Who are you?! What are your credentials? Where are you from?
On the cover of my book, you’ll find my full legal name, Michael Patrick Mahoney Jr. Though I’m awfully proud of the name, the heck with that long version for everything else! Everyone who knows me calls me Mike, and you should call me Mike as well.
I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, many decades ago, and I still live in the Tampa Bay area today.
What are my credentials? That’s an interesting question. What gives anyone the credentials to write books? I would argue that power comes from within, driven by every external experience the writer has ever had, and I’ve had quite a few. I also have quite an imagination. I do have a master’s degree in communication, but that doesn’t really make me qualified to write books. Does it? So what does?
Well, I really want to share stories that make people feel all the way down to the core of their being, and I am a creative son-of-a-gun. I have a pretty decent mastery of the English language and grammar as well. And besides, Microsoft Word likes to let me know when I have screwed something up.
What book(s) have you written?
The first book I ever wrote still isn’t “finished”. I started it in college in the mid 90’s and I was never happy with it. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and felt it as well, if you are a writer.
I published a ridiculous, adult humor book around 2011 – Adventures of an eBay Whisperer, A Slightly Insane Man’s Take On Life. I portrayed myself as a serial killer living in my mother’s basement that could communicate with items for sale on eBay, all to explain the meaning of life. It was fun! Funny in fact. Needless to say, no one knows about it. Well, you do, now. If you want to know more about it, or read it, just drop me a line. It isn’t for sale anymore, mostly because I feared eBay would sue me if they could find it.
In the meantime, And We All Fall is the first book that I have written with the serious intent to become a part of the magical realm of excellent authors. It is why I am here, sharing with you, today.
What is the title of your most recent book and how did it come to be named?
And We All Fall is really my first mainstream book, and thus my most recent. It is about many things, including the fact that nothing, and no one, lasts forever. Beauty degrades. Always.
In the story, the main character is haunted by those four title words, from the nursery rhyme Ring Around The Rosie. Hearing his little boy say them and then taking sniper position on the streets of Mogadishu, the father can’t get them out of his head once he experiences something forever traumatic.
You’ll have to read And We All Fall to know more.
What does the cover look like?
Whoa! It has been described by many to me as scary, along with awesome and beautiful, and other great, varied adjectives. I argue that it is quite powerful, though simple. It depicts the main character, Jackson Mills, red and screaming up to the sky in a thunderstorm. Why is he doing that? Why is he red? Again, you’ll have to read And We All Fall. I can tell you that the cover represents a pivotal scene in the story, not to mention the overall tone of the book.
Describe the book in 5 words.
A road trip into oblivion…
What genre(s) do you think it fits into or breaks?
Primarily, And We All Fall is an action-thriller novel. It grips you from the beginning and sends you on a ride, never letting go. Upon first glance at the cover, it admittedly looks like a horror. And yes, there are some scenes in the book that could be considered horror-ish, it is a complete story where horrible things happen for very clear reasons, and not one is for shock and awe. It is not a horror novel. You could call it an apocalyptic-thriller. It is littered with a high degree of romance, particularly early on. It definitely is a story about the love between a father and his son.
What’s the synopsis for the book?
United States Marine sniper, Jackson Mills, comes home for a week on furlough, and sets out on a four-day road trip with his teenage son, Jax. It was a chance for the father and son to bond again, for Jackson to teach Jax important life lessons that will serve him later in life, when he battles against all odds to fulfill his destiny. Simultaneously, as the father and son travel up the East coast, the government rushes behind the scenes to manage an unknown virus that is rapidly becoming a global threat to humanity, and existence as we know it. As the father and son have an action-packed, heart-wrenching journey of a lifetime together, their destinies become changed forever once they encounter the apocalyptic illness. Government powers sacrifice nothing and no one to try and save civilization, while Jax must make an impossible decision for his own survival, in this first thrilling novel of an epic heroic trilogy.
What is one thing you want readers to know about this book that the official synopsis doesn’t cover?
And We All Fall is a love story.
Where can we buy the book?
Currently the book is for sale on Amazon, Kindle and softcover editions.
It is also for sale on Smashwords, Nook, and the Apple Store.
Where did your main sources of inspiration come from for this story?
The main idea for the story was inspired by a particular, ultra-hardcore conversation with my father when I was about fifteen years old, along with what later happened to him. He died at the age of 54 from a rare form of frontal lobe dementia, called Pick’s disease. The disease destroyed him in every way, turned him into what I once described in casual, emotionally detached conversation as an animal.
Who is the book dedicated to and why?
And We All Fall is dedicated to my dad, Michael Patrick Mahoney Sr. He was a writer himself, and a master communicator who worked as a Public Information Officer. He was my hero, a good father who had something horrible happen to him, much like Jackson Mills, the main character in the book.
Why is indie publishing important to you and why do you think it is important to our culture?
Culture is shaped by all of the artists producing art in it, their work, and their ideas. It would be impossible for the overwhelming majority of us who self-publish to ever get our ideas out to the mainstream world without indie publishing. Because of providers like Amazon and Smashwords, as well as great blogs like Amanda’s, and everything else that we have access to on the web that helps us publish, we can all compete with the powerhouse authors and publishing houses that everyone has heard of. We can infuse our views into the culture, and perhaps, influence culture and the world in the most wonderful ways. I can help people feel, the way I felt when I finished The Bridges of Madison County, thanks to indie publishing.
If you could choose one ideal reader – no matter who – to read your book, who would it be and why?
I don’t have anyone specific in mind, though it would be great if producer Megan Ellison would read it and make a movie out of it. All I want is 1% royalties for life and unlimited popcorn refills when I visit the movie theatre.
My vision of an ideal reader is one that greatly appreciates the beauty and value of life, while also accepting and appreciating the sad truth that everything dies. If you have ever experienced, or are now experiencing, the slow death and degradation of someone you love, you will enjoy And We All Fall. And if you like anything apocalypse, you will dig it as well. If you have ever loved and lost…well, you get it.
If your book was an animal, what would it be and why?
We have a lot of alligators here in Florida. Don’t take a swim in a lake around here. I’d even be wary of large puddles. You could liken And We All Fall to a gator. Once it locks you in, you won’t be able to get away. Prepare for a wild ride of twists and turns that will drag you under and tear you apart.
What is your favorite sentence from the book?
I am going to cheat and give you a whole paragraph. “This amazing view in the window,” Franco continued as he slapped a mosquito that had landed on his arm, “coming closer into view as you fall three hundred feet per second. Knowing this Eden is about to end your life.” Franco turned and looked at Ed as he scratched the bite. “That would be cruel. Don’t you think?”
If you were to collaborate with another writer, who would they be and why?
It would have to be Stephen King. He’s one of the best at writing unique, gripping stories that affect the reader. That’s what I hope to do until I take my last breath. Besides, everyone knows who he is. By simple math, partnering with Stephen would increase the likelihood of Michael Patrick Mahoney Jr. becoming a household name. Then I could work in my pajamas at home instead of putting on this suit and tie every day.
How have libraries affected your writing?
I’ll admit that I don’t use libraries the way I used them when I was younger. I sure spend a lot of time researching on the Internet nowadays. Still, when I walk around a library, with all those books everywhere, that feeling I had when I was a child comes back – the wonderful immersion into the dimension of story and fantasy all around me. That feeling makes me want to write, makes me want to create another world for people to escape to. I love just walking around the library, looking at books in the fiction section, sometimes picking them up and reading a few pages. Nothing else smells like a library. That environment is a super motivator for me when doubt and fatigue creep in, as they do for all writers.
What do you see as problems that need to be fixed in the traditional publishing model?
I’ve yet to experience traditional publishing personally, but I know someone who has (my former neighbor), and he hated the loss of creative control and low royalties he experienced with a traditional publisher. He chose to go back to self-publishing his World War II book series for those reasons. He urged me to always ignore the traditional publishing industry completely. I don’t know if that’s a wise thing to do, but I do know that I will have to work just as hard to market my books with a traditional publisher as I do now as a self-publisher. And for what benefit? They’ll change my story and pay me less than I can make selling my books from my website (ultimately). Amazon gives me seller copies at print cost now. I could earn far more than 25% markup on a book sale with that benefit.
Still, I’d give it a shot. What can I say? It’s the dream.
What is the best piece of advice you got from another writer?
Stephen King, in the form of a quote. “Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.” That’s good advice right now while I work on the other two books in the series.
Is the Amazon publishing model scary to you in any way?
No. I love it. That could change, however, as perspectives sometimes do. For now, as a greenhorn, the door to the publishing playground is wide open for me, because of Amazon, and I am having a blast on their jungle gym.
What is something you learned about writing when writing your most recent book?
I realized how much better the story reads when adverbs are the exception rather than the rule.
What are some ways you think gatekeepers in publishing (literary agents, librarians, book bloggers) can help indie authors gain discoverability?
This interview is one brilliant and much appreciated way. Thanks, Amanda. If anyone wants to be my agent, contact me. Then I will find out if that is helpful or not.
What is one book that changed your life and how?
I may never hear the end of the teasing from my family and friends, but I have to go with The Bridges of Madison County. I cried like a baby, and I learned, when compared to so many other books I’ve read, how important it is to really feel the story, deep inside. I’ve never been to Madison County in real life. And I don’t care much about bridges. But man did I fall apart. Why? Because love is powerful. That book helped to shape my goals as a writer. Others have since, but that was the first.
How do you feel about authors giving their work away for free?
That’s the hardest question of all, every day. Bottom line, I think this shouldn’t become a habit, a regular practice, but is smart when used as a tool in a strategic marketing campaign designed to ultimately increase exposure, which ultimately increases sales.
What are you reading now?
I am getting ready to read Stephen King’s It, new release. I’ve only seen the movie.
What music do you write to or find inspiration in?
Anything with a really powerful crescendo really gets me going! Typically, alternative rock, but it really depends on what type of scene I am writing. I listened to Air Supply quite of bit while writing And We All Fall. I found myself crying while writing at times, the book and the song at the same time just a bit too much to take.
What roadblocks did you encounter when publishing your work?
Formatting the book so it could be sold on platforms like the Smashwords network and Amazon was quite frustrating, and led to delays. That’s very specific. Really, the whole darn process from start to finish was wrought with road blocks. It all takes time. It takes money, between editing, artwork and marketing. I get all my money from a forty-hour week day job that takes all my time. I’m amazed I made it this far. Really!
What TV show are you watching now?
I’m watching quite a few, but Shameless is my current favorite, followed by Supernatural.
Cat or dog or both person?
Coffee or tea or both person?
Both. Variety is the spice of life baby!
Print book or ebook or both person?
I would rather smell the book and flip the paper, but that cold, neutral digital will do in a pinch.
What is one thing you would like to say to millennial readers?
I don’t care how you read books, just read them. And don’t just read them. Learn from them. Open your mind to all the new ideas that are born out of books. And for goodness sakes, please please please please please take a short moment to leave a review for the books you read. It is an invaluable help to indie authors. And follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Please.
Where can we stalk you?
All my social media has been newly created with the launch of And We All Fall. Please follow me. I am working on a redesign of the website, while I pound out the next two books. But, you can still subscribe at the current website, and I would love it if you did. The blog and store are coming ASAP!
Thanks for reading about me!
Thanks for taking the time to tell us about you and your experience, Mike!