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Interview with Michael Hilton

How did you become a writer?

Star Wars. Seriously. I saw the re-release in the theater when I was six. As soon as that opening crawl flashed on the screen with John Williams's fanfare blaring in my young, impressionable ears, I knew I had to create experiences through stories. You might say that was my birthday as a writer. Thanks, George Lucas.

What inspires you to write?

The ability to take readers on a journey and impart an experience that we can all share. It's what I call "the magic," that thing that lights your imagination on fire and allows you to explore universal questions and ideas.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

I always want to express something or explore a question in my work. When I have an idea, the main character usually creates him/herself out of necessity to the story, and I can always see the beginning and end of the narrative. This gives rise to a natural character arc. It's those tricky middle parts that I have to hammer out. That's when secondary characters and obstacles pop up to challenge the protagonist. If all goes well and I don't bang my head too hard on the keyboard, a decent first draft materializes.

Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?

I really want my stuff to be flawless, as I think we all do, but it's not going to happen. I have to give myself permission to write something bad, otherwise, I might freeze up and not write at all.

Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?

Bobby's a teenager who's the only human on a robot-inhabited planet, and it's up to him to prove to the bots the human race is worth restarting. When a beautiful girl crash lands on his world, he questions everything, including what it means to be human. I love this about him, the way he wants to do what's right by seeing things a different way. He struggles with perfectionism, which I think we all do at times. His journey to break those old beliefs and behaviors is really inspiring to me.

How does your antagonist create conflict?

Gamma, the planet's robot overlord, is the definition of perfectionism. He represents everything Bobby can't achieve as a human. His unrealistic expectations drive Bobby to the brink of despair.

What are your current/future projects?

I'm currently working on the Bobby Robot series, exploring some pretty cool themes in the second book. I'm also contributing to a fairy tale anthology with the North Texas Writers.

Do you have a routine you follow when writing?

Stare at the page. Panic. Write. Drink coffee. Feel good. Find plot hole. Try not to despair. Fix plot hole. Feel better. Go to bed way too late. Repeat.

I wouldn't recommend it.

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Don't get discouraged. It's okay to not get it right the first time.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write with your personality. Your brain is uniquely yours, so use it as a strength. Whatever you're a nerd about, inject it into your story! Look at the explosion of this retro 80's vibe in media now. The writers of those books and movies love that culture, and look how it resonates with audiences. You have a perspective and a passion that will resonate with others too. And also, never, never, never, never give up.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?

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