Interview with Michael Schulkins

What's the story behind your latest book?
I’ve been a science fiction fan all my life, but until Up a Tree: A Jobs and Plunkitt Galactic Adventure came along, I had never written any. And I still may not have, because instead of inspiring that classic sense of wonder at the mysteries of the universe, Up a Tree shamelessly hijacks the tropes of science fiction and turns them into a vehicle for humor and satire.  There isn’t a lot of humorous or satirical science fiction abroad in the galaxy these days, presumably because science fiction usually takes place in the future, and you can’t make fun of things that haven’t happened yet. But I wanted to make fun of the here and now by abusing the there and then of science fiction. The big question was whom I should put in the vehicle. Inspiration came when I thought to combine two disparate influences: P G Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories and Keith Laumer’s Retief stories. Everyone knows Jeeves (or at least they should), Retief maybe not so much. Retief is sort of an intergalactic James Bond who travels to interesting and amusing alien planets, saving the inhabitants from the predations of politicians and other fools. So, through the magic of science fiction, Jeeves and Wooster are reborn as the iBot servant Jobs and his master Galactic Senator Braydon Gorebush Plunkitt XII, who travel the galaxy saving the alien races of the United Systems of the Spiral Arm (Armericans) from the predations of politicians, Senator Plunkitt, and other fools. Up a Tree is the first of those galactic adventures.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have loved reading for pretty much as long as I can remember, especially fiction, so at some point I decided I had to try my hand at writing it. When I did, I found that I really enjoyed both the process of writing, and the results. I hope you do too.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me, writing is an adventure, an excursion into unknown lands where anything can happen, and usually does. I may start out with some idea about where I am going, but the trip is always full of surprises. And of course, the most exciting part is meeting and getting to know the strange and wonderful characters I encounter, which is why dialog is my favorite part of writing. My characters say the darnedest things.
What are you working on next?
I have two books in the works right now, as well as several more still on the drawing board. The second Jobs and Plunkitt Galactic Adventure, Down the Wormhole, is in progress, and the first book of my 19th century space saga, tentatively titled Mark Twain on the Moon, is nearing completion, and it's just what the title says it is.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Two things. First, my wonderful wife Helen, who makes each day joyful for me. The other is of course writing, because there the fun and adventure continues.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote my first story in eighth grade, for a creative writing class. (I went to a really good school.) It was a sort of Tom Wolfe-style social satire. For the record, I got an A.
Published 2018-03-04.
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Books by This Author

Beltway
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 150,830. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
It's not the real world . . . it's Beltway. Before he knows what hit him, regular guy Clement Green has fallen down the rabbit hole and finds himself in Beltway, the nation's capitol as you've never seen or imagined it before.
Sting Suite
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 115,490. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
When world-class con artist John Law discovers a congressional committee has frozen the $97 million he scammed from Uncle Sam, he heads straight for the belly of the beast: Washington DC.  Law draws hard-drinking, skirt-chasing US Senator Frank Mahoney and his straight-arrow chief of staff Tom Beckman into an elaborate scheme designed to trick Mahoney into getting Law’s millions out of stir.
Mother Lode
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,530. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Put a dollar in the slot, pull the handle, then try to follow the action as the plots start to spin out of control. Mother Lode delivers a jackpot of laughs, surprises, suspense, and deadly fun as a pack of charming, ruthless, and insane characters all try to beat the Biggest Slot Machine in the World.
Up A Tree: A Jobs and Plunkitt Galactic Adventure
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,570. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Galactic Senator Braydon Gorebush Plunkitt XII warps across space wielding the power of Leviathan to solve all of the galaxy's problems - fortunately, his ever-resourceful robot servant Jobs is at his side to clean up the resulting mess.