Author Interview ~ Michael J. Sahno

I’d like to welcome Michael J. Sahno, author of Whizzers, to my blog.


Michael was born in Bristol, CT, where he began writing stories at an early age. He obtained a Master of Arts in English from Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY at the age of 24, then went on to become a full-time professional writer in 2001. Whizzers is his fifth full-length work of fiction.

Alright, lets get to the good stuff!

1. What is your name and do you write under a pen name?
Mike Sahno. No pen name, but I do use my full name, Michael J. Sahno, on my book covers.
2. Where do you call home?
Tampa, Florida, USA
3. Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I have been a full-time professional writer since 2001, so I’m rapidly approaching the point where I can’t imagine doing anything else ever again. I like what I do, and I’m very, very good at it. Lucky for me, as I’m not good at much of anything else!
4. What is your family like?
I’ve often referred to them as “my lovely dysfunctional family.” That’s accurate. They are dysfunctional, yet they are lovely.
5. If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Middle class.
6. Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
Running, collecting music, attending concerts. Pretty boring.
7. What is your greatest dream?
Would it be too beauty pageant-ish to say “World peace?” How about just world tolerance and politeness?
8. What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
I’ve reached the age where I don’t wish to be any other kind of person than the one I am.
9. Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?
Oh dear, I’m afraid so. One of many minor errors in judgment, which were followed by many major ones. Thank God for my current wife.
10. What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
In 2011, I developed tinnitus; broke my ankle; my first wife left me; and I had to have a parotidectomy surgery (don’t Google it; it’s gross). So, it wasn’t one thing, it was nearly an entire year of garbage.
11. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
Been writing since I was in high school. Inspired by so many: Kurt Vonnegut, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Balzac, Dickens…a slew of classics.
12. What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
My dream was to be a writer, and I’ve achieved it. I didn’t expect to have to work so hard on finding readers and making sales, but that’s evolved in a positive direction over time.
13. Who is your role model?
No one anybody reading this would know.
14. What is your greatest fear?
Being buried alive.
15. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
I prefer paperbacks, but I’ll take an e-book. I don’t listen to audiobooks at all, and hardcovers are too hard to handle for me.
16. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
17. What is your opinion of novellas?
I think they’re fine. People have such short attention spans these days, and a novella is not as much of a commitment as a door stop book. My latest novel is just slightly longer than a novella.
18. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
Probably not.
19. What is your favorite film based on a book?
Sophie’s Choice
20. What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction
21. What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
The Hook by Kathleen Doler is at the top of the list—because I just bought it!
22. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Just about to start the above mentioned ebook.
23. If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, Gandhi & Martin Luther King, Jr. Come on, who wouldn’t want to be here that conversation?

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

1. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
Whizzers. A recovering alcoholic, Mike, discovers his six-year-old nephew, David, travels through time as a whizzer to bring comfort to those in need.
2. Is the above book part of a series?
3. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
My designer, Robin Vuchnich came up with a variety of concepts, and this one spoke to me.
4. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
A lot of classic jazz, ECM label stuff, ambient. Mostly instrumental so I’m not distracted by lyrics while writing.
5. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
The subject matter of each is relevant to the titles. Nothing really weird or mysterious here.
6. Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?
Not yet.
7. In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
The lead character is a thinly-disguised fictional version of yours truly. I’m really, really nice.
8. What is your character’s greatest strengths?
9. And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?
10. What are some of his/her favorite foods?
I don’t think Mike ever eats anything in the book. Probably Thai curry.
11. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
12. Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
They will absolutely love him, because he’s so much me. If they don’t like him, they can buzz off.
13. What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
A very interesting conversation with someone else in recovery.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

1. What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I am a plantser. First, I let the characters lead me down all sorts of dark alleyways. When I no longer have any choice, I do some planning.
2. Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
Platform building and finding the right audience. I did this time all the things I wish I’d done initially.
3. Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
Self-published/indie with my own publishing company (not Amazon-only).
4. If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
I wanted to have complete creative control, and I don’t have any desire to give 15% of what I make to an agent.
5. What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? “Want to be writer?You’d better learn to dig ditches, too.”
6. Where can your readers follow you?
Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.


Whizzers Book Blurb: A recovering alcoholic, Mike, discovers his six-year-old nephew, David, travels through time as a whizzer to bring comfort to those in need. Mike soon finds himself along for the ride, and while he gets the opportunity to bring solace to some of his greatest heroes, he must also confront his own greatest demons.


Click on the book title to purchase your copy!

Brother's hand

BROTHER’S HAND by Michael J. Sahno

“Engaging.” “Masterful.” “Radiant.”

Small town upstate New Yorker Jerome Brothers loses his hand in a tragic fall, then falls even harder for his physical therapist, Maria Santisia. Can even the most romantic one-armed man get the girl…if she doesn’t get his full cooperation in therapy?

If you like character-driven fiction written with humor, heart, and compassion, then you’ll love Sahno’s work. Discover the fictional world of Carverville, New York today.

*Mature audience. Contains scenes of violence, sexuality.

– “Sahno writes with humor, heart, compassion, and a radiant energy all his own.” – Liz Rosenberg, Beauty and Compassion
– “A deeply felt tale and one entirely worth the telling.” – Jay Lemming, Billy Maddox Takes His His Shot
– “Not only an engaging story, but a masterful piece of writing.” – Amazon review

* * * * * 


MILES OF FILES by Michael J. Sahno

“Riveting.” “Fascinating.” “Hilarious!”
In Miles of Files, the main character, Paul Panepinto, an employee at Flambet Insurance, learns that his manager Graham Woodcock is stealing from the company. Paul struggles with whether or not to report the boss at the risk of losing his position. Eventually, Graham fires Paul anyway and Paul is forced to pursue justice, but the story doesn’t end as expected. Readers move through a fast-paced adventure with many twists and turns, including high points, drama, comedy, and an edge that Sahno captures through his writing.

*Mature audience. Contains adult language and situations.

“This is great writing.” – Quill Ink and Parchment
“When it comes to prose, I recommend every writer read his work.” – Amazon Review
“A great author. You definitely don’t want to miss out on reading this one!” – Long and Short Reviews
“This novel is so well written, I was blown away.” – Amazon Review

* * * * *


JANA By Michael J. Sahno

“Lyrical.” “Evocative.” “Totally captivating.”
Because of her sexual orientation, Jana Odessi loses her child care job. It’s not until she is halfway across the country on a road trip with her partner that Jana realizes she must decide whether she has the strength to return home and fight for her right to be herself.

Jana appeals to the LGBT audience because it depicts the struggles of young gay people in the mid-1990s with humor and heart. Sahno’s second novel leads to a dramatic courtroom showdown that will leave you breathless.

If you like character-driven fiction written with humor, heart, and compassion, then you’ll love Sahno’s work. Discover Jana’s world today.

*Mature audience. Contains scenes of discrimination, homophobia.

“This book kept me turning pages.” – Amazon Review
“A journey of discovery.” – Amazon Review

Picking the right editor!

editorAs a self-published author, the idea of finding an editor can be very daunting. Everywhere you look, there are a thousand people, with a wide range of experience, offering editing services that vary in price and level of detail. To say that making a decision on which editor is right for your project is easy would be stating a blatant lie. With so many choice… to many choices… you may be tempted to just hire the first editor you meet, but that could turn out to be the biggest mistake you could make for your manuscript. 

I consider myself lucky, in that I was able to find and connect with an editor early on who I feel really “gets” my writing style and author voice. Does that mean I would never hire a different editor? No, but it means that while things are working… we’ll keep working. Writing is a very personal experience. You spend days… weeks… months… and often years planning and writing your manuscript. It is important to find an editor who not only values your project but also your individual voice and style as an author. 

Considering I only published my first novel, Awaken (book 1 ~ The Blood Angel Series) back in 2012, I still think of myself as fairly new to the publishing game… publishing world. However, in that short time and with 7 novels (and a few author assistance guides) under my belt now, I have come up with a list of things that I believe are important to do/think about when picking the right editor for you. 

#1. Decide what type of editing help you’re looking for

  • Beta-Readers
  • Developmental/Substantive Editor
  • Content Editor
  • Copyeditor
  • Proofreader

Keep in mind that you will more than likely need more than one editor/edit pass on your book. I usually do a series of beta-reader edits and then a minimum of 3 professional rounds of edits. For more detail on the different types of edits, check out Shayla Raquel’s blog post, What Kind of Editor Do You Need?

#2. Determine your budget
It is important, before choosing an editor, to know exactly how much you have available to spend on editing. Be realistic, spend what you can afford right now, not what you think you can cover with book sales. Editing is important. In fact, it is essential to the success of your book. However, it DOES NOT SELL YOUR BOOK ON IT’S OWN!!! The book cover and the story you’ve written are what sells the book… the editing plays a huge part in the readers decision to continue reading, what kind of review (if any) they give your book, and whether or not they buy your next book. 

Once you’ve decided on a budget, don’t deviate. I recommend having an editing price range… What I want to spend and what I’m willing to spend if I find an editor that I just love!

#3: Do your research and make a list
Do your research and create a list of editors to include contact information, experience, offered services, pricing, client reviews/ratings, and what genres the editor works in (if applicable). An editor whose only experience is in technical manuals might not be the right editor for your Sci-Fi novel.

There are a thousand ways to get this information, but I recommend doing a Google search; request recommendations from fellow authors; Search LinkedIn and; search online author forums on NaNoWriMo, Goodreads, and any other author chat boards you can find!

Once you have a complete list of editors you should be able to find those that stand out above the rest.

#4: Narrow down your options
Start by deleting editors off the list.

  • Delete anyone that is absolutely out of your price range
  • Delete anyone who doesn’t offer the editing services you need
  • Delete anyone with less than adequate education or experience
  • Delete them if they just seem like they won’t be a good fit
  • Delete them if they don’t have experience in your genre
  • Delete them if their turnaround time wont meet your deadline
  • Delete them if they have negative client reviews/ratings

Don’t feel bad about being picky – you should be picky when picking your editor! What you should have left is a list editors whose price range, turnaround time, service offerings, education and experience, meet your expectations.

#5: Request a sample edit and complete reviews
Now is the time to make sure you select an editor you can work with. This person is someone you have to be able to trust… trust to help you mold and shape your manuscript… your creative baby! You can’t just pick an editor because they offer the services you need at a price you can afford. You want to be confident in your choice and the fact that their assistance is going to help move your story forward, and not backward.

The best way to do that is to review sample edits. Most good editors will offer a free sample edit or consultation on a few pages of your manuscript. If the editor isn’t willing to do this, delete them off your list and move on.

Take advantage of this opportunity for a sample edit, but don’t expect to send a different chapter of your manuscript to twenty different editors and call that a round of edits.  This is your chance to really get a feel for what it would be like to work with a particular editor. Send the same 2-3 page sample to all your prospective editors so you can compare their work – apples to apples. The more samples you get the easier it will be to choose the right editor for you.

Once you have as many sample edits as you can get, compare them! Look to see if the editor did a good job marking errors in punctuation, grammar, syntax, and work usage. (Tip: I like to include some specific errors when I send my sample… It allows me to test the editors and see who catches the errors and who doesn’t.) If the editor made suggestions/comments on sentence structure or dialogue, or how was their tone? Did they seem constructive or condescending? Did the editor keep their text suggestions within the same voice and style that you prefer? 

You are looking for an editor who not only has the technical abilities to edit your manuscript but also the skills to work with one on one with you and respect your creative process and writing style. This isn’t just about one book… on manuscript. If you can find an editor you work well with, an editor who understands your style and is willing and able to work within it, then you can build a wonderful working relationship with them. Like I said before, I’ve been working with the same editor now for 7 novels and I know exactly what I will get from her every time… LOTS OF AWESOME SUGGESTIONS AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM!  

#6: Hire your editor
Hopefully you were able to find an editor that gave you a great sample edits, with lots of awesome suggestions, who also respected your creative voice that seems like they would be easy to work with. If so, HIRE THEM! Hire them A.S.A.P. before someone else scoops them up and they are no longer available. There are a thousand editors ready to offer you their services, but finding a good one can be hard. When you find that good one… the needle in the haystack you grab them fast!

On the other hand, if you weren’t able to find the perfect editor – try again. Hiring an editor can be expensive, don’t settle for someone you aren’t excited about. Wait until you are sure you’ve found the right editor before putting out the money.

I have one last piece of advice and I say this not to scare you but to prepare you – The editing process sucks! You’ve worked long and hard to write your story… It isn’t easy to get it back from an editor who has had it a couple of weeks, maybe a month, and see it covered in bright red markings. Each edits poking at your soul like a personal insult.

With that said, as hard as it is to see your marked up manuscript, you don’t want an editor who will just tell you everything is great. That isn’t what you pay an editor for and in the end it would be a waste of your money. You want someone who will be completely honest with you, no matter how bad it hurts. 

When I got my first manuscript back from my editor, I cried. I took one look at it, flipped through the pages and cried. I didn’t pick it back up for a month. Then, when I finally took the time to read her edits, consider her suggestions, and really think about my story I knew she was right. In the end, my story is so much better because of the care and time she and I spent working through the issues the original manuscript had. It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are, in the end your editor will – if they are good – find things that MUST BE CHANGED in order to make your story the best it can be.  

Don’t pick an editor who makes you feel great about yourself, pick the editor that cares more about making your story great than coddling your feelings.  

Why I chose to Self-Publish instead of going the Traditional Publishing Route

self publishing

photo credit:

Did I consider going the traditional publishing route? Of course I did. There isn’t an author, or want-to-be author, out there that hasn’t daydreamed of being picked-up by a traditional publishing house, given a huge advance, and being allowed to write full-time without fear or worry of not being able to pay the bills. 

The reality is that daydream becomes a reality for far fewer authors than you’d think. With that in mind, self-publishing has become a great alternative to traditional publishing. Over the past few years, self-publishing has also become more and more acceptable as a form of professional publishing. 

The benefits of self-publishing are numerous: 

  1. You Can Make More Money
    Unless you are Stephen King or John Grisham you have the potential to make a lot more money by self-publishing than you will going the traditional publishing route – AS LONG AS YOU DO IT RIGHT! The money you can make from your book doesn’t end with book sales, you also have to consider the possible income from movie rights, audio books, author appearances, foreign rights, and special packages that you are able to offer when you maintain full rights to your work. 
  2. Control Over Cover Design
    As a self-published author, you have final say over what your cover looks like. You will have to hire a cover artist, unless you are artistically inclined, but you control the final product. When you go down the path of traditional publishing, your publisher will take on control of your cover and often you have little to no input on how the cover looks.  
  3. Speed To Print
    As a self-published author, you control when your book publishes! That doesn’t mean you should publish your first draft, but when you are ready to publish – after all formal rounds of edits – you are in control of hitting [PUBLISH]. If you go the traditional publishing route, your publisher determines your publish date. At the time your novel is complete, your publisher may determine that the market isn’t right for the genre, this can result in your book being shelved for an undetermined time… and sometime indefinitely. Self-publishing can speed up your publication date by a year if not more.
  4. Content Control
    As an author, you put your heart, soul, sweat, and tears into your book. As a self-published author, you publish your book – the book you want to publish! As a traditionally published author, your book is changed – adapted – converted – whatever you wan to call it by the numerous interns, editors, publishers, and marketers at the publishing house. By the time your book goes to print, it may not even resemble the story you had originally set out to tell. Traditional publishers control character development, story arc, even the ending of the story, and so much more. If they say change it – you changed it. In the world of self-publishing, you determine what needs to be changed. You’re editor will give you suggestions, but you decide which of the suggestions you’re going to take and which ones you’re going to toss out with last weeks trash. 
  5. Avoiding Stress
    You are worthy! Why put yourself through the stress and anxiety of submitting your manuscript to hundreds of publishing houses only to be turned down time and time again. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how good you are – you can be turned down by a publishing house. Their acceptance is often based on the market – what is selling at the time of your submission. The following is a short list of BEST SELLING AUTHORS who were all rejected at one time or another: 
  • H.G. WELLS

NOTE: This list is just a small sample of best-selling authors who received that dreaded rejection letter… the list could go on and on and on.