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Author Q&A > Mike Mullin (Author of the Ashfall trilogy) Q&A Event--Jan 13-19th

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message 1: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (last edited Jan 19, 2014 08:10AM) (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
From January 13-19th, bestselling author Mike Mullin will be coming to our group to answer questions about his bestselling Ashfall series, his life as an author, and about anything else you all can come up with!! So get ready for the fun and start thinking of some questions to ask him!

Mike has been gracious enough to also offer an ARC of his newest book, Sunrise (which releases in April 2014) to one lucky group member and participant in this Q&A Event!!! Thank you for being so generous, Mike!

And please don't forget to put your questions in bold type, so Mike and I can find them!


And if you haven't checked out his books yet, you are missing out! Some of the best YA Dystopians I've read!

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1) by Mike Mullin Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2) by Mike Mullin Sunrise (Ashfall, #3) by Mike Mullin

Questions

1. Jenny--You were scarily accurate in how you portrayed the setting of Iowa. Also the details on the eruption of the volcano itself. So my first question is, how much research did you do for this series? Especially on the first book.

2. Karen--Are you trained in martial arts, especially in the use of a bo staff (my weapon of choice by the way)?

3. Karen--What does your typical day look like?

4. Karen--What's next after the Ashfall series?

5. Carl--Did you expect Darla to take over the book for so many readers?

6. David--How did you end up becoming an author? Did you always want to be an author?

7. Rose-- Any plans to bring Ashfall to the big screen? I could totally see it as one of those summer blockbusters.

8. Jenny--Okay, you're favorite book of all time. Or several if you can't choose!

9. Karen--What's your favorite fan moment/s?

10. Jen--I have two questions for you. First, it seems like every apocalyptic story depicts humanity sinking to its most base level. Why is that? Would people really be that bad? You have pockets of people helping each other, but holy cow those camps and especially isolation. Talk about a nightmare.

11. Jen--And secondly - Darla is amazingly talented when it comes to mechanics and the workings of things. Are you handy as well, and how did you come up with these inventions of Darlas?

12. Kelly--With the new series being what could be a sensitive subject for some, were you mindful of the possibility of racial profiling and the sensitivity towards the terrorist attacks in the U.S?

13. Hamna-- What makes Ashfall different and similar to other post apocalyptic books such as 'Inhuman' by Kat Falls, ' The Fifth wave' and others.

14. Jenny--As a writer what are the pros and cons?

15. Jenny--Is there any due dates for all of your books like how much times you get to write before your publisher wants it

16. Jen--One more question: who would have gotten incinerated? How far from Yellowstone would you have to live to avoid the immediate stuff from the blast, i.e. the pyroclastic flow?

17. Natalie--This may be rather badly worded, but how do you come up with scenes in your books to put in between the main, important scenes? I guess you could call them the filler scenes that give the reader a break of the intensity of your book and just get to know the characters a bit better. Sorry if it makes no sense XD

18. Karen--On a serious note, the cannibalism stuff WAS gruesome. How were you able to write those types of scenes? Did you give yourself nightmares? What kind of research did that entail?!

19. David--Are you into sports, either playing or watching or both? Obviously you've got the martial arts which I'm sure keep you busy and fit, but any others?

20. Sandra--Now to my question,What can we expect after Sunrise? More of the same genre?, totally different?

21. Elisa--After reading Ashfall my friends and I all have plans for what to do if the super volcano erupts. My question is, do you have survival plans sketched out after writing Ashfall?

22. Dre--It seemed like bad luck after bad luck was happening to both Alex & Darla, and mostly caused by Alex. Was it intentional that Darla (in my opinion) is the stronger of the two?

23. Dre-- Since you mentioned, road trip, do you travel a lot during your writing process? What countries have you traveled to and which one is the best so far?

24. Dre-- If you had to choose a post-apocalyptic dinner that you will have to eat every day, what would it be?

25. Dnicole--How do you get yourself into the mindset of the evil, the ones who captured Darla, for instance? Do you stow yourself away from family and go dark or what?

26. Karen--Did you eat a lot of kale while researching the Ashfall series? Or dandelion salads? ;)

27. Christian--What's your favourite type of apple?

28. Jody--Do you push ahead to hit those quotas even if it's not going the way you want? I guess what I'm curious about is whether your objective it is to always keep moving along and make sure you're producing something, even if you suspect/know that you might jettison it the next day, week, year, first revision, etc.
Thanks!

29. Kelly--My question is about the animals that had to be killed and then their meat and skin/fur removed. Did you already know how to do this before writing Ashfall? If not, how did you go about researching and learning it? Thanks!

30. Kelly--With the Ashfall series drawing to a close, did you feel any added pressure from readers to provide somewhat of a typical happily ever after? How much influence, if any, do fans have in which direction you may have decided to take the series?

31. Jen--I have to ask if you're Colts fans and are looking wistfully at the Broncos? With apologies to Andrew Luck?

32. David--Have you ever been in the midst of a natural disaster?

33. Kelly--Which natural disaster would terrify you most to be in the midst of the chaos? Bushfires, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake etc

34. Kelly--Do you draw on that type of 'what if' scenario to create your character reactions to the volcanic eruption? Just personally, that's part of the major lure of the series, it's realistic and most of us have probably thought about those 'what if' situations quite often.

35. Karen--Mike, you seem like the kind of guy that's prepared. Do you and your family have a bug out bag ready to go? If you do, what's in it?

36. Jenny--Have you ever watched the show Doomsday Preppers and what do you think about people that go out of their way to prepare for an apocalypse?

37. Sherrie--Which do you prefer e-books or physical copies? Also, what are your favorite genres to read?

38. Tracy--My question is this: there are a lot of post apoc shows on tv-like Doomsday Preppers etc or if aliens landed on the earth. Have you been approached to talk on the post apoc shows? Do you think at some point you would write an alien series or are you rooted to things that could really happen? I can't wait for the next book and I put the request in for the library I work for to order it. They have a habit of ordering two out of three books of some series.


39. Karen--Mike, this may have been mentioned already, but how long before the earth becomes "semi-normal", i.e., the sun breaks through and the crops begin to grow again?

40. Jenny--What is one of the strangest things that's ever happened to you?

41. Kelly--As the wife of an author, how involved are you in the creative process?



message 2: by Mike (new)

Mike Mullin Thanks, Jenny! I'm looking forward to it. If you're waiting for SUNRISE, there's an ebook short available to tide you over: Darla's Story.


message 3: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
I didn't know that, I'm going to check it out right now! Can't wait! I so love this series, and I can't wait for this event! (And I'm the one who talked David into reading this series, by the way!)


message 4: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (last edited Nov 16, 2013 05:45PM) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
LOL!! You ARE the one who convinced me to read Ashfall! And I'm SO GLAD you did as not only did I find an awesome story and a great writer, but one of the nicest most generous authors in Mike Mullin!

Thanks SO MUCH for being a part of this, Mike! I'm just finishing up Ashen Winter, LOVE it! And thanks for providing the link to the ebook short, I'll definitely read that next :)

Can't wait to chat with you in January!


Jeann (Happy Indulgence)  (happyindulgence) | 258 comments OMGG I need to read Ashfall (Ashfall, #1) by Mike Mullin now!


Karen’s Library | 11320 comments Mod
Jeann (Happy Indulgence) wrote: "OMGG I need to read Ashfall (Ashfall, #1) by Mike Mullin now!"

It was soooo good, Jeann. I need to read Ashen Winter NOW! And the short! WOOT WOOT!


Karen’s Library | 11320 comments Mod
Mike wrote: "Thanks, Jenny! I'm looking forward to it. If you're waiting for SUNRISE, there's an ebook short available to tide you over: Darla's Story."

Hi Mike! *waves* So excited to chat with you in January! :-)


Karen’s Library | 11320 comments Mod
Mike wrote: "Thanks, Jenny! I'm looking forward to it. If you're waiting for SUNRISE, there's an ebook short available to tide you over: Darla's Story."

Got my copy of Darla's Story (Ashfall, #0.5) by Mike Mullin

Can't wait to read it!


Kelly (Diva Booknerd) (divabooknerd) I've read Ashfall and added it to my bookgasm shelf. I completely fell in love with Darla. I just purchased Darla's Story, my first purchase since migrating my account over to the new Amazon Australia :)


message 10: by Dre (new)

Dre (drewolf) | 266 comments I didn't know there's Darla's Story! I need to read that. I've read the first 2 books and loved it. I can't wait for Sunrise!


message 11: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
I'm about to finish Ashen Winter, SO GOOD! Then I'll read Darla's story so I'll be all ready for this Q&A. I'm already thinking of questions!


message 12: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
Darla is awesomesauce! A wonderful character, I can't wait to read her story!!


message 13: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
Omg finished her story, so good!!!


message 14: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
Woot! I'll buy her story tomorrow, another thing I have to read tomorrow lol!


message 15: by Dre (new)

Dre (drewolf) | 266 comments I will read Darla's story this weekend. It should be a quick read. And Darla is really kick-ass!


message 16: by Donna (new)

Donna (donanicole) | 897 comments I just read a sample if Ashfall so when I am finished with ENDING ELE I will begin it. Sounds so good.


message 17: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
It's awesome!


message 18: by Mike (new)

Mike Mullin Thanks! I'm looking forward to the Q&A.


Karen’s Library | 11320 comments Mod
You have no idea how excited WE are, Mike. I know many of us in this group all LOVE LOVE LOVE your series.


message 20: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
Agreed!


message 21: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Holt (urbex_chik) I'm excited for this!! I've been lucky enough to have the chance to meet Mike twice and have both my books signed by him. I love the Ashfall series!!


message 22: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
OMG I'm so jealous of you, Jennifer!!


message 23: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
I'm so jealous too, that's incredible!! You have such good luck I wanted be surprised if you win the signed ARC of Sunrise to complete your set LOL!!


message 24: by Heather (new)

Heather Haynes (str8leo) | 1 comments I have read several YA books lately and this is by far my favorite Trilogy. In Ashfall, my favorite character was of course Darla, but she was trumped by Ben in Ashen Winter. He just brings something to the story that wasn't there before. He is so innocent and pure and you just want to protect him. I am very excited to see the part he plays in Sunrise!


message 25: by Sandra "Jeanz" (new)

Sandra "Jeanz" This reallyis a brilliant dystopian series, I've read Ashfall, Ashen Winter and Darla's Story. I love the latest cover how they all tie in. Though I also loved the original cover for Ashfall. . . . . I'll be thinking of some questions and hopefully popping back to read the answers :)


message 26: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
Yay, so glad you're joining us Heather and Sandra!


message 27: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
Welcome to the discussion Sandra and Heather! And great points, I couldn't agree more :)


Kelly (Diva Booknerd) (divabooknerd) Forgive me, I'm fangirling a little waiting for this Q&A.


message 29: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
Ha! I'm fan-girling too!


message 30: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
LOL I think you mean fanboying...which is a really strange word come to think of it... ;)


message 31: by Dre (new)

Dre (drewolf) | 266 comments Yes, I think he meant "fanboying" LOL! Too many girls on this group Hahaha!


message 32: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollyb_nc) I'm really looking forward to the Q&A starting!! I haven't yet read ASHFALL (boo! hiss!) though I DO have it on my Kindle and hopr to be able to read it before the discussion :) I follow Mike on Twitter, Google+, and a few other places and, like David, I have found him to be so incredibly kind, humble, and just a darn good person. I told him this is my FAVORITE Goodreads group that I'm in (even though I'm largely a lurker), and I'm sure we'll make him feel welcome!


message 33: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
Holly you are just awesome!! And its my favorite Goodreads group, too!


message 34: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
I'm SO GLAD you're enjoying the group, that means everything to me. And thanks for posting that Holly, it made my day!


message 35: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "LOL I think you mean fanboying...which is a really strange word come to think of it... ;)"

LOL I thought it sounded weird too :)


message 36: by Ziyue (new)

Ziyue (ziyue13) | 4 comments I'm really looking forward to this!!! I haven't gotten a chance to read the ashfall series yet due to the towering mountain of unread books that's occupying like half of my room at the moment, so I can't wait!!


message 37: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
Yay, glad you're joining us Mimi!! Well, you could potentially win a signed ARC of the third book which might encourage you to read the first two LOL!!


message 38: by karen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) Mike wrote: "Thanks, Jenny! I'm looking forward to it. If you're waiting for SUNRISE, there's an ebook short available to tide you over: Darla's Story."

dude - this has been out since OCTOBER???


message 39: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
LOL! Yes, it's been out for a while now! It's such an awesome short story, especially since Darla is my favorite character :)


message 40: by Donna (new)

Donna (donanicole) | 897 comments Jenny wrote: "From January 13-19th, bestselling author Mike Mullin will be coming to our group to answer questions about his bestselling Ashfall series, his life as an author, and about anything else you all can..."

I am excited about the third on in this series, I absolutely loved ASHFALL! I have to think what to ask the author. I have read all that is out at this time and loved Darla's story too.


message 41: by Jenny, Always smiling! :-D (new)

Jenny (juliababyjen) | 12932 comments Mod
Okay, I'm going to go ahead and start the questions!
Mike, I'm so glad you here this week! Beyond excited!

First of all, I was addicted to your books from the first couple of pages...I loved how we jumped right into the action. Also, I've lived in Iowa all my life, so that had me interested as well! You were scarily accurate in how you portrayed the setting of Iowa. Also the details on the eruption of the volcano itself. So my first question is, how much research did you do for this series? Especially on the first book.


message 42: by Karen’s Library (last edited Jan 12, 2014 01:31PM) (new)

Karen’s Library | 11320 comments Mod
Hi Mike!! Welcome!! Ashfall seriously was very scary real to me. Loved it and Ashen Winter AND Darla!

Are you trained in martial arts, especially in the use of a bo staff (my weapon of choice by the way)?

What does your typical day look like?

What's next after the Ashfall series?



message 43: by Carl (new)

Carl Schierhorn (cschierh) | 20 comments Did you expect Darla to take over the book for so many readers?


message 44: by David, Mr. Blue Eyes; He's the Best--Ain't no lie!! ;) (new)

David Estes (davidestesbooks) | 10713 comments Mod
Thanks so much for stopping by our group, Mike! It's a true honor having an author of your caliber joining us :)

How did you end up becoming an author? Did you always want to be an author?


message 45: by Rose (new)

Rose (shoshana831) I loved both books so much. They drew me in right away and kept me reading for hours at a time. As soon as I was done with Ashfall I gave it to my husband who read it even faster than I did! I absolutely can't wait for the new book. It comes out right before my birthday so I know exactly what I'll be asking for. :) My question would be: Any plans to bring Ashfall to the big screen? I could totally see it as one of those summer blockbusters.


message 46: by Mike (last edited Jan 12, 2014 07:04PM) (new)

Mike Mullin Jenny wrote: "Okay, I'm going to go ahead and start the questions!
Mike, I'm so glad you here this week! Beyond excited!

First of all, I was addicted to your books from the first couple of pages...I loved how ..."


Tons of research! I'm a bit obsessive about trying to get details right. Earlier today I was trying to convince one of my critique partners that he should zap himself with a taser to improve the description of his protag getting tased.

Here's my stock answer to the research question:

I had an interest in volcanoes before I started, but it was the sort of ‘look, shiny!’ kind of interest lots of people have in Mother Nature’s most impressive temper tantrums. I definitely didn’t know enough to write ASHFALL without a ton of research.

I started by reading all the books I could find on the subject. Greg Breining’s Supervolcano: The Ticking Time Bomb beneath Yellowstone National Park was particularly useful as was Savino and Jones’s Supervolcano: The Catastrophic Event that Changed the Course of Human History. You can find many of the sources I used on my website. Online resources like the United States Geological Survey and Wikipedia were helpful as well.

From there, I delved into primary sources, reading many of the scholarly articles cited in the secondary sources I read. I found several relevant articles in The Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. I visited the Indiana University Geology Library in Bloomington during this phase, passing myself off as Margaret Mullin (my wife, who is a doctoral student) so I could check out books.

I got stuck at one point during the writing process. The solution: road trip! My wife and I took off for a week in romantic Iowa. We drove every step of the route Alex takes through northern Iowa and Illinois. Many of the scenes in ASHFALL were created as a direct result of our trip. Later, I flew to Portland to relearn cross-country skiing and visit Mt. St. Helens.

Finally, I sent a manuscript to two geologists and made numerous changes based on their suggestions. There’s a more detailed discussion of the science behind ASHFALL on the Our Time in Juvie blog.


message 47: by Mike (new)

Mike Mullin karen wrote:

dude - this has been out si..."


Yep! You can get it on your Nook for $0.99.


message 48: by Mike (last edited Jan 12, 2014 06:24PM) (new)

Mike Mullin Jenny wrote: "(And I'm the one who talked David into reading this series, by the way!)"

Thanks! I really appreciate the enthusiasm readers have shown in proselytizing my work. It helps!


message 49: by Mike (new)

Mike Mullin Kelly (Diva Booknerd) wrote: "I've read Ashfall and added it to my bookgasm shelf. I completely fell in love with Darla. I just purchased Darla's Story, my first purchase since migrating my account over to the new Amazon Austra..."

Aww, thanks, Kelly!


message 50: by Mike (new)

Mike Mullin Heather wrote: "In Ashfall, my favorite character was of course Darla, but she was trumped by Ben in Ashen Winter. He just brings somethi..."

I am THRILLED that you liked Ben so much, Heather. I was scared out of my mind to try writing an autistic character. If you get it wrong, you get so much (deserved) flak. I read 20+ books on the subject, interviewed three mothers of autistic teens and two teens on the autism spectrum, and convinced all five of them to read ASHEN WINTER and provide feedback. So far, the response from readers has been very positive, which is a huge relief.


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