I thank God for Shelia Bell and the many others who make the BWABC Book Festival in Memphis, TN. possible. Since attending the festival, I have met so many amazing people. The connections I made there have turned into lasting friendships and a great support system.
My next author spotlight is one of the people I met at the festival.
When I met Mr. Forsyth in Memphis a few years ago at the Black Writers and Book Club Book Festival, he was very reserved. Once he started talking about his work something magical happened. The passion was evident. I respect his artistry and knowledge of this industry.
Author C. Michael Forsyth
KC: Tell readers a little bit about you, Sir.
MF: I grew up in Harlem and graduated from Yale College with a BA in English Literature. I studied film at NYU, working with Spike Lee and other future big shots in the film industry. My first real job was in corporate communications. For nine years, I was a writer/reporter for the Weekly World News, the infamous and outrageous satirical tabloid. I am the author of five books: Hour of the Beast, The Blood of Titans, The Identity Thief, Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of The Spook House, and Bizarre News. My blog, featuring news parody, https://forsythstories.com, has had more than 2 million visitors. I’ve also recently become a narrator/producer of audiobooks. My website is http://freedomshammer.com
KC: Wow! Pretty impressive portfolio. How long have you been writing?
MF: I’ve been a professional writer in one capacity or another for 30 years. I began writing scripts for corporate videos, had gigs as a journalist, and since 2008 have been working full-time as a novelist.
KC: What genre do you write or prefer writing?
MF: I’ve written in a wide array of genres, from horror to humor. My favorite is historical fiction. I enjoy research and weaving facts into fiction.
KC: How did you know you wanted to become an author/writer?
MF: When I was in fourth grade, I began to create comic strips. My first goal was to be a cartoonist, but by college, I realized that it was the stories and dialogue that interested me most.
KC: What inspires you to write?
MF: I find that movies often trigger an idea. I’ll see a pirate movie, and all of a sudden a dozen different pirate adventures of my own flood my brain.
KC: What message do you want readers to take away from your work?
MF: Most of my books pose a question I want the readers to muse over on their own. In Hour of the Beast, a werewolf story, the question was, “What is the nature of evil?”
KC: I have Hour of the Beast on my Kindle. Anxious to read it! I'll be sure to leave a review. :)
KC: How would you describe your writing style?
MF: My writing style is very visual. Perhaps this comes from my background in cartooning and film. I really can’t write a scene unless I can picture exactly what I’d see, throughout. Many of my readers say that when reading my books, they can visualize every chapter; that it’s “like watching a movie.”
KC: Who are some of your favorite authors?
MF: I’m a huge fan of Stephen King. I like the way he invests time in character development. We care about his characters and believe the world he’s built is real before the supernatural element is introduced. I also am a fan of Tom Wolfe. I admire the way that he injects suspense into every single scene. We aren’t necessarily afraid that a character will be physically harmed, we might fear that he’ll be humiliated, and we literally can’t stop turning the pages.
KC: I, too, am a huge fan of Stephen King.
KC: What are some of your favorite books?
MF: Salem’s Lot, by King. A Man in Full, by Tom Wolfe. The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski, for its brilliant use of symbolism.
KC: What is your formula when working on a new project? (Do you listen to music, use an outline, meditate, or simply start typing?)
MF: I find that beginning with an outline is very helpful. It wards off writer’s block down the line because you have a clear roadmap. And if you are stuck on one scene, you can jump ahead to a scene down the line that you have a better grip on. There’s also a better chance your story structure will hit all the marks.
KC: Hmm… I never looked at it from that point of view. I will certainly use more outlines in the future. Thanks!
KC: If you could collaborate with any of your peers, who would it be and why?
MF: Milton Davis, the author of Changa’s Safari. He’s a real powerhouse in the genre of “Sword and Soul,” (black sword and sorcery). He’s edited anthologies and collaborated with others on graphic novels and animated films. My novel The Blood of Titans, which takes place in a mythical kingdom in ancient Africa, falls into that category. It would be fun to join forces creatively.
KC: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
MF: Join, or form, a writer’s group. It’s so helpful to get constructive criticism from fellow authors, and knowing that someone will definitely be reading or hearing read aloud your next chapter gives you an impetus to keep typing.
KC: I agree. What are you reading currently?
MF: Order of the Seers, a wonderful science fiction novel by Cerece Rennie Murphy.
KC: I’ve read her work. That entire book series is breathtaking. Cerece is amazing! I’ve featured her on my blog.
KC: How can readers find you?
MF: All my works are available in paperback, ebook and audiobook on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/C-Michael-Forsyth/e/B005CAY4BE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1468784471&sr=8-1 and information about my books, including book trailers, sample chapters and even a selection narrated by the author, can be found on my website, http://freedomshammer.com
KC: As an author, do you think using social media is a great source for gaining new readers/supporters?
MF: At this point, social media is the only form of advertising I use. And across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, a YouTube channel, etc.
KC: Tell us about your latest work?
MF: In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House, the author of Sherlock Holmes and the world’s greatest escape artist join forces to solve a paranormal mystery. A judge vanishes in a decrepit southern mansion and, with the help of a beautiful young psychic, they solve the riddle of the apparently haunted house.
KC: I will have to check that one out for sure. Paranormal mysteries are among my favorite genres to read.
KC: What’s next for you?
MF: I am working on another Houdini thriller, as well as a graphic novel titled Night Cage, about vampires running amok in a women’s prison.
KC: Definitely cannot wait to read that one. LOL
KC: Do you believe networking is crucial to being successful in the writing industry? Why? Why not?
MF: It’s almost impossible to get an agent except through a referral from another writer, for starters. At every book convention, I’ve learned something vital about how to market from a fellow author. So you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. And of course, today with social media being the primary means of getting word out about your work, having a network of friends who promote each others’ work is essential.
KC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
MF: In five years, I really hope to be working on film adaptations for some of my books and have a thriving career doing audio book narration.
KC: Where do you want to be with your writing in five years?
MF: I hope to have a number of graphic novel projects in the works, in addition to my novels.
KC: Tell us something that you live by daily, that we can carry with us that should inspire and motivate us to pursue our purpose?
MF: There’s an old action movie scene that’s stuck with me. The villain’s henchman, a huge, hulking guy, tells the hero, “End of the line, asshole.” And the hero says, “No, my line goes straight through you.” I think of that whenever I see an obstacle in front of me that seems insurmountable.
KC: *smiles & nods*
KC: I like to incorporate fun and excitement into my blog interviews during the author spotlight segment. This gives readers insight as to who you are as a person. Fun facts are my way of doing so, plus, I get to learn something about you too.
KC: What is your favorite color?
KC: What is your favorite food?
MF: Caramel ice cream
KC: What is your favorite pastime?
KC: Football or basketball?
KC: Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
KC: Thanksgiving or Christmas?
KC: Books or movies?
KC: Winter, spring, summer, or fall?
KC: If you were allowed only one thing with you during the day, what would be the thing you pick?
MF: A drawing pad
KC: Breakfast or Lunch?
It has been a pleasure getting to know you better, Michael. I pray continued success to you. Thank you for Kickin’ It With KeKe today!
On a serious note...
I ask that you all pray for my home state, Louisiana. Many of my family, friends, and classmates have been impacted by the floods here. My family and I are extremely blessed. I truly thank God!
Stay positive for this too shall pass.
Until next time, Be Inspired, Be Encouraged, & Be YOU!