I write non-fiction, fiction and science fiction. For this book,
fiction was necessary because the story takes place in the U.S. in the not-too-distant past.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Occasionally I’ll get stuck while writing, not actually a “block,” but
rather a crossroads in the story – a particular direction or event
that has to occur – but I don’t know exactly how to make it work.
However, this is the beauty of fiction; the author is in total control
and can bend characters and situations toward whatever is needed to keep the story rolling.
When and where do you do your writing?
I write at home, on the Boca Rio Sierpe, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica. I sit at a desk facing the river and the ocean; at high tide the waves hit the beach only fifty meters in front of the house. Occasionally, I’ll look up over the water and think about the book, daydream about it, choosing the best words and phrases. (We’re at sea level and the ocean is rising; the house will have to be moved eventually!)
I live with seven cats and they’re going in and out, up and down, and we’re always interacting. They provide periodic distractions, which keep me emotionally balanced and mentally agile. I usually do household and property chores early in the morning, then write the rest of the day.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
Promotion is extremely difficult. Two of my books are with publishers and they do the promotion, but I have to promote my self-published books. I publish with Amazon, but there are millions of books for sale on Amazon and all authors are screaming for attention. Also, there are very few promotional options available for self-published authors, especially authors that live in an isolated jungle/ocean environment. My internet connection is weak and unreliable, but it’s the only way I can promote.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I’m most proud of having written a few coherent books that people actually like. It’s not easy. Writing takes time and opportunity, and in the modern world time and opportunity are scarce. For many years, I could only write in the evenings or on weekends because I was too focused on work and survival. Then I was fortunate to inherit a small amount of cash, which allowed me to devote more time to writing.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I admire so many writers, it’s hard to single out someone that I’d love to have dinner with, so I’ll pick one at random; James Clavell. I’ve always been impressed with his writing, especially his Asian series. “Shogun” was an absolute classic of historical fiction. I’d love to ask Mr. Clavell about how he does his research. Writing about medieval Japan must have been a great challenge, but he did an excellent job. I have daydreams about writing something similar – a fictionalized account of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation around the world. I’m sure I would benefit immensely from any advice or suggestions from Mr. Clavell.
Later, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson will join us for an after-dinner drink – vodka with grapefruit juice for Dr. Thompson and maybe a puff or two of mota – and we’ll talk about Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail!
Michael Cruit was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. He served three years in the United States Army, including thirteen months in Vietnam. After his discharge he attended the University of Minnesota, earned a degree in sociology and entered the graduate program in social psychology. In 1980 Mr. Cruit went to Costa Rica to write his dissertation, but never returned to the US.
Social psychology was not useful for survival in the rainforest and he endured several years of poverty. He survived by panning for gold and making coconut oil, then paddling upriver six hours to the nearest town, where he sold the gold and coconut oil and purchased supplies. Eventually, he learned carpentry and made a decent living working on local construction projects.
There are no roads, no power lines, no phone lines anywhere near his house. A pelton micro-hydro system provides enough electricity for lights, fridge and computer. He still lives in the Costa Rican rain forest, with seven cats, five dogs, thousands of parrots, toucans and monkeys and billions of bugs.