Good morning my lovelies! Today I am absolutely delighted to have the very lovely Michael Ross talking to us on Meet the Author. He talks to us about what inspired him to start writing, acting, his farmer faux pas, what he can’t live without and his fantastic trilogy The Wand Chronicles which was published on 1st April!
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
It was a visit to a clairvoyant several years ago who insisted I write, so I did and haven’t looked back. To be honest I thought the clairvoyant was talking about spiritual writing, so there I was with a candle, nice paper, fountain pen in the early hours of the morning, with my pen on the page waiting for something to take control of my hand and write!
But it just looked like the doodling’s of a two-year-old. I actually started writing short pieces on my facebook page about the comical antics of local shoppers at a supermarket. From there to indie publishing via Amazon.
My head is always full of ideas, always has been. In any case I have had an interesting life, and so life experiences also come into it. But I do have a vivid imagination, so I never run out of ideas.
How many books have you written and published?
Nine books to date with four in the pipeline. Most of them are paperbacks and eBooks and on Amazon.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with and why?
In my epic fantasy trilogy, The Wand Chronicles, one of the strong characters is a Chinese man. We don’t know how old he is, he doesn’t himself, but hazard a guess at 40. He is a military aide to another strong character called Hugo Brough, a young British general.
He is called Ding Ling (or Dingy to those close to him) He is always upbeat, very brave and always coming out with Confucius sayings. For example, there is a scene where his Master, Hugo, is considering doing two things that could spell disaster if done together, so Ding Ling says to Hugo, “ Master, Confucius would say, never take a pill to help constipation, at the same time you take a sleeping tablet, will spell disaster!”
As a character he is uplifting, and can bring humour into the fold, but he is also wise. That is why I would have him on an island with me.
All my Beta readers (those who check the initial chapters of a manuscript to guide on plots, pace and so on) pleaded with me never to ‘kill’ Ding Ling off! They all love him so much.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Started off as a consultant microbiologist, too academic for me, and in any case you can’t share a joke with a bacteria, fungus or yeast!
My main profession was that of an actor, and trained to be a hairdresser to cover the lean acting times in the early days. But I did well, in most of the soaps, and second series of ‘Cold Feet’, 17 years of theatre, but finished it all off with feature films. Had a nice role in the first Sherlock Holmes feature film with Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law in 2009.
I have been a ski instructor, developed a fitness brand called KETTFusion, which is very popular here and in 3 other European countries, and am also a fully qualified UFO investigator and Hang Glider pilot!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Dustbin man. And I guess I do like helping friends clear out all the rubbish they collect in their lives
What’s your favorite film of all time and why?
Casablanca. I know it’s black and white, but even so the photography is simply brilliant. Beautifully written. All the characters are so different and believable. You can cry one minute and laugh the next. Love, and all its juxtapositions come to the fore in this film. I don’t mind admitting I will have a little box of tissues with me when I watch it.
It is one of those films to watch, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, curled up on a sofa in front of a roaring fire, when the rain is lashing outside. And don’t forget the obligatory box of chocolates or sweet popcorn.
What is the best thing you’ve done in your life so far?
I’m sorry, but it can’t be one thing. For me lots of little acts of random kindness with no conditions attached eg I came back from a railway trip one early evening, and went to pick my car up in the car park. It was dusk so the light was fading. Parked next to me was a little Fiat 500 in pink. Very much a lady’s car. I noticed that her nearside back tire was flat.
I began to think that if whoever it was arrived later when it was pitch black she could have driven off and possibly had an accident.
So I wrote a little note and put it under one of her windscreen wiper blades: ‘Hi, My name is Michael Ross. You have a flat tyre. It could be dangerous if you drive off. This is my number, I don’t mind coming back to help you change it if you are on your own’. I left my mobile number with it. The next day I had a call from the girl’s Father who thanked me profusely. She still lived at home, so he was able to rescue his daughter.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I was going for a big break audition for a TV series called ‘Medics’ on Granada television. My agent phoned me up and gave me a character breakdown. I misheard what she had said.
So on the day, thinking I had the role of a ‘Farmer’ I dressed up in wellies, slacks, shirt, tweed jacket, flat cap and even had a piece of hay to chew in my mouth. I had rehearsed a Farmers accent and arrived at the studios.
I was ushered into the casting suite to be confronted by two video camera’s the casting director and the actual director.
They said nothing at first and just looked at me-blankly. They looked down at the casting notes and back at me again and by now they were all wearing frowns.
The casting Director said to me, “Michael, do you know what character you are auditioning for?” “Sure”, I said, “For the role of a ‘Farmer?”
There was a shuffling of feet, then the casting Director said, and she couldn’t stop sniggering, “Erm, no. Michael. We are casting for a ‘Father’”
Needless to say I didn’t get that one.
What is something you can’t live without?
Sunshine. Although English, I lived in Nigeria, West Africa from the age on 1 until I was a teenager. I am certain I am a SAD sufferer. I worship the sun. Every year I spend a month in sunny Spain to write and re-charge.
What is your favourite word and why?
Oh no! I have lots of fav words, please may I narrow it down to 2?
‘FACETIOUS’: love this one simply because it has all the vowels in it, and in their correct order!
‘LISP’: In many ways what a cruel word. Having an ‘S’ in it. An ‘S’ that if you suffer with a lisp you cannot pronounce? It should be ‘Lithp’
How do you sell and market your books?
I haven’t a clue? All I have wanted to do is write. When someone gives me marketing tips to read, it might as well be quadratic equations for rocket propulsion…I fall asleep in seconds. I can wite, format, spell check, organize beta readers, editors, illustrators, web builders, but marketing a book you are on your own unless you have won the jackpot. And if I did I would happily put the prepared manuscript in the marketeer’s hands and say, make me a best seller
AND FINALLY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT BOOK AND WHERE WE CAN FIND IT?
My most recent book is an epic fantasy trilogy called The Wand Chronicles. You may not know this, but in America there are 4 books in a trilogy?
The first book is a free book, a permafree book, then comes the 3 book trilogy proper.
The whole trilogy was published on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo on the 1st of April, 2020.
The free book, The Prequel, is available now from my website at www.thewand.me/the-prequel.
final words from chelle…
Thank you so much Michael for this fantastic interview, it’s lovely to learn more about you and as usual your sense of humour shines through and you had me chuckling throughout! I LOVE that you would take Dingy to your desert island – there would be no dull moments that’s for sure, you’d have the best time! (and I agree – Dingy should never be killed off!). I absolutely love the fact you left a note on someone’s car too – that is such a lovely thing to do (but I’m not surprised as you’re so lovely).
If you have any questions/comments for Michael give him a shout – he really is lovely and will come back to you! Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out my review of Book 2, Elfistra the Sorceress and keep an eye out for reviews on all the books in the trilogy over the coming months!
Have a wonderful day and stay safe all