The Phoenix and the Carpenter is a fantasy novel by author Michel Waylander, published in 2021. It follows a phoenix named Zaiya, who descended to the ground to search for a mate who would help her procreate, as they need a human to do so in order to limit the population of such powerful and magnificent beasts. But things went wrong for her when she gets captured by a vicious sorceress. Will she be able to free herself from that curse? If yes, then how? Read to find out.
After the release of the book, we, at Vowelor, had an exciting conversation with Michel about his writing. But, before we continue with his interview, here’s a little something about him:
About the Author: Michel Waylander
Michel Waylander is a German writer based in the UK and has recently published his fantasy fiction novel, The Phoenix and the Carpenter. Michel always enjoyed reading, especially fantasy. He started writing his own book when he felt heartbroken by the fact that no fantasy fiction stories have happy endings and all he needed was something to cheer him up.
Further, Michel shared his life, writing journey, inspirations, and more interesting things about himself. Here are all of his interesting answers:
Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, passions, etc.
I am currently employed in the UK while my family stayed in Germany. The area I am living in right now is very quiet and I am surrounded by nature. I also found many new friends here – including a certain Jackdaw, who enjoys the area as well.
When and where were you born and bought up?
I was born in Newmarket in Germany and grew up in Nuremberg. Best of three things: Born “Oberpfälzer”, grew up in Franconia and all of that is in Bavaria.
What were you like in your childhood? Any good memory you would like to share?
A bookworm, mostly. Starting with Karl May and Perry Rhodan but quickly switching to all kinds of fantasy literature.
“The magic and the healing” was my first English book – and I remember reading it with the dictionary next to it. It was a pain, but the next book in English was much easier already.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement till today?
Publishing my books of course!
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
Difficult question there. I had a bad time and tried to find a decent book that could cheer me up. But any book or series I picked up ended in a disaster and lacked the happy end. So I decided to write down “something” myself.
Which writers inspire you?
Alexander Bizzell. The Gryphon Generation. He used one sentence in his Kickstarter campaigns that I took to heart:
“You will create someone’s favorite book, you just have to write it.”
Writing is stressful at times. How do you relax your mind?
Taking a walk outside, reading, computer games or music.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“No matter how bad the day is. Give the day after the chance to be better.”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Pick something and focus on it, stay focused until you achieved your goal. Choosing one path does not close down all other paths.
What kind of books do you like to read personally? What are you reading currently?
Fantasy, SciFi not so much. I am kinda stuck with “A Dragon for Christmas” by Marc Secchia.
If you could have been the original author of any book, which one would it be and why?
Another difficult one. I pick “A Kestrel for a Knave”, simply because I would like a different ending. The fact, that most stories with “animal companions” end with the animal either dead, chased away or it simply leaves makes me sad.
How is your day structured; do you have a special time to write or is it pretty much random?
I use a weekly schedule instead of a daily one, but writing time is completely random. It works better between midnight and 4 am, though.
What or for whom do you write; is it for the readers or yourself or something else entirely?
I would like anyone that is feeling down and reads my books to feel a little better.
And of course, enjoy the story and characters!
About the book: The Phoenix and the Carpenter
What genre is your book? What draws you to this genre?
Was there something that made you write this book?
At first, I just wanted a feel-good story. But experiencing the “4 lords” myth (final fantasy online created a really good take on that!), somehow touched me deeply and changed the whole concept I had in mind.
In short: An eastern Hero is kind of an outcast from society due to his abilities and gathers special – also outcast – animals around him. One of them, “The red bird from the south” fell in love with him. She resembles a legendary bird that supposedly can give immortality, so she was chased her whole life for that – but he only cared for all of them as friends.
End of story: He dies.
The twist: In the legend, the older animals are, the more powerful they get. And “soon” after, she really gains that legendary ability – but the one she loved is already gone.
What makes ‘The Phoenix and the Carpenter’ stand out in this genre?
In my opinion, the character development Zaiya goes through is very important and something I have not yet seen. She starts as a slightly entitled, uncaring, and very powerful being and becomes attached, caring, and trying to stay in the background to observe and experience life on the ground that her kind usually doesn’t care about.
There are also many twists and turns, hidden agendas and ideas, and dark schemes in the background that get unrevealed over time. I wanted many “Aha!” moments when the reader remembers something that happened before and can then see more of the picture, like a puzzle, where the story first draws the red line across, then adds more pieces around it to show a very different scene than you might have believed.
Why do you think a reader should pick this book over anything else?
It breaks with many boundaries and traditions and I wanted to show, that even a powerful character doesn’t have an easy life – you just have to build a story around it.
The book has themes like acceptance, support, love, the idea of developing control over one’s present attributes, and a lot more. What were the hardest and the easiest things or ideas to incorporate?
The reason for the phoenix to come down to earth. It breaks with a lot of boundaries. Once the decision was made, it was easy to continue the story and build upon it.
Even with the evil twist at the end of book 2. 🙂
Is there any memorable experience you’d like to share throughout the writing process of ‘The Phoenix and the Carpenter’?
Stay true to yourself, writers. Feedback may be harsh, but think it through anyway. The whole first chapter literally only exists, because of very harsh feedback.
If you get to the conclusion that the feedback is pulling “problems” out of thin air, constructing them simply to pull you down – ignore them. Don’t let that get to your heart. There are MANY MANY great storytellers out there – but very few actually have the will to sit down and write.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
It depends. I have at least one last book with Kin and Zaiya planned. After that, there are many background stories of characters and places that are more than worthy of their own book, at least 4 of them are already taking form in my mind – if they get written, we will see.
Are you working on your new project? What will be your next book about?
It is the conclusion of Zaiya’s story with her finally healing that which she sees as her biggest mistake. And adding more to the world. 🙂
What does success mean to you as an Author?
When people are interested in the characters and world I am trying to build. Inspiration comes from everywhere – but if you have people, that are invested, questioning, and thinking about characters or parts of your story, that is the best inspiration.
Do you prefer self-publishing or traditional publishing and Why?
I tried to get in contact with several publishers but didn’t hear back from a single one. When I see what happens to beloved franchises that are being sold, I am content, that I chose the self-publishing route with the help of amazon.
One lesson that you’d like to pass on to young debut authors.
Believe in yourself and your story – and don’t ever stop re-reading it. Put down the foundation, don’t worry about the details at first. Then keep re-reading and add more while doing so.
Your opinion about Vowelor.
A Brilliant Idea in general! For readers AND writers.
Want to know more about Michel Waylander? Connect with the author on Twitter.