Interview: Mike Walsh
Posted by Literary Titan
The Monster interviews Michael Walsh, author of The Ghost Princess.
There are some intriguing characters in your novel and they all intersect in different ways. How did you develop the characters interactions?
The core protagonists—Katrina, Lily, Krutch, & Scifer—were developed individually in short stories I’ve written (none have been published). I had an idea of these characters existing in the same world, but they were each built up in my mind by themselves. When I finally decided to just write a novel, it was a matter of thinking of a plot that would tie them all together. Even though Katrina is essentially the central character, I always thought of The Ghost Princess as much Krutch’s story and Lily’s story as it is hers. So that was how I approached the writing. The first draft was divided in three sections—the first entirely from Katrina’s perspective, the second from Krutch’s, and the third from Lily’s. With the second draft, I started putting the three POV’s together. I was happy to find how well everything ended up syncing together…Katrina and Krutch, in particular, forming a sort of anti-”Hero’s Journey.” And Lily wound up fitting in the middle of that perfectly.
My favorite character was the notorious pirate, Krutch Leeroy. What was the inspiration for that character?
The initial spark was simply wanting a character to contrast the protagonists I’d already developed. I already had Katrina (who is a rather grim, dour character), Scifer (who can go to very dark places), and Lily (who, although upbeat and optimistic, has some heavy demons to contend with), so I wanted a more light-hearted protagonist that would have some levity and maybe be a bit more grounded and “normal.” I figured having an outlaw/pirate character would be a fun addition, and I initially pictured what would become Krutch as a kind of “anti-Jack Sparrow.” Where Jack acts like a drunken fool, we know he’s really cunning and competent…so I saw Krutch as someone everyone thinks is dangerous and bad-ass, but in reality he’s just a dope who doesn‘t know what he‘s doing. That developed into a slacker who doesn’t even want to get caught up in these crazy adventures, but just has really bad luck. I was spit-balling with that concept, and I remember describing him at one point as, “not a bad guy, but he’s cursed with a bad reputation.” And that was when the idea of his being literally cursed with a bad reputation came to me. Once I had that, Krutch came to life.
What was the easiest thing to write about in this book and what was the hardest?
The hardest part was writing Deacon Marcus and pacing the first part in Dictum. Krutch and Lily don’t appear until later in the story, and given Katrina’s anti-social nature, she’s not the type to go seeking information or involve herself until she has no other choice. So I needed other things to be happening in Dictum and another POV to provide some exposition and context…which is how Marcus came into being. When I realized I could make him bit of a decoy protagonist, I deliberately developed him as a pretty stock “fantasy hero” that you could find in any other adventure story. However that could very easily make him boring and turn readers off before the plot even gets rolling, so I needed to make sure he was still likable/interesting enough on his own. The easiest thing was writing the main characters themselves. As I said, I’ve had these characters in mind for a while, so once the plot got going it was easy to just let them go, bounce off each other, and see where the story takes them. The swamp scene and the build up to it was also a lot of fun to write.
Do you have a second book in mind; if so where do you see the story going?
I do. I only just started writing the first draft, so I can’t say when it’ll be done though. There’ll be new characters introduced, but of the main cast: Krutch, still on the run from Sentries, will find himself in a large city in the east of Graylands which I would describe as similar to Mos Eisley from Star Wars: a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Given his reputation, he should live like a king in a place like that…but that only means he‘s going to end up the center of a lot of unwanted attention from the city’s various factions.Meanwhile Lily, feeling confident in herself, believes she’s ready to leave Graylands and live among people in the more civilized parts of the world—but she’s going to run into some tough obstacles and roadblocks along the way that’ll make her question herself and how she fits in the world. And finally Katrina’s headed toward rock bottom. Her drinking’s worse and she’s getting increasingly violent and unstable, so she’s going to seek out the remaining Vigorian people Kader told her about, hoping they‘ll accept her. When she discovers someone she was close to in her past might still be alive, she sets out to find him. Along the way, she’ll cross paths with Scifer, who’ll have a more prominent role.
Get more info on Michael at http://m-walshwrites.com/