Book Tour Q&A: The Price of Power by Michael Michel
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Price of Power by Michael Michel! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
Prince Barodane could not hold back the darkness. Not even in himself. He laid an innocent city in its grave and then died a hero.
In his absence, war whispers across the land.
Power-hungry Highborn dispatch spies and assassins to the shadows as they maneuver for the throne, while an even greater threat rises in the South. Monsters and cultists flock to the banners of a mad prophet determined to control reality…and then shatter it.
Destiny stalks three to the brink of oblivion.
A dead prince that isn’t actually dead. Barodane buried his shameful past in a stupor of drugs, drink, and crime, and now, he’d rather watch the world fall apart than wear a crown again.
An orphan with hero’s blood who is forced to make a harrowing choice: betray her country or sacrifice her first love.
And a powerful seer who has no choice at all–her grandson must die.
If any of them fails to pay the price…
The cost will be the world’s complete annihilation.
On to the interview...!
Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–what are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR?
Currently making my way through the Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan. It’s a delicious book that I like to savor. Exquisite prose from sentence to sentence and the world keeps getting cooler. Next up is The Wolf by Leo Carew. The guy who owns the local book shop and I share tastes and he recommended it. But given the release of Lightbringer, I might need to pivot.
What made you pick up this book?
A friend pushed The Steel Remains on me after hearing me talk about my own book and thought it was up my alley. I actually think he nailed it more than he could ever know. The MC of my book, Barodane Ironlight, shares some strong similarities with Ringil Eskiath.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not reading or writing? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you can talk to us about?
Keeping my body healthy is pretty important to me. The creativity flows much more freely when that’s happening. So I exercise regularly, mostly weights, running, yoga and boxing. I also like table top games like Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. I’ve played since I was 8 with some really long breaks here and there, but have won a few tournaments–if you must know what armies I play, please reach out and we’ll have a chat about our love/hate relationship with Games Workshop. Like many Americans, I also enjoy TV and movies. I used to work at blockbuster and LOVE watching a good story unfold. Some of my favorites are Dark, Arcane, Barry, The Americans, and Arrested Development. My top eleven favorite movies, in no particular order, are: Logan, In Bruges, Akira, The Big Lebowski, Arrival, Unforgiven, Up, Whiplash, The Matrix, Django Unchained, and The Thing.
Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?
Game of Thrones by GRRM is the first answer to both. I wrote him a letter of gratitude once just because. I disocvered Richard K. Morgan and Joe Abercrombie in the last year and half after folk drew some comparisons to my book, so I had to check them out. Love them. Super honored. I’d say Raymond E. Feist and David Eddings are the guys who got me into fantasy. I was reading them when I first thought of my own book in 7th grade. Huge worlds that were very well developed. But George made me want to be an author.
If you could collaborate with any one author, who would it be and why?
Oh…this is different. Never had this question before. Love it. So many angles to answer from. George R.R. Martin would be the dream of course. I think Richard K. Morgan would make me a better writer. Joe Abercrombie and I would probably have the most fun–that would be a hell of a book I imagine. Ted Chiang is the best SFF writer alive today, so that’d be a huge honor, too. I’d probably sit there staring at him slowly craft a sentence in awe. Can I say all of them? Lol.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of SFF and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
When I was a kid, being a geek got you bullied where I lived. I was ashamed of all the things I loved, which does a number on self-confidence. Nowadays, I’m sure that still happens, but there’s also this shift that occurred with Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and all the Marvel movies being so mainstream. Being a geek is actually kind of cool these days. At the least, it’s far more widely accepted than the Limp Bizkit era, aka, the “Dawn of the Bro.” This next line could be triggering, so pause here if you need to…
I was already getting called bitch, pussy, and faggot daily, so there was no way I was going to own my extensive geeky hobbies in addition to that. As a former school counselor, I understand this still happens, but it’s really heart-warming to know kids can enjoy this stuff more. I’m sure people will disagree with me, but having been on the frontlines, kids are much more accepting of each other these days.
Honestly, I wish there were more booktubers. It’s funny, you decide whether to pursue trad or indie prior to publishing and one of the big draws to indie is this motto of, “No more gatekeepers.” That’s true and it isn’t. To a large extent, they’ve simply changed. Instead of agents and publishers, it’s book tubers. They are the new gatekeepers. Luckily, we’re still in a place where the market seems to be expanding for indie publishing, so there’s room for someone to grow their book tube audience. I can see things gravitating that way more though. The big ones will get bigger and it’ll only get harder for smaller booktubes to get in edge-wise. As an author, more medium book tubers is much better than a handful of large ones that you can’t get to read your book. At a point, they’ve kind of replaced publishers in terms of gatekeeping.
As far as content, nothing specific to types of stories and books. I can appreciate a good story no matter the setting. I would like to see some more humor driven book tubes though. Funny critiques and the like. Bring a new level of entertainment to the reading arena.
What is one book you want to shout about to the world? What about it makes you love it so much?
A Canticle for Lebowitz is the only book I’d call a masterpiece. It does almost none of what I normally love, and yet, it leaves you changed. A true work of art that you’d have to read to understand.
Also, have you heard about The Price of Power? Pretty fucking good too.
What are your favorite types of stories? Of characters?
Dark, rich, and complex. I love grittiness, but nothing too unbelievably dark. Life has inherent hope to it, so I never subscribe to R. Scott Bakker levels of despair. But I do love grimdark. I find it to be more literary and have deeper characters. Here’s why: if an author has to censor for YA or some other less grim genre, their characters can’t have fully authentic actions, can they? They’re limited to exploring only the parts of themselves that the author is willing and able to show readers. So, grimdark is the least limited of the fantasy genres in my opinion. And as an author, I need more freedom to explore my characters than the lighter stuff allows. If little annie wants to spit in another kid’s face and call them a shitface because she’s mad one day, she should totally do it. And in grimdark, she can!
I love reluctant heroes. Unforgiven’s Will Munney is one of my favorites. The Hound from GOT is also my favorite. I love the feel of westerns. Capable warrior types, doing bad things and atoning for it. I like clever heroines. The MC from the movie, Clover Lane comes to mind. I hate seeing invincible men, and one-note women. Make them flawed, make them strong, make them multi-faceted, or don’t make them at all.
How much do you plan when you write? What’s your writing process like?
I’m niether pantsern nor plotter. I’m a dancer. I do whatever I need to, be it outlining or barreling forward. Whatever keeps the energy and the creation moving toward completion. I’ll even stare at my character plot lines before a writing session and check inwardly to see who I’m feeling called to write.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
Punchy. Psychological. Vivid. A gritty world overlaying subtle principles in psychology and spirituality. I want people to read my fantasy book, of course, but I also want them to experience little shifts through the characters’ journey as well. That’s the glory of fantasy isn’t it? Being able to explore difficult concepts without learning the hard way in real life, right?
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
I’m 100% the Madness. You’ll understand once you read. You’ll also hopefully understand that to be a joke.
What comes first to you when you’re writing, the world, the characters, or the storyline?
Characters lie at the heart of the other two. When I write, it’s like a dance between characters and their story, and characters and the world. Each simultaneously shapes the other in a creative little interplay that honestly makes it a very enjoyable experience for me. Sometimes, characters emerge from a piece of world building, and sometimes a piece of worldbuilding springs to life in order to support and flesh out a character’s journey. No matter what, the characters are the filter for what gets included and what gets cut.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Gritty. Spiritual. Violent.
Can you tell us a little bit about your characters? What are your favorite kinds of characters to write?
Villains actually. When I was a kid, I always wanted to grow up and play villains in movies. I’ve done some acting–been a villain–and it’s fun but uncomfortable. Writing them is much better! I really want people to agree with them actually. Zahir from Legends of Korra is a prime example. You watch it and say to yourself, “Wait, isn’t he kind of right? He’s making some strong points…” Every villain is the hero of their own story. I like to put that on display. I also love a good redemption arc–the Hound comes to mind.
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?
If you like a medium-burn and an explosive ending, reminiscent of GOT and First Law, reviewers seem to think you’ll like this. I personally don’t think it’s that slow of a burn–I’ve heard both fast-paced and slow-burn. There’s action of all kinds. There’s a lot of dialogue and character development in the first twenty chapters, but there’s also some fighting too (there’s a battle in the second chapter). When people call it slow-burn, I’m wonder if they mean there’s a lot to figure out. There is, certainly that. It’s a drop in start, which I prefer when reading, so you’d like it if you like that as well. I’m not one to info dump or hold hands.
What would you like readers to take away from this book?
I’d love it if readers got interested in taking account of their beliefs, both about themselves and the groups and people they identify with. It’s dangerous to let yourself dissolve into someone else’s narrative in life. This is the overarching theme of the series.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?
“So you see, in the end, that’s what life is always, only, and ever, about. Power. How we express it, how we seek it, how we bear it within ourselves.” – Imralta Kind of sums up the book!
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
I have a first book in a separate series completed, but I’m keeping it secret and not releasing it until I’ve got the second one finished. There will be gangs of wizards, intelligent giants, evil overlords, abominations, trolls, ogres, and some very different kinds of unicorns. That is all.
I’ve either just released “War Song” or am about to–depending on when this interview posts! Book Two of The Price of Power (tentative title “A Graveyard for Heroes” is almost done…the first draft at least).
My Science Fiction and Fantasy short story collection, “Sing No Suns, Sing the Night,” should also be coming out within a couple of months.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
These are the last lines lifted from the acknowledgments of The Price of Power.
To the fantasy fans across the world who have lived at a time or in a home where they never felt comfortable being themselves. For those who have been ashamed to love absurd worlds, or feared to claim their truest passions, I wrote (The Price of Power) with unconditional love just for you. I hope that loves finds you between these pages. I hope you carry it forward to someone else.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
Twitter: MIchael__Michel (two underscores in the middle there)
Where to buy the book: