Monday, August 10, 2015

A 2nd Interview with Author Misha Gericke



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Welcome back to Up Around the Corner, Misha. Please, remind us a little about yourself and what you have been up to since your first interview? (Link to First Interview with Misha)

Thanks for letting me visit again. Wow. I can’t believe that was almost two years ago. At the risk of saying something absolutely depressing: I spent 2014 mostly trying to get through the year in one piece. My publisher and I parted ways early in that year and The Vanished Knight was un-published. It took me until earlier this year to get back into a place where I could look at re-releasing it along with its sequel, The Heir’s Choice.

Parting with your publisher. Is there anything you learned from that experience that you’d be willing to share with the readers here?

Wow I’ve actually learned lots from this experience. But, since I have a lawyer who told me never to go into specifics, let me settle for my best advice that I also learned about life in general:

Get an intellectual property lawyer.

When? Before you even sign that contract.

Don’t adopt an “It can’t happen to me” mentality. It can bite you in the butt when you least expect it. Lawyers look at contracts with future litigation in mind. The idea, generally, is to stay out of court with ways parting as easily as possible.

I’ve been hearing a lot of horror stories of people who signed contracts without realizing the full meaning of all the legal speak and they’ve basically lost entire books as a result. (Just to re-iterate: This isn’t the case with me. I got all rights back to my books.) Don’t step on that landmine. I know that it looks like an unnecessary expense right now, but get a lawyer (at least in the country in which the contract is being signed) to look it over.

If he/she suggests you change something in the contract, see that it gets changed. If the publisher refuses: Say no.

Contracts should be there to protect both you and the publisher. If the publisher refuses to let the contract cover you, it basically means that it’s planning to exploit you. Don’t become another of my writing friends who made this mistake.

How this connects to my own experience? Well… my lawyer helped me stay out of what could have been a nasty scrape. I’m lucky that way. But I realize that might have gone so, so badly. So from now on, I’ll definitely be letting my lawyer go over the contract.

Although, I’m not planning on submitting anywhere in the near future, so I guess I needn’t worry.

Sounds like a lot of time and energy expended, topped off with a double dose of stress. Good advice and thanks for sharing.

For those who don’t know about your first two novels, can you give us a brief description?

Basically, the two novels are the first two novels in a YA Epic (or Portal) Fantasy series called The War of Six Crowns. The series is about five teens who form part of the attempt to save their countries from annihilation.

Each book’s title is actually about an event that triggers or has an effect on the (currently still impending war.) Spoiler: The war’s coming.

The Vanished Knight refers to a crown prince who disappeared. The Heir’s Choice actually refers to the choices that more than one heir (of whatever side) made.

What authors/novels have you enjoyed over the years, and have they influenced your writing?

Ooh this must be a trick question. I have very eclectic tastes, so I’ve read and enjoyed everything from Alexandre Dumas to Orson Scott Card to Khaled Hosseini and everything in between. As for how they influence me… I think reading so widely has given me a solid grasp of how stories and characters work. Other than that, though, I won’t really say any one particular writer has any specific influence on my writing.

Unless you count the fact that one of The War of Six Crowns’ main characters walked into my head while I re-read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Besides reading and writing, how do you spend your time (work, hobbies, travel, other projects, etc.)?

At the moment, most of my time not spent on writing goes into building an export business. Hobby-wise, I like creative things like painting and photography, then I also like dancing and trying out new things. At the moment, I’m thinking of trying archery, but I need to figure out where to take lessons.

One of Misha's Paintings: Grandmother and Joey on Sunset Beach

You sound like a very active person, with not a lot of down time, Misha.

If you had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world you desired, where would you like to visit and why?

I’d love to tour Europe one day. So far I’ve been to the Netherlands, Berlin and Paris, but I’d love to go again. So many places left to see.

After the release of first two novels in The War of Six Crowns Series, what can readers expect from you in the future? More novels in the series, or something else, or both?

Most definitely both. I’m currently working on the third book in The War of Six Crowns, but I haven’t decided on a title yet. Then I’m also planning to publish an Adult Urban Fantasy called Endless somewhere around (September).

The War of Six Crowns will contain five books, Endless is part of a trilogy, and then I have multiple other standalones and series going that I should be publishing over the next five years. So yeah, my writing buddies will be seeing a lot more from me in the future, although in various guises, since I use different pseudonyms when the genres differ drastically from each other.

That’s interesting, using different pseudonyms for differing genres. Why did you decide upon that?

It’s really a branding thing. I first went with M Gerrick because people usually can’t spell my surname (Gericke) for some reason. Nor can English speaking people pronounce it. Gerrick is actually the phonetically wrong pronunciation, but I figured people remembered it better. (And in case you’re wondering, the correct pronunciation: Gere (rhymes with here) – rschwa – kschwa. It’s a German surname.)

But really, it’s just because I write or am planning to write: Epic Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Time Travel Sci Fi, Space Opera (or maybe more of a Military Sci Fi), dystopian, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, a historical mystery in Afrikaans, maybe a book for a musical and maybe something more literary than my usual genre fiction stomping grounds. And the age ranges are YA, NA and Adult.

It just doesn’t make sense for me to lump everything under one author name, since the target markets for my books vary so much. I will, however, link all my books under my real name, so that if someone wants to try out one of my other genre books, they can find them.

As we’re closing in on the end of the interview, Misha, is there anything else you’d like to add or share?

Just want to say thanks to everyone in this blogging community. I think that, without their advice and encouragement, I might still be trying to finish these books.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Misha.

Thanks for letting me stop by.


A few places you can find out more about Misha and her writing:

Where her Books can be Found: Misha's Books

40 comments:

  1. A wonderful interview. Misha amazes me with how much she does! :)

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    1. Yes, Christine, Misha is a woman on the go...and go and go!

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  2. I'm winded just reading this. It's awesome not just that you paint, but that you plan to write in so many different genres. Diversity is a beautiful thing.

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    1. It is indeed. I think I'd be very bored if I had to stick to single things at a time.

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  3. Great painting, Misha. You have two talents to enjoy.

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    1. Oh I have a few more than two up my sleeve. :-P

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  4. Great interview! The first question about parting with a publisher and having a lawyer to look at every contract really struck me. I'll have to remember to do that! Yikes!

    And beautiful painting, Misha. Wow! You are truly duo-talented. :D

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    1. My job here is done. ;-)

      I'm glad you like my painting.

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    2. Yes, Chrys, Misha's advice with respect to contracts is something to heed.

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  5. Great interview! A land mine is the perfect word for what's happened with some people and publishers - a lawyer is a great idea.
    Love the painting, too!

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    1. Thanks Jemi. Yeah, I had a very close call there, and I'm trying not to let the same thing happen to me (or anyone else) again.

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    2. Landmine is a good analogy, Jemi. Not all publishers and all contracts are equal, and some of their detriments can remain hidden until triggered. A good lawyer can act as a professional mine detector.

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  6. Beautiful artwork, Misha!
    Never sign anything until you know what you're signing. You were very fortunate. And wise.

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  7. Misha, I love your art. Oh my goodness, girlfriend. Simply beautiful. I'd say when you do something, you do it well. Multi-talented, for sure. :-)

    Your advice really hit me. I will NEVER forget it. Thank you. You are definitely paying it back.

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  8. haha I'll be sure and heed the advice. Don't need any bites on my butt

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  9. It's nice to get to know Misha better. Appreciate the advice. Thanks, Terry, for hosting today. Love the painting! Thanks to both of you for sharing a wonderful interview.

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    1. I got to know Misha a little better too, Karen. Thanks for clicking over to read, and to comment.

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  10. Great interview. I did not realize you painted, Misha. That's beautiful.

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    1. Sandra, thanks for reading. Misha is a fun and interesting person to interview.

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  11. Sounds like a mess separating from your publisher, but thank goodness you have a lawyer and I agree, it's best not to share details.

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    1. Yeah it was messy, but it could have been much worse.

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  12. I knew Misha did her own book covers, but not that she painted. Very nice! And exciting to hear about all the books she has in the works.

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  13. I love the painting. It's horrible what some authors go through with contracts and publishers. It's great you got your book back.

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    1. Thanks Medeia. I have to say it was a much closer shave than I would have preferred, but at least I got away scot free. (And with a surprise royalty check almost a year later.)

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  14. It sounds like it's really important to have a lawyer when negotiating publishing contracts.

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    1. It is. I think we writers have a tendency to completely underestimate that importance.

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    2. I agree. Contracts can have unseen ramifications...unseen to someone inexperienced.

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  15. I think most writers are creative in other ares of life.

    I wonder if it's just the challenge of a German last name? My maiden name was Wittmeyer, which occasionally got mispronounced and always got misspelled. (Wolfe is so much simpler, although people tend to leave off the E at the end.)

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    1. I think so. On top of that, it's not an incredibly common surname either, so people don't really have a frame of reference.

      I'd pronounce Wittmeyer as Vit (rhyming with lit)- may-er. (But with a hard r.) :-)

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  16. Lovely interview! I'm impressed with how much you could juggle- being an author, building a business, & all your other interests!

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    1. I try my best. Sometimes all the plates come down, though. ;-)

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