Returning now to our series on EDGE-Lite authors, we continue with Michael Prelee, coming in with Milky Way Repo. He had some interesting things to say about a certain flavour and style of science fiction that you may have seen or read, but never really considered as its own subgenre.
Michael Prelee: Milky Way Repo is a blue collar science fiction story that is set in the future and humanity hasn’t changed much. People work hard and fortunately for Milky Way Repossessions, they still have trouble paying their bills.
9DW: Why do you think “blue collar science fiction” is so uncommon?
MP: Actually, I think blue collar elements in science fiction are commonplace. Whether it’s Brett and Parker worrying about the bonus situation in Alien, Chief Tyrol in Battlestar Galactica worrying about working conditions on the Tylium refinery ship or Scotty bailing out the Enterprise, there are always people below decks putting in the hard work that makes everything else possible.
9DW: What made you decide to set a noir-style story in space?
MP: I really enjoy crime fiction as well as science fiction and they have complimentary aspects so it seemed like a natural fit to include elements from both when I began thinking about the story. Setting the story in the future and in space allowed me to explore ideas like repossessing starships, a cult that spans worlds and solar systems and a mob enforcer who can burst into flame. The setting made it fun to write the story.
9DW: What crime fiction stories or authors have been your biggest influence in writing crime?
MP: Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy have a knack for weaving intricate plots with incredible dialogue and I’ve enjoyed their work for years. There is an electricity to stories like The Hunted, 52 Pickup and LA Confidential where the plot revolves around criminals. The protagonists may or may not be police and it can be exciting to see how an everyman faces off against them.
9DW: You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books, and you may have to read them over and over again. What are the three books you’ve brought with you?
MP: Get Shorty, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, The Stand.
9DW: You’ve mentioned on Goodreads that you like to be really well prepared before you sit down and write on any given day. You’ve got all your research done, and you have goals set. But what is your editing process like?
MP: Milky Way Repo was the first experience I’ve had working with an editor and I was surprised at how demanding the editing process can be and how much I learned. When you finish a manuscript and you proofread it, pass it around to your friends and family, get their feedback and make changes you eventually get to a point where you think you are finished. Then an editor comes along and points out all those glaring holes you missed, all the grammar mistakes that have somehow slipped past and suggests changes. In the end it’s a wonderful experience that produces a much better work than you could have on your own.
9DW: Your story has come out through EDGE-Lite as an eBook. How were you able to get the word out there that your story is now available, if you can’t exactly place it on shelves or sign copies?
MP: Social media has been my primary outlet. I’ve set up a Facebook author page, signed up for Twitter, created an author web page and post constantly in Facebook author and reader groups. I’ve also had promotional items like bookmarks with QR codes made up to hand out at any events I attend or public places I go.
9DW: What do you think are the benefits of launching your story as an eBook, first?
MP: I think launching Milky Way Repo as an e-book allowed me to take advantage of a new publishing platform to get my work in front of many people who may not have seen it in the past. I know my reading habits have changed since I started using a Kindle. I purchase books more frequently because I am exposed to more titles. With traditional publishing readers had to go to a book store and look in the science fiction section for something that caught their attention. Now, I see people recommending books on Facebook or Goodreads and I can get that book immediately. Hopefully my readers have a similar experience.
9DW: How important are starred reviews? More specifically, how important is it for other authors to leave starred reviews?
MP: I think starred reviews are very important because we’ve become conditioned to look for other people’s opinions before making a purchase. Customers want to know what kind of experience other readers had before they click the “buy” button. I really enjoy reviews from other authors because they do it so well. They leave reviews that have constructive criticism and you can learn so much from them. It’s especially useful when you remember what someone said about your last project when you begin writing the next work.
A bit more about the author:
Michael Prelee is a writer from northeast Ohio. A graduate of Youngstown State University and a product of the American Rust Belt, he enjoys reading and writing science fiction and crime fiction. His first novel, Milky Way Repo, is now available from EDGE-Lite.
You can follow Michael:
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaelprelee
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MichaelPrelee
Or at his website: http://www.michaelprelee.com