This week we introduce YA author Mike Mullin, creator of the ASHFALL series.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an author.
I started writing in sixth grade and never quit, but I only started trying to write for publication about eight years ago. I decided to become an author because I got fired from every other job I tried. Nobody can fire me from writing—I love this career!
Can you tell about your journey to publication?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit how relatively easy it was for me: it took about four years and one practice novel to break through. Most authors spend far, far more time developing their craft before they can get published. I’ve read voraciously all my life and written for most of it, so I think that helped.
I don’t have an agent: ASHFALL was rejected by every literary agent who saw it, 24 in all. When I finish my current project, I plan to start querying literary agents again. I’m dreading that process—I’d much prefer to have a root canal. Without Novocain.
Tell us about your books.
The ASHFALL trilogy is about a teen struggling to survive and find his family after a cataclysmic natural disaster, the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano.
What drew you to dystopian YA?
I call my books apocalyptic, although they certainly have dystopian elements. I didn’t set out to write any particular kind of novel—the idea for ASHFALL came from reading another book, Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. That’s where I first learned about the Yellowstone super volcano.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on a young adult thriller tentatively titled SURFACE TENSION. It’s about a teen who sees a group of terrorists causing a plane crash from the ground. He’s the only one who knows how they’re crashing planes, and they want him dead.
You have a hardworking Twitter account. How much time and effort do you put into social media, and how has that affected your career?
Most days I spend an hour or so on social media. It’s certainly helped a lot—I have more than 30,000 people following me on the seven social media platforms I participate in. There are a lot of passionate readers forming communities and finding friends through social media.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read a lot
Write a lot
Get serious criticism of your work
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I lived in Brazil for a year when I was a teenager and speak mediocre Portuguese and a little Spanish.
Where can people find you on the internet?
My website and blog are at mikemullinauthor.com. At the bottom of every page there are links to all seven social media platforms that I’m on routinely. (Here are the links: Website, Blog, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Booklikes, Pinterest)
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Sunrise is his third novel. ASHFALL, the first novel of the trilogy, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.