Mike Mullin is one of the few authors that caught my eye in 2013. His book series Ashfall, is one of my favorite post-apocalyptic trilogies that continues to make waves in the bookosphere. The realistic depiction of survival and how it affects us in different human conditions made a huge impact on how I see the world. This series is like The Walking Dead, only the walkers are real people.
In lieu of the release of Sunrise on April 15th 2014, Mike gladly answered a few questions for us. My review of Sunrise will be published next week. Stay tuned for that! Here’s chapters 1-2 from Sunrise.
I would like to thank Mike Mullin for being awesome and answering all my weird questions!
What can we expect from your next book, Sunrise?
ASHFALL is about Alex’s quest for survival, ASHEN WINTER is about family, and SUNRISE is about community. The scope increases with each book. SUNRISE is different from anything I’ve ever written in that it takes place over about three years, and it’s not fundamentally a quest novel, like ASHFALL and ASHEN WINTER. That made it more difficult to write, and accounts for the year-and-a-half wait for its release. (I spent nearly two years writing it.) Enjoy!
If you or the characters from your book were to be in the game Survivor, who would be voted off first and why? Who would win and why?
Darla doesn’t take any crap from anyone, so she’d say or do something that would get everyone annoyed at her and get kicked off early, despite her usefulness to the group. Alex would go deep in the game. He’s good with people and deeply empathetic—something of a natural leader. He wouldn’t win, though. Someone he trusted would stab him in the back before that point. He trusts too easily and is too impulsive to win. I wouldn’t appear on one of those shows unless you paid me the million dollars in advance.
Imagine your main character dies on page one. Everything else remains the same. Describe the new plot to your book.
I suppose I could have written ASHFALL with Rebecca as the main character. The only problem is that I’m not great at writing female characters (so the positive reaction to Darla has thrilled me).
Alternately, a book that stayed in Cedar Falls and focused on Darren and Joe might have been interesting. It would have been more of a horror novel, though. I’m guessing pretty much everyone from Cedar Falls who didn’t flee east died.
Scariest thing you have ever read/written.
The mortgage agreements, every time I’ve bought a house. Seriously—those things are like 50 pages of dense legalese. They’re doubly scary because when you object to any of the terms, everyone goes nuts. And they pretty much make you sign your life away.
If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
Hmm, I’d love to stay the age I am now for a while—like, a few hundred years, maybe. I’d love to travel more, see more of the planet. And I’ve got more ideas for novels than I can write in one lifetime.
Can you give us a few tips on post-apocalyptic survival?
If the world is going to hell around you, stop, calm yourself, and think. People who survive disasters are those who can remain calm and think about what they’re doing. It’s far more important to spend a few moments figuring out what the right thing to do is than doing the wrong thing fast. Information and the mental capacity to use it are your most precious resources. McCandless of Into the Wild fame, for example, died less than five miles from a well-stocked hunting cabin.
In an end of the world as we know it situation, the other factor that will separate survivors is demographics. Women survive famine situations at about twice the rate of men. They have less muscle mass on average and more body fat, so they need less fuel and have more. People between the ages of 6 and 35 have far, far better odds than those outside that range. In the Donner Party, for example, one person over 35 lived. Nobody under 6 did.
Finally, having family around you roughly doubles your odds for survival. This is because, I believe, the will to survive is every bit as important as the means.
About The BookSunrise by Mike Mullin
Series: Ashfall #3
Published by Tanglewood Press
Published on April 15th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Science Fiction, Survival Stories, Young Adult
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions.
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.
About The Author
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.
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