Home > NewsRelease > In Conversation With Michael Ryan Hahn Author of Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War
In Conversation With Michael Ryan Hahn Author of Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War
Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Thursday, November 9, 2023


Bee Lindy

Bee Lindy has beenwriting book reviews since she was a child. Her notebooks are full ofreviews that she wrote before she had her first personal computer.

Before the advent ofthe Internet, Bee had her first personal computer, and has been savingreviews on computer files ever since.

Her first reviewsappeared in her high school and college news papers many moons ago.

More recently she haswritten reviews as a guest reviewer on various book blogs.

Professionally, she isa fundraiser for various non-profit organizations which entails agreat deal of writing. Bee lives with her husband and two dogs.

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Bookpleaures.com welcomesas our guest Michael Ryan Hahn. This is Michael’s debut novel andthe first in a planned 7-part series, The Anthem of Ash &Pistols.

He previously wrote astandalone horror novella called Children of the Storm.

He recently released anadventure podcast in the style of old radio plays called FirePockets.

His stories aim to weaveexciting action with humor and heart, with complicatedvillains—probably because of his upbringing. He comes from a bigol' raucous family, and he survived a shockingly bruising (but notaltogether unfun) cadre of violently delinquent Boy Scouts to becomean Eagle Scout. He loves fight scenes.

He lives in Los Angeleswith his wife. In his spare time, he designs custom habitats forcats.

The habitats are highlypopular with the cats.

Bee: Welcome Michaeland thank you for taking part in this interview. What is yourfavorite scene in the book? Why?

Michael: I love theending. And I can’t say why, because that would spoil it! Butanother favorite scene, probably a third of the reason I wanted towrite this story, is the chapter concerning the wedding. The Puniminare throwing a wedding in secret, way out in the woods where they’resure the Strelkie won’t catch them. It’s meant to be aclandestine affair, though they can’t help themselves from throwingthe biggest, loudest, roaringest rebel party of their lives. They’veall brought weapons with them just in case, even though they thinkthey’re safe. The trouble is, someone in the family has betrayedthem to the king…

Bee: Where do you getthe names for your characters?

Michael: I have two rulesfor names in this book series. The first is that the names have tosound cool, and as easily pronounceable as possible. That’s just ataste thing. The second rule is more of a system. In this world, thePunimin surnames come first, and they have to do with your family’strade. The Clock family makes clocks and calendars, the Pistol familyshoots and fights ferociously, the Teeth family are dentists, theIrons are generally blacksmiths, and on like that. It’s importantto Punimin to do it this way because all babies, both Punimin andStrelkie, are sorted at birth by “neutral examiners.” It’s away the Strelkie control their society. They pick who lives inStrelkie City and who lives in the Punimin wilderness. Your cultureis assigned at birth. Most Punimin families are more thanhalf-adopted. So, the surname is especially important to the Punimin,as no one can tell at a glance whose family you were born in to. Asfor the Strelkie, their names are surname last, and have more to dowith sounding impressive than meaning anything in particular. Thatsociety has no families—people are romantically partnered onthree-month cycles in an effort to create the king’s ideal of aUnified Society. Children are rotated as well. It’s all about theking’s control. That’s why the names in Strelkie society are moreabout the individual—no one has a tribe. There are other continentsand countries in the forthcoming books, and they have their ownnaming conventions as well. So, there’s quite a lot to it, but inthe end, the names also have to be fun to say.

Bee: How completely doyou develop your characters before beginning to write?

Michael: Some of themspring to life fully formed, with voices and dreams and fears intact.Other times, I begin with half an idea, and they tell me who theyare. For example, I wasn’t expecting the villain of the second bookto be who it is. That character just demanded it, and I followed. Afew characters are based a little bit on people I’ve known, butreally more as combinations of people. Those tend to be the ones whogo running wild and become the bigger unexpected heroes or villains.Maybe because the chemistries of their characters aren’t quitemixed yet, and in my experimenting, sometimes they explode. I willsay that when a character needs to die, I’ve noticed that I eithertend to develop them in a way where their death will be tragic andseverely effect another character’s road, or I try to make themreally deserve it to the point where you might cheer when they gettheir satisfying comeuppance. 

Bee: How does beingfrom a large family impact your writing?

Michael: I learned a lotabout point of view as a kid. People joke every Thanksgiving aboutwhat on earth are they going to do when these familial cultures clashat the table. Well, that was every night for me for many years! Ilike to think it makes me aware of when I’m drifting too heavilyinto one point of view. And I know it keeps me from being neutral,because neutral is boring—unless it’s taking some kind of risk.But I like best when I can tell a story that makes people whocompletely disagree on something feel like they both perfectly relateto the same thing. They might relate for opposite reasons, but theyrelate the just the same. Something about that feels good.

Bee: Tell us about yourcover. Did you design it yourself? 

Michael: I did! It’sbased on my parents’ wedding photo. They have this silhouette photoI remember seeing every day of my childhood. I asked some familyabout it and they all remember it too. Something about the image justburned into our minds. So, I thought that would be great to use forthe cover and to share. I added a slew of weapons, and they boththought it was great. I also wanted to have a painterly quality tothe whole thing, so I went about doing that as well. I’ll also notethat no AI was, or will ever be, used in my writing or cover designs.In fact, on the inside page, I have a logo called “M.F. MachineFree, No Artificial Intelligence Was Used.” It’s a declarativemark, very human-drawn-looking, professing my stance against lettingmachines replace our God-given creativity. I think tools are great,but replacing your mind with machines isn’t. Anyone is free to usethat mark in their work if they want to.

Bee: What writers haveyou drawn inspiration from?

Michael: I’m a big fanof J.R.R. Tolkien, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, William Goldman, andJerry Seinfeld. Can you imagine a lunch with all of them?

Bee: What was yourfirst job?

Michael: I was hired as akid to do yard work at a neighbor’s large property in the woodswith this incredibly shifty gravel driveway on a ridiculously steephill with death drop-offs on either side. I drove the truck off thedriveway, down the side of the hill, and through the yard. I managedto not crash into the pond. That might’ve been my first drivinglesson: gravity doesn’t care about what you think.

Bee: What do you dowhen you are not writing?

Michael: I’m a filmmakerfirst, so I’m often working on a film project (ALIEN THEORY) or ahilarious podcast (FIRE POCKETS). I’ve been doing a lot withconstruction lately, and helping friends with their creative projectshowever I can.

Bee: What book/s areyou reading at present? 

Michael: I’m rereadingand reading some for the first time) Kurt Vonnegut’s entirecollection of stories. And, frankly, I’m reading way too manytweets.

Bee: What are youcurrently working on?

Michael: Book II of TheAnthem of Ash & Pistols. The ending of Book I is such that Ithink people will be completely surprised where the story goes fromthere. The writing is well into revisions now. And I’ve workedahead on some of the other books, too. I’d like to release thewhole series at a reliable clip, so no one has to wait too long tosee what happens next. It’s looking good. I’m a deadline hound.

Bee: Thanks once againand good luck with all of your endeavors.

Michael: I’d just liketo thank you for this interview and encourage anyone who enjoysPistol Rose and her fight against tyranny to share as much. You cancheck michaelryanhahn.com for updates, and tag me @michaelryanhahn onTwitter. I hope this book stirs the good fire in your heart.

Follow Here To Read Bee's Review of Pistol Rose

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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