Thursday, January 31, 2013

Author Spotlight - Mike Robinson

Posted by LD Keach on Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mike Robinson's written a non-linear, metaphysical detective novel called The Green-Eyed Monster, with upcoming works entitled The Prince of the Earth. We caught up with Mike for a little chat (in between all the otherworldly existential noir):

DM: Tell us more about your writing style and your novel The Green-Eyed Monster.

Over the past decade of writing seriously, my style has lived many lives, overseen by writers as diverse as Clive Barker and Jack Kerouac. Thankfully, I think I've now achieved a kind of stylistic equilibrium, my own voice with echoes of Lovecraft, Bradbury, the aforementioned Barker, and, believe it or not, James Joyce. I don't pretend to have understood everything in Ulysses, but any author or reader can appreciative the cadence of his language, which is all at once musical and very tactile -- you can feel, as if with mental fingertips, the very thing he's describing. Not a bad goal for one who spins yarns of horror or the fantastic. And as I write that's a constant inspiration resounding in the back of my head.

The Green-Eyed Monster tells the story of two bestselling authors, eerily and famously similar in their mannerisms as well as their creative output. They hail from the same town. They're strange, reclusive. Hot-tempered. They very much resent one another. Their books have an ominous and sometimes supernatural impact on their followers. When one of the authors winds up dead at the other's home, we're launched into their backstory, meeting those whose lives they've altered in extraordinary and horrific ways. And through it all lurks a sort of parental entity, not of this world, but one who binds the two men, who stands just beyond the wall of reality overseeing the fruition of a sinister design.

Like my writing style, The Green-Eyed Monster has also undergone many vicissitudes, beginning with the original short story in 6th grade English class. A near twenty years of cumulative additions and polish has made it rather different now.

DM: What was it like working with Curiosity Quills Press (and just what is a literary marauder anyway?)

Much like a marauding monster or zombie, a literary marauder plays by his or her own rules, and is governed largely by instinct. That's my take, anyway!

I love Curiosity Quills, and feel very fortunate to have formed a relationship with them. They are looking to embody the future of the publishing industry by applying sensibilities both "traditional" and "independent" to their method, and I think they'll only get bigger, especially given the variety and quality of titles (and I swear I'm not just saying that because I'm in their catalogue).

Big 6 publishing still writes the heftiest checks, but, in terms of nurturing talent long-term or creative freedom, they have little on other publishers like CQ, at least in my humble opinion. With any Big 6, unless you hit King or Koontz status you're hardly allowed to be a literary marauder.

DM: What's the best advice you have heard, or can give, to a writer just starting out?

Read and write every day. Sounds trite, I know, and I'm not advocating a Nazi-rigid schedule or that every free moment must be consumed by the written word. But ideally it should feel like something you have to do every day, or nearly every day, even given imperfect circumstances. If you don't feel that compulsion, you may want to rethink why you're setting out to write in the first place.

Also, read outside your genre comfort zone. It is almost impossible for me to quantify the leap in style and consciousness my writing took once I branched out and started lapping up the likes of Dostoyevsky, James Joyce, Saul Bellow, Hermann Hesse or Dante, as well as more contemporary writers like Cormac McCarthy or Yann Martel. Read nonfiction, too. There is something incestuous to me about, say, a fantasy writer reading only fantasy. Rich writing and thinking is infectious, inspiring you towards it. Diverse reading rounds out your own work. That's beneficial no matter your genre.