Lit.Org I'm keen on letting the viewers get to know you. Tell us a little bit about yourself, like where you come from, what do you do in your free time? Give us a little slice of who you are.
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Michael Thal My womb mate and I were born 53 years ago on Long Island. We grew up in Freeport, New York, with our older brother, Harry. After graduating from high school I went to the University of Buffalo, where I earned a BA in History. From there I went to Washington University, St. Louis where I earned a masters degree in elementary education. I migrated to Southern California where I taught public school for 28 years.
I was married for 11 years. My wife and I had two children, Channie and Koren. I asked for joint custody after the divorce. Daphna and I have been happily divorced for 10 years. We've taken an active role in the raising of our daughters, who mean the world to both of us.
I make sure I spend Sunday with my youngest daughter, Koren. We either go to the movies, I help her with homework, or we take a drive to some fun place near our Southern California home.
Channie, now a Freshman at University of California, Riverside, frequently drives the 75 miles home, over the weekend, and joins us.
I also work out at the gym 4-5 days a week and I play the violin.
Eight years ago I had a bilateral hearing loss. Six years later my right ear was declared legally deaf. I had trouble hearing my students, even with the hearing aids. At the turn of the century I resigned from my tenured sixth grade teaching assignment and started my career as a freelance writer, which Iım enjoying immensely.
Lit.Org The two books you have published, "The Light: An Alien Abduction" and "The Legend of Koolura" are pretty different in genre. What type of writing do you enjoy most?
Michael Thal I took a writing course through Writerıs Digest. My teacher called me a ³generalist.² I like to write what moves me. But, Iım learning that I need to specialize to be taken seriously by editors. Iım moving towards the non-fiction market of womanıs magazines and childrenıs magazines.
Lit.Org What made you decide to take up writing? How did get introduced to the world of books?
Michael Thal My twin brother, Elliott, was a big baseball enthusiast. The ball hit me in the head. So I took up aesthetic subjects like reading and music. At an early age, I noticed that my mother always had a book on her night stand. She was a wonderful inspiration to me to read. When we were little I remember her reading stories to us before bedtime, and when I learned to read for myself, I ordered books from Scholastic Book Club.
At the University of Buffalo I majored in history. One of my professors, Dr. Abosch, had us write a paper per week. He taught me how to research information and put it together into a coherent manuscript. I enjoyed the challenge. It was like putting together a jig-saw puzzle of words.
I graduated from California State University, Northridge years later with a Masters in reading. My masterıs thesis impressed an employer who hired me to develop a speed reading program for his company. I wrote original stories for my students. One was based on a dream I had.
In the dream I was abducted by aliens and taken to their home planet. When I awoke, I jotted down notes, so I wouldnıt forget the adventure in the morning. My boss thought the story was a brief for a book. Eventually, I took his advice and turned that dream into a science fiction love story, The Light: An Alien Abduction, which was published by Adventure Books last year.
Lit.Org It's obvious you've managed quite an impression on the internet. A search on google revealed pages and pages of reviews of your book. All of which were very positive. It would also seem that you've written a fair share of reviews. It would seem like karma has paid you back. Do you feel that being involved and active in the writing community has helped you promote your book?
Michael Thal Though cliché, itıs true. What goes around, comes around. I knew I needed my book reviewed, but the line was long. So, I volunteered my services. Once I reviewed a few, I asked Lisa Ramagl, of Scribes World, to have my book reviewed. She put it in the front of the line for a reviewer to read.
I now write reviews for two sites. It helps.
Lit.Org You've written two books so far. Has becoming an Author lived up to your expectations of it? What surprises did you run into, if any?
Michael Thal I was hoping to become rich and famous. That hasnıt happened, yet. (Actually, you can keep the fame, Iıll take the riches.)
Being an e-book author has certain challenges. People need to be educated to the availability of electronic books and the ease that they can be read from computers and hand helds. Iıve been to a few schools promoting my books and have received a luke warm response.
My support group, Self Help for the Hard of Hearing (SHHH) are using the Adventure Books Fund Raising concept to raise money for their organization. (Shar Durksen, the publisher of Adventure Books, is giving our chapter up to 40% return on the sales of the books.) I was pleased with their enthusiastic response.
Once people try the books theyıll like their versatility. Eventually, hand held devices will come down in price. Then it will become common place to see a person reading an electronic book as it is now having commuters reading paperbacks on the subway.
Lit.Org If you could meet any historical writer, who would you pick, and why?
Michael Thal Last summer Jila, my fiancé, and I were visiting relatives in Hartford, CT. We went to Mark Twainıs home. I would love to meet him. As a child, I read Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Twain had the talent to make people laugh and cry with his words. I would love to pick his brain for ideas to improve my writing.
Lit.Org Another favorite question of mine deals with the Internet and Publishing online. How do you feel that the Internet has affected writing and publishing? Do you think it's made writers and publishers more accessible? Has it made it easier to publicize your books?
Michael Thal The Internet has affected writing and publishing. There are a plethora of sites that help writers develop their craft. Next month, for example, Iım taking an on-line course about grant writing.
When I first started writing I spent hours researching at the UCLA and CSUN libraries. Today, I donıt have to leave my computer.
The Internet has helped my relationship with my publisher. I usually hear from her once a week. Prior to the Internet and e-mail, people relied on the phone and the postal system. The modern way is more efficient and cost effective.
The best way to publicize books is through word of mouth. The Internet is another way to promote yourself to get the attention of one of those mouths.
Lit.Org What projects are on the horizon for you? Do you have any new books planned? Where can readers find your work online, and where can they pick up their own copy?
Michael Thal Iım working on a book about parenting. After so many years teaching, I noticed how poorly many kids were raised. Their parents love them, but they donıt understand the needs of children at the many stages of their development. I hope to raise their consciousness and their skills in The Professional Parent.
During the past year Iıve written many book reviews. Most of them can be found on the Scribes World site at: http://www.scribesworld.com/index.htm
People can also find a review I did for the award winning novel, MotherShip, by Tony Chandler on the eBook Reviews site at: http://www.ebook-reviews.net/
My novels, The Light: An Alien Abduction and The Legend of Koolura can be found on the Adventure Books site at: http://www.puzzlesbyshar.com/adventurebooks/
If your readers have any questions, they can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chrispian H. Burks
Lit.Org Owner / Founder
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