The day for Steveston resident Mike Shackle starts at 5 a.m., before his wife and two children wake.
It’s a time of solitude for Shackle, a time dedicated to his writing. It’s also been his routine for the past 13 years.
Shackle, a creative director originally from London, has been writing fantasy novels and published 10 books, including seven under his pen name Mike Morris, and has sold more than 60,000 copies worldwide. His new book, Until the Last, is the most recent of his most well-known “The Last War” trilogy and will hit the shelves in July.
“Someone described it as Quentin Tarantino meets Game of Thrones, which I thought was a wonderful description,” Shackle told the Richmond News, adding that the new book features a war with the pre-requisite “bad guys” but all the heroes die in the first couple of chapters.
“Then it's about ordinary people living in terrible times trying to find hope and courage to fight back and become free once more.
“It's a very dark book, it's very realistic, and it doesn't spare any punches.”
Writing wasn't something 'ordinary people do'
Shackle has always loved reading and had ideas “floating around his head,” but he never thought about writing his own book because “it wasn’t something ordinary people do”.
One day he was complaining about a friend’s book draft to his wife, who then said, “well, at least he’s written a book. You haven’t done that.” He took that as a challenge.
His first book took two years to complete, only to get rejected by publishing companies. The same happened to his second and third books over three to four years.
“I got very downhearted. I thought I'm never ever going to be published and why am I wasting my time doing this?” he said.
“Then I listened to a podcast and an author I like came out with a brilliant expression: ‘The longer you dance naked in the rain, the better the chance you have being hit by lightning,’” recalled Shackle.
“I realized at that point, if I stopped writing, I would guarantee I would never be a published author. But if I carried on, I still had a chance. I got to keep going.”
Book was a hit in the UK
He then started writing the trilogy which was published by Gollancz, one of the biggest fantasy and science fiction publishers in the U.K., and it was a hit.
Shackle said writing has changed his life in every way and encouraged people to also pursue their passion.
“It all comes down to how much you want to do it, and if you enjoy it as much as you think you do, it's easy to give up something else to find that time,” he said.
“Writing a book is difficult, but if you wrote 200 words a day, you'd have a book by the end of the year. And there's the actual pleasure in creation as well."
Shackle said people can get worked up about how many views they are going to get on their video or how many people are going to buy their book, but "none of that really matters."
"Because at heart, you've got to love creating and making stuff, and write the story that you want to see in the world. If you do that, everything else follows.”
The book will be available this summer online at Indigo, White Dwarf Books in Vancouver and on Amazon.