Mike Colahan


Mike Colahan is a graduate of Ithaca College. He has worked in higher education administration for more than 30 years, in a career that has spanned small for-profit career schools to working at one of the nation's most highly ranked liberal arts colleges. He has worked with students from all economic backgrounds, and has done admissions and financial aid consulting for several colleges spanning several states.

Mike was raised Methodist but turned to the Quakers in his forties. He has spent the length of his adult life contemplating God and Jesus, trying to figure out exactly what those two have in mind for us. It has been a largely spiritual journey, and the hard struggles and ultimate joy informs his latest novel, THE GOSPEL OF CATHERINE DEARE.

He lives with his family in Pennsylvania.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a blue collar town in southern New Jersey with pretty easy access to Philadelphia. This was in the Sixties. Everyone was white and married, with the dads going to work and the moms staying at home and running the households. My mother was a widow, and that was the closest thing to a broken family on our block. It was a safe community to grow up in, but it didn’t teach you much about the world.

My first post-college job was doing financial aid for a small for-profit school in Philadelphia, and that's where I finally discovered how rough and complicated life could be, and how many broken people were in the world. At the same time the school I worked for was striving to help these same people do better for themselves. It was the most potent message I ever received about the true purpose of education.
Who are your favorite authors?
Favorite authors are too many to count. Names that come to mind quickly are Charles Dickens, John Updike, John Steinbeck, Margaret Mitchell, Armistead Maupin, Cormac McCarthy. Herman Wouk in his war novels could tell incredible stories with vivid description, dialogue, and inventive situations. He didn’t get too poetic, but he had a masterful command of language anyway, and his writing did yield moments of poetry, just with little fanfare.

Books impact me more than authors, and that can mix things up. I would never list Michael Crichton as a favorite author, but he wrote a brilliant novel in THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN and deserves mention for it. I’ve never thought much of Stephen King’s books and would never consider any of them a favorite, but he can put you in a hotel and make all the haunts within feel real, and that’s talent. And as much as I love John Updike, he has written a fistful of novels that I know I’ll never get through. So it varies.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Mike Colahan online


The Gospel of Catherine Deare
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 139,180. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Religious, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a woman driving west of Philadelphia has an unexpected encounter with a stranger and convinces herself that he is Jesus Christ. She leaves her family to become a follower, and she, Jesus, and five dysfunctional disciples travel the Pennsylvania countryside asking big questions and finding big answers. An unforgettable work of faith and imagination.
Career School
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 199,200. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
This is the story of a respected college losing its soul to make a profit. Its heroes are a kind-hearted Quaker school director, his beautiful but ruthless admissions director, a cynical bursar, a stalwart dean, and a financial aid director who would rather be painting. A candid glimpse of small college management, told with humor, compassion, romance and heartbreak, a vital story for our times.

Mike Colahan's tag cloud

911    admissions    afterlife    college    education    faith    grief    jesus    love relationships    philadelphia    scam    scandal    secretary    sex    spirituality    teacher   

Mike Colahan's favorite authors on Smashwords

J.R. Tompkins
Latest book: Price of the Child.
Published August 9, 2014.