Thanks for coming on the blog today! Ashfall and Ashen Winter were both quite a ride!
B&T: So, what was your inspiration for the series?
MM: The idea for Ashfall started with another book—Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. I found it on a display at Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. Dozens of novel ideas lurk within its pages, but the one that stuck with me was the idea of a supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone. A few weeks after I read it, I woke at 3:30 am with a scene occupying my head so completely I was afraid it would start spilling out my nostrils and ears. I typed 5,500 words, finishing just before dawn. Then I put the project away and let it gestate for eight months. When I returned to it after researching volcanoes and volcanic ash, I realized the inspired scene I wrote in the middle of the night wouldn’t work, and ultimately that whole section had to be scrapped. The only word that remains from that draft? Ashfall.
B&T: What is your favorite thing to do when not writing?
MM: Read! It’s my favorite thing to do with my spare time. I put all the books I read on Goodreads—become my friend there if you like so we can chat about books. Last year I read 171 books, or a little over 40,000 pages of text (thanks for counting, Goodreads!)
B&T: What are your favorite books right now?
This seems to be the year of the fabulous books with blue covers. I admire all of John Green’s work, and The Fault in Our Stars is unequivocally his best yet. I’m also a huge Kristin Cashore fanboy—a couple years ago I started a group on Twitter to hire a maid for her so she could spend more time writing Bitterblue. And, wow, was it ever worth the wait! I think Bitterblue is even better than Graceling—a book I absolutely adored. And finally, there’s a debut middle grade novel called Wonder that moved me deeply. Strangely, all those books have blue covers. The new paperback version of ASHFALL is getting a blue cover, too. Maybe it’s a sign….
B&T: I need a maid... Darn! I need to learn to write! LOL
B&T: What are your favorite TV shows/movies?
MM: I watch very little TV. The last time I had the television on was for the Olympics—I loved the athletics, but NBC’s coverage left me wanting to throw a brick through my TV screen. After hearing the announcers say “very unique” a few dozen times, I wondered if perhaps they’d all gotten their high school diplomas via mail order.
My favorite movies? Probably The Lord of the Rings trilogy, although the ending was infuriating. By skipping over the scouring of the Shire, Jackson turned Tolkein’s complex, nuanced ending into saccharine pablum.
B&T: Are you working on anything else?
MM: I’m working on the final book of the ASHFALL trilogy now. After that I plan to write something else. I have about 15 novels roughed out—a few of them are only a scene or two, for others I have nearly a complete outline. The only thing they have in common is that they’re all exciting young adult fiction. When I finish the ASHFALL trilogy, I’ll start on one of those.
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.
It’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 series. 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.To Be Published: Oct. 16, 2012
Get the first 2 chapters for free HERE!