Q&A with Mike Romeling
My novel was released first as a e-book early last year and then more recently as a paperback. Right now I am narrating the book to have it released as a audio book as well, hopefully in the next couple months.
It is a cross-genre book with elements of mystery, suspense, paranormal, and perhaps more humor than usually found within these genres.
I have lived in the Taconic Mountains myself for most of my adult life, and when considering where to place the novel—which has paranormal elements within it—it occurred to me that I could place it right here in what are among the very oldest mountains on earth, and where all the legends and lore of the New England Mountains have passed down through the generations by other writers like Poe and Hawthorne, Bierce and Lovecraft. It seemed like a natural extension and a setting I could handle well from personal experience.
2. Which character was your favorite to write?
Amber Steele probably gets the nod. When the town of Cedar Falls is being besieged by thousands of displaced bats, the PETA people bring Amber—a soap opera star—into town to help promote non-violence toward the marauding bats. She was to have just a minor mention in the chapter, but I felt maybe I should give her a bit of background. Instead, it was like Amber leaped off the page and took me on a ride back into her harrowing and disturbed childhood and on through her early years as a stripper before her soap opera career. By the time the chapter was finished, I remember sitting slack-jawed wondering what the hell had just happened. A reviewer of the book kindly asserted he liked the book, "Not just because it contains what I believe is the definitive stripper memory sequence in American Letters, but because the tale satisfied everything I look for in fiction." I hope he is right :>)
3. Which character gave you the most trouble?
I've always thought it's much easier to handle characters with obvious faults, darknesses, foibles, insecurities, etc., but more difficult to render a believable "nice guy/girl". I guess in this novel, the Sheriff, trying to manage the growing drama in the dying town and up on the mysterious mountain, would be the "straight arrow" but I hope I gave him enough edge to keep him from being merely bland and/or unbelievable.
4. You're also a singer-songwriter, how has music influenced your writing?
The songwriting end of it has been helpful in promoting economy of expression and consistency of focus. And of course it has brought me into contact with many interesting folks both among the musicians I've worked with and the audiences who have attended shows. In late years, I've cut way down on performing live and concentrated more on writing and recording projects. But I still stream a live show every week into the virtual world of Second Life which keeps me in touch with some great folks from many parts of the world.
5. What projects are you working on now?
Besides the narration of "Tale of the Taconic Mountains," I have been very busy with two recording projects. And the possibility of a sequel to the novel is never far from my mind. Most of the time I think it will happen. Just need the day to be a little longer.
6. What sort of Starbucks coffee would your characters order?
In a small town like Cedar Falls, I suspect most of the characters would—much like me—be too bewildered by the myriad of choices and simply order the house blend. But the more urban characters such as Anna Kilgallen or Amber Steele might opt for the French Roast or the Kona Blend. There is more than one character in the book who would be well advised to order the Decaf.
7. What's on your desk?
Right this minute my calico cat is taking up much of the desk and will probably remain until I turn on the noisy printer at which point she will flee in terror. Besides the cat, the computer (a Mac), and the printer, there is a box of kleenex, a James Taylor and Carol King CD I borrowed from the library, a penny (hope it's lucky), a USB miniature Christmas tree that flashes pretty colors on and off, and a goose-neck lamp with a paperweight on it because otherwise it's always tipping over. And finally a small wicker basket full of pens, most of which don't work of course.
8. What is the most challenging think about being a writer?
It's definitely getting up every day and wondering if you can do it again. So far, so good—at least most of the time.
9. What's the last book you've read?
A British mystery writer named Anne Perry writes a mystery novella each year with a Christmas setting. I've made it a tradition in recent years to read one of them around the holidays. This year it was "AChristmas Grace" set in a stormy fishing village on the west coast of Ireland. Currently I am reading "Edge of Taos—an escape to reality" by Mabel Dodge Luhan. She was a discontented New York City socialite who moved out to Taos, New Mexico in the early 20th century, married a Native American and remained there for the rest of her life. My daughter lives and works in Taos and bought me this book for Christmas. I'm about half way through, and it's been a great read.
10. Did you make any New Year's resolutions?
I always make resolutions
But they offer me no solutions
Bad habits remain
So there's little to gain
By harboring any illusions
Thanks Marcie for inviting me to interview. It's been a pleasure to share some thoughts and ideas with your readers.
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Taconic Mountain available at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ebookit