Friday, March 11, 2011

20 Questions with Author Mike Arsuaga

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.

Website: http://www.mikearsuaga,weebly.com

List of books: “My Life as a Dog” –cowritten with my wife Cynthia Arsuaga at http://www.cynthiaarsuaga.weebly.com. This book releases on March 7, 2011 from Secret Cravings Publishing.

“Subspecies”, “Subspecies, Inc.”, “Children of Subspecies”, “The Tenth Legion” to be released in May, September, December, and February of 2012 from Muse It Hot Publishing. The fifth and last installment of the Subspecies saga is “La Grange Point” which is half done.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

All of the above. Sometimes they just strike from the blue.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I don’t map them out ahead of time, except in the broadest terms. I write as I go. I weed out the inconsistencies in the self editing process. My editor in chief, Cynthia, is a big help.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Step away for a while. Take my mind off the work in progress.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

My wife and I help each other. Authors who inspired me are Harold Robbins, HG Wells, and George Orwell.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’ve never participated in one. Everything I learned was from books.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

My wife Cynthia has always supported me. We learn from each other and perform reciprocal edits.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

Oh yes. I even have chosen some for when “Subspecies” becomes a movie.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

I listen to soft rock stations or oldies stations.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I stay away from reading in my own genre to avoid anything from, another work insinuating itself into mine. I read mainstream novels, mostly.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I’ve helped a few fellow members on We Book by editing a first chapter. My companions on We Book encouraged me to convert a short story into a full blown novel, “Subspecies.” Lea Schizas my publisher has been a fount of encouragement, as was Linda Kichline of Imajin Publishing who took time to help me even though my work was in appropriate for any of her genres.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

I hope those are in the future. My dream is to see one of my books (or more) made into a movie.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

Pay off bills/debts, endow my kids and grand kids, buy Cynthia that diamond she’s had her eye on, and invest the rest to produce income so we could travel. As for charities, I’d give ten percent, probably to an education or medical foundation.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Don’t let rejections get you down. Try to learn from them. I know its hard because most are sketchy or form letters. Last, follow the submission guidelines TO THE LETTER.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

It would be my Yorkshire terrier Thumper. He’s the inspiration for our novel “My Life as a Dog” where the main character is a shape shifter who becomes, not a ferocious animal like a bear or a wolf, but an eight pound Yorkie. Thumper has pride and feistiness, and is irresistible to women of all ages. I share the pride and demeanor but not the lure for women, with one exception.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

I’m retired now. I completed two careers, Navy and Transportation Security Administration. I’m content to write and look after my family. Somewhere in there is making peace with God, which in a left handed way the “Subspecies” series tries to do.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

Travel to Egypt and ancient Greece. Take a voyage to Mars.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

My guys fall in love very hard. They are loyal and reasonably attractive. They are the logical and practical side of the couple. Heroines are the intuitive half of the pair, always beautiful IN THE EYES OF THE HERO. For example, Drake Martin in “My Life as a Dog” sees Kady Hartley differently from the way the rest of the world does. Think of the movie “Shallow Hal”.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

You can read for yourself in “Subspecies, Inc.” and “Children of Subspecies”.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

Super Speed, so I can keep up with my granddaughter Larrna.


A sexy paranormal about a very special shape shifter’s search for true love.

Drake Martin—private investigator, ladies’ man, shape-shifter—Yorkshire terrier. Enter six-year-old Kady Hartley and life changes. Years later, they meet again. Still a PI, she's FBI.

Oh boy!

Drake Martin—private investigator, ladies’ man, shape-shifter—Yorkshire terrier. Enter six-year-old Kady Hartley and life changes. Years later, they meet again. Still a PI, she's FBI. He fell in love, but could she love him back once the truth came out? Follow them on an adventure and watch the fur fly.

Oh boy!

Drake Martin—private investigator, ladies’ man, shape-shifter—Yorkshire terrier, named Precious. Enter six-year-old Kady Hartley and life changes. Years later, they meet again. Still a PI, she's FBI. Follow them on an adventure tracking the Russian mob involving human trafficking through the streets of New Orleans and watch the fur fly.

Following Kady to New Orleans where she is on assignment he knows it will be easier to watch over her if he stays in the shadows, keeping his shifter abilities hidden. He hooks up with the local Sufi, head of the shifter family clan, but eventually engages in a bloody battle with the Russians. But, there is another enemy in their midst, one who won't rest until he destroys their chance at everlasting love...

Drake has fallen in love. Can Kady love him for who he really is, or will she leave him upon discovering the truth about him?

Oh boy!



“Mommy, Daddy, can we get him,” the six-year-old girl exclaimed, pointing at me, the caged mess of matted tan and silver fur with beady black eyes. I returned her gaze with my best guileless, head cocked to one side expression, as if asking a question. The mother moved a plump cheeky face toward me for a closer look.

“Oh, he’s so scruffy,” she said. “I thought you wanted a big dog, one you could play with.”

The father’s arm remained around the girl’s narrow shoulders. “Honey, Mom’s right. You said you wanted a Lab like your friend Tommy has. This little guy won’t run around in the yard with you.” Then, turning to the shelter volunteer he asked, “What kind of dog is it, anyway?”

“He’s a Yorkie, a Yorkshire terrier, purebred too. Clean him up and he will be beautiful.” Unhitching a leash from the wall, she lifted me from the cage to the floor. “Yorkies are a popular breed and live a long time. Your daughter will be able to grow up with him.” Winking at me, because I had her eating out of my paw since Monday, she added, “See how he prances around. Yorkies are so full of spirit. I just love him to pieces. I’d take him home myself but we already have two cats and two dogs. My husband would leave me if I brought home another pet.”

Four feet tall, sandy hair, blue eyes, and a breath smelling of lemon drops nodded, making up her mind. “He’s the one I want.”

That’s how my life changed in a split second. I’m Drake Martin, part-time hit man, most of the time private eye, lover, and shape shifter. This is the story of my life as a dog and the little girl named Kady Hartley who changed it forever.


Rawiya said...

What a great interview and congrats to you and Cynthia on the book.

It sounds awesome. Wishing you many sales!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Here is a question I wish I had asked for your interview: What is your work day like writing with another author--even better, how does it work writing with your wife? Are you assigned a character to write? Do you write alternate scenes? Does one write the first draft and the other write the final draft? Give. I think everyone would like to know how co-authors, especially those who are married to one another work on a manuscript.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Congrats on your release of My Life as a Dog. When I first read the blurb in the blog post for my own blog that Cynthia sent me, I knew I was adding it to the TBB/TBR pile. I'd also love to hear more about this "We Book" group you are a part of.

Tina Donahue said...

I've heard a lot of great comments about your book. I'm looking forward to reading it. :)

Redameter said...

cute concept for a book. Good luck with this one.

Love and blessings

Cynthia Arsuaga said...

Good job baby! Yeah, I'm the other half of this tag team as we were coined on another blog today! This is the first I've seen of the interview (he didn't let me edit this one ;)
I'll let him know about the comments (he's helping me edit one of my books right now) so he can answer some of your excellent questions. I can't always speak for him. You would think after 30+ years I could, but I know better O^O!!!
Love ya babe, mmwwaahh

Diane M. Wylie said...

What a terrific idea to make the hero a little dog! I bet that hasn't been done before. It sounds like a great story. Good luck!

Fiona McGier said...

More retired authors? Sigh...I really envy you the time you can commit to your writing. And you are right, follow submission guidelines to the letter and don't let rejections depress you too much. Interesting post.

Mike Arsuaga said...

To answer Sarah's question concerning how Cynthia and I collaborate, in general we edit each other. Her efforts have never failed to improve my work. It's amazing what an objective second set of eyes can catch. While collaborating on MLAAD, first we brainstormed a rough plot and main characters. Cynthia set the tone by outlining the prologue. I wrote the first draft. She edited it inserting several changes, all of which improved it. Then we completed a final joint edit.

mike arsuaga said...

Liz Velez asked about we book. It is a site for writers of every age and genre. You can post anything from haiku sized to a full blown novel. Postings are evaluated by site members. The site owners and members have contests of varying formality. One of them, a short story contest got me started on my "Subspecies" series. I wrote "The Girl in the Library" where a male vampire stalked a girl who is not what she seems. She's a werewolf, hunting him as he did her. Based on the positive feedback and encouragement I expanded it to a complete novel. Later, I placed an excerpt of MLAAD on another contest. Before removing it at acceptance by secret cravings the excerpt had one of the highest approval ratings among over our hundred entries.
These are examples of what we book does. Their site is www.webook.com

Mike Arsuaga said...

I want to thank the lovely and talented hostesses for providing Cynthia and I the forum to promote our book. The comments were wonderful.