Interview with Rodney Mountain

What are you working on next?
Currently working on a story about a rogue sniper terrorizing the same city that was the setting for Undercover and The Killer Strikes. It is set in the immortal universe pretty much concurrently with The Immortal Progression and has both familiar faces and a completely new protagonist.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like a lot of authors, Stephen King, Clive Cussler and Rex Stout being early influences. Oddly I tend to go more for history now so I read a lot more non-fiction than I did when I was younger, this may be partly because I don't like the extra influences when I'm writing. If I'm going to subconsciously plagiarize I'd rather it be historical fact than someone else's imagination.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh man, I remember a lot of garbage when I was a kid. Wasn't very good at keeping my ideas apart from the pop culture I was absorbing so it was a horrible story that stole bits from a pile of 80's movies. I guess the best description for it (other than crap) would be if the Griswold kids took a psychotic vacation through the america that had been invaded by the Russians and Cubans of Red Dawn. Yes, it was as awful as it sounds. The Healy Murders was probably the first coherent story that I started on a whim when I was in college.
What is your writing process?
I start with an idea and then start talking through it. I'll write a chapter and then refine it as I go through. The early books were often written after talking through the plot points with my friend Chris. As Times have changed and I can't write as much as I used to I tend to slowly talk through the plot points when I'm bored, often in the car on the road to and from my day job. When I think I know where I'm going to go with it I'll write it and then continue and revise. If I write myself into a corner I'll either go back and retcon it or drop sections entirely.

Some books I have better ideas on where they go than others. Undercover was always a structured setup, I knew exactly where it was going to end, but the interesting part was meandering my way to that point and putting it all together.

Other books I've started and they would stick around for a while and go on my abandoned file until I figured out what to revise to make them workable. Durell's Insurection, Anoki's Revenge and Not With a Whisper fell into that category. All three of those went through massive plot revision about half or two thirds of the way through when I finally figured out how to finish them.

No matter the status I stick to Word and go chapter by chapter, using the document map for reference as I go back and reread or revise for continuity.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPhone. I take it everywhere and the best book is the one I have with me when I need it. I rarely read on anything else nowadays.
Describe your desk
Small, crowded, with more junk than anything else. I replaced my aging laptop with a mac mini so I could get away from fighting with windows all the time, but still keep it on the small table I used for the old laptop. It is a handy and movable setup when I need it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Southern Maine and a lot of events that happened up there influenced my first book for sure, several things that happened with Chris and Jerry were based of events I'd either witnessed or been a part of as a kid. Thankfully, this was mostly the more innocent stuff earlier in the book as I've never been or witnessed a serial killer at work, but it still had influence upon the story.
When did you first start writing?
I'd tried on and off through school, but I didn't have a whole lot of motivation. Finally, I started working on the first version of The Healy Murders when I was in college. It went better than I'd hoped, with some good feedback from friends who read pieces as I went through it. It was a good first attempt, but the execution was seriously lacking in that one. It was originally written in first person from Chris Healy's view because that was the only way I could think to do it at the time. The story underneath was solid, but the presentation was lacking and I didn't stop the story when I should have. I learned a lot from it though and slogged through another book and a half before I figured out that the stories I wanted to tell worked better from third person. As a result one book (Undercover) got a rework about halfway through and the first two (The Healy Murders and The Accidental Immortal) were rewritten afterwards, both of them being far better off for it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Kids, Work and Video Games. Those three things suck down a lot of my time nowadays.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I didn't want to go through the grind of finding an agent and dealing with that pile of rejection just to take that one in a million shot at becoming famously successful. I enjoy writing, but I'm not a self promoter. Putting them up on Smashwords just made sense. I don't make much from it, but I know it is out there and someone reads it every once in a while. That's enough for me at this time.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow... Ok, there are a few I've gone back to again and again. This is in no particular order, and probably would be answered differently the next time I'm asked:

-Christine by Stephen King
-Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler
-Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
-A Family Affair by Rex Stout
-The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

Christine was probably one of the most pure pieces of writing for me to read. I felt for Arnie Cunningham and could relate to the story in a lot of ways. The way Stephen King handles words still makes me envious. There's also the fact it is fun to read.

Early Clive Cussler was great stuff, too bad they borked every movie made from his material. That entire series and the way that they had interlocking pieces was a huge influence on me, which is why there's common threads and characters through all but a few of my books.

Red Storm Rising gave me a lot of insight on how to handle widely disparate characters and it was a great story, long before Clancy became little more than a brand name on a video game series and knockoff book series. I think there's a good bit of techniques I picked up from this book in the Mullinix series, the last book especially.

Rex Stout was a master of characterization. Sometimes the mysteries themselves were less compelling than the characters themselves. Even the most minor characters were described impeccably. Even though I've all but memorized most of his books I'll still go back and reread them just to spend time with his characters. If any of my characters are half as good as any of his minor characters I'll consider them a success.

I know this is an odd one to have as a favorite, but I still find the story of how the Third Reich rose to be a fascinating case study of evil mixed with the most damned luck I've ever seen. There are few better pictures of how to build a monster than to study the Nazis. Not to mention, they make great villains because everyone hates them. Even if you aren't setting in World War II directly, just partially basing a civilization off the Nazis is a good way to create an antagonist. Bolantine's empire in the last two Mullinix books takes more than a little from the Nazi playbook, which was why it was so satisfying when it came tumbling down.
Published 2013-09-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Black Fossil
Price: Free! Words: 51,620. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Jim Stalin thought he was a nondescript government agent on a mission to find an artifact that has long been missing. He doesn't know where it is or why he's looking for it, but he thinks that all questions will be answered when he gets there. Join him and his insane friends as he goes on an adventure the likes of which haven't been seen since Leslie Nielsen had that love child with John Cleese.
Night Strike
Price: Free! Words: 90,560. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A compilation of thirteen short stories, featuring favorites like Mason Stone and the dynamic duo of Nick Jones and Corrie Albiston as well as one off shorts that date back to the earliest reaches of his writing. Now expanded with full notes and a proper table of contents.
The Mullinix Book 3: Resolution
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 11 · The Mullinix, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 193,830. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » General
It has been twenty years since the end of the Bolantine war and an uneasy peace has been holding between the Mullinix-Sotan alliance and the Bolantine Empire. Copeland Irons, reigning Mullinix, is in service school along with his friends as a new change comes along the horizon. Along with his cousin Kyrie he is brought into the family business as he deals with life in the shadow of the Mullinix.
The Mullinix Book 2: Redemption
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 10 · The Mullinix, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 170,010. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
It has been ten years since Medoferro was unceremoniously pushed from apprentice to Mullinix. His realm has remained quiet, however there are black clouds on the horizon. The Mavelan forces have disappeared, Siraq is nearly in civil war and the Bolantine Empire has come up out of nowhere in the south. The Mullinix may have to deal with a threat even closer to home in search of Redemption.
The Mullinix Book 1: Ascension
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 9 · The Mullinix, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 176,450. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
Copeland Steele was but a standard citizen in the Mullinix Empire when he was chosen out of citizenship school to be the next apprentice leader of the nation. A whole new world awaits the young man the world now knows as Medoferro as he navigates the waters of the new role thrust upon him, a role he never wanted and one he would have given most anything to avoid.
Not With A Whisper...
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 8. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 100,870. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Catherine Remordis was a simple student when Anoki 10.1, an ancient android, showed up at her door. A set of immortals who had been frozen for two centuries have been released and Anoki needs her to deal with them. This starts a world wide adventure that sends her to all corners of the earth to find Mason Stone and deal with a threat to the planet much greater than Bolantine alone.
Corporate Immortality
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 125,080. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Colonel Strader's life for years had consisted of working for the government at Area 51 running their strike team. His life changed when, after an accident, the Area 51 complex was sold to the company. His team, now containing Toshi Shiniki and Anoki 9.0, now has to deal with both Mason Stone and Bolantine as they fight try to keep the company's interest out of a conflict between immortals.
The Immortal Progression
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 70,540. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Bolantine is back and he's up to his old tricks. Having escaped from his underground prison he is now working with Russians to reanimate dead men to use as terrorists for hire. Mason Stone and his team of immortals are the only ones who have the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that Bolantine's scheme can not succeed.
Anoki's Revenge
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 82,440. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Stacy Anoki's life changed the day she took her last undercover job. Beaten, raped and paralyzed, she thought she would remain an invalid. This was until she was tied, via state of the art VR to an undercover android unit, the she began melding with the Mellisa until she was forcibly pushed into the machine. No longer human, she decided that it was time to have revenge on the men who raped her.
The Killer Strikes
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 175,840. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A killer is among us, walking the streets, hiding in the crowd. She does not hide in the shadows, nor does she resemble the boogeyman. She could be the girl next door, but look out, she's Waiting! It is now up to Mike Miller and his unlikely crew to put an end to the reign of terror and to make sure that they never again have to wake up to the phrase… "The Killer Strikes"
Undercover
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 160,010. Language: English. Published: May 28, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
Mike Miller had little to live for. A veteran cop, he has taken a job that could very well be his last. His mission, to infiltrate and gather information on the preeminent crime syndicate that had plagued their city for decades. It is a deep cover mission, meaning that Miller will be undercover 24 hours a day until he comes in from the cold.
Durell's Insurrection
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 83,020. Language: English. Published: May 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
It is supposed to be an easy job, one that he had been doing in one form or another for his entire adult life. Anti-terrorism expert A.J. Durell is no lightweight in the ways of self-defense, but he never expected that the Finnish job could go so bad on him. An unexpected revolution, an old enemy and an old love have all come together to put A.J. Durell into a fight for his life.
The Accidental Immortal
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 113,190. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Trip Mason was a cop shot and left for dead as he was transporting a witness. Karen Dean was a cancer patient in a coma. They were the last two people who thought they were candidates for immortality. Unwillingly used as guinea pigs for an experimental drug, they became the first immortals. Now they're the only ones who can stop FTU-237 from being unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
The Healy Murders
Series: The Immortal Universe, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 114,930. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
Chris and Jerry Healy spent the first fifteen years of their life sharing everything, but that changed when Jerry's hold on reality slowly disappeared. Now it is Brother against Brother as the world around them comes to grips with The Healy Murders.