I recently reviewed John Mulhall’s debut novel Geddy’s Moon, a complex blend of visceral horror and coming-of-age story. (You can read my review here.) John was kind enough to answer some questions for me, and I’m so excited to have him visiting the blog today. I was also lucky enough to attend his book launch party a few months ago, and I picked up an extra signed copy of Geddy’s Moon to give away to one lucky U.S. reader! Keep reading after the interview for your chance to win this book.
Thank you for joining me today, John! Geddy’s Moon is quite a complex story. How long did it take to write the book from start to finish?
Well, I started writing it when I was 19, so in one sense it took a very long time! Truthfully though, although I used the basic premise and characters, even the rough outline from when I was younger, it was really very much like starting over when I went to write the book last year. I set some fairly aggressive goals in terms of output, however, and kept myself accountable, and I was able to finish the rough draft in just under two and a half months. The editing process and revisions took much longer, of course.
Tell us about your road to publication. What made you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?
I made that choice fairly early on in the process. It seemed like it was important to make a decision and commit to it, because ultimately it was going to make a big difference as far as where my effort was going to be focused: attaining an agent, publisher, contract, etc. versus putting all of my time and energy into producing and promoting the book itself. I spoke to many friends who’d gone both directions and, after those discussions, the path seemed clear to me. I like the idea of owning the rights to my ideas and stories. And I also like the fact that I’m in control of the effort I put into marketing and promotion.
The only downsides I’ve seen so far involve the lack of brick-and-mortar distribution, which is not a huge deal to me, and the lack of perceived legitimacy, which is a bigger issue, I think. There are so many people putting books on the market without even running a proper spell check that it’s easy to be suspect of self-published authors, and that hurts anyone who’s making the effort to do it right. That’s why I anticipate that boutique publishing is possibly going to become a bigger deal in the future. If being published by a certain imprint, for example, can become a mark of quality – when readers can be assured there’s been a degree of scrutiny, editing, and finesse involved before the book goes to market – that can potentially help self-published authors attain a validity that’s currently mostly lacking. I also think we’ll see more hybrid publishing deals where large publishers partner with self-published authors who have shown the viability of their work through platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct, and where the publisher picks up the print rights but the eBook rights remain with the author; there are a few of these deals happening now with some of the higher profile self-published authors and I’m going to be very curious to see how they pan out.
I was certainly impressed by the quality of your book, both in the carefully edited interior and the expensive-looking exterior. You obviously put some money into the book production, cover design and author photo.
(**Warning: Mild spoiler ahead!) The paranormal creatures in Geddy’s Moon—the were-creatures—seem to be based on a couple of different myths. How did you come up with the idea of using a magic elixir as the catalyst for immortality?
I like the idea that these creatures – which I actually don’t really consider were-creatures, even though there are similarities – are part science and part magic. I think anytime writers take a fantastical construct and ground it firmly in the science that we know, it loses something for me. That being said, I like the idea that science plays a role, and I try to make sure that the universe is being examined from that perspective as well. One of Arthur C. Clarke’s laws was that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and that’s always stuck with me in terms of telling stories about the fantastical; there’s what we know and what we don’t know…yet.
You used some very powerful quotes from famous writers at the beginning of each chapter. What made you decide to incorporate these quotes into your story?
It was always something I wanted to do. I often chose the quotes before I wrote the chapter they preceded, so it felt very organic to me to incorporate them. I feel like the quotes give insight into the story that wouldn’t have been appropriate for me, as the storyteller, to say directly. Plus, I love the idea that using both historical and contemporary quotes gives the reader a sense of jumping back and forth in time, something the book itself does, and shows that many themes are universal throughout history.
What’s next? Are you currently working on anything else? I felt there might be some wiggle room at the end of Geddy’s Moon for a follow-up story.
There definitely will be a follow-up to Geddy’s Moon, but it’s not next on the “to-do” list. However, I will say that it’s roughly outlined and that I’m very excited to tell the story when it’s time. Fans of Geddy’s Moon should know that it won’t be a retread of the same story. I feel like that story was told and it’s time for something new. But I do have a lot of interest in telling other stories within the same universe, maybe revisiting familiar characters.
As for what’s next, I recently finished work on a short novel called Dark and Broken Things. I intended for it to be my next release, but I’m reconsidering that now. I’m not completely convinced that it’s the right book for me to release right now. However, I am quite fond of it, and I know it will eventually see a release of some sort at some point. In the meantime, while that’s being edited, I’ve written a few short stories for magazines and am trying to decide on the next big project; there are a lot of possibilities, it’s just a matter of choosing the right one.
How did you get started in writing? Do you also have a day job that takes time away from writing?
I’ve been writing most of my life, actually. I was very creative as a child and would create stories involving my brother and myself, which I’d make into little hand-done comic books. I wrote fiction when I was in college, mostly short stories and plays, but I also dabbled in longer form stories as well. But then I kind of put writing on the back-burner, and focused on other things. Strangely, writing worked its way back into my life naturally when I began working professionally doing media and events. I seemed to be the “go to” person when creative writing hurdles arose. But doing that kind of work was actually a blessing in disguise, because it taught me not to be overly precious about the things I wrote, and to work on deadlines. There’s no “writer’s block” when a client is waiting on a script. I still do have a day job working at a creative agency where I do similar work and I love it. It’s a balancing act with the writing, but I get to be doubly creative, so how can I complain?
Tell us three things about John Mulhall that can’t be found on your website.
Hmmm. That’s interesting. As an author, you feel fairly exposed, so it’s hard to think of new things that people don’t already know about you. Let’s see…three things.
One, I used to be an actor. I loved it, but I put it aside in college to focus on behind-the-scenes stuff instead. What’s interesting, I think, is how acting is probably the most similar thing I’ve done to writing fiction; you have to inhabit other personalities and get “inside” their psyche. So, writing kind of feels like it’s come full circle to me.
Two, I can make animal balloons. Don’t ask me why I know how to do this, because you’re not getting that much information out of me! Suffice it say that you need to keep your fingers nimble. I’m out of practice.
And Three, I’ve been studying martial arts, specifically ju jitsu, for over a decade, both Japanese and Brazilian forms; it’s something that keeps me active and focused. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be able to defend yourself, either.
That’s the reason I always ask that last question. Because sometimes I get an awesome answer like “I can make balloon animals”! Thank you so much John!
About the book:
Tyler is an amnesiac, drifting aimlessly across the country, struggling to regain his lost memories. When he arrives in Geddy’s Moon, a sleepy town in the middle of the Kansas wheat fields, fragments of his past begin to resurface. But as he establishes new relationships in town, and spends time with the local librarian and her son, he finds himself tormented by nightmares that grow more unsettling each night. What horrific events took place before Tyler arrived in Geddy’s Moon? And could he have brought a terrifying – and possibly supernatural – danger along with him? As the pieces of his fractured memory begin to fall into place, he fears that it may already be too late to keep himself, and those he’s begun to care about, safe from a vicious evil.
Find Geddy’s Moon:
About the author:
Geddy’s Moon is John Mulhall’s debut novel. In addition to being an award-winning video and event producer, John is also the author of a collection of poetry, several short stories, and plays. He began developing Geddy’s Moon more than twenty years ago at age nineteen, but he promises his next novel won’t take quite so long. He lives in Newbury Park, California, where he is the President/CEO of a creative agency.
And now for the giveaway! I U. S. winner (sorry International folks, but I have to ship this one myself) will receive a paperback signed copy of Geddy’s Moon. Giveaway will run until September 20th. Simply fill out the form below to enter. You automatically get one entry, and you can get extras by tweeting, commenting, and following. Good luck!