Interview with Mike Gagnon

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up all over Southern Ontario, Canada. I was born in Windsor, Ontario and we moved about 10 times for my dad's work by the time I was ready to start the first grade. I think that helped me for the ability to find home wherever I hang my hat. By first grade we lived in the Meaford, Ontario area and although we moved a few more times after that, they were all in that same region so I never had to switch schools or groups of friends. Though I live in sunny Niagara now, the rest of my immediate family lives in that area, though I still have many extended family members in the Windsor area, and I cherish the rare opportunities that my schedule allows me to visit. Growing up in a smaller town and community gave me an appreciation for relating to individual people on a personal level. At a young age it also gave me a desire and appreciation for large urban centers, which is probably why I ended up in Toronto as soon as I was able. That same experience with small towns that made me desire the city is now giving me an appreciation of small towns and communities as I get older, so I enjoy dividing my time between both. Small towns have a friendly quaintness that you can't find in larger places with the hustle and bustle. The place I live now is a perfect balance, a mid size community directly between a small community and a big city, each just minutes away.
When did you first start writing?
Ha! As long as I can remember. Really! I discovered comic books at the age of about 4 and that's when it really ignited a passion for telling stories and drawing. But I'm sure I was reading even before that. I've been a self-learner since I was born. I used to take books and sound the words out myself and find them in other stories to figure out what they meant or look them up in the dictionary. I was reading at college level by 5th grade. I loved Classics Illustrated comics as a kid, I was lucky enough to go to a public school that had a set in the library. Those comics were a big reason that I began reading the classics while my classmates were discovering Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. (I also enjoyed those) I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading, and it was a natural combination for me to start telling my own stories inspired by the ones I had read.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Hmmm... that'a hard to answer. I have 4 books out in the first half of 2015 and i'm in progress on the 5th. The end of 2014 was all about finished off unfinished projects, so now they are all seeing the light of day. Each one is a different genre because I wanted to prove that it's possible and also each of these books is a story that I have a passion for and just could not wait any longer to get them out. There's a zombie book, a modern romance, a how-to self-publish book and a crime book. The one I'll touch on now is the one that's on Smashwords, of course! Skidsville is my crime novella and features a young man, Joey DuPlacey, who makes his living as a hustler and a con man. Joey's ambition in life is altruistic though, he just wants to score enough money to hire a lawyer who can get his father out of jail, who was framed for his mother's murder. This drive brings Joey into contact with shady people and sketchy situations, sometimes with people who may have secret agendas, such as keeping his father right where he is.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've had experience working in every aspect of the publishing industry in the last 15 years. I've worked for major publishers and been published by prominent names and well as small presses. In my experience larger companies only pay attention to you until they get the content from you that they can make money off of, and you as the creator get a very small percentage of the revenue, and often no rights or ownership over the characters you've created. That just doesn't work for me. With a little more time and learning an author can sell, promote and distribute themselves and retain much more of the revenue made, plus maintain a much higher level of financial interest and creative control.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm new to Smashwords, so it's a little early to sing its praises, but from some of the other positive things I've been hearing, I'm looking forward to reaching new audiences and increasing the revenues that I make from writing. It's a great service for those who want to reach the Smashwords demographic, as well as the extended distribution partnerships for other lucrative sales channels that they make available.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being lost in the story and being completely immersed in the world I'm writing. I hope that passion and intensity comes across to readers on the page. I love exploring new characters and places where I never knew that my mind would go.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Each time some just gets what I do, I don't just mean physically buying the book, but really gets and understands what I'm saying in my stories and appreciates it, I've made a connection. Each fan is a new friend.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm finishing the post-production on a book called "Paper Walls: Removing the Barriers Between You and Making Great Comics", a how-to book for new and fledgling comic creators that explains how advancements in technology and business have made the idea of producing your own comics more attainable than ever. I am already in the early stages of working on a follow-up book about creators rights and business practices.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh there are a lot...hmmm... Roger Stern, Laurell K. Hamilton, Scott McCloud, Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, Stephen King, Warren Ellis, Anne McCaffery, Adrian Malone, Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant, Lurene Haines...that's just the tip of the iceberg really.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Telling stories. Sharing my stories with others. Getting them out of me so I can quit thinking about them!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am working most of the time and a to of that is writing. I don't really have much non-writing time because I love what I do and I do what I love. I'm a bit of a movie buff, so the free time I do have is often spent watching anything from classic B movies to new releases. I also squeeze in time to work out when possible. I also teach at several colleges, and one of the things I teach is creative writing, so there is some overlap there.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Just browsing. Searching through what's available. I really like to switch it up. Sometimes I just randomly look for something to catch my attention, other times I will search for an author whose work I have enjoyed in the past. Most often I'd say I search based on subject matter, whatever I am in the mood to read that day, and pick something interesting within that.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, but the earliest stories I do remember writing were my own stories of The Fantastic Four. We had a journaling class in my school in grade 4. I started filling this notebook with stories about the Fantastic Four. At the end of each class we handed our notebooks back in to the teacher for them to read and review and comment on for next class. About half way through the year she told me to start writing about real life things.
Published 2015-05-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Illusion of Freedom
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,780. Language: American English. Published: November 1, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Ethics & moral philosophy, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Civil and human rights
(2.00 from 1 review)
Look around at the world we live in. Isn't there something wrong? Don't you feel powerless to make a positive change? Don't the problems of the world feel so big, so overwhelming, that you feel defeated? Like you can't possibly make a difference? So you don't even start? What if I told you, you could change that? If that rings true to you, even a little bit, you should read this book.
A letter to the Middle East
You set the price! Words: 1,880. Language: Canadian English. Published: November 1, 2017. Categories: Essay » Political, Essay » Sociology
There’s something very wrong with this world. There is a war going on in the Middle East and, somehow, we are all involved without really wanting to be. The reality is that the average North American doesn’t hate the people of the Middle East. This belief has been constructed by the untruthful media because the corrupted politicians of both parties need us to hate and fear each other. Why?
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 35,780. Language: American English. Published: February 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
It almost took Darius everything he had to finally be able to cut his sociopath wife from his life. Now, three years later, things couldn't be going any better for him. Yet, a simple Facebook friend request is enough to once again send him spiralling towards Allison. Has she really changed? Or is there an ulterior motive behind her reappearance, more sinister than he could ever imagine?
Skidsville Ultimate Edition
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 32,660. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
The gritty crime noir novel combined with all the authors original notes, character bible and the original graphic novel script that inspired the novel! In one night, Bill DuPlacey and his young son Joey’s lives change forever. Bill’s wife, Joey’s mother, is found brutally murdered and all fingers point at Bill. 20 years later, Joey’s only ambition in life is to prove his father's innocence.
Mason: Sweet Sacrilege
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 60. Language: American English. Published: May 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The original graphic novel that introduced the world to Mike Gagnon’s tough-as-nails no holds barred psychopathic mercenary, Mason. When he vows to protect the daughter of the man who saved his life, Mason runs headlong into a bloodthirsty branch of the Russian mob. The kind of mobsters who have no problem using a church as their cover! ACTION. VIOLENCE. MAYHEM. Mason, in his purest form!
Sex and the Circus
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,410. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
The Kaleidoscope Circus is the only world that Patty Jones has ever known. Her destiny seems to change when Trent Leary, a smooth talking young lawyer, approaches Patty with an opportunity that could change life as she knows it forever. Could Patty ever leave her family at the circus behind and start a new life? Could her relationship with Trent be leading to something more than just business?
The Island of Dr. Morose Ultimate Edition
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 29,530. Language: English. Published: May 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
The digital editions of The Island of Dr. Morose and The Island of Dr. Morose Script Book all combined into one digital book!
The Island of Dr. Morose Script Book
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 14,710. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2016. Categories: Screenplays » Horror, Screenplays » Sci-Fi
If you've read the sensation that is the Island of Dr. Morose; you know how deliciously gruesome, gory and gritty it is. What you may not know is that author Mike Gagnon originally conceived of the book as a graphic novel.Now here, the author presents the original texts. All the plot and chapter breakdowns, character bios, and the complete original graphic novels script, like exposed entrails.
The Island of Dr. Morose
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 15,060. Language: English. Published: April 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
While the world was recovering and rebuilding from the zombie apocalypse, one eccentric genius was turning a Haitian island into a paradise for the wealthy and affluent. Word eventually spread out to the civilized world that Schmidt had mastered the technology of cybernetic control of the undead, turning them into the servants and labourers that keep his island paradise running.
Paper Walls: Removing the Barriers Between You And Creating Great Comics
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 23,490. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Creativity
A gripping, comprehensive guide, the first one in a new series intended to support creative artists in their first publishing venture, this book will help you save money, cope with the high stress levels involved in publishing your own work and successfully help your comics or graphic novels make it to the bookstore windows at low or even ZERO cost!
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 19,100. Language: American English. Published: May 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
In one night, the lives of Bill DuPlacey and his young son Joey change forever. Bill’s wife, Joey’s mother, is found brutally murdered and all fingers point at Bill. 20 years later, Joey’s only ambition in life is to make enough money to prove his father is innocent and get him released from jail. Could his new mob cohorts know the secret of what really happened to Joey's mother?