Interview with Mike Burton
Author of Mal-adaptive
Just an author living in the Pacific Northwest, writing books and scraping by working at an arts & crafts store to make ends meet.
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How would you describe Mal-adaptive to a new reader?
- I would say Mal-adaptive is a slightly wacky, altogether untrue take on Armageddon and how it begins. Imagine angels and demons who think and act a lot like humans... and have kept up with technology... in a power struggle to kickstart Armageddon early, but from the viewpoint of a big-city barista named Malaika (who goes by Mal).
To what extent is Mal-adaptive based on your own experiences?
- Considering I haven't gone through Armageddon... there are a few experiences I've tackled in the story. Quite a few of them deal with religion and how 'infallable' the words and stories from the Bible are taken at face value. At the same time, I've unloaded things with a light dose of humor, so I'm not bashing the reader's head with these heavy thoughts.
Mal-adaptive is a good example of this genre. Who has inspired you?
- The biggest influence that you might begin to see while reading Mal is Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens. Neil is a large influence in regards as to HOW I tell a story, Terry is a major influencer of my humor... which I hope shows in my own story.
You make good use of locations in the book – there’s a real sense of place. Are these locations significant for you?
- I live in a small town in America. I've lived in big cities before, and have come to realize that if you talk about big city life w/o referring to the name of the city, you can pretty much substitute ANY big city in there. I wanted to give the story that feeling that this could be ANY big city the events are taking place in. In my imagination, Mal takes place in a conglomeration of places I've been/seen. It's not based on any real city that I know of.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors? How would you advise a new author about traditional publishing versus self publishing?
- If you're interested in writing, make sure you've done a lot of reading. Write down your ideas. Try to plot. Try to write by the seat of your pants. Try different methods. Study different methods. Feel out the way YOU like to write. In the end, you are the only one who can determine the right and comfortable way to write is. As far as Indie and Trad publishing, seek out the information and find out as much as you can. There are pros and cons to both forms of publishing, but you are the only one who can determine which one is right for you.
Which authors do you most admire? Which qualities, in particular, have influenced your writing?
- I grew up with authors such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Terry Pratchett, Frederick Pohl, Larry Niven, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and more. I read a LOT. I read profusely. I tried to expand my horizons by reading more than just SciFi and Fantasy. The qualities that I was looking for was the ability to tell a story that kept my attention, a story that wasn't just a retelling of the many stories I've read before, and a story that could throw me for a loop with a twist I wasn't expecting.
Mal-adaptive is a thrilling read, a real page turner. How important was it to you to write with pace and energy?
- I've learned from other writers how to keep interest in a story going. By using things that have kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning, I've attempted to do the same for my readers.
If Mal-adaptive were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- I like to leave my characters a bit open on the descriptive end so that the reader has the ability to fill in gaps with their own imagination. So, to answer the question, I could see any 20-something actress playing Mal (just make sure she has curly hair).
How have readers responded to Mal-adaptive?
- Considering a majority of Amazon reviews are 5-stars, I'd say pretty well.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I have a comedy/mystery novel completely written and in the hands of beta readers at the moment (that I hope to publish before the end of the year), and have just begun a NA/Fantasy novel about a young woman who might be a witch, but isn't a witch, and has to let the witch community decide... all while trying to avoid the warlocks from taking her power, whether or not to get back into dating (after her last boyfriend died in a car explosion), and graduating college with her sanity intact.
Malaika works at Cruel Beans… where the coffee is heavenly, and the lattes will mocha your day. Mal is joined at work by a case of fibromyalgia and her best friend, Ven. Mal’s cup begins to runneth over as she is now the focus of an angel, a demon, and an evil corporation intent on starting Armageddon early… all while trying to keep her naughty friend and her religious roommate from boiling over. Mal’s life is fraught with danger as she is pulled into a world of good and evil, sweet and bitter, and secrets even she isn’t aware of. Can she survive the end of the world without getting steamed?