All who are constant on my site would recognize his name from the review i did on his watty awards winning book, PETER’S LITTLE PETER. Michael Estrin has been on wattpad for more than five years. He has since published twenty two (22) books which continues to entertain and draw in more dedicated readers. Just like many other teenagers, or even adults, his books have struck a chord with us and the impact his writing has is life affirming and tonic.
I was really excited when he agreed to answer a total of twenty questions, which you would enjoy below.
When and how do you start your day? What do you do to prepare yourself for a day of work and your morning routine?
My day usually starts when our dog, Mortimer, wakes me up so I can take him for a walk. Lately, he gets up around sunrise, so that’s when my day starts. After walking Mortimer, I make some coffee, stretch a little, and start writing. If the writing goes well, I usually work for a few hours, then break for something to eat. If the writing doesn’t go well, I stop to snack, or mess around on the internet.
What do the day-to-day responsibilities look like to you, would you consider yourself strict or disciplined when it comes to do your duties?
I think I have to be disciplined, otherwise my life becomes chaos, which is both counterproductive and depressing. In terms of work, I have two jobs. I write fiction—something I try to do every day. I also ghostwrite Op-Eds for corporate clients, mostly technology executives. That work pays the bills, but it’s unpredictable. Some days I don’t have any paying work, other days I have too much. In a perfect world, every day would have just the right amount. But this isn’t a perfect world, is it?
I also do most of the cooking in our house because I like to cook and I’m pretty good at it. I try to do the majority of the chores as well, since my wife works long hours at a full-time job. The nice thing about household work is that it forces me to get up and move. While I’m cooking or cleaning, my mind can wander. I think there’s an important connection between physical labor of any kind and writing productivity. And if there isn’t, at least my procrastination means our house is clean.
How often or how long do you spend in a day preparing for your work and how does it fit into your schedule?
I try to get right to work. But work is a funny thing for writers. Are you “working” if you’re just looking at a blank page? That probably doesn’t feel like writing, and I suppose that it isn’t writing in the strictest technical sense of the word. But there’s a continuum between thinking and writing. Your writing, or work, consists of the ideas you’re able to pull from your mind. In that sense, I might spend an hour or looking at a blank page, or reading the same sentence over and over again. I suppose you can call that preparation, but it feels like work to me.
What is your favorite part about being a writer? Will you continue to pursue this career in the near future or you have other plans?
The thing I like best about being a writer is sharing a story that connects with someone else on this planet. I wrote Peter’s Little Peter from my home in Los Angeles, the story traveled across the globe to Ghana, where it struck a chord with you. That’s really cool to me. So, yeah, my plan is to write as long as I’m able.
How did you discover your passion for writing and how long have you been doing it? What benefits have you derived from it?
The greatest benefit is the money. Seriously, there’s bajillions of dollars. I’m the world’s richest man. OK, second richest. Looking at you, Jeff Bezos. I’m kidding, of course. Money is important, but it isn’t everything, and while I’m no expert on the afterlife, I’m pretty sure you can’t take it with you anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah, the benefit. I love what I do. That’s like halfway to a happy life. Well, maybe forty-seven percent, if you want to get technical.
How did I discover this secret to happiness? I wrote my first novel about thirteen years ago. I always sort of knew that I wanted to write novels, but it took me longer than it should’ve to admit that, and I think that delay made me kind of unhappy. I went to law school (big mistake, avoid!), wrote ad copy, did some screenwriting, and worked as a journalist. Then one day, I just started writing a novel. I sent some early pages to some kind friends, and they encouraged me to keep going.
Who is your favorite author and what have you learned from him or her.
This changes a lot. Right now, I’ve been reading a lot of Paul Beatty, so I’ll say he’s my favorite. His books are brilliant and hilarious. You can learn so much reading him. But one thing I’m trying to learn is how he makes himself so vulnerable as a writer. He shares the most intimate things and writes like nobody’s watching.
What book of yours would you recommend a person who hasn’t heard of you before?
It depends. If you’re not an adult or prefer to read YA, I’d recommend Peter’s Little Peter (Watty 2019). If you are an adult and friends have said you have a sick sense of humor, you should definitely read Not Safe for Work (Watty 2016).
If you had a chance to ask God or Nature anything, what would you ask?
I should ask about the meaning of life. But knowing me, I’d probably ask God if they validate parking.
What does your writing process look like and what goes into your physical and mental preparations when you are developing a concept for a book?
I lean toward being a pantser. It takes me—well, however long it takes—to come up with an idea. I know it when I see it. From there, I usually write about fifty pages to see if there’s anything there. If there is, I’ll circle back and figure out my ending. That usually means throwing out the first fifty, or most of it. From there, I pants my way to the ending, but I do plot ahead a little too. Team pantser-plotter, anyone? In terms of prep, I walk and read plenty of nonfiction.
What was the worst mistake you made in your journey and how will aspiring writers prevent the same from happening to them?
The worst mistake was going to law school instead of pursuing writing in my early twenties. I could’ve made better use of that time. If you’re a young writer, my advice is don’t waste time. Write something that feels true to you, and put it out there. Then do it again. And again. Unless, it stops being fun.
What do you look for most in a plot and how do you achieve the results you want? What do you consider the most important part of a story?
The most important part of the story, for me, is tone or voice. I’m an eclectic reader, but if there’s a common denominator to the books that grab me, it’s that I like the sound of the voice telling the story.
In terms of plot, I look for endings that strike just the right emotional chord with the audience, but maybe leave some questions unresolved.
Are you happy about where you are as a writer? Do you sometimes want more attention or less?
Happy, yes. Satisfied, no. I want to reach a bigger audience. But I prefer the attention to be on the story, not me.
What was the most exciting and exasperating moment for you in your journey and how have you coped with disappointment?
I cope with disappointment by getting back to work. There’s a lot of disappointment and rejection in writing. You have to learn to deal with it, or you won’t be a writer very long.
Most exciting moment? It’s silly, but I was at WattCon, just sitting in the audience, listening to a panel. One of my friends elbowed me and whispered, “she’s reading your book.” I looked at the woman in front of me, and she was reading my book. That was super cool.
What does success look like to you in this position? What new projects are you working on and when should we be expecting them?
I guess I’d call success quitting my day job. I’m currently working on a YA story about a seventeen year-old boy who inherits his father’s hamburger stand. I plan to begin serializing it in July.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job and how do you overcome them?
The challenging thing about a writing career is that a lot of things are beyond your control. Eventually, your learn to make your peace with that and focus on the one thing you have total control over: your words.
When how did you master the courage to share your skill with the rest of the world and what were the first reactions you received? How do you face the negativity and hate?
I still feel a little nervous before I hit Publish, or send out a manuscript. But then I ask myself, what’s the worst that can happen? Honestly, I think this was just something that I had to learn to get over, first at school, then as a professional writer in other areas. By the time I got around to writing fiction, I was basically over my fears. I picked two trusted beta readers and sent them pages. Their reactions were very positive and encouraging.
Rank the various characters in your book:
I. The most annoying and most likely to get killed by you.
Principal Boone. He’s literally the worst.
II. the one you might have a relationship with, that is if they were real.
Bex from the Not Safe for Work series. She’s a total badass, and super smart.
III. The most adventurous or badass.
That title goes to Miles from the Not Safe for Work series. He prides himself on being the hero’s ride-or-die hommie.
Rank your stories:
I. The one you enjoyed writing.
I had a blast writing Prometheus Framed. It’s a very absurd fantasy about the Greek gods, environmentalism, and Wikipedia.
II. The one most likely to get an award.
Peter’s Little Peter.
III. The story you’ll never give up if your life depended on it.
I assume you mean the story I wouldn’t give up if my life depended on it, right? That’s Not Safe for Work. I love all my stories, but that one is based on some real life experiences of mine, and so it holds a special meaning for me.
What promotional method or practices did you use to promote your book? Which ones did you find the most useful? How did you get so many people interested in your work?
I wrote Peter’s Little Peter as a NanoWriMo project. I think that was helpful in terms of finding an audience because there’s this built in community of writers and readers. Once the story got going, people just kept showing up to read.
Do you ever consider luck, your gender, ethnicity or race as a helping factor in your success?
Absolutely. All of those things are factors. I certainly benefit from multiple kinds of privilege. I think it’s important to acknowledge that. I also think it’s important to use those privileges to make the world more equitable and just. There are many ways to do that. My preferred method is to volunteer for political campaigns.
I. Which movie do you wish was made into a story?
Brewster’s Millions. Actually, I think it was a book before it was a movie. I need to read that book.
II. if you were to turn into a mixture of two birds, what would you be?
I’d like to be a mix between an owl and a flamingo. Or, maybe just a pink owl. That would be dope.
III. What are your thoughts on potato chips?
I’m thinking that I’m going to go eat some potato chips right now. Bye!
ALSO CHECKOUT: STORY BY MICHAEL ESTRIN: PETER’S LITTLE PETER BOOK REVIEW.
I am a fifteen year old book addict and writing enthusiast from Ghana in West Africa. I love potato chips and jelly, pizza too but not so much. If you want to know more about me, you can follow me on other social media platforms. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter!!!!