Thursday, October 25, 2012

Talking With Michael Ogara

About The Happenstance Marshall:
When life gives Millie Boyd lemons, she sets out to save a town and she gets a badge and a gun in the process. It all starts because the small quaint lakefront City of Safe Haven Harbor is not prospering in spite of its natural advantages as a tourist destination. People and businesses should be knocking down the doors to develop in Safe Haven, but they aren’t. The city can’t afford to pay its bills and implemented lay-offs. The residents are at a loss as to why their community is languishing and cash poor when other communities close by are booming. People are finally ready for change, and the newly elected reform council has hired a young man named Mitch O’Keefe to unravel the city’s financial problems.

Mitch is thrown together through some very odd circumstances with Millie who is facing her own set of challenges. She is initially a reluctant partner to the attractive Mitch as they work to solve the mystery of why the city has no money. In doing so they set the stage for Millie to discover her talent for unraveling mysteries which exposes them both to danger. Millie is nominated for election as city marshal, and she accepts, for she knows there is more to the city's problem than a lack of cash. To fully solve the mystery she needs to be city marshal. She does not realize the danger being marshal will expose her to or the adventures and misadventures she will become involved in along the way.

I’m very pleased to welcome Michael Ogara to A Blue Million Books. Michael, first tell us how long have you been writing.
In one form or another I’ve been writing for all of my professional life; forty plus years. Most of my writing was related to writing: reports; analysis; policy papers; professional journal articles; editorials; newspaper articles; and newspaper features.

How did you go from that to writing novels?

I started fiction writing in 2011. Since then I’ve written twelve novels, eight of which are published as eBooks and all of them have been rated between four and half to five stars out of five.

Excellent. You like writing and it shows. What do you like best about writing?

What I like best is the act of storytelling and the creativity involved.

What’s your least favorite thing about writing?

If the question hadn’t stipulated “about writing” I would have said marketing is my least favorite thing about being a writer. I guess because of the way the question was asked, I’ll go with editing. To some degree I enjoy editing, because I consider it a very necessary and important function. A book that is poorly edited takes away from the flow of the story. For that reason I will usually leave a finished book sit for a while after my and my editor’s first review. Then I’ll do another edit after several weeks have passed.

I think that's important too. And I’m with you on both counts—marketing and editing are necessary evils. I do think marketing is part of an author’s writing life, so I’ll take that answer too!

I love the title
The Happenstance Marshal. How did you come up it?
The title is indicative of how the main character Millie becomes city marshal: by a chance circumstance. “The Chance Circumstance Marshal” doesn’t do it as a title thus the title “The Happenstance Marshal.”  

Makes sense to me. Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I don’t use a formal outline because that would stifle my creativity. It’s a personal preference, and I believe there are successful authors in both camps. I find outlines to be too confining. I’m mostly an “organic” creative writer, so I start my books with a general concept and let my imagination carry me, but often I’ll go back and change something to ensure cohesiveness.

Did you have any say in your cover art? Tell us about the artist.

I go beyond having a say in my cover art. My wife and I both have degrees in visual art so we design the book covers. I’ve done about half of them on my own.

I am impressed. What about imaginary friends? Do you
have them? When do they talk to you? 
That is an interesting question, and I would have to admit the “good guys and gals” in my books are sort of imaginary friends.

Do they tell you what to write or do you poke them with a Q-tip? I do think, figuratively speaking, that the way an author develops a character increasingly “tells” the author what to write for them as they participate in the story.

I like how you did that. You didn't confirm or deny. Very shrewd, Michael. How do you handle criticism of your work?

If it’s constructive, I’ll analyze it and determine if I think the criticism has merit, and if it has, I’ll take appropriate action. I’ve changed some minor parts of two books during the edit process because of constructive criticism.

Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?
I do have something of a routine, but for me the creative process does not seem to be limited to a time of day. I have developed discipline, and I usually write at least six hours a day and often a lot more. Generally I start between seven and eight each morning and work until three or four in the afternoon then I’ll often do some more writing in the evening. There are days when I’m on a roll I’ll work twelve to fourteen hours. Some weeks I’ll work five days and some weeks six days. Occasionally I’ll only work four full days in a week.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“I’m getting tired of having to shoot dumbass criminals.” --Sheriff Millie.

I love it! Tell us what you're working on now.

I’m working on a new novel (number thirteen, and no I’m not superstitious) while getting the four new novels I’ve finished ready for release.

Why do you write?

Writing for me is like breathing; something I have to do. I have come to realize it is what I was created to do, and I enjoy it immensely.

And it shows. Michael, thank you for sharing your passion of writing with us. Good luck with the ones to come. I hope you'll stop in again when you launch another book. And folks, Michael's also a blogger. Check it out!

A  word from Michael about Michael:
I'm a full time writer of mystery, thriller and historical action adventure novels. I used to do other things including: newspaper reporter, editor, visual artist, analyst, and city manager. I didn't enjoy any of those as much as being a fiction writer.

I live in Missouri with my wife Ronda who designed some of my book covers. We both graduated from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. I earned both Master of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees there. My favorite thing to do is write books.
I have published eight novels, six of which are in the Millie Mystery Thriller series. The published eBook titles in the Millie series (in chronological order) are: The Happenstance Marshal, The Deliberate Sheriff, The Persistent Sheriff, The Windfall Sheriff, The Mogul Sheriff, and The Mentor Sheriff. The seventh book, The Caring Sheriff, will be released soon.

I have also written a thriller titled Crossing Cassandra and a second book in the series is now finished and awaiting release. I have also written a historical action adventure Sword, Cross and Crown. 

I presently have four novels finished and awaiting publication. 
Where you can find Michael:

Goodreads author page