I am thrilled and honored to introduce Mike Mullin as a new League of Extraordinary Writers member! Mike is a fellow Hoosier, an amazing writer, and an all-around extraordinary guy! Welcome, Mike!!!
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 hoping this writing thing works out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife and her three cats. ASHFALL is his first novel.
Title: ASHFALL (Tanglewood, 10/11/2011)
Short Plot: Many 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.
Favorite Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic Works: Other than those written by league members? ‘Cause seriously, I love all their books. I was pretty sure it was a mistake when they invited me to join. Anyway: Epitaph Road by David Patneaude, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Postman by David Brin, The Gone series by Michael Grant, World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler, The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer, The Windup Girl and Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Feed by M.T. Anderson, and Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.
Why write dystopian? The idea for ASHFALL led me to the post-apocalyptic genre, rather than the other way around. In 2008 I was wandering through Central Library in downtown Indianapolis and saw Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s an impressively sized book, but nowhere near large enough, I thought, to include nearly everything. So I checked it out, thinking I’d write Bryson a snarky letter about the stuff he’d missed. Instead, I learned about the Yellowstone supervolcano. When I discovered that no one had written fiction set in the aftermath of an eruption of that epic volcano, I knew I had to try it.
Whimper or Bang? In ASHFALL? Both, but the other way around.
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