FYI: This is My 2nd Blog

Hi there! You're here at my second blog where I do interviews and book reviews.

In case you're looking for my 1st blog, where I share my IWSG posts and other musings, just go to "The Musings of a Hopeful & Pecunious Wordsmith, SittieCates".

Friday, June 8, 2012

Author Interview: SittieCates Interviews Author Randy Mitchell

Author of Sons In The Clouds

Hi, everyone!

For today, my birthday, ;-) I’m featuring/hosting another talented author, (this time, an inspirational novelist), Randy Mitchell, who’s the author of the beautiful novel, Sons In The Clouds.

SittieCates: Hello, Randy! 

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this author interview with me.

In a nutshell, could you tell us who Randy Mitchell is when you’re not busy writing, publishing or working?

Randy Mitchell: First, thank you as well for your interest in me and my writing!

When I’m not busy working or writing, I also enjoy spending time with friends, seeing movies, practicing martial arts, studying military history, watching or going to sporting events (particularly tennis and football), dining in nice restaurants, and going somewhere to listen to live music. I love all types of rock and jazz.

SittieCates: It’s great to know that you make time for all those wonderful activities, Randy. Thanks for sharing that.

At your website, I saw that you mentioned that you worked as a pilot. Your career sounds positively interesting. Could you tell us more about that? When did you become a pilot? What drove you to go for this profession? How long have you been in this career?

Randy Mitchell: I started taking flying lessons here in Dallas back in 1989 when I was around twenty six and have held jobs as a flight instructor, corporate pilot and airline pilot. I (once) even moved to Las Vegas - for a while - and flew tourists over the Grand Canyon. Piloting is one of those niche professions allowing you a lot of freedom, chance to travel, and an avenue away from the shackles of corporate life.

What drove me to take up flying so long ago were its challenges, enormous responsibility at your fingertips, and interesting technical aspects. But, most importantly, flying is always a lot of fun.

SittieCates: Prior to that, were there other jobs that you had engaged in? Would you like to share that information with our readers and followers?

Randy Mitchell: Following High School, I went to college for about two-and-a-half years. Afterwards, school and I just didn’t match that well so I quit and started a small service business and operated that for a few years.

Once the business was built up some, and I discovered flying, I sold the business and focused on flight training before getting my first job as an instructor. It was during this time that I also went back to college, eventually finishing my degree.

SittieCates: I understand that you love being a pilot, Randy. I’m wondering… How did you move from being a pilot to being a published author and novelist?

Randy Mitchell: I’ve always appreciated creativity. No matter if it’s a wonderfully directed or acted movie, beautifully written novel, or musical wizardly from someone like Michael Jackson .There is just something genius about creating great things from nothing that I love.

I’ve always felt I had it in me to be creative. But, I don’t have the looks of George Clooney or the singing voice of Pavarotti so writing seemed the logical avenue for me. I scribbled some in college but never something as large as a book.

When I wrote, Sons In The Clouds I knew it would be a story with an aviation theme due to my time in the industry. As most authors and editors will tell you, most write about what they know so the military history and flying aspects of the book came really easy to me.

SittieCates: I totally agree, Randy. It’s easier to write something about the things that we know and have experienced.

As authors, we usually work with words. I know that you understand that a particular word, no matter how simple, can carry different meanings or mental images and can evoke various emotions in us.

At your website, you mentioned you’re a Texan and your childhood memories of your home before breathe of a “peaceful haven.” When you mentioned the word “peaceful,” what were the things or situations in the past (aside from those that you mentioned at your site) that had contributed to this comforting thought of a safer place that you continue to long for up to now?

Randy Mitchell: The word, “peaceful” can mean so many things to different people. For myself, when I drove past the home where I spent my childhood, everything just seemed to flash back to my past: the yard where I played ball with my sister and neighborhood friends; the street in front where my dad invested many afternoons teaching me how to ride a bike, throw a baseball, do yard work; and the big trees along the sidewalks that I used to tangle kites in with my best friend.

It was just an extremely calm and nice place to grow up as a kid. The reason why I said I long for this is because during that era (the 60’s and 70’s), things were different, and people as I remember were different and not as busy.

As a kid, I didn’t have a cell phone, Ipad, or cable TV like most kids have now. Back then, you relied on your friends and family to entertain and keep you occupied and it was much more relaxed. I see our youth now and they don’t ride bikes, fish at local lakes, or communicate face-to-face like I did. In my opinion, they’re missing out on some of life’s little pleasures.

SittieCates: That’s a beautiful and peaceful picture of the past, Randy. I’m sure that there are a lot of people who also share your sentiments.

The reason why I asked you that question is because I understand that your first novel, Sons In The Clouds, which is an inspirational piece, is actually inspired by your childhood memories. Could you tell us more about that source of inspiration and how it mixed beautifully with your work when you were writing this novel?

Randy Mitchell: The two main protagonists in the book were loosely based on me and my best friend (at that time) who lived a block away. Now, the only factual part is the name of one of the characters - Wade, and where he lived. Other than that, the storyline is pure fiction. But, many of the places are real like the local lake in the opening chapter, the airport where they learned to fly, and the High School that I changed the name of.

I’d also like to add that the places in the chapters taking place in Hawaii are also correct because I’ve been to all of them.

Anyone who’s read the book knows that the overlying theme is Andy and Wade’s unconditional friendship and how they were there for each other no matter what. They were the others’ protector, confidant, competitor, classmate, and best friend. And that’s where the inspirational part comes in for me because that’s how my friendship was at that time with my childhood friend.

SittieCates: I see. The bond of friendship is really a special thing to have.

Let’s talk about managing your writing schedule. How do you manage this? Are you an early riser, a late-night worker, or a typical weekender like most of the other authors who are busy with other careers?

Randy Mitchell: I hear that many writers have a set schedule when they write, but not me. I normally write when the mood or inspiration strikes if time allows.

I’ve written at all times of the day and night, on New Years Eve, on Christmas Day, just whenever an idea, scene or character comes to mind.

Sometimes, I’ll sit down and write one paragraph and can’t go any further. Other times, I can really see the places and people and type away for ten or more pages.

It’s just all about when my imagination is firing well.

I’ve even written one book on one day, then, worked on another the next.

Writing is kind of unconventional for me. But when I feel the creativity coming, I like to make the most of it when it arrives.

SittieCates: Randy, I know you understand that writers and authors often experience some pitfalls or struggles especially while working on their drafts. Often, this situation is labeled as having “writer’s block.” Have you experienced this? If so, could you tell us about that situation and how you were able to sail through it?

Randy Mitchell: Writer’s block, no matter what others say, does come to us all. And it’s happened to me quite often.

One way I deal with it is to watch something creative; a dramatic movie or TV series always seems to help. And since I’ve been writing, I find myself thinking of the writing behind the scenes-- what underlying messages did the producers have in mind while creating a certain scene or an actor’s single line that changed everything in the story, as an example. I’m a very visual person, and watching great stories and dramas unfold usually goes a long way in helping me.

Another weapon for helping the creative process/writer’s block that I can’t overestimate enough, especially after writing a first draft, is the use of a developmental editor. Some of the storyline of Sons In The Clouds was due to the suggestions from my editor. She helped greatly in shaping a story we both felt evoked a lot of powerful emotions.

SittieCates: I’m pretty sure that our readers and followers would like to know more about your novel, Sons In The Clouds. Would you like to give a short description on what this book is all about?

Randy Mitchell: I’d be happy to. Here’s the summary:

The book is the story of two childhood friends who have an unshakable, unconditional friendship no matter what obstacles come into their lives. While one lives inside a home filled with adolescent abuse, the other always assumes the role of his protector, and overall guardian.

Both grow up having aspirations of becoming Pilots one day, and eventually do so, after completing their studies at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and pilot training in Pensacola, Florida during the shadow of the Vietnam War.

While one marries his soul mate and High School sweetheart, the other constantly fights the emotional pain of his father’s physical abuse and dishonest girlfriend who lies about carrying his child throughout his college career. But, once the truth about his child is known, and both are quickly thrown into the skies over Vietnam, their very existence is threatened after being shot down and held captive in the same dismal POW camp.

With the help of an overseeing God, some surprise help from the enemy side, and prayers from the women they leave behind, supernatural mercy helps them escape. However, it’s not without an enormous struggle, and the reversal of guardian and protector roles between them. Once home, a new arrival enters the story along with an epilogue showing the afterlife as truly believable. 

I’d also like to add that although the book is inspirational in nature, I’m a writer who’s never afraid to keep things real and direct with my characters. Readers can expect to see human nature in its purest form.

SittieCates: Thanks, Randy. With that wonderful summary, I’m sure a lot of our readers and followers are now excited to have a copy of your book.

Aside from this, do you have any other published works online or in print?

Randy Mitchell: Right now, I don’t have another book finished and published. However, I do blog most weeks on my website covering everything from psychology, politics, and inspirational topics.

SittieCates: Do you have any new projects that you’re currently working on?

Randy Mitchell: I have three other books which I’ve started. The one I think will be finished first is titled, The Luck Inside Me and is the story of a very unassuming, poor man who’s suddenly surprised with incredible luck. But, he decides to remain anonymous among those who know him best, opting instead to bless strangers with surprising gifts while many are craving his newfound affluence.

The story takes place in a small, Texas town where every resident knows the business of everyone else, and then some. And that makes it really hard for the main character to keep his secret. Although, he does keep the gossip grapevine going by having some fun while dropping hints as to his identity.

SittieCates: That sounds truly exciting! I do hope you would allow me the pleasure of interviewing you and featuring you again at my blog when your new book projects are out.

Now, Randy, if someone would like to write a novel or try inspirational writing, what advice could you give to that person so that his or her work would get published?

Randy Mitchell: Write a story which you believe in and affects you emotionally. If you cry, laugh, and get mad at your characters while creating them, then you have something very special. To have an inspirational book, you, the author, must feel inspired or your readers won’t. Also, no matter what genre you write in, fiction or non, try to get traditionally published first before electing to self-publish, it’s still the best way to get noticed as a writer although in this current publishing environment it’s harder than ever.

One more thing, as I talked about before, spend the money and hire a really great editor to help you. In my short experience, I’ve learned it takes two people to create a really great book: An author and an editor. And once you’re finished with your book, the work is far from over. Authors nowadays must be very involved in marketing and getting the word out to reach readers. I’ve also worked with a fantastic publicist that’s helped me.

SittieCates: Great tips! I’ll take note of those things.

Randy, do you have any other information that you would like to share with us?

Randy Mitchell: I appreciate the opportunity to share with your readers here. If they’d like to connect with me further, they can visit my website @ where they can find links to my book, read my blog, and follow me on social media.

All the best and thanks for your readership!

SittieCates: You’re most welcome, Randy. Once again, thank you so much.

For those who would like to read Randy Mitchell’s inspirational novel, Sons In The Clouds, you may head on to Amazon and grab a copy. ;-) You may also visit him at his website and blog. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow,lucky you, and he has a time for you. Did you have a plan to interview Danielle Steel, if you have please let me know, she is one my favourite author...Anyway belated happy birthday.