Interview with Mike Eschbach

Published 2018-11-05.
Who are your favorite authors?
Start with JRR Tolkien. I think every little kid who first reads the Hobbit becomes immersed in Middle Earth. That said, contemporary fantasy has become so broad in scope that it's almost sad to consider that the old Professor's work has somehow become trite. Modern fantasists include Abercrombie, Kristoff, and for a really good time, any of Glen Cook's work. In other genres I like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan stories and I'm into Brad Taylor's series. As far as female authors, I'm a huge fan of CS Friedman (She just writes consistently great stuff) and Anne McCaffery.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life happens when we're awake and aware. Many of the most innocent instances offer starting points to great stories. So, as much as I have a busy life, I still try to make time to find those instances.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working. Sleeping. Eating. Watching a bare minimum of TV because, frankly, television just sucks in the US right now. Movies aren't much better, with so many remakes of old classics that fall well short of the original. Hollywood's glitz is fading, and most of the best movies are independent productions.

I game a good bit - Roleplaying mostly, some poker and other games of chance. I like things that capture my attention and imagination.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A lot of word of mouth, especially from the writing group (shout out to SCWW) I belong to. TBH, I still buy a lot of books in retail and used book stores. There's something gratifying about buying an old tome.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't recall the name of the story, but it was about a Conan-type barbarian in a bar getting into a brawl with an orc. I was a young teen when I wrote it, and it was rife with young teen angst. It was really bad. I suspect an undue influence from the movie Heavy Metal. LOL.
What is your writing process?
Three parts: 1- Pull out my already thinning hair; 2- Curse the writing gods with all manner of dire imprecations; 3- Finally stop whining and write. That last is awfully good advice given by best selling author Glen Cook during an interview several years ago.

Doesn't matter if what you write is good or bad. Just write.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I started reading at a really young age. My Dad was a WWII vet, so I read a lot about D-Day, Iwo Jima, etc. But the first book to really capture my imagination was The Hobbit. It was unlike anything my ten year old self could ever conceive...and fostered a life long love of fantasy fiction. Nearly 40 years later, I still get around to reading The Hobbit once a year.
How do you approach cover design?
I just found a really wonderful artist from Paraguay who finished the front cover for my pending novella: The Trial. It is a military fantasy about an elite unit who's fighting a mystical foe in the mountains of a fantastic setting called Flam'Bhoreal (the flaming lights in the parlance of the folk who live there).

Her name is Jessica Dueck and her business name is Art by StarsColdNight. Her website is

From the brief description that I gave her, she was able to extrapolate the essence of what I was looking for. I can't wait for everyone to see it!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1- The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings.
2- Glen Cook's The Black Company
3-Steven Brust Jhereg
4-Tom Clancy Without Remorse
5-Joe Abercrombie Best Served Cold

TBH, if you asked fifty times, I could come up with fifty lists.
What do you read for pleasure?
A bit of everything. Currently listening to St Augustine's confessions on an audiobook.

Like James Fennimore Cooper's 'Last of the Mohicans', Mark Twain's Huck Finn, Anne Rice's Lestat, on and on. Typically, I don't read nonfiction, but Bonhoeffer is a must read for anyone who believes in freedom over tyranny.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Probably Amazon's Kindle, but I have a Nook also that has a lot books on it. Am thinking of downloading a reader app to my phone, though not really sure it's necessary right now.
Describe your desk
A hot mess. Clutter everywhere. Cup stains and sticky stuff, and lots and lots of post it notes.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always had the itch to write. Most of my works were pretty inane scribblings, but some of what I wrote struck a cord in me and made me want to pursue writing as a creative outlet and potentially as a second career.
What are you working on next?
I'm finishing up the third story in the MERC series and outlining the fourth.
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Books by This Author

Tales of the MERC Part Three: My name is Alys
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 39,680. Language: American English. Published: August 1, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
In time of political upheaval, Malice and Stout strive to keep their son, Hari, safe from danger. It is not an easy task.
Tales of the MERC Part Two: A Deadly Introduction
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,700. Language: English. Published: April 7, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Click expected her future mother-in-law to be difficult. She did not realize how difficult, however, until Malice dragged her from the small cafe' where she and Hari had been having lunch. Upon reaching the tavern that was their destination, Click found at once that Malice was less ferocious than her fear made her, but more terrifying than she ever dreamed.
Tales of the MERC Part One: The Trial
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,590. Language: English. Published: December 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 7 reviews)
Malice and Stout have a problem. Retired heroes of the MERC, they have enjoyed all the benefits that implies. Unfortunately, their son, Hari, decided to follow their lead and enrolled in the MERC Officer Candidate Program without their knowledge. Worse, Hari’s planning to attempt the Trial. Upon learning of her son’s folly, Malice demands that Stout take action. What's an old soldier to do?