Mike Kearby is the author of nine novels. The Road to a Hanging, Ride the Desperate Trail, and Ambush at Mustang Canyon completed his Young Adult trilogy published by Dorchester Publishing (NY). The Taken (Dorchester) was published in January 2011. Mike’s first graphic novel, Texas Tales Illustrated, will be published by TCU Press in April 2011. The novel features artwork by renowned illustrator, Mack White.
Tell us about your new novel?
Texas Tales Illustrated, as the title suggests, is a novel that might best be described as a modern day representation of the old Classics Illustrated comics. Illustrator Mack White and myself started the project 2 years ago with the criteria that: (1) the novel's illustrations could stand the test of time in the public schools, and (2) the book would use page prompts to motivate the student reader to seek more information on an event or character.
How is this novel different than your previous novels?
The biggest difference is the use of panel illustrations and less text to deliver information to the reader.
Do you feel like you have to defend yourself for writing "genre fiction"?
Personally, no. I have always believed that people who read, like to read "good" stories, whether those stories be westerns, thrillers, or romance.
Why do you write westerns?
I love the history associated with western literature. And the historical characters are so much "larger than life" personalities that it makes the conflict within a story exciting to readers.
What do you think the state of the Western genre will be in 10 years?
I think the genre will do well. The presentation will, of course, change. It's changing right now. I think most readers in their 20's today will primarily read on phone-type devices going forward, and that fact alone makes me think that books will arrive in much shortened versions - smaller chapters with fewer words. The challenge for the writer then becomes to write less that describes more.
When did you know you were a writer?
When I was in High School. The desire was implanted by my junior and senior high school English teachers.
What’s a work day like for you?
I am generally at my desk writing by 6 a.m. I finished my writing by 9 am, and start back at 1 pm editing my morning writing.
What’s a day off like for you?
I like to spend time with my grandkids.
If you could be anything other than writer, what would it be?
A teacher. I still love talking to kids about reading, writing, and their world.
Any advice for new writers, especially those considering self-publishing instead of taking the traditional route to publishing?
I have always told students in my writing classes that everyone has a story inside of them and to make sure they "get" that story outside of them. The path one takes to do so isn't really important as long as they pursue their writing dream. As far as self- publishing versus traditional publishing – that goes to the individual and what they feel is important in achieving their writing goal. Some might write for prestige, others for money, and still others, just to tell their story. The bottom line is this, writing is just a job. The more you "go" to work, the better you become. And in the end, if you become good at your craft, someone somewhere will enjoy reading your story.
How do you define success?
For me, it's having one my kids say, "Dad, I really enjoyed your last book."
What’s next for you?
The second book in the Texas Tales Illustrated series. This one is entitled, Texas Tales Illustrated ~ The Trail Drives.