Interview with Michael E. Thies, author of The Curse of Pirini Lilapa

26 Jun 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, The Curse of Pirini Lilapa?

The Curse of Pirini Lilapa is the second novel in the series, The Guardian of the Core. It takes place immediately after the Trials of the Core concludes. As the first novel is more character driven, this novel will definitely expand upon these characters but now take you to places you’ve only imagined. As you follow the three main characters in the story, you get to see various landscapes, landmarks, and cultures that shape the nations within each planet. As the worlds start to expand, readers will notice fresh and new character perspectives that all will come to play a role in telling the tale of Pirini Lilapa. It’s also symbolic that new perspectives are added because I want to show the readers that no one is safe from the Curse of Pirini Lilapa and the motif and event that dominates the storyline.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

R.L. Stine was my favorite childhood author. His Goosebumps books really interested me and I remember actually meeting him at Disney World one year when I was super young. It was at this point that I actually wrote my very first picture book for a second grade class. Since then I’ve been writing with a passion I suppose. The idea for the Guardian of the Core series came about when I was in middle school and wrote a story about a fantastic battle of gods inside a coliseum.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This list is in no particular order but these are five of the books that I remember the most.

  • Feed by M.T. Anderson (it makes me really question the way our society is going right now because it seems so real and in the future).
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini (While the other books in the series lacked, this book was exceptional and very well done by an author so young).
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (I was recommended this book as a must-read by an author friend. Slow and confusing at the beginning and, to be honest, not a good model for any author, but the ending was worth it due to the amount of surprises it contained. Also, it helped me improve my writing significantly.)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I didn’t appreciate this book when I was forced to read it in high school, but now, as a teacher, teaching the book, I have a new-found appreciation for the story line and the characters within).
  • Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda (For some reason I just remember this book because of the riddles that it posed throughout. I do know that parts of this book has seeped into my writing and my imagination as this was one of the books I was reading when I first started writing what would become the series, Guardian of the Core).

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

It would have to be Ernest Hemingway. I want to know how he managed to write so well when he has such a reputation for being a drunk. What was life really like for him back then? Although he didn’t make my top five of books read, it’s because I find his short stories to be better than his novels. I just think it would be cool and interesting to hang out with him for a day.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I think my favorite part about writing is being able to interact with people in unknown ways. This includes interacting with myself. Every time I write a scene, a little part of me is talking with this imaginary characters who are my subconscious. It’s interesting. Sometimes they do things I don’t expect but I know that they have to happen and I couldn’t write it the same any other way. Also, writing is a way of interacting with my fans and the people around me. I love to inspire people in one way or another (probably why I’m a teacher) and it’s encouraging to see that many individuals do like the storyline and the characters within and I hope that they find themselves the same way that these characters find themselves in the book.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m a teacher in China so my day is rather strange. We go to school from 7:30 to 5:20 here. In this particular city there is a break time during the middle of the day which I use to go to the gym and exercise and then after the day is finished I spend time on my novel or short story or whatever I’m doing at that point. Sometimes that hour is spent promoting the book or blogging about something. Sometimes it’s to write 1000 new words in my next novel. China has been great because it’s allowed me and given me so much free time. In the States I’m unsure how people are teachers and authors because they must not get any sleep.

What scene in The Curse of Pirini Lilapa was your favorite to write?

If I told you that I may give away a part of the plot 😉 Instead, I’ll tell you who my favorite character was to write in. Surprisingly my favorite character perspective was Aiton Paen (Hydro Paen’s younger brother). He is a new perspective added to the mix this book and I believe people will really connect with him as so many things happen to him and his family. It was really good putting myself in the perspective of an 8 year-old going on 9 and having him deal with issues of family expectations and societal pressure. My hope is that he comes across genuine and organic to the readers. He has a lot of memorable scenes in the novel and that is probably another reason why I liked interacting with him and using his voice.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Yeah, everyone should know this one actually, “Just do it.” The Nike slogan. It’s simple, yet elegant. So many times I think people overthink things (“What if I wear this outfit? Will he like me?” … “Should I text her back?” … “Should I live abroad or stay in the States?”) I think so many people are worried about what others think and should be content with fulfilling who they are and not caring about other people’s attitudes. If you want to wear that dress, wear it. If you have always wanted to travel, then travel. Most importantly, if you say you’re going to write, then write. Don’t think about writing, do it. That is why I try to do 1000 words per day when I’m in draft mode (now I’m in publishing and promoting mode so my time is elsewhere). When I was contemplating teaching abroad or in the States, I used this slogan and now it’s been a great adventure. Obviously, people should research and be educated upon what they’re “doing” before they do it, but experience everything you can. You only get one life to live, why waste it?

Michael E. Thies is the author of the new book The Curse of Pirini Lilapa

Connect with Michael:
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