Wattpad is a great website and mobile app that allows you to publish your very own story on your own terms. But Wattpad offers minimal assistance to get your name (or pen name) out there. What seems to be the most popular types of books are sexual in nature or depict teen vampire and werewolf characters. But some authors will sit and write a four-hundred-page book and only receive five reads in one year. That is why I contacted an aspiring author, @MikeBayLee from Wattpad, to learn more about his book, Port Hope. I conducted an interview with him:
What does the title of your book mean?
Port Hope is actually a mental health hospital wing where I stayed for two weeks. I named my book after it because I had so many crazy experiences there.
What happened while you were in the psych ward?
A lot of things. There was this one time when I spoke to another patient, one on one, outside at a round table who, at the time, I thought was a real messenger of God. I was really upset and scared because I did not know what was going to happen to me and this heavy set black man, with a friendly, wise face and voice began speaking to me about how I lost hope and told me that hope is always there. Then he proceeded to tell me that he had a “friend” to show me. All of a sudden this white dove flew down and just simply stared into my eyes. This dove was so beautiful and its gaze was calming. I told this mysterious man that there was a dove behind him and he said, “I know. This is my friend. Let him be a sign of hope for you.” It was a this point where I began to cry. The man then said, “It’s funny, not very many people talk to me. People have stopped believing in me.” When he said that I assumed he was divine in nature. The conversation was cut short by a nurse who told us to come back in. At that moment I told the nurse about what had just happened but the man suddenly changed. He denied everything and went to his room. I never saw him again. I did look for him after that but he was gone. I think about it all the time.
Wow, that is powerful and inspiring. What else went on while you were there? Well, you should read the book to find out more.
What genre is Port Hope?
I actually have thought back and forth how I wanted to tell the story. I didn’t know if I wanted to make it into an autobiography, and basically tell a story about my interesting and sometimes very traumatic life, but I don’t want to put someone else’s business out there so I turned it into a fictional fantasy book.
What is Port Hope about exactly?
It is about a guy who was struggling in life because he had no direction or something to believe in and soon finds out that he is the key to help bring Heaven to Earth, or at least how I would imagine Heaven to be like. I’m not religious, but at the time, I had what is called religious grandiose delusions, or at least that’s what the doctors say.
You say Port Hope is based on a true story; How much of it is true?
Yes. Up until near the end of chapter three are all experiences I really had, including the dove thing. I actually began this story as a journal so that I would not forget. It was very therapeutic. When I ran out of details from memory, that is when I started to add onto it. I also changed some names of characters.
What inspired you to write in the first place?
I actually have always wanted to be an author. When I was a teenager I was an avid reader and after reading enough books I wanted to write my own. I actually wrote a couple chapters of a book about a kid spy... but then I realized it was the exact same story I had just read with basically only the names changed. I threw it out. Now that I’m older, I have more experiences to inspire me.
Is Port Hope suitable for all ages?
No. It is rated for mature audiences. The main character uses cannabis (marijuana) which happens to be a source of his “divine” knowledge. There might be sex scenes as well in the future as I write it. We’ll see. Sex seems to be a popular topic on Wattpad.
What else do you do besides writing books?
I am a college student at UCF. I am studying clinical psychology because I want to work with others who have mental illnesses. I want people to know that with the right medication and support, you can function normally in life. I want to erase the stigma of mental illness. It’s a disease just like any other physical disease.
Michael is just one of the writers on Wattpad there are various people who are on the site and more continue to join everyday. Wattpad is one of the many self-publishing sites. Self-publishing seems to becoming a fast, efficient, and easy way for writers to get the work out there and noticed. People who have put there work on Wattpad have actually been able to get their books published by publishers and sell them in bookstores like Barnes and Nobles. Wattpad can be a great tool to utilize when self-publishing.