This is the story of one very bad day within a fire department and the fire fighters and family members who go through professional and personal issues. It is a story of love and devotion but also of betrayal of the worst kind. It is about human beings struggling to deal with fear, pain, and loss.
Michael Erving has joined me today to discuss the human struggle in his novel ‘Fire and Ice’. Michael, thanks for joining me today. I know that you’re on a tight schedule so let’s get straight down to business. Where did the idea for ‘Fire and Ice’ originate?
The original idea for the book came to me when I was a senior in high school one winter day. The story is about a disaster during a winter storm.
I would imagine that those initial ideas have developed over the years based on your personal experiences. Is that correct?
Yes. This story is based upon my own personal recollections of fires and medical emergencies I actually been on.
Are you currently working as a firefighter, or have you worked as a firefighter in the past?
Now I am a flight paramedic. However, I have years of firefighting, emergency management, paramedic and military experience. I drew on all of this to write the book.
Wow, it is clear that your previous experiences from multiple sides of the emergency services would have put in good stead for writing this book. Did you personally feel that this experience was adequate, or did you also investigate any things that you felt would help ground this story?
Yes, it is based upon the research of numerous United States fire departments. In particular their operating procedures and response protocols.
Did you find that the characters were easy to work with during the course of writing? How did they come to life?
The characters are based upon many people who I have met in my lifetime.
And when you combined your personal experiences, characters and other research together what did you find was the most rewarding aspect of getting this story onto paper?
Being able to tell a story of firefighters as they really are and not as many television shows and other entertainment sources have portrayed them over the years.
As you feel that the firefighters that you’ve previously seen on screen weren’t quite right, if they did decide to translate your book onto the screen which actors do you feel would be able to portray your characters with enough integrity?
Will Smith, Tamlyn Tomita, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Ealy, Terrance Howard, Sharon Leal Black, Tom Hanks, Eva Longoria.
Nice selection. I’m thinking that with those names in the cast there shouldn’t be many problems with a lack of depth. What is the most important thing that you wanted to say in your book?
Firefighters are men, women, married, unmarried, gay and straight who love their jobs. But they are also human.
And as they are human they will change and grow. Are you currently working on a sequel to show the progress of your characters after this milestone in their lives?
Yes, I am writing a follow up to the book set a couple years after this event.
I have to ask, what keeps you coming back to writing?
I love to tell a story. To make people feel for the characters and feel like they are there.
And how does the writing process unfold in order that you can make sure that your story connects with others? Do you have a structured writing process? For example, do you know where you are going to end when you start writing?
I have a general idea where I want the story to go but the path getting there may change many times before I get to the end.
As the path changes do you find yourself running into writer’s block? Have you figured out how to work through the challenge of writer’s block?
I have not quite figured that out yet.
Keep writing, hopefully more writing will allow you to explore more effective strategies for keeping you on the ball. Have you tried music to help fuel and focus your efforts? What kinds of music do you listen to when you write?
Depends on the story line at the time. Romantic music for a romantic part and fast paced music for an action part.
When you have your story coming together, do you find that self-editing is crucial?
I have a professional company edit the book for me.
Having a third party proof your work is a really good technique to get into. Other than using professional editors, do you have any other writing or self-publishing tips for authors?
Never give up on your dream. I started this story and process nearly 40 years ago and am still working on it. Never give up.
Never give up is fantastic advice. I love hearing authors who just keep trying until they got there, it must be immensely satisfying for you that you didn’t give up. Finally let’s do the quick fire round super fast to let you back to the real world. Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
That’s a shame. What is your zodiac sign?
What is your favourite ocean?
Are you introvert or extrovert?
Have you ever danced in the rain?
I feel that this is something that you should rectify, as there are many health benefits from being a fool and dancing in the rain :). Would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?
What is your favourite quote?
Every action has a political reaction.
Oooh, that is a good one. Are you left or right handed?
What color socks are you wearing?
What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
Yum. What is your favourite word?
I’m liking that world alot too. And finally, do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Never give up. One year from now, if you are blessed to see it, you will be one year older. Whether or not you lived your dream.
That is a wonderful place to wrap up today’s chat. Michael thanks for joining me today and I wish you the best of luck with your promotion of ‘Fire and Ice’.
Want to find out more about Michael Erving? Connect here!