One day my wife said "Mike, shut up and start writing."
"Humorous Stories from ALASKA ...and beyond" came about because people are so fascinated by Alaska, and when they discover that I was raised in Alaska they always want to know what it was like to live in the 49th state. I lived thru lots of funny adventures in Alaska, so I decided to write about them.
Being an indie author means that I can write a book and have it published quickly online using Smashwords.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I can't believe you just asked me that question, because using Smashwords to publish "Humorous Stories from ALASKA ...and beyond" meant that I could get my book out to a wide variety of book distributors very quickly - and in turn, more readers.
And Smashwords is so easy to use - which is a good thing for me. I even convinced my wife to publish her children's book, coloring book using Smashwords.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love watching my wife sharpen my pencils - she uses a steak knife.
But in real life I would say giving my readers something to smile or laugh about and transporting them into another world - the world of my stories.
Writing is a powerful way to communicate. And besides writing books, I also wrote and sold family adventure screenplays in Hollywood which gave me another way to entertain people. "The Long Ride Home" is a family western movie that's based on my short script.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have fans? Wow, who knew.
Making my readers smile or laugh and connecting with my readers in a powerful way is so important.
So when someone tells me that they enjoyed reading one of my short stories, that's the best reward I could possibly receive.
What are you working on next?
My wife needs a new book shelf, so I'll start working on that as soon as my wife says it's OK for me to use electric tools again. OK, so I accidentally cut our antique dining room table in half with an electric saw. I could glue it back together - I think.
Oh, you mean my next book. Well my next book will take readers on even more humorous adventures in Alaska and a couple of other places - but I stay away from Cleveland. There's nothing funny about Cleveland.
As a boy growing up in Alaska our family had lots of adventures that most people never get to experience. So bringing those to life in book form is a fun project for me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Authors who can make me laugh because they really know how to use good, clean humor. I enjoy Dave Berry, Garrison Keillor who writes the Lake Wobegon book and radio series, and play write Neil Simon. And the writers of the Bob Newhart TV show - now that's great writing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My old wind-up Smurfs alarm clock and my wife saying "get up already and turn off that Smurf thing."
The real answer is God, my wife and my wonderful family.
I great each day knowing that I have love in my life - and knowing that I get to laugh.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
As a boy in Alaska I spent time being chased by moose, bear and once I nearly sat on a porcupine - which of course is covered with sharp quills and can cause pain.
In real life, my wife and I love going on little weekend adventures, and we love watching classic movies, especially the old black and white movies from the 1930's and 40's.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I wrote that had an actual beginning, middle and end was a high school English assignment. I chose to write about motor scooters. I was happy with the results and as I recall, I received a good grade on my paper. Of course time does tend to distort your memory a bit.
What is your writing process?
First, I get up around noon and eat a big bowl of oatmeal. Then I go back to bed and get up again around 3 pm, look at my Smurf alarm clock for 7 seconds, and then I roll over and go back to sleep until 3:15 pm. I get up about 5 minutes later comb my hair and then go write for exactly 23 minutes, or until I've written at least 32 pages. I have never written 32 pages in 23 minutes. This is a hard way to write, especially if you don't like oatmeal.
In real life when I write books or screenplays, I need a good title before I start writing.
During the writing process I go back and re-read what I wrote the day before and re-write to make it funnier and to make it flow better for the reader. My wife also sharpens my pencils for me - and that helps a lot.
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