer to read and why?
I grew up on Michael Crichton, he was a huge inspiration to me. I am also a sucker for self-help books and screenplays. I can say Blake Snyder and Sid Field are my heroes for screenplay books. I also love Napoleon Hill and Joseph Murphy. I’m also a Joseph Campbell junkie.
How did you make the move into being a published author?
It’s a pretty incredible story that I have a hard time believing. I wrote Monsterland and self-published it in 2015. My mom is my publicity manager and she blitzed the bloggers with my book. That fall I was reading a book called Selling a Screenplay by Syd Field. In the book, there was an entertainment attorney named Susan Grode who seemed very knowledgeable about the publishing and film industry. I told myself, when I receive my first contract, I’m going to reach out to her to see if she could help me. About two months later, I received a post on Facebook from an agent in London who asked to represent me. I said sure and asked him to send me a contract. I emailed Susan and introduced myself and mentioned that I had someone who wanted to rep me and I was hoping she could read this contract. She told me before I sign with this London agent, why don’t I meet her friend in Brooklyn, an agent named Nick Mullendore with Vertical Ink Literary Agency. I met Nick for lunch and he signed me that day as his client. That evening, Susan brought me on as her client as well.
Nick began trying to sell my book Monsterland to the publishers and it was rejected. Throughout his attempts of selling, he had a call with a film agent and he was pitching her a romance novel. She said she wasn’t really into romance and was looking for something with monsters. He sent her my book Monsterland, she read it over a weekend, and we had a call that Monday. She told Nick and me if we get the book published, she will get it into a producer’s hands to make into a film. Nick found the publisher WordFire Press owned by Kevin J. Anderson, who has written all the Star Wars and Dune canon books. WordFire signed me to a two-book deal for Monsterland 1 & 2. After the deal was signed, my film agent did what she promised and got my book into the hands of a billion-dollar grossing producer who is now shopping my book to certain studios. It’s been a wild two years.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I love creating a universe. It truly is an creative medium that what you think pours out of you on the page. If you’ve ever read books on the Law of Attraction and Success, writing stories goes hand-in-hand. I love that I can invite a reader into a universe I created.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Nothing in particular. I think it’s as challenging as you make it. If you want it to be hard, you can certainly make it difficult. However, if you’re optimistic, the time will fly by while writing.
Do you have any tips for writers who find themselves experiencing writer’s block?
I have made a playlist for every season of the year since I’m 15 years old. Create a list of music, download it, and listen to it when driving. You will almost always get that little nugget of information you were looking for. Then get back to writing. Music will stir your soul, and it will get the creative juices flowing again when you experience writer’s block.
What advice would you give to people that want to enter the field?
Get a good team behind you. You cannot do everything yourself. I have a literary agent, an entertainment attorney, a film agent, a publicist, a wife, a brother, and a mom who all help me with my career. Don’t think you can write, blog, post to social media, and be ready for interviews. You have to have people help you create schedules, help you post, help you create video trailers. You are nothing without a good team.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
There a many layers to Monsterland. Yes, on the surface it’s a story about a teen who must face his fears and save his date in a theme park with real werewolves, vampires and zombies. Underneath this top layer is a story of political corruption, bullying, stepfather/stepson relationships, worshipping false idols, racism, consumerism, being comfortable in one’s own skin, and of course, fear. People will see that we are all living in a theme park for Monsterland.
Is there anything else about you that you think readers might find interesting?
I’m a big vision board guy. The following is what I put on my vision board last year. Get a literary agent, get an entertainment attorney, get a film agent, get a two-book publishing deal, get a movie deal for my book. I accomplished everything on my vision board. The last item – the movie deal – is in the works. As for future goals, I have completed Monsterland 2, which has a release date of May 26th, 2018 (my 40th birthday). I’m in the middle of Monsterland 3 – I’d like to get this published too. I’m also beating out the storylines and arcs for Monsterland 4 and 5. It seems that I’m going to be writing about monsters for the foreseeable future.
Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not
exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going
debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is
superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and
popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan,
and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.
invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park
where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire
Village, be chased by actual
werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
attractions, what could possibly go wrong?
ORDER YOUR COPY:
multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and
self-help. He graduated from Long Island
University with a degree in
English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a
family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing
from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films
and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked
on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of
Long Island with his wife and children.
WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:
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Michael Okon is giving away 2
autographed copies of MONSTERLAND!
- By entering
the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- Two winners
will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a copy.
giveaway ends midnight December
- Winner will
be contacted via email on December 30.
- Winner has
48 hours to reply.
ENTER TO WIN!