Three Times A Charm with Mike Mullin

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we are joined by author, Mike Mullin and his newly released book Ashfall. Let’s learn more about Mike.

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 (they taste like a cross between walnuts and carrots), 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 hoping this writing thing works out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashfall is his first novel.

Juggling wine! That’s alcohol abuse.

Mike, you have a new release out in the world. Tell us all about it.

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter.  When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

I love a good disaster. As long as they aren’t real, that is.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. My absolute favorite book of 2011 so far. Gary Schmidt has had two should-have-won Newbery Honor Medals with Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars. Third time’s the charm. (J)

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. I love the way this novel breaks middle grade conventions by starting with a 14-year-old protagonist and following him throughout his life. Reads like a classic, in a good way.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. I finally got around to reading this one in February. I wish I hadn’t waited. Marcelo is one of the most quietly heroic protagonists in literature.

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for people just starting in your business.

How to become an author in three easy steps:
1)      Read a lot
2)      Write a lot
3)      Submit or self-publish your work
Yep, it’s that easy. And that hard.

  • Top 3 songs on your play list.

I never listen to music while I write. I prefer silence or the hubbub of background conversations in a coffee shop, library or restaurant. But when I was doing the substantive edits for Ashfall, I created a special Pandora radio station. I listened to it until I hit Pandora’s 40 hour limit on day three of my manic editing trance. The three seed songs were:

“I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” by The Soggy Bottom Boys
“Hallelujah” by Time for Three and
“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

I figured the shifts from classical to hard rock to bluegrass would help keep me from falling into an editing rut. If you read Ashfall, you can judge for yourself whether or not it worked.

If you read Ashfall, you mean WHEN you read Ashfall

Mike, where can our readers find information about you and Ashfall online?

Thank you, Mike for joining us for this week’s Threes! It’s been great learning such things as the taste of termites. But mostly it has been great chatting with you.



  1. Kai - how was i not following you already! yikes!

    thanks for the sweet note. And yes! please continue your stuff....


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