Hello all! Please give a warm welcome to my guest Michael Rupured who’s here to chat about becoming a published author, his upcoming novel, and the amazing research behind it. ~ Charlie
It’s an honor and a privilege to appear on Charlie’s blog. I love the era she writes about and am in awe of her ability to put me there. Thank you, Charlie, for this opportunity to meet your readers.
Writing a novel is a complicated endeavor—so much so that I didn’t have the first clue how to go about it. I had accepted that writing a book was another one of those things I’d never be able to do.
The stories inside of me were never happy with my decision. Driven by their need to be heard, I started blogging, which eventually gave me the courage to try writing a book. Believing I lacked the imagination to make up a good story, I wrote a memoir, and when I couldn’t get it published, joined the Athens Writers Group to find out how to make it better.
After working with the other writers for several months, I set the memoir aside to attempt my first novel. With no imagination but a near photographic memory, the original idea was to fictionalize a part of my life that I believed would make for an interesting story. So I set my first novel in 1997 and the world of my protagonist looks a whole lot like the world I inhabited at the time.
At least it started out that way. The Robot Unicorn Cult (more formerly known as the Athens Writers Group) critiqued my first novel 5000 words at a time. They ripped me to shreds and schooled me on stakes, tension, pacing, and showing vs. telling. With no real idea of what the hell I was doing, I was grateful for the feedback and soaked it up like a sponge.
I am truly a fascinating person with a wild and crazy past and a lot of stories to tell. That doesn’t, however, make me the hero of a novel. Somewhere between figuring that out and finishing the book, I found my voice and discovered that I could tell a good story.
The biggest surprise was having the characters take over. I didn’t need to make anything up. They told me what they did and said, revealing intricate connections with each other that I never imagined. No, I didn’t go off my meds and I’m not hearing voices in my head. The stories are inside just waiting for me to write them down. I have no idea where they come from.
As I was finishing up Until Thanksgiving, scheduled for release by Dreamspinner Press in December or January, one of the supporting characters insisted on his own book. Rather than a sequel, Philip’s story takes place thirty years earlier. In 1966. When I was eight years old.
We argued about it. I told him there was no way I could tell a story that took place in an unfamiliar time and place. Philip said to trust him. He was there. He’d tell me what I needed to know. Which at long last, brings me to the reason Charlie asked me to be a guest on her blog.
Writing Philip’s story has taken me way out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to do a ton of research. What I’ve learned has inspired me to write a collection of novels spanning the last fifty years to highlight the amazing progress gay people have made.