Provex City, the debut novel from Southern California resident Michael Pierce, is a young adult fantasy story centered around 15 year old Oliver Grain. When Grain moves to a new house in a new town, he is confronted with bullies at school and a ghost in his bedroom. After his history teacher takes an interest in him, Grain learns how to see things in new ways and open doors he never knew existed. Grain soon finds himself on his way to Provex City, where he encounters a danger he never could have imagined.
I recently sat down with Pierce to learn more about the magical world of Provex City and the inspirations behind his writing.
Examiner: First off, can you tell us more about the world of Provex City?
Michael Pierce: The world of Provex City is described in greater detail in the second book of the series, SUSY Asylum. Sorry, that’s kind of a copout answer. When I pictured the city for the first time I saw a strange mixture of New York City and Hong Kong multiplied by a hundred, with red and blue glowing buildings that reached past the clouds. It’s advanced and different, yet at the same time eerily similar to cities of our own. Their doctors practice energy healing and the city runs on a great many thought activated devices. And then there are the voices…
Examiner: Your main character Oliver is a teenager. Was it hard to get inside the head of a teenager and write with his voice? Are there similarities between Oliver and your teenage self?
MP: I put a lot of myself into Oliver. I put him in a few situations that were almost therapeutic for me. I was never bullied to the extent Oliver was, but the inspiration for his interactions with the bullies stemmed from personal experience. Until recently, since high school I had worked in retail customer service. Throughout that time I spent much of my days with high school and college students. Even with the adult experience I’ve gained over the past few years, I still don’t feel that far removed. Writing from a teenage perspective still feels natural to me.
Examiner: What inspired you to write Young Adult fiction?
MP: I received my first spark of inspiration while reading the Harry Potter series. I was inspired to find the series being read by so many adults and people who weren’t avid readers. When I got to an end of a chapter, I didn’t want to stop. When I reached the end of a book, I just wanted to pick up the next one. And when I reached the end of the series, I was speechless. I was inspired. I was inspired to start writing. I had written a lot of short stories and poetry when I was in school, but I was never serious about becoming an author. Harry Potter opened my eyes to new possibilities.
Examiner: In Provex City, Oliver is confronted with the ghost of a boy who committed suicide and asked “Do you believe there is more around you than you are currently seeing?” What about you? Do you believe in ghosts and the possibility that there is more to our world than what we can see?
MP: I’d like to believe in ghosts, but like Oliver, I’m a Doubting Thomas. I’ve lived in a suicide house, and I thought if I was ever going to see a ghost, it would have been there. I believe there is so much out there that we don’t currently see, and with as much as we know, there is so much we will never understand. And I find that interesting and exciting because it gives me a lot of questions to ask and adventures to discover. What more can I ask for as a writer?
Examiner: Provex City is book one in the Lorne Family Vault Series. How many more novels to you have planned for the Lorne Family story?
MP: The series will be four books in total.
Examiner: If you could name one thing you would like readers to take away from Provex City, what would that be?
MP: Oliver’s mentor, Mr. Gordon says, “When you believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” The basic message states that if you believe in yourself and you’re steadfast to pursuing your goals, then you can reach them. Provex City takes that idea and builds a mystical, fast-paced adventure around it.
Examiner: When will your upcoming book SUSY Asylum be available? Can you give us a preview of what is coming next?
MP: I am working hard to have it out by the end of the year. At this point, I’m in the early rounds of editing the manuscript. SUSY Asylum takes Oliver and his friends deeper into the realm of Provex City, probably further than they would have liked to go. And not everyone will make it home. I presented a guest blog post a few weeks back written by Cdre. Chaos, a character introduced in SUSY Asylum, that presents my first real introduction to the book. You can read it HERE.
If you’d like to learn more about Pierce and his writing, visit his website here.
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