Author Interview: Michael Patrick Mahoney Jr.

Today I’m going to introduce author Mike Mahoney and his book And We All Fall:

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 SmashwordsNook, 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?

Both.

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!

https://www.michaelpmahoneyjr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/michaelpatrickmahoneyjr

https://twitter.com/michaelpmahone2

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about you and your experience, Mike! 

 

Sponsored content. Learn more about my author interviews here.

 

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Free Author Interviews For the Rest of November!

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Submit your author interview answers to me by the end of November and I’ll post them for free. See the interview questions and typical guidelines here.  You can answer all or just some of the questions–it’s up to you! Interviews are normally $5, but tis the season of giving!

Why do I typically charge for interviews? Because I'm handing over my platform to you. I also offer other advertising opportunities here. I never charge for book reviews or TBR posts. Thank you for considering AmandaPandaduh!

 

TBR – The Automation by Anonymous

The capital-A Automatons of Greco-Roman myth aren’t clockwork. Their design is much more divine. They’re more intricate than robots or androids or anything else mortal humans could invent. Their windup keys are their human Masters. They aren’t mindless; they have infinite storage space. And, because they have more than one form, they’re more versatile and portable than, say, your cell phone—and much more useful too. The only thing these god-forged beings share in common with those lowercase-A automatons is their pre-programmed existence. They have a function—a function their creator put into place—a function that was questionable from the start…

Odys (no, not short for Odysseus, thank you) finds his hermetic lifestyle falling apart after a stranger commits suicide to free his soul-attached Automaton slave. The humanoid Automaton uses Odys’s soul to “reactivate” herself. Odys must learn to accept that the female Automaton is an extension of his body—that they are the same person—and that her creator-god is forging a new purpose for all with Automatons…

The novel calls itself a “Prose Epic,” but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary clichés and gimmicks: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel. Gabbler’s pompous commentary (as footnotes) on the nameless Narrator’s story grounds the novel in reality. Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for its so-called “literary” qualities, but otherwise contradicts the Narrator’s claim that the story is true.

THE AUTOMATION is a this-world fantasy that reboots mythical characters and alchemical concepts. Its ideal place would be on the same bookshelf as Wilson’s ALIF THE UNSEEN and Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS—though it wouldn’t mind bookending Homer, Virgil, and Milton, to be specific.

And, yes, “B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler” are really just a pen name.

I’m horny for more footnotes.

View on Goodreads.

You can also read this for free via Smashwords.

TBR – Speaking in Tungs by Karla M. Jay

In this entertaining first novel, set in rural Pennsylvania, a young San Francisco woman searches for her birthparents and from the moment she arrives in the backwoods town of Tungston, she falls under the spell of unforgettable characters, the unexpected-but-real threat of a violent fugitive, and the unexpected-but-real charm of a local fireman—all leading her to discover the true meaning of family.” Speaking in Tungs is too good to be anyone’s first novel….I enjoyed reading this witty novel with its colorful cast of characters, and so will you.” –Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times Bestselling Author

I love punny titles.

Buy it on Amazon.

TBR – Sex Hell by Joe Canzano

When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by an obnoxious demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid – or does she?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations*

Sex Hell sounds kind of like real life to me.

Learn more here.

TBR – The Book of Ralph by Christopher Steinsvold

A message appears on the moon. It is legible from Earth, and almost no one knows how it was created. Markus West leads the government’s investigation to find the creator.

The message is simple and familiar. But those three words, written in blazing crimson letters on the lunar surface, will foster the strangest revolution humankind has ever endured and make Markus West wish he was never involved.

The message is ‘Drink Diet Coke.’

When Coca-Cola denies responsibility, global annoyance becomes indignation. And when his investigation confirms Coca-Cola’s innocence, Markus West becomes one of the most hated men on Earth.

Later, five miles above the White House, a cylinder is discovered floating in the night. It is 400 feet tall, 250 feet in diameter, and exactly resembles a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Nearly everyone thinks the cylinder is a promotional stunt gone wrong, just like the lunar advertisement. And this is exactly what the alien in the cylinder wants people to think.

Ralph, an eccentric extraterrestrial who’s been hiding on the moon, needs Markus’s help to personally deliver a dark warning to the White House. Ralph has a big heart, a fetish for Andy Warhol, and a dangerous plan to save the world.

How convenient that Ralph is an eccentric in such an eccentric novel!

Read more on Goodreads. 

TBR – Wild World by Peter S. Rush

Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the protest era of the early 1970s, WILD WORLD is a gripping novel of power, corruption, injustice, courage, and hope—and one tenacious young man whose determination to overturn the system holds unexpected consequences for his own life. In the spring of 1970, Steve Logan, like thousands of other college students across America, takes to the streets to protest authority and the Vietnam War. Fueled by a strong sense of moral justice, he wants to make the world better—a belief his girlfriend Roxy, a medical student, passionately shares. Weeks before his graduation from Brown University, Steve’s life is upended when National Guard troops kill four students at Kent State University. Then, he meets a reform-minded cop from New York City who convinces Steve that to change the system, he has to get involved.

Eager to make a difference, Steve decides to give up law school and join the Providence Police Department. While the rookie cop with an Ivy League degree knows that change is difficult, the reality of fighting the establishment soon overwhelms him. His education makes him an outsider, and his honesty makes him a threat to the corrupt cops who use the power of their badge to inflict brutality and extort. And the job is taking a toll at home. His college friends think he’s a traitor to the cause and even Roxy, the woman he loves, has begun to pull away. But Steve isn’t going to give up. Devising a dangerous plan to radically shake up the system, he begins to collect the evidence to take his enemies down . . . unless they take him out first.

Roxy seems to really want t o marry a lawyer.

View on Goodreads.

Book Review: The Fire in the Rock by Charles Norman

So this book took me a long while to get to, because its size was so daunting. While it looks like a 500-page book, it is only about 490. And while it only has about 490 pages, those pages are not packed with words. The sections (I don’t know what else to call them) of this book are set up with numbers that remind me of chapters/verses of a book in the Bible. Maybe it has something to do with the organization of the Torah as a standalone? Or the Talmud?  I’m not Jewish so I don’t even know. I need to look into it. Usually ‘chapters’ are around 5 pages, but sometimes are only two. So it was easy to keep turning the page. It’s not as dense as it looks. However, this still ended up being a DNF for me.

What enticed me to read this book was that it got a good Kirkus review. And, on top of it, it seemed to try very hard to push away the “Christian Fiction” labeling it might otherwise be grouped in. It is not Christian Fiction, that’s for sure. It’s historical fiction with a dash of theological exploration and hermeneutics as far as I can tell. I flipped to the end to the author’s “Afterword” which actually entertained me more than the story itself:

“Besides telling the story of the Exodus in a more realistic manner, without the usual spectacular ‘special effects’ and obviously supernatural miracles, it will have been noticed that God is ‘offstage,’ so to speak, in this book, in much the same way that He is ‘offstage’ in our own real lives. That is, among other things, the point of this novel. Perhaps God was no more present to Moses than He is to ordinary people of the present day. Perhaps God spoke to the ‘Avru’ – the Hebrews – in the same way that He speaks to us, in perhaps the only way that He has ever spoken: through the words of good and thoughtful people who are consumed, not by supernatural visions and ecstasies, but by an overwhelming hunger for justice, for peace, and above all, for truth. According to the Talmud, these are the three things by which the world is sustained.”

I can see how Norman would choose a story/novel as the vehicle to explore this message. Many people wouldn’t understand what he was getting at otherwise. Though, since this message is something I already believe in (or indulge in) from time to time, I wish the story had been more concise and more approachable (even though it was more approachable than first thought). When you are going to be overt that there is an agenda to your work in order to sell your work…the work loses its mystery, perhaps. I felt like I already got the point. There is, apparently, a romance thrown in the story but that is not a reason I read any book. So, I stopped.

I also felt the liberties he took with the names of the characters and the “Avru” were perhaps a bit too silly and distracted from the fact these were supposed to be recognizable concepts. But he explains his choices in his afterword and I admit he seems to have researched it and thought it through. They were conscious choices. I feel like Norman would do well with nonfiction or essays. I’d be curious to read his thoughts on other religious subjects. Perhaps even his own exegesis.

TBR: Strawberries by Casey Bartsch

Strawberries is the name he has been given.

When they let him out, they had no way of knowing what he was. A psychopath. A killer. The body count is at twenty already, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Agent Harry Bland can’t see one anyway. He doesn’t have a single clue to go on. It doesn’t help that his mind won’t focus. His heart just isn’t in it anymore. Half way across the country, Sylvia is in a different state of mind. When she isn’t selling sex to the rich, she is doing her best to disappear. She lives a life of assumed names, one night stands, and a constant stream of narcotics. Sylvia has heard of Strawberries. Of course she has. So has everyone who has turned on the television or surfed the net. Yet, she has no way of knowing just how much his life will affect hers.

Seedy hotels, cross country truckers looking for the meaning of life, homemade pie, a reporter with her own secret agenda, obscenely expensive champagne, and plenty of spilled blood await our cast. But make sure to read fast…..Strawberries has killed number 21.

I, too, have heard of strawberries. They have a lot of pesticides, I hear. Super deadly.

View on Goodreads.

TBR: The Ruby-Eyed Child (The Seventh Order Book 1) by J. Walter Brockmann

Leaf Bottlestopper is a perfectly ordinary half-elf. Until, that is, his foster mother is killed and his infant foster sister, a ruby-eyed girl named Sage, is kidnapped. Leaf is thrown into a brewing conflict—decades in the making—that’s now about to erupt. With help, he learns the deep secrets of the Six Orders of magic—secrets that the enemy’s leader has worked hard to suppress. As the time to save his sister dwindles, the question becomes: Is the enemy truly after Sage… or Leaf himself?

I like how this seems to use fantasy to explain modern family dynamics.

View on Goodreads.