Today, we are privileged to have an interview with author Michael Sarais. Michael has written the upcoming captivating contemporary novel All Of My Friends Are Rich, which comes out on 16th June (2020).
Recently, I got in touch with Michael via Instagram, and he kindly agreed to do an interview:
Where do you come from and has this place influenced your story at all?
I was born in a small town in Italy, and have lived in Stockholm, Orlando and finally London. London is the main background of All Of My Friends Are Rich. Not only the city itself, but also the characters of the story are quintessentially Londoners.
What three things inspired you to write All Of My Friends Are Rich?
I was inspired by my own struggles with keeping up with others’ lives, my own battle with bipolar, and the economic toll of living in a big city like London.
Your main character, Leo, suffers from bi-polar syndrome, depression, and low self-esteem, among other things. How familiar are you with these issues, and what research did you do to understand them better?
I am very familiar with both. While I have battled low self-esteem for my entire life, coming to terms with a bipolar diagnosis was something fairly recent. I was in a very dark place last year. Connecting with a character who is well and lives with bipolar on a daily basis was a great way for me to feel better. Also, I researched the extremes of the condition to see how far I could push it in order to create a dramatic tale.
This blogger: Michael, that is one of the most inspiring things I have heard in recent times. I cannot imagine the internal struggle you must have. Yet, you have (and still do) use your hardship in a constructive way. You should be so proud of yourself.
Leo seems to make some questionable decisions in the story. Can you please name three reasons why you think readers will root for him?
I think people will connect with Leo because we see the story and the world through his eyes. Yes, he can be shallow; and, yes, he makes mistakes all throughout the story. But he loves his friends like a family. He genuinely cares about social aspects, like animal rights, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. But I think, more than anything, people relate to his humour and quick wit.
This blogger: Humour and wit are the best ways to get people to like a character. I want to read Leo’s story already!
Who is the target audience for your novel? And why do you think the target audience will enjoy it?
I always envisioned the queer community being the main target. However, the more feedback I received from the story, the more I realised that so many people have experienced mental health issues and that so many can relate to the struggles of keeping up appearances for the sake of ‘looking fine.’ It’s almost like a ‘second coming-of-age story,’ only set at a time when you’re really expected to be a fully-fledged adult.
On a meta level, what does All Of My Friends Are Rich mean to you?
All Of My Friends Are Rich is essentially a love letter to friendship. It’s about those bonds that are so precious; especially, in a city where its inhabitants feel so lonely so often. It’s a story about growing up while making mistakes along the way, and finally learning from them.
This blogger: That is a wonderful message, Michael. I really hope that your readers take something from your story in a positive way.
Of all the characters in your novel, which one is the most like you? And why?
I have definitely infused Leo with a lot of my traits. I think I did this so that Leo’s struggles would appear more genuine, as I know I have had those same dangerous thoughts too. There are many aspects of him that I think he could work on, but that’s why he’s such a human character. He’s not perfect and will probably never be. But he truly does mean well.
This blogger: (*Smiles*.) I have infinite faith that the same is true for you – that you truly mean well, too.
If you could go back in time and speak with a young Michael Sarais, what advice would you give him about the writing process?
Goodness me! I would tell him to start writing regardless of self-doubts and to just believe in his writing abilities. And also SHOW, don’t TELL! Will save you a headache when editing!
What have you found harder – writing your novel or marketing it?
Unsurprisingly, the editing was the hardest bit. I thought I’d have issues with marketing as I am such a huge introvert. However, I found that connecting with the book community was one of the most rewarding things I could have done. If you’re excited about your book, other people will be too, and they will tell others about it.
Have any of your friends and family read All Of My Friends Are Rich? If so, how do you feel when they discuss it with you?
I would never let my family read it, as it’s so damn explicit! I’d be mortified. Some of my friends have read it and were extremely positive about it. It’s such a success for an author to see a reader cry because of the emotional content of the story. It’s incredibly gratifying.
This blogger: Wow! That must be incredibly gratifying, and you deserve every moment of it. Also, lol about not what your family to read it because it is explicit. That is very amusing. (*Laughs*.)
Are you writing another book at present? If so, can you tell us a bit about it please?
I am in the initial editing stages of another novel. It’s a standalone story about two boys who meet online, but live on opposite ends of the world. It’s a slight departure from All Of My Friends Are Rich, but tackles similar themes of loneliness and loss.
Lastly, outside of writing, what do you like to do?
I am a huge videogame nerd. Easily, I can spend half a day (or a whole one) going through J-RPGs or adventure games. Videogames have come a long way and, often, I think they are an underrated form of storytelling that is incomparable to books.
End of Interview
That brings an end to out interview with author Michael Sarais. I would like to thank Michael for his time and to say that it has been wonderful getting to know him. I wish him all the best with his next book and with his love of videogames.
Michael’s book – All of My Friends Are Rich – is coming out on 16th June, and you can get it on Amazon. The advanced reader reviews have been phenomenal, and I am greatly looking forward to reading the book upon its release.
Otherwise, follow Michael on Instagram, and check out his page on Goodreads, Book Depository and Barnes & Noble. That way, you can keep up to date with Michael, especially when it comes to his next book.
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