Michael McLellan is the author of the excellent book, "American Flowers". Read my review here. We are very gracious that he allowed us the time to ask a few questions surrounding him and his new novel. A link is provided at the bottom to purchase his book.
1. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I remember dreaming of writing books after reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle when I was seven or eight. Over the years I wrote a lot of songs and poetry but lacked the discipline required to write a novel. I made a few lackluster attempts in my twenties and thirties but never got past the first couple of chapters. It wasn't until I went through a life-changing illness that I got serious about it. So I guess the proper answer to your question would be late 2013. In retrospect I think maybe I needed all the miles of bumpy road and life-experience behind me before I could write characters that people could care about.
2. American Flowers is a raw, gritty look at the life of drug addicts and the consequences of their actions. Do you ever find yourself growing attached to certain characters, making it difficult to write portions of the book when bad things happen to them?
I become emotionally invested in the characters. It's a strange feeling. I've actually cried while writing dramatic parts in both of my books. I think it's due at least in part to the fact that I don't write an outline; I'm experiencing everything first hand as it unfolds.
3. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
This is hard because I'm still learning the ropes myself. I guess I'd say be true to yourself. It sounds a little cliche but I mean it. Write what moves you, not what you think someone else might like. If your writing comes across as genuine and honest, people will appreciate it.
4. How did you come up with the name "American Flowers"?
Our young people are like flowers. Tend them right and you'll get something beautiful. If you don't, well, then you won't. I believe as a nation we could do a better job with ours.