Today I am delighted to welcome Michael Selden. Michael has lived or worked all over the world at one time or another and spent almost 30 years as a physicist doing research and development, both for science and for specific applications. He wound up returning to the Pikes Peak region of Colorado, where he went to high school, to write books. He lives in Woodland Park at an 8500 ft. elevation. All sorts of animals visit his house every day, from squirrels to deer, to bears and foxes and raccoons.
Tell us a bit more about yourself, please, Michael.
I’ve always been a reader but also interested in science, even as a child. I studied for and worked as a physicist and program manager, but could have easily decided to take a literature degree, since I took most of the classes in that area needed for a degree. I try to bring a combination of imagination and a solid grounding in science to my more speculative books. I call it ‘rational speculative fiction’, although I don’t limit my writing to any one genre.
Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
I am a night owl and always have been, even as an infant. I am generally up until 3 or 4 a.m. and do most of my writing late at night. I kept these hours even when I was in high school, which is why I was only half awake during classes.
Ha! What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to all sorts of different types of music, classical, rock (from different decades), pop, film soundtracks, whatever suits my mood at the time. I usually have music on in the background as I write. I’ve created certain playlists that seem to work well—they set the right mood without disrupting my thinking.
If your life were a movie would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?
Everything as a combination. I don’t like to let myself get overly comfortable. Even as a physicist I always sought out the most challenging projects, trying not to repeat the things I’d done before.
Fab! Let’s talk about your books. When did you start writing?
I started writing around the age of twelve. I’d read quite a lot and found myself embellishing the stories and dialogs in my head as I was reading. I like to create things: ideas, characters, and worlds. Writing lets you do that without bound.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Most just come to me unexpectedly, while walking, or, sometimes, just sitting and thinking. A couple of book ideas came to me in dreams. I remember the important ones.
What is your favourite part of writing?
Creating the story, the characters, and the world. But writing is an art form that also plays on emotion as well as intellect, so setting the tone and imbuing scenes with emotional content is also fun to do. I might even start with the tone and a theme and expand from there (as I did with The Boy Who Ran), or I might create a complete world with a history, geology, economy, and new sciences, as I did with The Balance.
When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
I write in layers, creating some scenes in detail and some that are skeletons, but contain the important content. Some chapters are little more than bullets (ideas captured in a list of words or sentences) and then I go back and add detail, texture, and colour to all of the scenes, iteratively, although many times—when writing very fast—it’s more like watching a movie and just writing down what I see.
Do you have a special writing place?
No. I’ve written everywhere: hotel rooms, cafes, outside on a bench . ..
What are you working on now?
I’m working on two things: 1) turning The Boy Who Ran into an audio book (my first attempt at this) and 2) the science fiction novel, I AM. This later has a complicated story and several threads, one of which is the end of the world from a comet, although it may not be the most important thread. It shares at least one theme with 2001 A Space Odyssey. I took the title from Descartes Je pense , donc je suis (I think, therefore I am), which becomes clear in one of the early chapters.
It sounds amazing. Tell us about your most recently released book, please, Michael.
The Balance, a dystopian / science fiction novel written for a young adult (and older) audience came out last June. I actually wrote the draft in 2011, but revised it many times and set it aside just as many. It took until 2015 to release it. I AM should be out in the late spring or in summer. I plan to travel to Provence, France this spring as a part of the research for what will be my fourth book: Disobedience (Title inspired by John Milton’s work). I may release it from there.
Please let us have your social media and book links!
I’ve posted excerpts from each book, including I AM, on my web site:
My Facebook page for writing is:
My Amazon page is
Thank you for joining me and my readers today, Michael, and all the best with your writing!
Thanks for having me, Siobhan.