10 Questions with Writer Michael E. Gunter (@Michael_Gunter)

This Author Spotlight features Michael E. Gunter, author of BLACKWELL.

At the age of ten, Michael saw his first episode of The Twilight Zone and got hooked on mystery. At eighteen, he had an encounter with Jesus Christ that changed the course of his life.

In 2001, he discovered his passion for writing. Today, he writes about the mysteries of life from a biblical Christian perspective; sometimes in straight up nonfiction and sometimes in the garb of fiction. His aim is to write great books that entertain and provoke meaningful contemplation and conversation.

When Michael is not writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, playing guitar, and refilling his favorite coffee cup.

Now through Monday, Michael is offering a limited number of free ebook copies of BLACKWELL. Simply leave a comment on this Author Spotlight. Be sure to include your EMAIL ADDRESS to which Michael can send your free ebook, as well as which ebook format your prefer (epub/mobi).

1. How did you get into writing?

I started dabbling with words as a teenager dreaming of rock-and-roll stardom. I wrote song lyrics to fill the space between guitar solos. After seventeen years of dream chasing, I woke up to find I had turned into a thirty-one-year-old man working in a Books-A-Million – no record contract, no screaming fans, no longer in a band. This may sound odd, but I really believe I had to let my musical aspirations fade before I could discover my real passion. Working amidst all those books, I could almost hear them whisper to me, “You can do this. Give it a try.” In April of 2001, I wrote my first short-story, then three more in quick succession. By then I was hooked and I haven’t been without a writing project since.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
For me, the coolest thing about writing is the clarity it brings. Whether I’m giving life to a fictional character or writing non-fiction, I always end up learning something, expanding my view of the world, or diving deeper into the Great Mystery of life. Of course, there’s the entertainment factor and the satisfaction of bringing a very long project to conclusion, but it’s the clarity that I value most and what I hope to give to my readers.

The thing I like least about writing is the tension that exists between the worlds I create in my stories and the physical world in which I live. Both are demanding and neither seems to care much about the other. Sometimes I feel caught between them, developing a plot when I should be focused on work or family, or getting distracted by a task when I should be writing.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word count, write 7 days a week, etc?
Although I’ve been writing seriously for eleven years, my writing process is still developing. Here’s what it looks like now: My designated writing day is Monday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. I go to bed Sunday night thinking about a scene or chapter I want to write and wake up Monday ready to go. Lately, I’ve been able to add Saturdays and a night or two during the week, depending on what’s going on in the physical world. I do not have a word count goal, but can usually hit 2000. I feel like I’m a pretty slow writer. When I was writing non-fiction, I allotted myself one full year per project. But now that I’m writing fiction almost exclusively, I find that it takes me longer to get to know my characters and live with them in their world. No time is wasted. Even when I cannot write for several days, the story is still developing. As for outlining, that’s something I am trying to do more. It’s hard though as my characters don’t like it much.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
Without hesitation, my two favorite writers are C. S. Lewis and Jack Finney. Lewis’s writings were instrumental in my spiritual development as a young man. I read The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity back to back and experienced something of a connection right away. I know it’s popular to mention and quote C. S. Lewis, but I can honestly say I admired him before I knew anything about him. Finney is the master of the time travel story. His depiction of the late 19th century makes me suspect he may have actually visited it. You could say my own fascination with the idea destined me to find him. If I ever figure out how to do it, I’d like to go back and meet both of these men.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Funny you should ask this question. I’ve always thought it looked strange to put the question mark inside, but that’s what my high school English teacher taught us so that’s how I do it.

6. What is your stance on the Oxford Comma?
Confession time. I’d never heard of this until you asked so I had to look it up. Again, I must give a nod to my high school English teacher who taught us to use it. My wife disagrees, as does her mother, who happens to be something of an editing wizard. But do I listen to them? Nope. I have a slight addiction to the comma, but I am seeking help.

7. What is your book, BLACKWELL: The Encounter Begins, about and how did it come to fruition?
BLACKWELL is about two couples, one human and the other extraterrestrial, living together on a ranch in Central Wyoming. When their idyllic life is threatened by an intergalactic assassin looking to settle an ancient score, loyalty and truth are put to the test. The idea for this novel began in 2001 as a short story entitled, “They Came, They Saw, They Stayed for Dinner.” One of the extraterrestrial characters stayed with me and even showed up in some of my other writings. Finally, in 2007, he convinced me to write his complete story. After a year of writing, he informed me that I’d written it all wrong and I should start over to get it right. So I shelved my first manuscript and started again. It was complete to his satisfaction in 2010 and published in 2011.

8. What’s your current writing project?
I am about one year and 100,000 words into BLACKWELL II. The story takes place fifteen years later and revolves around the daughter of Aldi and Elsa-Eska, the extraterrestrial couple from the planet Klyv. Although she is Klyvian, Sara has spent her entire life on Earth among humans. SPOILER ALERT: The villain from BLACKWELL is back and determined to finish what he failed to do fifteen years earlier.

9. What books are you currently reading?
I am reading The Enchantress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott, Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge, and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis.

10. Who or what inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write by the belief that there is a Great Mystery at work behind the scenes of what we perceive as reality. Writing takes me to that place where the curtain is thinnest. 

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where readers can find you online and buy your books.

All of my published works are available at www.gunterbooks.com. BLACKWELL: The Encounter Begins is also available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. E-book versions are available via all e-reader stores.

Thank you, Michael. Be sure to visit us again when BLACKWELL II is published.

Visit Michael's website to check out BLACKWELL, as well as his other work. And follow him on Twitter.

And to be one of the lucky few to receive a free ebook copy of BLACKWELL, post a comment below, including your email address and ebook format preference.

Thank you!


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