Ask The Author -Interview with Michael J Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J Sullivan has been kind enough to give us even more of his time and has answered a few interesting questions below. We have avoided the usual questions on his work and delved into his interests in scifi and fantasy .



1.For many readers of fantasy and science fiction, video games, tabletop games and card games are a big part of their lives or have had a large influence on their reading. One of the most well known for many is Dungeons and Dragons. So, if you were a D and D character, what would you be and why?


Okay, so you have to go right for the throat and expose the nerd, huh? Yes, I played D&D, mostly as a dungeon master. My first and main character was an elven fighter/magic-user/thief named Warwick. My second was a paladin so lawful good that it constantly landed him in trouble. Of course, this question is trying to determine how I see my real self through a fantasy game. So I will go with the obvious: Half-elf, fighter/thief.


Bonus answer: I played a wizard in Everquest.


  1. If you could have only one, what would it be and why – A trained Dragon or a functional Jetpack?


Since this is a hypothetical question (it is isn’t it? if not send me a private email and we’ll talk), I will hypo it a tad more and set my own rules. I’m a writer. That’s what I do. So I will say that a “trained” dragon means that I can ride it. This makes the determination ridiculously easy. Most jet packs require a fossil-based fuel, most likely hard to obtain. Dragons would eat my enemies and the occasional cow, or various McDonald’s franchises. Granted their kitty litter box usually requires a lot of gold, but a good dragon can obtain it’s own. This would be a high-quality dragon, I trust. One of the new ones with the iridescent green scales and a USB port?


  1. Besides sci-fi or fantasy, what genre would you be most interested in writing (can be sub-genres like steampunk)?


First, I’ve never cared too much for segregating stories into classifications. I understand why businesses do it, but the whole idea is flawed and creates unnecessary problems. For example, all fiction is fantasy, and any good story usually has all the others included. Not too many stories exist without some romance or a mystery between the pages. And then there are books that bookstores start on one set of shelves and then move to another. I love how Stephen King’s books left the horror section to land in general fiction in most bookstores.


Second, I have already written novels that would be classified as horror, coming of age, literary fiction, suspense, mystery, adventure, gothic, and a few more. I simply haven’t published them. Most aren’t good enough, and some go against my brand.


Writing invented-world fantasy, as I tend to do these days, can be oddly restrictive in that you can’t free associate by tapping the common experience gene pool. I can’t write: he looked like a Slinky after a three year old had played with it. This is part of the reason I wanted to write Hollow World, which starts in the present day real world. It let me use references, which made at least that part of the writing easy and fun. (Not using pronouns wasn’t so freeing.)


In conclusion, the answer to your question is that I’d love to publish a bestseller in every genre. Horror might be my next target. I’ve always hated the lopsidedness of that genre. The “evil” is always overpowered and the “good” stupid and helpless…until they aren’t. I’ve always found that structure unsatisfying. If you’re going to give all sorts of impossible tools to “the evil,” it’s only fair (and fun) to give some to “the good.” I want a fair fight. It’s hard to relate to a character that enters a vampire’s lair as the sun is setting.



  1. Outside of fantasy or sci-fi characters that you have created, who are your top three?


That’s hard to answer. Top three what? Most beloved? Most disturbing? Most well developed? Most profound? Most hated? I liked Nick Andros, Hazel-Rah, and Gandalf. Sam and Frodo are a great duo. Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter books is possibly the character I most hated (in a good way). I also enjoyed Maia from The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. I think she did an amazing job bringing him to life, and it’d be fun to hang out.


  1. What would your last meal be (beverage included), if you had to choose?




  1. If you could sit down to dinner with one author, one musician, one actor, and one more person (your choice) that are dead or alive, what would your choices be?


Stephen King, I would love to “talk shop” about character creation with him, and I’m sure a few great ideas would come out of it. Paul Simon, been listening to him for decades. For the actor, I’ll go with Tom Hanks. Can’t go wrong with Tom, right? Has to be the nicest guy in the room. The last one would probably be Jon Stewart. I love a good joke, and this group would need a MC.


  1. If you had to choose one book and it was the only book you could read and reread what book would you choose?


Probably The Stand by Stephen King. First, it’s big…so I’d have plenty of material, and second I love just about every character in it. I must say I’m not a huge fan of the ending – a bit too much deus ex machina for my taste, but I’m an author, I find fault in all books, even my favorites.



  1. Did Han shoot first?


What the hell kind of question is that? Of COURSE, he shot first. I witnessed it with my own eyes. Everyone did. Then they invented Photoshop, and iMovie, and Lucas went insane, because, honestly, at that range how could a professional assassin miss if he fired first?


  1. If the Riyria Revelations and/or Chronicles was made into a TV series or set of movies, who would be your first choices to play Royce and Hadrian?


Well, that changes all the time, mainly because the characters I had in mind when first writing them have gotten too old to do so. At one time I saw Jeremy Irons for Royce and Mel Gibson for Hadrian. Who I later changed to Scott Bakula. Currently, it’s Chris Hemsworth for Hadrian and Tom Hiddleston for Royce. Lately, whenever I see Hiddleston I keep imagining him in a dark hood, thinking “that might work.”


  1. If you could pick one book or series to be adapted into a TV series or movie(s) what would it be?


Lord of the—Doh!

The Marti—Doh!



I would love to see Ready Player One done as a movie – I think it would lend itself well to that medium. I can’t remember if it’s been optioned or not, but I hope so. Ernest Cline is a talented writer, and his success is well deserved.




Thanks again to Michael.

Interview was by Sir Lancer

Keep an eye out for his new series starting with Age of Myth later this Summer . And of course check out all his other fabulous books.-


7 thoughts on “Ask The Author -Interview with Michael J Sullivan

  1. Freya

    I’m a terrible person… I like Guinness, but what I’d like more than a pint of Guinness is a pint of Guinness froth and a spoon 🙂

    I can understand what you mean by over classification of genre, it can be hard to neatly pigeon hole a book or series as they can happily sit over many.


  2. Lancer

    Me, my brother, and a couple friends used to LAN Baldur’s Gate and IWD games a lot. I almost always played the Rogue/Assassin kit. loved being the one to always have the first look at the treasure in locked chests, or the ability to hide in shadows and inflict massive back-stab and poison dmg to things (or run away in the shadows if necessary). It also helped that our wizard had a penchant for blowing up his own team with fireballs so having the option to sneak up and destroy him in one hit if I felt like it was nice too.


  3. Pingback: Ask the Author – Becky Chambers – Dragons & Jetpacks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s