Romelia: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Mike Hartner: Early in life. I’ve been writing everything from poetry (at a young age) to short stories in my school years.
Romelia: how long does it take you to write a book?
Mike Hartner: How long is a piece of thread ? I, Walter took ten months to write, and five more to edit. I, Alice is still causing me fits three years on.
Romelia: where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Mike Hartner: The Eternity Series is a Series of Books, so ideas and information for subsequent books come from research on previous ones. Not Exclusively, but largely.
Romelia: what literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Mike Hartner: Other than a number of local conferences, none.
Romelia: what is the first book that made you cry?
Mike Hartner: The number of books to make me cry is infinite. But, I think one of the earliest had to be: Gone with the Wind.
Romelia: what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Mike Hartner: The most unethical thing, to me, is the attitudes that pervade around the industry towards self-publishing.
Romelia: does writing energize or exhaust you?
Mike Hartner: A bit of both. It energizes me when my characters are telling the meat of their story. It exhausts me when I finish with all of their activities.
Romelia: what are common traps for aspiring writers?
Mike Hartner: The biggest trap is listening to others pontificate about rules of writing. The biggest rule is: Write. Don’t worry about the voice of others, don’t worry about anything other than your story. Editing and improvements can and will come later.
Romelia: does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Mike Hartner: Writing is by definition a humbling experience. EGO can help in some ways and hurt in others. Often the Writer needs a bit of both.
Romelia: what is your writing Kryptonite?
Mike Hartner: Real life.
Romelia: have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Mike Hartner: Many times. And most of them can be worked past through research, or through a clear vision that includes letting it sit for a short period.
Romelia: did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Mike Hartner: NO. I am what I am. I understand some people write under pseudonyms, and others need them if they change genres with separate stories, but I have yet to find a reason to use one for myself.
Romelia: do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Mike Hartner: I’m Original.
Romelia: do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Mike Hartner: Everyone has emotions that they feel strongly. Writers try to entice and enhance those emotions. If the writer doesn’t feel emotions strongly, how can we expect our readers to?
Romelia: what other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Mike Hartner: Every writer I have come into contact with has found common ground to be an acquaintance or friend. We all have our stories and some common thread. And listening to others always helps us find nuggets to improve.
Romelia: do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to buIld a body of work with connections between each book?
Mike Hartner: All of my books are parts of series. They are tied together loosely, and there are definite connections between books. But each is also their own story, and as such will stand on its own.
Romelia: if you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Mike Hartner: Be yourself.
Romelia: how did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Mike Hartner: I learned a lot about the process of writing, and editing. I also used my first four books to learn about voice, and point-of-view and many other lessons which are inherent in the undertaking of writing. I also learned that authors, as much as they are writers, are also Promoters, and business people in the true sense of the word.
Romelia: what was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Mike Hartner: Editing. By Far.
Romelia: what authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Mike Hartner: I don’t dislike any Authors. Some of their works I may not like, but others I do. An example would be Stephen King. I didn’t Like ‘Pet cemetery’ but loved ‘The stand’.
Romelia: what did you do with your first advance?
Mike Hartner: Bought a Cup of coffee.
Romelia: what was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Mike Hartner: Language has always had power in my family. Growing up my siblings and I learned to be the kings of back-handed comments, and by the time we hit high-school, we were well trained in innuendo and sarcasm. And we learned how it went over the heads of many peers.
Romelia: what are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Mike Hartner: Writers Life is always informative. Outside of that, subscribe to what inspires you.
Romelia: from where you get inspired with your first book?
Mike Hartner: Chaucer. MY main series, The Eternity Series, is a re-telling of Chaucers ‘The Canterbury Tales’ across many generations and around the world.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Mike Hartner: I am a father, a Husband, a Writer and a Geek. I live, I love, and I write just like many others. I am a Patriot, and I am me.