Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Today I’m excited to have Michael Pierce with us today to share about his debut book, PROVEX CITY, which was released March 5, 2012. I’m excited to share this with you because it’s an urban fantasy told from the POV of a male character. That is so refreshing in the YA market that has so many female main characters.

Here’s what the book's about:

Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?

Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: "When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls." And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.

Hi Michael. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 

I wrote a lot of short stories and poetry up through high school, but looked at it as a hobby. I wanted to be the next Stephen King, but I didn’t believe it was something I could really do. It wasn’t until a few years out of college, after reading the Harry Potter series straight through, that I had a moment of clarity—if I really wanted to do, I could! Then I wrote Provex City.

2.  I think the Harry Potter series motivated a lot of us to try writing. What are three unique things about your book that will make readers want to read it? 

Provex City has action for the guys, romance for the girls, and magic for the believers in all of us. I enjoy reading books that move fast and are filled with cliffhangers to keep you turning the pages, so that’s what I wrote. I also wanted to provide a positive message and revolved the book, and series, around advice Mr. Gordon gives to Oliver: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” Oliver is on a journey to gain belief in himself. 

3.  I enjoy fast paced stories too. I love stories that combine genres. Yours combines urban fantasy with some contemporary issues. What made you decide to do this and what were some of the challenges you faced in plotting your story? 

I felt it was important to talk about some real teenage issues like suicide, peer pressure, and bullying. I wanted my characters to appear real, and real teens have to deal with a lot of stuff. I wanted my main character, Oliver, to make mistakes and learn from them. But the main plot of the story and series revolves around fantasy elements, so I tried to find a balance to present them both in an interesting and entertaining way. 

4. The combination of fantasy and contemporary issues sounds unique. You’ve self-published your book. It’s critical for a good self-published book that it be revised enough and edited in some fashion. How did you approach this and what did you learn about writing from this process? 

I am lucky enough to have my best friend be a professional editor. Unfortunately, his company publishes text books, so I couldn’t get a publishing deal, but I got his editing expertise. After he went through Provex City, he introduced me to a freelance proofreader, who also did a round of editing. So the book’s been through quite a few rounds of editing. And I’m still keeping a list of small adjustments I want to give to Createspace for an updated edition in the coming months. 

5.  You are lucky! You chose to write your book from fifteen-year old Oliver’s point of view. Share why you decided to make him the protagonist and some cool things you learned about him through your story. 

For my first novel, it seemed easier or more natural to have my protagonist be someone I could easily relate to. It was fun having him presented with situations I went through in high school, but deal with most of them differently. Oliver is unsure of himself in a lot of situations, but he usually comes through when he stops over analyzing and acts.

6.  What made you decide to self-publish your book rather than go with traditional publishing? 
I queried agents for about a year and decided I wanted to take control of Provex City, from the edits I wanted to make to the cover art. I wanted it to be mine no matter what the future held. It’s definitely not the easy road, but I’ve learned a lot over that past year about formatting, e-books, and blogging. 

7.  It's great how self-published authors are so willing to share advice. Were there any resources you found helpful in the actual publishing part of this journey, like designing the cover, formatting, deciding where to sell it, etc.? 

Blogging has been invaluable with finding new resources like artists, designers, reviewers, and for promotion recommendations. Right now Provex City is only on Amazon because I started with Kindle Select to let Provex City be borrowed for free by Amazon Prime members. The catch is you have to be exclusive with Amazon to do that. I’ve now canceled Kindle Select so I can put Provex City on other sites like Barnes & Noble and iBookstore, which I plan to do soon.

8.  I think it’s brilliant to go on a blog tour like you’re doing now, well after your book was released. What made you decide to do this and how did you connect with Candace’s Book Blog & CBB Book Promotions to organize your blog tour? 

When I started blogging a little under a year ago I had no idea what a blog tour was. After connecting with some bloggers, I was encouraged to do one for Provex City. It had been on my long list of things to do for awhile. I was overwhelmed with the idea of setting a tour up for myself—and then I found that there were freelance blog tour organizers out there! I found Candace through Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I made a great choice; Candace has done a phenomenal job with putting this tour together!

9.  I really like these blogs too. What are you working on now? 

I am making my final adjustments to the second book in the series, SUSY Asylum, before submitting it to Createspace. So it should be available by April. And I’ve just started the first draft for book three, which I’m very excited about! I have four books planned for the Lorne Family Vault series.
Thanks Michael for sharing all your advice. You can find Michael at:

Book Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dVoKoIGY2E

And you can find the entire blog tour here

Here's details on the blog tour giveaway:

  •   Three winners will receive a paperback of Provex City and a $15 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
  •   Five additional winners will win paperback copies of Provex City. (INT) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's what's coming up next.

Next Monday, I'm interviewing Marie Lu and giving away an ARC of PRODIGY, her fantastic second book in her series. I'm SO excited to share Marie's book with you because it's so good. Marie is so kind to stop by for another interview, with her busy schedule. She's already had an amazing career as an author and I can't wait to find out what's been going on with her since she became a debut author a year ago.

The following Monday I'm interviewing Miriam Forster and giving away a copy of and ARC of her debut book, A CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS. It's a fantasy and mystery. When I got it, I picked it up to look at and literary couldn't put it down. It was fantastic and I'm excited to share it with you.

Wednesday that week hopefully I'll post about my trip to China. 

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!


Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Natalie, Hi, Michael,

What a terrific journey you are on Michael. Congratulations and ALL THE BEST.

I know what you mean about not have too many Male POV's in y/a. My second novel ... in query now ... has a seventeen-year-old male protagonist. It is important for teen boys to have someone to relate to. You book sounds great .... I'll look forward to reading it.

I have scene your second book across the blogoshere this week. Congrats and lots of luck with that as well.

Natalie thanks for featuring Michael.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

It was nice getting to know you, Michael. Best of luck!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Sia McKye~ said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts and I think Mr Gordon's advice will resonate with both young and old: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.”

Congratulations Michael!

Martina Boone said...

Thanks so much for sharing this interview! I never knew there were freelance blog tour organizers, although we've gotten requests from publicists. I love your courage in wanting to take control of your project from start to finish. That takes a lot of guts. I'm glad it's paying off for you and wish you the best of luck with what will hopefully be a long career.

mshatch said...

I agree with Michael about inserting elements into our stories about real issues. And I love the cover of Provex City!

Candace said...

First of all, thanks so much for hosting a tour stop Natalie! I absolutely loved the questions you asked!
And thanks so much for the shout out Natalie AND Michael. I'm very pleased with how the tour is going. I only tour books I fully believe in and its always exciting watching them gain momentum and become more well known. I hope many more will give this book a try!
And I agree, its one that has something for everyone!

Jessie Humphries said...

Even creating your own original artwork for the cover?! Wow. I am impressed.

MeganC said...

Provex City sounds like an interesting book. I always like a strong male MC. I am also impressed with how quick to give advice authors are, and think that Michael gave some great advice of self publishing. Good luck with your book!

Christina Lee said...

First, such cool book titles. Second, great interview. I'm now wondering about this series for my son.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Natalie and Casey, for hosting me with an interview today. You had great questions that were fun to answer. I so appreciate you being a stop on the tour! :)

Michael, thank you for the comment and best of luck with your querying!

SA, thank you! :)

Sia, I hope so. Thanks so much!

Martina, thank you! It wasn't an easy decision.

Mshatch, thank you!

Candace, you're awesome! :)

Jessie, I hope this isn't a letdown...but I wanted control over the coverart concept-wise, but I don't have the artist talent for it. SO what you see is exactly what I envisioned, but done by a professional artist.

Megan, thank you!

Christina, I'm excited you like the titles because I went back and forth a lot.

Stina said...

I think you did an awesome job, Michael, with the cover. I've heard of blog tour promoters. I think they're a great idea to get more people outside your blogging circle to see your book.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Already own it - just need time to read it! Glad you'll have it available in the iBookstore though. That is my first source for books. (Due in part to my never-ending supply of iTunes cards.)

CG @ Paper Fury said...

I love books that combine fantasy with contemporary issues! This book sounds really cool (and the title is great too!).

Uttley said...

Hi Natalie.
Your blog is awesome!
I'm just starting out.
Hey, I thought of a good meme for a blog hop.
If you can find the time, please check out my post about it at http://wp.me/p2nDxG-cc and maybe you could help me get the word out about it by doing a quick little post on it or something. Sorry, I know you're very busy. But I really could use the help. Any advice where to post about it?

Meradeth Houston said...

Provex City sounds really interesting! I love books with a male MC. Definitely going to have to check it out. Great interview too!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Hi Uttley,

I probably wouldn't mention the meme only because I don't really do them. Perhaps you could contact Casey to post a Tuesday Tip and you could mention it in the post. She'd also shout out about your post. You can find her contact info on the Contact Us page at the top of the blog.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Provex city sounds cool. A little like my MG book where my 9 going on 10 year old protagonist has to fight bullies and his fear of exams. Looking forward to reading the book.

Lydia Kang said...

There is so much to learn about self pubbing. I find it intimidating! Provex sounds like a fun read. :)

Heather said...

Yay for male MC's in urban fantasy! I love it, it's far too rare. I wish Michael the very best of luck with it.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love books that blend genres as well - and it's great to hear about a male character in a UF book. We don't have enough of those! Sounds like a great story :)

Val said...

This book sounds different, fresh.

Nice interview.


TerryLynnJohnson said...

looking forward to hearing about your trip to China! And I'll watch for that chance to win Miriam's book! WOW! Good score to get an ARC of that!

Unknown said...

best part of this post is Provex City has action for the guys, romance for the girls, and magic for the believers in all of us
new orleans attractions