Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"When I'm not writing..." with Mike Mullin + giveaway!

Mike Mullin

This week, our "When I'm not writing..." post comes from Mike Mullin, author of the YA post-apocalyptic series Ashfall. He's visiting us today to celebrate the release of ASHEN WINTER, the second book in the series, which came out earlier this month. Keep reading to find out what Mike does when he's not hard at work and to enter the giveaway!

 
 
 

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I spend a few hours each week training at my taekwondo dojang. I took up taekwondo in part because of my debut novel, ASHFALL. I knew my protagonist, Alex, would have to be someone special to be able to survive, but I wanted to write an intensely realistic novel—what could happen—will happen—when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts again. So giving Alex magic, superpowers, or vampirism was out. Instead, I decided he’d be a martial artist. The only problem? I didn’t know any martial arts at all.

So I enrolled at Indinanapolis ATA Black Belt Academy. I figured I’d take classes for a month or two and learn enough to fake it. Instead, I found I really enjoyed taekwondo, stuck with it, and finally earned my black belt not long before ASHFALL came out last year. I’m working on my second degree now.

Mike Mullin taekwondo

My wife and I both love to cook—I created a special ASHFALL themed menu last year. If you want to try it, I posted the recipes here. We also enjoy trying new restaurants and an occasional good bottle of wine.

Many of the survival skills described in ASHFALL are based on personal experience. I spent quite a bit of time as a teenager tramping around in the woods, including one three-day stretch with nothing but a knife. Now I prefer hotel rooms to improvised shelters, but I still enjoy hiking and canoeing.

I also spend a fair amount of time biking or walking around Indianapolis. I’m fortunate to have a grocery store, post office, and library in easy walking distance, so I don’t have to use my truck for routine errands. I’m trying to cut down on the amount of gasoline I consume and CO2 I put into the atmosphere, although all the driving for book tours isn’t helping that effort.

Speaking of the library, the number one thing I do with my spare time is read. I put all the books I read on Goodreads—you can become my friend there if you like so we can chat books. Last year I read 171 books, or a little over 40,000 pages of text (thanks for counting, Goodreads!)

My guilty pleasure is computer games. That stuff at the beginning of ASHFALL about World of Warcraft? Yeah, that’s all based on “research.” I had to quit playing online games, though—I was getting way too addicted to them. Lately I’ve been playing Civilization V and Skyrim, although I’m on hiatus from all computer games for a while so I can get ready for my fall book tour and finish the third ASHFALL book.

How do I find time for all that? Well, for one thing, I don’t watch television. The average American would gain 35 hours per week by throwing a brick through their TV screen. And I’m very fortunate that my wife has a job with health insurance, so that I can write full-time.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. Anyone got a nutcracker? It’s kind of dark in here. What do you like to do in your spare time? Let me know in the comments, please.

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Thanks for such a great post, Mike!

For more information about Mike and his books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Here's the scoop on ASHEN WINTER:

Mike Mullin Ashen WinterIt's been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex's relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this trilogy. It's also been six months of waiting for Alex's parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex's parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Christine's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You should also check out ASHFALL, the first book in the series:

Mike Mullin AshfallMany visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

Christine's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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giveaway

Mike is generously offering one (1) lucky reader a copy of ASHEN WINTER! It will be signed if you have a US address or from the Book Depository if you live outside of the States.

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

Open internationally
(as long as the Book Depository ships to your country)

Ends Monday, October 29, 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

42 People left their mark' :

  1. In my spare time I like to find a quiet place to read. Great guest post, Mike.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! One of the best parts of being a writer is that I can curl up on the couch with a book and cat and honestly say I'm working.

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  2. +JMJ+

    In my spare time, I read books, watch movies, and blog about them!

    That's not as interesting as Mike's answer, but then again, he set a high bar! =) I'm impressed that a lot of the technical stuff in Ashfall, from survival skills to video games (LOL!), is based on personal experience--not just research done for the story, but stuff Mike actually likes to do for fun.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. What's your blog url? I want to check it out!

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  3. In my spare time, I love to read and write a little
    Although sometimes, I listen to songs on my headphones and sit on the swing at our garden.
    Nice post, Jen and Mr. Mike!
    Your constant reader,
    Soma

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    1. Listening to music on a garden swing sounds heavenly to me.

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  4. thanks for a fun post and congrats on the new release!

    I read :) and walk the dogs

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    1. Thanks, Erin. I miss having a dog. We had one when I was growing up, but I'm touring so much for my books I don't think I could have a dog now. Cats are easy--open the toilet and put down extra food and they're fine. I'm not sure they even miss me.

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  5. Spare time? What's spare time? There is never enough time in the day, but when I do I like to spend it with my son. Even if it's doing something as mundane as going for a walk or a bike ride.

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  6. I do not have a nutcracker (to answer the first question). As for my spare time, I am a book blogger so any "spare time" that I have is devoted to that though I don't view it as such. If I am completely caught up with that too (rare) I read. ^.^

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    1. What's the URL of your blog? I'll check it out.

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  7. Very cool. I just assumed you've always done taekwondo. You are very passionate about it.

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    1. Nope, I started just for ASHFALL. I've gotten into it now, though. My next book after SUNRISE (the last of the ASHFALL trilogy) will probably feature a non-martial-artist, but I plan to keep training in taekwondo. It's fun!

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  8. Every chance I get, I'm reading a book. I do take an adult tap class, but that's only one day a week. Don't watch a whole lot of TV though. Thanks for the post and giveaway!

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  9. My parents have a nutcracker and who has spare time!

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  10. Read, read, read, read! I have an addiction. lol

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  11. I've never owned a nutcracker sorry. In my spare time which isn't much since I work 7 days a week, I run a book blog, read and play with my basset hound.
    Awesome post, I've been meaning to get Ashen Winter for ages.

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  12. Mike, your sense of humor is wonderful, and so are your novels!
    However, we need to talk about this obsession you seem to have with nutcrackers ... O-0

    What do I do in my spare time? I write unauthorized bio's of popular authors. How do you spell your last name again? ;)
    Mary DeBorde aka M.A.D.

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  13. In my spare time I love to read books, read blogs about books, surf the net for information about books, you get the picture. :D Besides that, I love to visit theme parks, ride roller coasters and take lots of pictures.

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  14. I listen to music, read and write in my spare time, Thanks so much for this opportunity!
    christiane_dude@hotmail.com

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  15. Spare time? What's that? LOL! I read, review books, and blog a lot, so spare time is slim. But, if I can fit it in, I'll take photographs, write postcards, penpals, hunt for vintage items at thrift shops, or watch a movie on DVD. If I'm really ambitious about it, I might do Pilates or yoga! :D

    Thanks for the post and the giveaway!

    Zara Alexis @ The Bibliotaphe Closet
    http://zaraalexis.wordpress.com
    zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. We take our dog out for a walk on the beach every afternoon. He swims and all three of us often play a rousing game of doggy-in-the-middle. It gets us away from our computers and gives us all some fun, relaxing exercise.

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  17. In my spare time I take pottery classes - it's actually really soothing though I'm awful at it:)

    Great guest post:)

    Thank you:)

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  18. my family is part of the ATA too! We train with Sr. Master Allen in NC. My husband, 11 year old daughter and I are second dregree Black Belts and my husband and I are level 1 instructors. Do you compete?

    My kids would love this book (me too!) thanks for the chance

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  19. Those are some cool varied interests. In my spare time I like to read, go see a Broadway show since my friend and I have season tickets, watch TV.

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  20. I love reading and listening to music.

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  21. well there isnt much of it but in my spare time i read read read!!!

    kmichellec87(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  22. In my spare time, I'm almost always reading!

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  23. I like to read & get into my craft work.

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  24. I like to read or listen to music. :)
    Thanks!

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  25. When I got some free time I sit down with a book and read! I also love movies and music!

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  26. In my spare time, I read books...- common answer- but that's what I do..:D

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  27. In my very rare spare time I like to read or watch tv series with my sister. Thank you for the giveaway :)

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  28. I have 4 kids so I get very little spare time. lol But when I do, I like to sit quietly at the computer next to my husband. We will be doing very separate things but we will still be together in a way. Also, every time I see the name Mike Mullen, I think of my friend Mike Mullen who was killed in the 9/11 attacks. He worked in building #1.

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  29. In my spare time I like to read on my Nook. I also enjoy browsing book blogs to discover authors who are new to me.

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  30. I love books that bring this kind of subject. End of the world as we know it kind of thing :) Thanks for this one

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  31. Ah, spare time...I have that in spades! I'm currently on sick leave, so I'm not working, and I find myself with a lot of time on my hands.
    I love to read, play fetch with my cat (yes, my cat), write, and watch bloopers.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  32. In my spare time I love to play video games. Silent Hill games are ones of my favorites. How about you, are you a gamer?

    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.
    - Beckie

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