Michael C. Sahd grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From a young age, he read voraciously, particularly in the fields of fantasy and science fiction. Shortly after becoming a teenager, he learned to play and enjoy fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons. At around the same time, he began writing stories and D&D campaigns of his own. As an adult, Michael attended New Mexico University, studying in the fields of English and literature. During this time, he honed his writing skills and expanded his writing portfolio. Although he has completed numerous short stories, “Assassin Marked” marks his debut published work. Currently, Michael lives with his wife and four children in a small town in Texas.
Talking with Michael C. Sahd
Sci-Fi & Scary: I noticed on your site you mentioned that you liked Stephen King because he wrote about characters, and the story happened to the characters. What is the most memorable Stephen King character to you, and why? Does that character happen to be in your favorite Stephen King story as well?
Michael C. Sahd: I had to give this question some thought. I really enjoy all of Stephen King’s characters. Annie Wilkes came to mind first, as she made my skin crawl the most. Then Ralph Roberts, the elderly man in Insomnia, interested me a lot — especially the idea of a protagonist long past his prime. However, I think my favorite character must be Charlie McGee, as I can relate to her more than to any other of Stephen King’s characters. Not that I’m a pyrokineticist! Nor were my parents volunteers into some weird government sponsored drug experiments. I did lose my mother at seven years old and, I wasn’t much older when I read Firestarter. The trauma and emotions Stephen King expressed through Charlie resounded with me. I have since written several stories with similar protagonists. Assassin Marked is definitively not one of these.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Assassin Marked is only 25 pages long. The synopsis makes it seem like a lot of story to pack into 25 pages! Was the length a specific one you were aiming for, or one that suited the story you were telling best?
Michael C. Sahd: Assassin Marked is exactly the length I intended it to be. I could certainly expand on the current story. ::Spoiler Alert:: For example, when Damian first leaves Victoria’s starship, Lady’s Love, there is a period of time where he stays low and gathers supplies to go after his enemy. Then, after killing his mark, he again goes into hiding, during which time, Victoria recovers from a gunshot wound. As you can see, I could have included many more chapters. However, I feel the story is told and I want to move forward.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Do you have any intention of writing more in the world that you hinted at in Assassin Marked?
Michael C. Sahd: Yes, absolutely. I have already started, in fact. Three chapters have already been written and, together, the three chapters are already longer than Assassin Marked, promising for a much longer story.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Where did you get the idea for Assassin Marked? How long did it take you to finish the story once you started writing it?
Michael C. Sahd: When I was very young, I wrote a small story featuring Damian, which was complete trash. I may still have it, as I don’t throw these things away, but I don’t think I will ever use it. Then, in a college creative writing class, we were asked to write a story featuring dialogue between two people, and I wrote the beginnings to Assassin Marked. I later added the rest. None of it took long at all, but like all my writings, I shelved it.
Years later, my wife, who is a freelance editor, decided she was going to edit something of mine, and she chose Assassin Marked. But even after that it took a couple years before I published. I had a lot of trouble coming up with a cover for the book. Honestly, I am still not satisfied with it.
Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your writing style like?
Michael C. Sahd: I have difficulty with this question. I prefer to use language that is simple for readers to understand. I hesitate to present myself as a sesquipedalian novelist, as I find it pretentious. “Look at me; I have a big vocabulary.” When writing,I prefer to write in the third person limited, meaning I write in third person, but follow the thoughts and actions of a single character. However, that is not the style in which I wrote Assassin Marked.
Sci-Fi & Scary: If you had to recommend your book as “For fans of” – what author(s) would you name?
Michael C. Sahd: Can I mention a television show instead? Assassin Marked was directly inspired by an animated series called Cowboy Bebop, as well as a Joss Whedon television series called Firefly.
Sci-Fi & Scary: I noticed on your site that you said your wife was your editor and your media rep. Are the rest of your friends and family as supportive as she is?
Michael C. Sahd: Only in so far as they provide me with attaboys. My father-in-law provides me with a slew of scientific advice and knowledge to use or think about in my stories. My wife has also provided me with inspiration for new stories. I have a list.
Sci-Fi & Scary: It’s said that the best writers are avid readers. Why do you think that is?
Michael C. Sahd: I suppose it’s like practice. The writer is not writing when he reads, but is still involved in word craft.
Sci-Fi & Scary: What was the book that got you hooked on science fiction and/or horror?
Michael C. Sahd: Stephen King’s It and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire hooked me on horror. Jurassic Park and Timeline by Michael Crichton and I, Robot by Asimov inspired me to attempt more of a science fiction genre.
Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s the best science fiction / horror movie that you’ve seen recently?
Michael C. Sahd: I suppose Stranger Things does not really qualify as a movie, but it I really like it. I’m a Star Wars nerd through and through, and The Force Awakens was excellent.
Sci-Fi & Scary: What project do you have in the works now?
Michael C. Sahd: Three different projects. I wrote a fantasy novel that I’m currently revising. The sequel to Assassin Marked, which will be a full-length novel, is being written, and I have a lighter, funnier project I’m working on when I’m not writing about Damian.
Sci-Fi & Scary: How has Assassin Marked been doing?
Michael C. Sahd: I’ve been quite impressed with how well it has done on Amazon. For a brief period, the story was number 3 on the top short reads list in its category, and it lasted for quite a while on the top ten of that list.
Damian DuFonte, a professional assassin working for the Crime Syndicate, just can’t seem to get past his need for revenge. So when the only woman he’s ever loved asks him not to kill one of their bosses, her pleas fall on deaf ears. Although Victoria may be willing to forgive this transgression, the Syndicate certainly will not.
To prove Victoria’s loyalty, the Syndicate tasks her with leading a group to hunt him down. Somewhere in the solar system, on the outs with his lover and on the run from trained killers, Damian is … an Assassin Marked.
Buy Link: Amazon