Brian Anderson
Brian Anderson asked Michael J. Sullivan:

How important is your relationship with your fans as it pertains to your stories? Do they influence the way you write?

Michael J. Sullivan Hey Brian, a great question. Thanks for asking. My relationship with my fans is EXTREMELY important...and is reflected in everything I do. I've had stories that have taken me months (or even years) to write that I'm put int the "circular file" because they weren't good enough for my readers. I also am a big advocate to self-published authors to NOT publish unless you are able to produce a book that is every bit as high quality as what a traditional publisher releases. I'm a big believe in selling no "wine before it's time" as the old ad goes.

I look at my readers as my patrons. They keep a roof over my head and food on my table. A very important relationship to be sure, but it goes beyond that because they provide me with fuel that energizes me to produce. Writing a book is its own reward, but when I hear hoe much people have enjoyed it, all that pales in comparison. It takes an already incredible "job" an elevates to a level I just can't get on my own.

As to influence on the way I My voice is my voice and I can't write anything else but. But it does play a small part in "what" I write. For instance, Riyria. When I got done with those six books or Revelations it never occurred to me to write more Royce and Hadrian books. I had ideas for "other" parts of Elan (like the origin story of Novron which I'm writing now). But no plans for the duo that play such a vital role in Revelations. But i had so many people clamoring for more (including my own wife) that I decided to put out some more tales with them. I'm very hyper-sensitive to them overstaying their welcome so I listen REALLY carefully to reader feedback. This has made me decide to do a third Chronicle book...but if there are any more after that, it will be because of feedback that comes in once that is out.

Similarly, I'm in a holding pattern with regards to Hollow World. That was a book that I had no intention on writing. When I got done with it, I had a number of ideas for sequels. Will I write more? It depends. I'm still gathering information on that. The truth is I have only so many years left to live and more stories than I can tell in that time, so I need to pick and choose.

One thing that never happens is me writing a book I'm not interested in because the readers want it. I get A LOT of requests for stories about Royce in his Black Diamond days. I won't be writing that...he was just so horrific back then that if I wrote him "in character" it would be a miserable, dark, and violent book. That's not the kind of book I want ot read, and so not the type of book I want to write. So no amount of pressure to do that will make the difference.

So in conclusion there will always be books that I write "just because I want to." I would never put out a book BECAUSE of reader demand. But if there is enough demand for a project that I also want to write, then yes it can really make the difference for books that I might not have written without that kind of feedback.

Oh, and for those that don't know Brian is a very accomplished fantasy writer in his own right...check out his work and if you like what you find by all means support him!

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