Nov 5 09 3:25 AM

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Here's some of the most frequently asked questions, please take a moment to read through these before you post in the "Ask Michael" thread thus avoiding asking a question that may have been asked many times before!


When did you start writing?
My first book was published in 1983, so it would be true to say I started writing professionally in 1981 or 1982 and I've published a book a year (sometimes two or more), every year since then.

What was your first published book?
Irish Folk & Fairy Tales, Volume One was my first adult book. The Song of the Children of Lir was my first children's title.

How many books have you published?
I've published over 100 titles, you can find a list of them Here

What other writing have you done?
Just about everything - novels, short-stories, movie and tv scripts for both drama and documentary, plays, games, articles ... in fact everything except poetry, though I have been included in a book of poetry, Lifelines 3, where I had to choose my favourite poem. I submitted two: Thomas Hardy's Lyonesse and Percy Shelly's Ozymandias.

Have you a favourite genre?
I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy and horror, and I love to write in those genres. However, I tend to write only those books that interest me.

You write for both adults and children: which do you prefer?
They are two entirely different markets. But if you look at my work, you will see that it is split 50/50. It is certainly true to say that children's books, and the Young Adult market, is a much more demanding market and certainly tougher to write.


I would like to write. What's the first step?
Read. Then read some more, then read a lot more. I am always astonished by the number of people who tell me that they want to write, but that they don't read! I always recommend that emerging writers plot and plan their books. It is a tremendous help. You can do it on scraps of paper, file cards, or with the Outlining function that comes as part of most word processors. There are even specific writer's outlining programs.

I've finished my book. What do I do now?
Have you sent a copy to yourself for copyright purposes? If not, then do it now. Print up your manuscript, put it and a disk in a padded envelope and post it to yourself, recorded delivery. Don't open it.

How do I sell my book?
Research your market. Find out which publisher is producing books like yours - there is no point in sending your romance novel to a science fiction publisher, or your children's book to a house which does not publish children's books. You would be surprised to find that many people still make this basic mistake. Then submit your book.

But I need an agent - don't I?
No. I sold my first fifty titles without an agent. It is sometimes as difficult to get an agent that it is to get a publisher. Eventually however, I would recommend that you look for an agent.

I've got this great idea for a book. Let me tell you, and you can write it and...
If you have a great idea, then write it yourself. Most writers have more ideas than they will every use.

Will you read my manuscript?
Sorry, I'm not allowed to do that. Also, you don't need me to comment on it. The book should be the best one you can write, you must have absolute confidence in it.


When will the next book be released?
The books in this series are released yearly in May/June time, the exact date will be posted up here on the forum and on my website as soon as it is confirmed.

When will the books be released in my language?
If your country has the rights to publish this series (you can find a list of them here: Foreign Editions Then you can usually expect the translated editions to appear 6 months to a year after their USA/UK release.

How many books will there be in the series?
There will be 6 books in total they are, in order of release:
The Alchemyst (2007)
The Magician (2008)
The Sorceress (2009)
The Necromancer (2010)
The Warlock (2011)
The Enchantress (2012)

Will you tour my country/ visit my town on your next book tour?
There are many places I would love to visit on my tours, but in reality there simply isn't the time! I don't get to choose where my tours take me, my publishers arrange the tours and then let me know when and where I'll be going!

Have you taken the character Nicholas Flamel from Harry Potter series?
Nicholas Flamel is not a fictional character. He was an actual living breathing (and very interesting!) person and as such does not "belong" to any writer. Ms Rowling interpreted him for use in her series (as many others have done), and I have my own interpretation of him for this series.

Is it true that all the characters in the series come from history and mythology?
Yes and no! All the major characters are from history or mythology, with the exception of Josh and Sophie (and maybe a few others). That's the rule I've made for myself. So, for example, mermaids are fair game, and so too is Dagon. Both have a mythological existence. Machiavelli, Dee, Flamel and Co are historical. Other than that, a policeman is just a policeman, a customer in the cafe is just a customer in the cafe etc.

How do you pronounce the more unusual character names?
I’ll tell you how I pronounce them, but one of the great joys of fantasy is that you can pronounce the names any way you wish.
Scathach — Ska-tack
Hekate — Heck-kay-tay (or Heck-a-tay)
Yggdrasill — Egg-dra-sill
The Disir — Diss-ir
Nidhogg — Nid-hogg
Aerop-Enap — Air-op En-ap
Aoife — Ee-fah

Do the places you mention actually exist too?
Yes! The obvious ones like Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower need no introduction, but there are catacombs under Paris etc. Googling the locations will turn up lots of wonderful images and information about the sites. You can also see some photos of the locations here on the forum that either myself or other members have taken.

Who is your favourite character in this series?
Dee - it has always been Dee! (I know that will surprise most people, but remember, for a long time, he was the hero of this series!) The Secrets of Doctor Dee was the original title.

Do you know how the series ends?
Yes! I have all the plot lines for each book planned out, with a series as large as this it's the only way to keep on track!

Do you have input into the design of the covers?
Yes, with this series I do. (Usually, by the way, the author has little or no say.) The original design is by Michael Wagner. All of the icons on the cover, either in the corners or as part of the overall design relate, in some way to the story, and give clues to the characters. In fact, with book 3, we had to tweak the cover a little to remove something which was a little too revealing! Both versions of the cover are posted on the forum.

What colour would your aura be, and what scent would you choose?
My aura would be similar to Mr Flamel's, a vibrant GREEN and my scent would be SPEARMINT.

Will modern religions be featured in this series at all?
No, no "modern" religions. I am dealing purely with history, myth and legend.

Will there be a film of this series at all?
The film rights have been sold, but the film making process is a slow one so don't expect any news soon! However, as soon as there are some confirmed details i'll be sure to post them.


Where were you born?
I was born in Dublin, Ireland.

Did you have any formal training as a writer?
None at all. I became a writer because I was a reader.

What jobs did you have before you became a writer?
I was a bookseller and I have also worked as a TV producer. But not matter what "real" job I've had, I've always been writing. It is one of those jobs that you can do alongside other work.

What is your favourite colour?
It probably has to be black. I travel a lot and black is the best colour for travelling.

What music do you like?
I try and match the type of music to the piece I'm writing. I have a huge collection of CD and digital music. There are lots of clues in the Flamel series about the types of music I listen to.

Who is your favourite performer or band?
I was always a big Genesis fan and then, when he left, Peter Gabriel. I listen to a lot of soundtracks and have been a huge Hans Zimmer fan right from the very beginning.

What hobbies do you have?
Writing does not leave much time for anything else!

What pets do you have?
There are two cats in the house, but they are only mine when they need feeding!