M.P. McVey was born Michael Patrick McVey at Fort Hood, Texas. He was well travelled as a youngster, living in three states and two countries before reaching the age of 12. Even as a child he was an avid reader, and especially loved listening to and telling stories. So it is no surprise that he has taken up the challenge of authorship. M.P. McVey now lives in Columbus, Ohio with his supportive and patient fiancée Laura, a one eyed cat with a deviated septum named Stanley, and an ornery kitten named Gandalf, the mostly grey. ‘Plod On, Sleepless Giant’ is his first novel. It had been under development for several years, and after many rewrites it is finally here!
Hi M.P. McVey, welcome to the FSFN space shuttle.
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
I think it was during my years at Jones Middle School. I had this great English teacher named Mr. Evans; he was the sort of teacher that every child should have at least once in their lives … really invested in his students, and passionate about the subject matter. We were studying poetry at the time and we all had to write a poem. I wrote a poem that described the earth as a cracked marble, spinning in space. After reading it, he asked me to stay after class for a minute or two. He gave me such high praise for my poem, and told me that I really had a gift for writing; he even tried to convince me to submit it to some literary magazine or book–I can’t remember which. It was something new that I hadn’t experienced before, praise from an adult other than my parents. After that, I began to write more.
I agree, they are the best kind of teachers.
What made you choose to write in this genre?
I always write the stories that I wish someone had told me, the books that I wish already existed out in the world. I guess Sci-fi and Fantasy allows me to dream a little bigger, and makes it easier to tell the important, personal stories of the characters that live on the page.
What’s the story behind your intriguing book title?
I came up with the title after finishing the book. The story involves a giant elephant that lives at the center of our world, chained to a great wheel that he turns, turning our globe. Temelephas, the elephant, had been turning our world since the dawn of time, never stopping … never sleeping. It’s the sacrifice he makes that I focus on with the title, Plod On, Sleepless Giant.
What’s the basic plot of Plod on, Sleepless Giant?
Basically, Temelephas was created without the capability to create memories … the only thing he knows is that moment he exists in at that very moment. He can’t experience emotions, either, but I think that might be related to his lack of memories. But over time he develops memories and experiences emotions … he grows lonely and tired with his place in life. And one day, he stops … but only for a moment.
In that moment, the world is ravaged by the atmosphere that continues to spin around us at 1,600 mph. It leaves the world in ruin, and the lives of two residents of Columbus, Ohio are altered. Their souls are swapped for one another. At first, all seems hopeless, but a chance to correct their situation arises, and they leap at it. They must journey to the center of the world to get their lives back.
Which scene from the book do you like best and why?
This is a really hard one, because I like a LOT of the scenes I write… there is this one scene in the book—nearer to the end—in which one of the characters visits the grave of his mother. He talks to her, and he can hear her talking back to him, comforting him in as he goes through this challenge that he faces, a choice he must make.
I guess I like it so much because I get to add another layer to his character. Characters are only as deep as a writer makes them. Some characters only appear for a moment or two, and for that they can be very two dimensional and/or shallow. But for main characters, we must give them layers … make them real in the minds of our readers; let them cry for our characters, once in a while.
I agree. It sounds like a very touching scene.
How do you develop your characters?
I first kind of just imagine them in my mind, and give them little personality traits and quirks. But over time, they begin to build themselves, or rather the story does. There were times when I wasn’t sure the direction the story would go, but there was a turn that had to be made. I thought, what would he or she do? Thinking that way, the character made their own choice … and in doing that, they grew.
What music do you listen to when writing?
It changes with what I’m writing… for Plod On, Sleepless Giant, I was listening to a lot of Fleet Foxes, Damien Jurado, Beach House, and Bon Iver. I listen to whatever helps me set the mood I feel is needed for the story I’m telling.
There was one part of the book that I was writing that had a particular feel to it, a mood that couldn’t waiver. I remember listening to Sweet Talk Radio’s rendition of Will you Still Love me Tomorrow. I must have listened to that song a hundred times that night. It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful song.
What are you working on now?
I have a couple of things I am currently working on. One book is a sci-fi satire, a bit of an homage to Kurt Vonnegut. Its working title is Those Indifferent Stars. There’s also a paranormal horror story and a more classical Fantasy story, with a dash of humor.
How did you go about developing your striking cover artwork?
I always knew that I wanted my best friend Joe Reisinger to design the cover. He’s a very talented artist that never gives himself time to focus on his art. But I went to him and discussed the idea I had for the cover. I wanted elements of Columbus to be there(since it’s the setting) and Temelephas, I also wanted other characters from beneath the surface there, like the Firbolgs, the Minikins, and the Gloom.
What he ended up showing me was beyond my expectations! It’s a huge selling point for my book and, sadly … when they say “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, they don’t actually mean books. Books are the only thing that it seems socially acceptable to judge based upon its cover.
Who’s your favourite indie author and why?
I would definitely have to say that Joshua Grasso is my favorite Indie author, and it’s for a number of reasons. Mainly, it’s because he’s just a fantastic writer. He writes so beautifully, creating worlds and characters that you miss once you close the book. But there’s also the fact that he’s such a humble writer, which is a hard combination to find; talented and humble.
That’s great to hear. Hey peeps, Joshua Grasso is one of our talented Fantasy Sci-Fi Network authors.
What’s your favourite pet?
This question could get me into serious trouble … if my cats knew how to read. We have three of them and they are all so very different from one another. Gandalf, the mostly grey, is definitely my favorite of them. He’s just a fluffy, rambunctious, little hooligan.
What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network? and where do you see it in 5 years?
I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the Fantasy Sci-fi Network. There are so many great writers there, and they all truly want to help fledgling writers to achieve their goals. I see the members list multiplying over the next 5 years, and it would be awesome to have a conference or two, so we could all have an opportunity to meet up … even if it were to be in Australia!
Favourite food: Bacon … always bacon.
Silliest saying: I wish I had one!
Best holiday spot: My mom’s house.
Favourite song at the moment: Hmmm… no real answer.
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Lord of the Rings.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: I would normally say travel to Ireland, but now I’m thinking I need to come up with a “silliest saying” … you do need to prioritize, after all.
Thanks M.P. McVey for coming in for the interview today. We wish you the very best for your writing and can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com
M.P. McVey’s Links
Twitter: @mpmcvey twitter.com/mpmcvey
Book trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXkjLuouBvo
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