Author Interview: Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson

1) You currently have two trilogies and other books published. The Van and Enigma of Twilight Falls trilogies. Can you tell us a little about both?

The Enigma of Twilight Falls is a little more formal than the Van trilogy, though the books comprising each vary in their individual stories and characters. Enigma is a nonlinear trilogy that encompasses a wider narrative, and a wider mythos. The town of Twilight Falls lies in a lush, Redwood Valley in Northern, California, acting as an eerie beacon not only for artists of all stripes but also unexplained phenomena and bouts of terrible violence. The reading order is to your choosing, but each book illuminates more of a mysterious “scheme” percolating in the shadows of the town, as well as the greater mystery of what makes the town unique.

The Van trilogy, on the other hand, is connected in a looser way by the key presence of a certain VW van in all three books, one of which, “Negative Space,” overlaps with The Enigma of Twilight Falls. The van belongs to an eccentric, nomadic paranormal investigator named Dwayne, who uses it as his office-on-wheels — complete with a UFO air freshener and Bigfoot bobble head doll on the dash.

2) I read in an interview that you wrote a bit of Enigma of Twilight Falls in 6th grade. What made you enjoy writing?

The seed of what would become the flagship Twilight Falls story, The Green-Eyed Monster, was indeed a short story written for 6th grade English. I’d been writing happily and consistently, though, for about five years prior. I always say it was (and is) my brain’s way of going to the bathroom, though ideally with more publicly-pleasing results. From a young age, I loved to read and watch movies, and my mind has always been partially running on “musing mode”. Wherever a breath is taken, there might be an idea lurking.

3) I believe your first book published was Skunk Ape Semester, can you tell us a bit about this book, and how you felt when you were finally a published author?

Skunk Ape Semester, in fact, one of the titles of the Van trilogy, was my first traditional publication. The acceptance was certainly a great feeling, though I will be honest in admitting I’d hoped for greater reach and resources not permitted to many smaller presses. I was also a bit of an outlier in their catalog, as their focus was predominantly mystery and paranormal romance. Of course, this undercuts nothing of my gratitude for them seeing the book’s potential and taking it on. They also commissioned an audiobook, which I really like. As I often call the novel On the Road meets  The X-Files, it’s apropos that road-trippers in real life can now follow the story by ear.

The story itself is consciously separated from the deluge of Bigfoot or cryptid yarns that are either outlandishly humorous or cheesily horrific. Rather, “Skunk Ape Semester” covers the human and social consequences of strange encounters, and, while it’s fiction, the “cases” involved are based on real phenomena and real testimony.

4) Dreamshores is about a girl who finds a fascination in monsters during her youth. It wasn’t until her early adulthood, did she start to discover who or (what) she is. You have done a similar task in The Prince Earth, a more paranormal book. Both take place in different parts of the world. Since you don’t choose your topics, rather they choose you. Do you specifically choose to separate time frames in your books?

As it does many, the nature of time and growth — both physical and emotional — fascinates me as key aesthetic devices of storytelling. The contrast of childhood and adulthood, or younger and older, innocence and wisdom, seem to spring up for me when constructing many stories and the characters they feature. The character is the story, often, so in understanding the universe I’ve placed them in, and how they relate to it, or will, my efforts tend to take me back to their younger years. To see the beginnings of their universe. Much of my work involves reconciling inward strangeness with outward strangeness.

5) If you were to choose to live as one of your characters for only one day (hopefully they are having a good day when you make the Leap) who would you choose and why?

 I think it’d depend on which scene I was living in their skin (*wink*). But it’s probably a toss-up between Dwayne, the aforementioned paranormal investigator, and Adrian Foster, star of  Waking Gods (part of the Twilight Falls trilogy), who can travel his consciousness into others’, and can, in turn, toggle how immersed he becomes in their emotions, sensations, memories, and thoughts. Unsurprisingly, those aware of his ability nickname him the Human Master Key. As a writer, it’d be hard to pass up a peek into something like that.

 6) You have a short story, “How I Killed the Drama”, in an anthology called Prime Time. This is about a traveling salesman who discovers the secrets of every man’s sadness and troubles. How many short stories you’ve written been published?

I’ve written quite a number of short stories, and have published about 15 of them. There are a good lot I don’t care to pursue any longer (and haven’t for years), but some of my recent unpublished work I’d love to see in print. Just a matter of submitting regularly.

 7) You have written about Cryptids, Aliens, and the supernatural. Which is your favorite to read/write and learn more about?

My interests are varied and weird, but I would say that my umbrella interest(s) lie with the dynamics between the natural world and the metaphysical world, which, as I see it, make for one whole cosmic organism. This fascination is evident in the title of my story collection, “Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray.” Some misunderstand that title as referring to the book’s dark themes or content. Not exactly.

I love natural history, mythology, cosmology, and metaphysics. If I had to pick out a favorite off-kilter subject, I’d say it’d be cryptids; one could argue they touch on three out of the four areas (not so much cosmology, after all). I’m always a sucker for “monsters”, cinematic or real, and for wildlife both known and unknown.

 8) You write very creepy descriptions and situations. When you are working on these scenes or descriptions, do you get scared?

Thank you! I don’t get scared, really, though I do channel situations and sensations that have frightened me in the past, or theoretical situations that would. For instance, in The Prince of Earth, the protagonist is lying alone in a hotel bed, when around 2 AM she feels a soft tap on her exposed shoulder. That’s a thought that still crosses my mind when curling up in the dark. So in that sense, I suppose I do unnerve myself. But in-the-moment fright as I’m writing? Not as much. I’m too distracted finessing the scene.

9) What do you have for us as fans to look forward to in the next book?

Right now, my agent’s been shopping around my recent novel Walking the Dusk, a slipstream dark fantasy about an intellectually-gifted child who braves otherworldly realms to help his older sister, the victim of a strange force that comes to haunt them for years — even when the boy grows up to be an active and admired particle physicist.

In much earlier development is a Hawaiian-set horror novel, Ancient Tides Ashore.  As a screenwriter and producer, I’m also co-writing a half-hour supernatural dramedy called  Black Tea that we hope will find some financial legs in the coming year. In fact, his show dovetails with another one in development: “Dwayne”, concerning, you guessed it, our lovely Fortean investigator.

10) Where can we find your work, and stay up to date on tours and releases? Falls trilogies. Can you tell us a little about both?

My website is: www.mikerobinson-author.com

You can check out my personal and author Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/mike.robinson.758

https://www.facebook.com/MikeRobinsonAuthor/ 

Or find me on Goodreads