This week, I’m excited to continue The Next Big Thing blog hop with my guest, M.G. (Mike) Miller. His answers to the ten questions below will give you a peek into this multi-talented author I’ve come to know through his writing and our friendship. Welcome, Mike!
I’m Mike. My pen name is M.G. Miller.
Last year I paid 40 bucks for an online blogging workshop. I tried blogging for a while, but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me, which is why Jan Morrill is being my gracious host today. I made some really cool new friends in that workshop, though, and a few weeks ago, one of them, August McLaughlin, asked me if I wanted to do the blog hop. I said, “Bring it.”
August is almost a Sagittarius, which is what I am, which is one reason why I think we get along. Plus, she’s a damn good writer, and that’s something I admire. She’s got a new novel coming out in a matter of weeks, and I was lucky to get an advance reading copy of it. Lucky, because the pages fairly crackle with electricity. I found myself out of breath more than once from the frantic pace, and when it was over, I felt like a wrung sponge.
Thank you, August, for inviting me to participate, and for the rush of In Her Shadow.
Now it’s my turn to answer the questions in the series.
1: What is the title of your book?
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I got on a jungle kick one summer, watched a lot of 70s Italian jungle giallo movies, let my yard grow (the neighbors loved that). I’d just finished a novel, Bayou Jesus, when it hit me that I had a good character in it for a spin-off. So I spun him off…and into the jungle.
3: What genre does your book come under?
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I don’t write with actors in mind. The studio can cast anyone they want if they give me an option.
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Six missionaries and a prostitute enter the jungle to bring God’s Word to the savages, but a few bad words can make savages of anyone.
6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Self. Let’s have another drink and change the subject.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Seventeen months, which is about the average on all my first drafts. Seven Devils has been through several drafts now, so it’s pretty lean–and a little mean.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Matthiessen’s At Play in the Fields of the Lord, and Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Didn’t I just say jungle giallos? And a spin-off character, Simon. He’s lost his faith, and is rather a meek giant. I thought that putting that trait into the hell of a jungle would be good juxtaposition and affect change in him. I dreamed the entire novel, too. My roommate at the time said I used to scream in my sleep.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It was intended as the second book in a trilogy: Bayou Jesus, Seven Devils and Idol Gods. But after writing half of Idol Gods, I realized that I’d said all I needed to in the first two books. Seven Devils won an Arkansas Governor’s Award for Literature some years ago. It’s not a religious book, it’s a book about religion, and a localization of global civilization and beliefs. It’s operatic and uncompromising, edgy, beautiful and blasphemous, and not for everyone.
Now we play tag, and these people are It for next week:
#1. Jan Morrill. My blog mistress today. I took an instant liking to Jan, because she’s also a damn fine writer. I knew it within the first five pages I ever heard her read. Poignant, direct. Flesh and blood characters. A riveting, real life plot. That novel I first heard is coming out in January, published by the University of Arkansas Press. That’s prestige. I’m very proud of her, because I know how hard she works.
#2. Jack Dalton. It’s impossible to sum up the entity that is Jack. I’m in awe of his drive in so many areas of the arts: successful playwright, renowned speaker, accomplished actor, amazing novelist, teacher, lecturer, etc., etc. His work can be deceiving at times, though, because even in the lightest of moments, there’s a profound depth to every turn of phrase, and I’m changed for having encountered him. Jack will be hosted next week by Claire Croxton.
#3 Brian Conley. Brian was an enigma to me for a long time. He used to go to my writers group during a time when I wasn’t attending. I heard about him, though; his writing apparently had quite an impact. And when I finally read his work, I found that his sentences literally sing. His novel is beautiful, brutal, and as real as the people next door. I highly recommend a visit to his ‘Neighborhood’. Jan Morrill will be hosting Brian on December 19, same time, same place.
That’s all for me.
Buy the book.
(A little Hell for the Holidays.)