Dreamers in Hell - An Interview with author Michael H. Hanson
Michael H. Hanson on Dreamers in Hell
The newest book in the Heroes in Hell Shared World, Dreamers in Hell is now out on Amazon. Heroes in Hell is the brainchild of Janet Morris, and is probably the most popular Shared World in the history of publishing.
I sat down and interviewed Michael H. Hanson, writer, poet, and editor, and talked to him.
Zauberspiegel: How did you go to Hell?
Michael H. Hanson: Within days of Janet deciding to resurrect the HIH series, I received an e-mail message from my friend Ed McKeown inviting me on board. It was Ed McKeown and Rich Groller who, on facebook, inspired Janet Morris to bring back the Heroes in Hell series. Ed is the official Editor of my SHA'DAA shared-world series, and, knowing my experience in shared-world anthologies, felt I would be a good addition to LAWYERS IN HELL, the first of the new HIH anthologies.
Zauberspiegel: Had you read the original books?
Michael H. Hanson: At the time I was invited on board, I had read two of the five original anthologies and one of the five original novels. As of this moment, I have read all of the books in the series, of course.
Zauberspiegel: I know a lot of the writers have a main character. Do you, and if so, why did you pick that particular character?
Michael H. Hanson: Actually, I decided I did not want to go that route, i.e., creating a single character or set of characters and use Hell as a background for their continuing adventures. I wanted to challenge myself, and so, each of my Hell stories in each new HIH volume has its own cast of characters in their own mostly standalone story.
Zauberspiegel: Who have you used, for characters, and why?
Michael H. Hanson: Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the father of the soviet space program, Odysseus, Wilbur Wright, and many others... I wanted an eclectic mix of real life people, and ones not always associated with high adventure. I also used the great French wire-walker Blondin.
Zauberspiegel: So you were trying to introduce the readers to people they wouldn't have heard of?
Michael H. Hanson: The main character in my first story, "The Register" in LAWYERS IN HELL is a purely fictional character loosely based on myself. He words for the Ratings Department for The Hell Register of Predominantly Damned Lawyers. I used my experiences as a former staff editor on the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory to fill in his background. I like using personal experiences to inform my characters. Also I'm a big fan of The History Channel and The Discovery Channel and am always finding out about new people I'd never heard of before. Sometimes I come upon a historical figure that I think might make a good playmate in Hell.
Zauberspiegel: You like history? (stupid question, I know)
Michael H. Hanson: History rules!
Zauberspiegel: And you like interesting people?
Michael H. Hanson: Absolutely. Let's be honest here, all of the REALLY interesting people are most likely going to end up in Hell IMHO.
Zauberspiegel: What had you written before entering the Heroes in Hell Shared Universe.
Michael H. Hanson: About seventy-five plus short stories published in various science fiction, fantasy, and horror venues. I created, and co-write, the ongoing SHA'DAA shared-world anthology series, which currently consists of three published anthologies and a fourth one is almost finished with its writing. I've published two mainstream collections of poetry, AUTUMN BLUSH and JUBILANT WHISPERS, and have compiled three more collections which I hope to publish soon.
Zauberspiegel: You've been busy :)
Michael H. Hanson: All of this has been done on my free time. My full-time day job is that of Staff Editor at The IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), which inspired my latest short story in DREAMERS IN HELL. IEEE is a great place to work, and I have no complaints about it, LOL. But I had fun with the acronym, as my latest story is about an annual convention for the ITTT, i.e., The Institute of Terrified and Tortured Technicians.
Zauberspiegel: Why did you start writing?
Michael H. Hanson: I wanted to be a screenwriter, and spent 12 years after graduating from Syracuse University writing a large stack of spec scripts. Unfortunately I never optioned or sold a single one, and so, shortly after turning 40 I embraced short stories and poetry instead.
Zauberspiegel: That sounds like Hell itself, not getting any sales. Of course you did get a lot of practice.
Michael H. Hanson: All rejection is hard. I made contact with an agent at CAA who looked at my work for a few years. I also had a contact from college who is now a successful Producer in Hollywoodland, and spent a few years sending him a handful of scripts for consideration. I received some positive feedback that my writing was good, but, unfortunately, did not get any serious nibbles. I like to think that all that script-work honed my skill at writing dialogue.
Zauberspiegel: What was your first sale?
Michael H. Hanson: A short-short story to the now-defunct online Alien Skin Magazine. It didn't pay much, but still, I was proud of the effort. I framed the check, never cashed it in.
Zauberspiegel: Alien Skin? Not sure I should ask...
Michael H. Hanson: Racy name, but it was a mainstream venue for science fiction.
Zauberspiegel: What are your future plans?
Michael H. Hanson: More short stories in future Hell volumes, more Sha'Daa anthologies, more books of poetry, and I have a couple of novels I've started that desperately need to get finished!
Zauberspiegel: Good luck Michael!
Monday July 8, 2013