[Quorum Feature] - Michael Hughes, Undercover Author
Michael Hughes, tell us about yourself. What should the Quorum community know about you?
Let’s see. Born and raised in Los Angeles. Majored in History at Stanford with an honors thesis on the New Deal Supreme Court. After graduation I moved to LA for a job in the mortgage industry doing regulatory compliance, and I’ve been moving up the corporate ladder ever since.
Also, I have a bit of a literary habit (addiction, really).
What’s your relationship with coffee?
That’s a dangerous question, a self-incriminating one too. I like it a lot…we’re talking 3-4 cups a day. I’m not picky, though. If you give me a cup I’ll drink it.
You’ve written several novels now. What do you usually write about and how do you find inspiration?
Sometimes I just get…an urge to write. I wrote my first book of about 250-300 pages in about three weeks. I found inspiration for a novel by my first political job and a 70-mile commute each way. It’s a fictional political account inspired by political work, going to conventions, and talking to people of all walks of life along the way.
Tell us more about the Pumpkin Farmer. What’s the premise?
I started writing this book in May 2013 with inspiration coming from driving around the back roads of the Bay Area. I drove past a creepy pumpkin farm many times, often at night. There’s a rustic bar in the woods near (called Applejacks) and then the premise came to me.
The book is set in 1979 in the Bay Area Peninsula. The villain is a Jonestown survivor–rich kid– who became a drug addict then suddenly came into an ill-gotten inheritance. The protagonist is a sad lonely businessman. Both people encounter the same girl and a dark sequence unfolds.
What’s the lifestyle of an author? I’m guessing this isn’t a 9-5 job
No, I have a 9-5 job. The life of an author requires a lot of staring at your laptop and liberal usage of Google.
For those of us who are interested in writing but can never get over the initial hurdles, how were you able to make the leap into writing?
The writing is the easiest part. The tough part is battling writer’s block and protracted periods of laziness. Remember why you got into this…the desire to produce something memorable and compelling, combined with the angst to get something out. So I sit down and start banging it out.
Publishing a book is a rather opaque process for many. Walk us through the process from ideation to publishing.
Here are my bona fides: I published 3 books with a publisher, self-published 4th book.
Getting my first book out was a challenge. I talked to everyone (agents, publishers, indie publishers), sent 100-200 emails to different agents and heard back from a few with mixed reactions. Once I had a publisher selected it was pretty easy to get the book into stores
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
Check me out on Amazon and Twitter!