Interview with Mike Laughrey

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I can remember writing was on two pages of a small notebook, the kind made to be carried around in a pocket to take notes or to serve as a grocery or to-do list. I don't remember what it was about, only that the antagonists were shape changing monsters. This would have been back in second or third grade. I don't remember any other details, but in general I don't have a positive impression about it. Maybe I just recognized that I'd come a long way since then, or maybe I got some criticism that stuck with me - if it was the criticism though, it didn't stick enough for me to remember details about it, either.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, mostly. I sometimes volunteer to help at local libraries; I like books and I'm friends with most of the people working there, so it's always fun regardless of the amount of heavy lifting involved.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
There's a lot of random chance involved; even when looking for a very specific book title or author, search results can include things that are completely different. More than half the time these are just dead ends, but there's a lot of good stuff out there, and that makes them worth a look regardless. Most searches aren't that narrow of course, and all sorts of random information can be found just be using a specific combination of words or an uncommon phrase.
What is your writing process?
Stream of consciousness. Ideas play out in my mind's eye and I describe what's going on as best I can, then later I go back to poke and prod until it makes sense to somebody who isn't me. I'm highly resistant to the traditional "Draft" system of writing, since I tend to modify the story as it happens in real time; a good idea can strike right in the middle of the story that vastly improves it, but requires going back and rewriting the first chapter into something completely different. It's a lot easier to do this with modern computer word processing software than it was back when I was in school writing out book reports and such by hand with a pencil. In fact, that might be where my dislike of the draft progression system came from - it was time consuming and my hands hurt by having to write everything three or more times. Again, modern technology is a game changer and now it's no big deal to copy a file and keep a record of edits and plot changes.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
How To Build A Flying Saucer by T.B. Pawels (under the pen name Pawlicki) because it was the first time I'd read something that justified my confusion when reading scientific theories with explanations that made no damned sense.
The Way Things Work by Neil Ardley and Illustrated by David Macaulay because it was one of the first books my parents gave me growing up. Other kids had picture books with stylized plants and animals, I had cross sections and exploded diagrams of complex machinery. I loved that thing. Still do in fact. Got it around here somewhere...
The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, for its detailed exploration of a fictional setting where detail is normally conserved to make room for narrative expediency. I also have the Deep Space Nine Technical Manual, but the TNG one came first.
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett, because like all the Discworld books it not only explores a contemporary issue in a fantasy setting, but takes it apart and puts it back together in a new way. In this case, the issue is one of responsibility and self-determination.
Don't Stand Too Close To A Naked Man by Tim Allen, just because it makes me laugh.
What do you read for pleasure?
Technical how-to books, I'm always looking for another project to work on. Also comedic fantasy and science fiction. I also look for some Role Playing Game supplements and add-on volumes for their exploration of a subject or setting, even though I don't play such games or belong to any gaming group of that type.
Describe your desk
It's green. It's made of wood. The only reason it's not cluttered up with books, notebooks, loose sheets of paper and a plate with half a sandwich on it is because there's only room for the computer.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
On a farm in Kansas. Between that and the small town schooling, I learned to appreciate traditional rural American values - hypocrisy, bigotry, anti-intellectualism, and inflated self-importance. I grew up around that stuff, I don't want to read it and I definitely won't write it unless the plot absolutely demands it; in that respect, every single story that comes out of my head has some element of escapist fantasy to it, covertly if not overtly. Having said all that, between farm equipment at home and metal shop in high school, I have gained a taste for technical details. I love to read them and I love to write them; my original manuscripts, before being edited, often have so much technological exposition in them they would make Jules Verne throw up his hands in exasperation.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a story to tell and I didn't want to deal with somebody in a big company telling me nobody wanted to hear it unless I told it their way.
Published 2015-05-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,160. Language: American English. Published: July 30, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
A series of emails from one long distance friend to another.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,130. Language: American English. Published: July 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Meeting Minutes of the Helios Cooperative solar power startup, and its successor organization.
Impatient Zero
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,400. Language: American English. Published: July 23, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
A series of entries in a journal, found in an uninhabited farmhouse.
Doctor's Notes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,570. Language: American English. Published: July 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
A pathologist performs an autopsy, and stumbles onto evidence of something much more complicated, and much more serious, than a highly contagious disease.
The Stranger In The Mirror
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,010. Language: American English. Published: July 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
A man wakes up in a hospital with an unidentified disease. Things go downhill from there.
An Elephant's Guide to Net Neutrality
Price: Free! Words: 1,040. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Activism, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Current affairs
A short guide to the drawbacks of the FCC's repeal of "Net Neutrality" in the last days of 2017, with a focus on how this negatively affects American voters on the right side of the political spectrum.
Chickens In Space
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 14,050. Language: English. Published: July 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
The Extra Solar Colonization And Planetary Exploitation Initiative planned for every possible contingency. Hot planets, cold planets. Worlds teeming with life, worlds dead and sterile. Abundant resources, scarce resources, and even hostile intelligent aliens. They planned for everything they expected to find. But they didn't plan for what they brought with them. They didn't plan on Biscuit.
The Silo
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,560. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
The end of the world has come and gone, but life goes on regardless. Eric Wergo traded a 9-to-5 white collar management position for a sunrise-to-sunset job leading a salvage crew, so for him not that much has changed. But the latest farm the team has come to pick over isn't like the others, and Eric is starting to wonder just what his team has stumbled upon.
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 103,650. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Impossible Day turned the world upside down: People are flying, reading minds, changing the weather - and that's the tip of the iceberg. All Dean Cronin cared about was making rent this month, but now he can change the passage of time, and that's made him a target. Will his new Power give him the edge he needs to defeat villains, expose a conspiracy, and survive two very opinionated sisters?