Interview with Mike Dryden

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Mississippi in the late 1940s and was 15 years old when the Freedom Summer came to Mississippi. This effort was a voter registration drive to allow the blacks in the South the right to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The year before in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, water hose and dogs were set loose on Blacks marching for their civil rights. The KKK had bombed a Baptist Church and murdered three small Black girls. Times were violent​ in the South in 1964.
When did you first start writing?
I began to write in 1990 on an electric typewriter in South Mississippi on my days off from flying helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. My first book was a special ops​ helicopter story which still has not seen the light of day.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Monroe County Murder is set in Mississippi in the summer of 1964, a very violent time for the state. The story is about a Black man who joined the US Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was sent to Alaska to build the Alaska Highway or Alcan as part of a segregated Colored Engineer Regiment. He finishes the war after serving as an MP in the Pacific, returns to his Chicago-born​ wife, becomes a cop and raises a family.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I got ink in my blood at my High School paper setting lead type in the early 1960s and later managed a sales force of small military newspapers in Alaska. I am on the board of a non-profit organization that serves older Alaskans. We publish a state-wide newspaper called the Senior Voice Alaska where I am the Veterans Healthcare Reporter. I write newspaper columns for several ​small newspaper in Alaska on Veterans issues.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Mark Coker's seminar at the Alaska Writers Guild was overflowing with relevant, timely information for my novel. I was very fortunate to have attended his session at this stage of my project. His segment on setting up a pre-order lit a fire under me to set a date. I have picked 1 December 2015 as my debut. My book is in final edit and should be ready ahead of that date. Thank you, Mark, ​for coming to Alaska.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I must bifurcate the question into two parts; one being my newspaper columns on Veterans issues and my fiction projects. The first part of my writing is devoted to the men and women who served our nation and are in need of ​guidance or information about the VA.In my Veterans columns, I try to navigate the minefield for Vets at the Veterans Affairs health care. I only have one thousand words a month for the dissemination of new information I have found by sifting through and prioritizing all the press releases and program changes most relevant to Alaskan Vets.
As for my fiction writings, I have so much left for future works that I doubt I will live long enough to put in print. I have humorous short stories about the South where I grew up that will be my next project.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the reason I get up very day and write. I have set a goal of at least one thousand words a day on my projects. Since I have many different projects going a once, it's not hard to keep that pace up. I treat this as my full-time​ job just like I did when I worked for someone else.
I can not bear the thought of disappointing my readers.
What are you working on next?
The sequel to Monroe County Murder is high on the list. I have committed to a sequel​ in 18 months. I am also working on a special operation helicopter spy novel that's is fun to write.
Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order; John Grisham, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, John Irving, Agatha Christy, Sir Author Conan Doyle and the late Tom Clancey.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My father's work ethic and my desire to write good believable​ stories people will enjoy reading.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am involved in several non-profits organizations in Alaska. I am treasurer of the Older Person Action Group; an advocacy group for the seniors in our state. I have been a search and rescue pilot for the Alaska Civil Air Patrol, the CAP State Public Affairs officer and the editor of Alaska Wing CAP Wing Tips, a quarterly magazine. I am a volunteer for the State of Alaska Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. I visit the residences of several LTC facilities in the Mat-Su Valley and advocate for their needs. I find time to fish and do a little flying in the greatest aviation​ state the USA.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My eyes were slowly getting worse and I discovered Kindle. That devise turned me back into a reader and now most of what I read is an e-book.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was a short story about church and chickens in the South. Two things Southern folks love is church and fried chicken. You know it has to be a story there.
What is your writing process?
I treat my writing like a job. I have set hours early in the morning I dedicate to writing. I attempt to write one thousand words a day on something. Not all that I write makes it through the final edit, but I do keep a file of phrases and sentences I have cut from my short stories, novels or columns.
Since I have a manufacturing background, I use a similar workflow model; like a PERT chart, to ensure I always have some projects in the works. Not every day is a good day to write on all projects but it always a great day to write something. In the industry jargon, it's called WIP or work in progress.
Published 2015-10-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Monroe County Murder
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 104,630. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » African American fiction » Mystery & detective
Colored teenagerTeddy Park planned a trip to Mississippi in 1964. Teddy’s troubles begin when he takes a likening to an attractive white girl living next door to his Auntie. Unknown to Teddy, he is breaking a long-standing social rule concerning mixed race affairs. Adding to this volatile situation was, unknown to Teddy; his love interest was dating a racist psychopath. Will Teddy get home alive?