Interview with Mike Hartner: 'All the work on marketing and publicity surprised me'

Mike Hartner
 I have a great guest with us today.  Mike Hartner, author of the historical fiction, I, Walter, is here to talk about his new book and any tips he might have to make the publishing journey easier.  Visit his website at for more information on this talented author!

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?   

I, Walter was created by a logger-jam on an original manuscript.  It was a late 20c setting, and just couldn't finally get right for publication.  After fighting with it for more than a year, and making good progress, my editor asked me to take one aspect of that story back to its origin. Or at least as far back as I could find story.   From that I found a 10,000 word expose in about two hours, and wrote it.   The two major
I, Walter
characters in the expose were Geoff, Walter's father, and William, Walter's grandfather.  When he asked me to use one of those two to start a new story, I looked more deeply into Geoff and settled on his son, Walter. 

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers? 

From the time I started writing this book, my muse brought the character of Walter directly to me.  Writing his story was a transcription more than anything.  But, that being said, it was also meant as a chance to teach me things about human nature, and my own nature.  Those lessons are what made the writing interesting, but also LONG.  There were days where 10,000 words flowed in one hour.  And others where nothing flowed, and I had to research and learn lessons.  My tip is this: Don't try to rush. There's a reason for the delay.  Be open to it, and enjoy it. 

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish? 

I self-published through an entity called Eternity4Popsicle publishing. THere's a story behind that. My reason for self-publish is that it was a decision taken after many months of learning that people liked the writing, but couldn't sell it. 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published? 

All the work on marketing and publicity surprised me more than anything.   There's so much to do that it takes being REALLY organised before you can work writing book two and beyond into it. 

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?  

Elation. It's different for everyone, of course, but this is the first novel for general consumption.  THe nearest analogy I've heard from others is that publishing is a lot like birth.  After it's published, it takes on a life of its own.  And once it's out there it's open to review and critique from everyone in the world who wishes to write said review.  So far, the reviewers have been VERY kind to my novel.  I'm very thrilled with the responses. 

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?  

I, Walter is the start of a multi-volume series.  Books Two and Three, Angus and James, are duking it out in manuscript form to see who comes second and who third.  Should be interesting to see the result. 

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place? 

I think the main message is to realize that everyone has different struggles in their life, and it's better not to judge until you know them. Really know them.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book? 

I think my message, other than the one from the previous question, is that every life is different and everyone is unique. 
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?  

A shout out to my editor, Robert L. Bacon, at He's a great editor. A Shout out to Brian Schwartz at who helped to format the novel for kindle.  And one to all my fans who have read the book and reviewed it, or talked to me about it.  Thank you all for the kind words.  You folks are what keeps writers like me going.  Thank you so much for allowing me into your precious relax time. It really does mean a lot to me. 

Hopefully the next one will be out around Christmas. We'll see.  

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