My friend and super-talented Brisbane-based poet, critic and editor Zenobia Frost has invited me to take part in a blog hop. It goes like this: I ask myself the following four questions, answer them and then pass the baton on to three fellow writers to do exactly the same, thus keeping the blog hop rolling for all eternity!
I first met Zen when I presented her with a poetry prize at the 2004 Literary Awards for school students. She was brilliant then and since has become even more dazzlingly brilliant. Check out everything about her here: A Storm of Tea Cups.
Anyway here I go answering my own questions:
- Michael, what are you working on at the moment?
Well Michael I don’t usually talk much about my current projects but I like the cut of your jib so I’ll answer you. At present I’m working on completing three stories for younger readers concerning the adventures of Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale (SADDD). Derek first appeared in the Eric Vale series of books. I have written two of the SADDD stories and will be starting on the third as soon as I can come up with a bizarre enough storyline! As with the previous Eric Vale series, all these books will be fully illustrated by my amazing son Joe Bauer who as well as being an illustrator is also, with his wife and partner Rita Artmann, a film-maker (Artspear Entertainment). After the Derek Dale books are done I will be writing more YA.
2. Michael, how do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?
You know Michael I’m little surprise, and I might say, slightly offended that you’re not more familiar with my work and therefore feel the need to ask these questions, but I will attempt to remain civil and respond appropriately.
I like to think that my work differs from that of other writers in my genre by being … well … better. Just kidding! I’m not sure really. I’d like to believe that my work for both older and younger readers has a nice mix of depth and intelligence and heart. But so do many other people’s works. I guess in the end, what makes my work unique, is what makes anyone’s work unique – each story is in some way a version of life filtered through my eyes, mind, heart and experiences.
3. Mike, why do you write what you write?
Mike? Let’s not get too familiar here. I don’t like the cut of your jib that much! But, to answer your question, I think I write what I write because it’s what I’m passionate about and because I love words and stories. I’ve never gone looking for a story. They have always found me – often in strange ways. I think like most people, I write what I write, because the thought of not doing so, is unbearable.
4. Mr Bauer sir, what’s your writing process, and how does it work?
That’s more like it!
It’s probably very generous to label what I do a ‘process’ but for what it’s worth basically this is it. A story starts for me with some tiny thing that I become curious about. In the past, stories have developed from a line in a book, a picture, a childhood memory, a name and an old movie. It’s like finding one interesting piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle where you’re not sure what the final picture will be, but you’re desperate to find out. In order to do that, you start to imagine what connects to that one piece you have and gradually, a bit at a time, the image and the story grows and forms.
I think about a story for a long time before I start to write it. I never type a word until I know the ending of the story. Often for me, the motivation for struggling with every other part of the story, is earning the privilege to write that ending. Most of the planning of the storyline, I do in my head. When that becomes too difficult or complicated, which it always does at some stage, I write rough and messy notes and outlines down on paper.
The other thing is that I never talk much about what I am writing or show it to anyone else until it is completely finished. Good or bad, right or wrong, it has to be just my story first. I also don’t think much about a target audience. I basically write for me. I write the stories that move me in some way – make me laugh or cry. After the manuscript is completed to the best of my ability, my wife will be the first reader, followed by my publisher and editor. If they like it, then I might be game enough to show it to my son or daughter.
Thank you Michael for those informative and entertaining responses. Just hearing you speak and being in your presence is a humbling experience and it has made me a better person.
Really? You’re not just saying that because you feel you should?
Actually I am.
So there it is. And now it’s my pleasure to pass on the Question-Answering Baton to these three gorgeous and talented Brisbane writers and good friends. Click on their names to check out their author sites/blogs.
CHRIS BONGERS: Chris is a former radio and television journalist who is now happier writing fiction. Her latest Young Adult novel Intruder has just been released. Her other works include Dust, Henry Hoey Hobson and Drongoes.
SHERYL GWYTHER: Sheryl is a writer for young people with a passion for reading, painting, printmaking and photography. She is also Assistant Regional Advisor for the SCBWI Australia E/NZ region. Her published works include Secrets of Eromanga, Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper and Princess Clown.
SAMANTHA WHEELER: Sam loves to write about animals and adventure. I had the pleasure of launching her first book Smooch and Rose a story set against the continuing destruction of koala habitat. Her next book Spud and Charli is about ‘friendship, horses and bats’ and is due out in September 2014.