Mike C. Tuggle is an amazing writer and a fellow blogger. He has a new novella coming out, ‘The Genie Hunt’ which is a blend of fantasy fiction and thriller. I will be reviewing the book next week. Know more about him on his website.
Q. Hi Mike, and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Your upcoming book ‘The Genie Hunt ’ is due on 10th May 2017, and is an amazing read. Congratulations! Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I was raised on a tobacco farm and enjoyed growing up in the country, where I roamed through gorgeous, unspoiled forests and learned to hunt and dress wild game. The land itself had many stories to tell. The North Carolina Piedmont was a major trade area for the Native Americans who lived there for thousands of years, and I was fascinated by the arrowheads you could find in plowed fields. Confederate General Johnston mustered his men nearby, and we often scoured the area for artifacts the soldiers left behind.
In addition to history, science intrigued me as a kid. Although we had little money, my mother saw to it we had books, so my love of reading came early.
After college, I worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter and later as a workflow analyst and project manager. But even while working in statistics and computer programming, I devoured great books, especially science fiction and fantasy. I wrote two novels and a play that flopped, but didn’t get serious about writing fiction until six years ago.
Q. Briefly, what led you up to ‘The Genie Hunt’?
I was inspired to write The Genie Hunt after reading J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, which tells the maddening and overlooked story of our betrayed and almost broken middle class. Another inspiration was Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, which predicts that rising globalism and secularism will draw more people to strict ideologies and faiths that promise direction and a sense of belonging. Those are two of the serious issues the novella tackles, though it’s a comedy thriller — after all, the point of writing a book is to get people to read it, and you do that by writing an entertaining story, not by preaching.
Q. There’s a deep element of theme that you portrayed with your imagination and words (that I think indirectly concerns Trump being the president of United States of America). How did you manage to come up with it?
I am deeply concerned about the artificial world we’re creating. Many writers and thinkers, including eco-social philosopher Charlene Spretnak and environmentalist Wendell Berry, warn that we’re creating an anti-human environment that’s making us sick, physically, mentally, and spiritually. My two cents worth is that human nature is too deep and too resilient to be erased, and that our humanity will re-assert itself forcefully despite the dehumanizing pressures of modern life. Courage arises from tapping in to those deep-rooted qualities, which turns ordinary people into heroes standing up for their friends and family, for the things that truly matter.
Q. How much time went in researching for these key elements?
My entire life.
Q. What is the easiest thing about writing?
Reading the finished product AFTER you’ve sweated out the revisions.
Q. What motivates you to write?
The advice I give to new writers is to discover and give a name to those things that quicken your pulse. Then, put all of your love and all of your rage into defining and exploring those things.
Q. When did you decide that you want to be a writer?
I wrote science fiction stories when I was ten. Most were awful, just take offs of the grade B science fiction movies on Saturday afternoon TV. Bad as they were, I loved writing them.
Q. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I pay attention to both without letting either sway me. They’re like comments in a critique group – you should consider all of them but decide for yourself whether you can learn something from them.
Q. What do you prefer: Pen or Computer? And how do you stay organised (any methods, systems, tools you use)?
I normally compose on the PC, but whenever I get stuck, I’ll do something different to get the creative juices flowing. One thing I’ve found (and would never have predicted) is that writing with pen and paper forces me to think differently, and this often gets me going again.
Q. How do you relax?
One of my many hobbies is primitive weapons. I work out with Okinawan kobudo weapons – the sai, tonfa, bo, and nunchaku. And I love target practice with my sling. Knowing at least the rudiments of ancient weapons is essential for writing fantasy tales.
Q. Since you have been published almost two dozen times, what are your few biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
My biggest surprise was finding out how different editors are at various venues. A piece that one won’t touch is regarded as golden by another. Also, the editor may turn you down not because your story was bad, but because he’s already accepted a story with a similar theme. So when your ms is rejected, you really shouldn’t take it personally.
Q. What would you have done differently if you could do it again?
Get serious about writing fiction earlier in life.
Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
During high school and college, I was a projectionist and film editor at a TV station. I was working the night Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. It was absolutely breathtaking – I floated in a dream cloud a week afterward.
Q. Do you re-read books? One book that you would read again & again?
Oh, yes. Books I’ve read more than once include Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms, Robert E. Howard’s The Hour of the Dragon, and Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely. And I’ve read Yukio Mishima’s “Patriotism” probably a dozen times. It’s a powerful, darkly beautiful story that always leaves me shaken.
Q. Your influence(s)/ favourite author(s)?
As for style, Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, and Mickey Spillane. Tolkien for his courageous and hopeful vision.
Q. What book(s) are you reading at present?
Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase and Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea.
Q. Are you working on anything at the moment? When can we see your next work?
I’m working on a novel about a secret community. The protagonist stumbles upon it, and can’t decide if it’s the evil cult his dying friend warned him about, or if it’s benevolent. It should be ready for the publisher’s eye this summer.
~Find me on~