The author I had the pleasure of talking to today is Michael Fedison, who not only has written a young adult sci-fi adventure called The Eye Dancers, but also a popular blog as well. His writing style is very natural and free-flowing. It feels like a peek inside a creative and very collaborative brain. His posts, both on the craft of writing and life in general, are very enjoyable to read. Visiting his blog always makes me realize how much I like being a part of the writing community, where it seems like most people are very open and want to share best practices. Mike is the embodiment of this – both a talented writer and just a cool guy happy to help fellow writers learn what they can from his journey.
The Eye Dancers is written from the perspective of four boys who find themselves in a parallel universe where they are the only ones who can save a missing girl. He does an excellent job giving each of the boys a unique voice. I enjoyed learning about how Mike found inspiration for his novel, and I hope you will too.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am, first and foremost, a dreamer, someone who always has his imagination on overdrive. I have loved to write creatively since the second grade. By day, I work as a technical writer for a computer software company—so the creative writing offers an escape. At the same time, I can be practical when I have to be!
What was your inspiration for your The Eye Dancers?
First and foremost, The Eye-Dancers is a story inspired by my own childhood, the friends I shared growing up, and the conversations we’d have about outer space, life “out there” . . . all sorts of stuff. Combine that with my desire to write a book about adolescence, growing up, friendship, the very nature of reality, quantum physics and parallel worlds, and the oneness of all things—even things that seem so distant and removed—and you have the inspiration behind The Eye-Dancers!
Tell me about your main character. Was he based on someone you know (or yourself)?
Well, there are really four main characters—Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski. They are all inspired by friends I knew when I was a kid. So it was fun to write for these characters. Mitchell is the character I can relate to the most—when I was his age, I shared many of his characteristics. Like Mitchell, when I was in junior high, I was very shy around girls, had an overactive imagination, and loved old collectible comic books, especially The Fantastic Four.
Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling blocked?
The Twilight Zone is always a favorite, as is Ray Bradbury. If I’m in a slump, I can pick up a Bradbury short story, get lost in the language, the imagination, the enthusiasm, and that almost always serves as a tonic when creativity is running low.
What’s the strangest thing that has ever inspired you?
I would have to say the “ghost girl” dream I had when I was a teenager. I dreamed of a little girl, standing out in the road, beneath the streetlamp. In the dream, it was late, well past midnight. I looked out the window, and saw her. She gestured for me to come outside. But I felt afraid. The light from the streetlamp filtered through her, as if she were more ghost than girl. What did she want? Why was she there?
I never discovered the answers, as I woke up shortly thereafter. For weeks, I wanted to include this mysterious girl in a story—but nothing seemed to fit. Finally, I decided to file her away in a “story vault,” and hope I would be able to write about her someday.
Fast-forward twenty years, and I experienced the same dream, of the same girl! The difference? This time, when I woke up, I had the start of a story idea in place. That story would become The Eye-Dancers.
What are some books in your genre that have inspired you?
Can I skip over the genre part? 🙂 I love to read—all genres, fiction as well as nonfiction. Truman Capote is one of my favorites—a master wordsmith. Ray Bradbury is phenomenal—unparalleled imagination and love of writing. To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace . . . I could go on and on!
What are some words that you live by?
Reach for the stars. Recognize your dreams, your calling, and go for it. Don’t get discouraged when things veer off course, as surely they will. They do for all of us. The key is to keep dreaming, keep working, keep perfecting whatever it is you feel passionate about. There is only one “you.” Do what you love, find your voice, and share it.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I would just like to say that I write what I love, I write about the things that resonate for me. That’s really all any writer can do. Hopefully, by sharing the things that matter to me in the best way I know how, I can also make those same things matter to you.