| by Winter Lawrence |
Inspiration is often unpredictable, which is why I’m always so curious to learn how other authors come about finding their stories. For me, I’m typically struck with what I like to call “inspirational spin-offs,” or random, ADD thoughts and ponderances that arise after I watch or hear something that piques my curiosity. Today, for instance, while I was struggling to put my rings and watch onto the little jewelry stand I keep by the kitchen sink, I thought to myself, “gee, wouldn’t it be nice if they made a bigger, easier version of these.” And then, for the next five minutes of soaping up dishes, I tried to think up the most conventional ways to proceed with that idea.
For the most part, I feel as though this is a natural progression of how our minds work. Life happens, and we react. For the more creative types though, we don’t only react. We extrapolate. We draw inferences that we tie to completely unrelated topics, characters, and settings. We storyboard, because life inspires our creativity. It’s something that’s innate in each author, and so when I sat down to chat with Mike Hawron, I asked him about the inspiration behind his latest spy novels Just Good Clean Fun and Spies Never Die. Here’s what he had to say…
(Q) Mike, tell us about your current project. What was the inspiration behind it and how long did it take you to complete?
(A) The spy series is semi-autobiographical, based loosely on my three decades of world travels and adventures. What started the project was actually my mother’s passing. As she was dying, she asked my sister who was attending her, to please write a thank-you note and give a meaningful gift to each of the six pallbearers that my mom had selected. This struck me and many others as very exceptional. At the time, I filed it away in my “interesting ideas” segment of my creative brain. At the visitation for my mom, a man approached me and my three siblings. None of us recognized him. He approached me and offered his condolences.
He seemed vaguely familiar, but I still could not place him. As he began to recall stories from years ago, the shape of his smile identified him: he was Mark, my best friend from down the street when we grew up together as teenagers in a small town. He spent several happy minutes recounting fun stories from those days—things we had not thought about in forty years! As our laughter died down, Mark concluded, “You know, Mike, that was all just good clean fun!” The goosebumps multiplied on my arm: I knew I had the title of my next book, the ending, and the premise: teenaged friends recruited out of college into different CIA teams who did not meet again until decades later!
(Q) How many hours a day do you put into writing and learning about your craft? Do you have any books or movies that you’d recommend to aspiring writers?
(A) How I allocate my time varies, depending on need and inspiration. Some days I put in eight to ten hours in the heat of creativity. Other days I write nothing, just mull over ideas in my mind.
Genius is a great movie about book editing, and quite inspirational.
To aspiring writers, I would recommend reading the great books. Sports stars had teenage idols that inspired them. Likewise for writers, I’d suggest that they read those who have great word craft: Tolstoy, Dickens, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Thoreau, Dostoyevsky, and so on.
(Q) Do you write based on particular themes, or does the story come to you first and then you incorporate important issues as you go?
(A) I recently gave a presentation entitled, “The Author Who was Stalked by Stories,” which is a good answer to this question. I have published five books and numerous short stories, none of which I had intended to write!
My style and themes are eclectic. Besides the two spy novels listed above, I’ve written a book of humorous anecdotes about my eleven years living in Hong Kong, Entertaining Detours. I wrote a collection of historical short stories of oral history told by residents of the small town where I now live, The Little Town with the Big Heart. I also wrote a collection of devotional stories from my days as an international missionary, Awesome Footsteps. I won the Jory Sherman short story contest for my Sci-Fi humor story, The Device, which is available in the NETWO publication “NETWO Shorts.” It will soon be released as a separate publication.
(Q) When you were growing up, which authors inspired you and what was your favorite book?
(A) Growing up I read all the authors listed in the question above. I also loved The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I stayed up all night reading these! As a youngster, I read all the Hardy Boys series as they came out. I think The Hobbit stayed with me for many years as a big influence of my thoughts and ideals.
(Q) Do you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?
(A) I love to read! I was a voracious reader as a child! It is my contention that good readers make the best writers. Most recently I’ve read, or re-read: Moby Dick, War and Peace, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1984, and all of the New Testament.
(Q) Mike, thanks again for sharing your amazingly touching inspiration for your latest releases. I’m glad to hear that something so positive and awesome came from such a difficult time in your life. In terms of what’s ahead for you, would you mind sharing with us some of your upcoming projects?
(A) I’m working on a YA Dystopian Futuristic adventure novel now, Walkers. I will have a humorous short story entry for this year’s contest about a grasshopper that gets abducted.
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Over the course of thirty years, Michael Hawron has had many fun adventures, in thirty countries on five continents. His decades of world travel began with a long break from his formal studies in behavioral sciences at the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Adult Learning at Texas A&M University.
Michael has been attacked by baboons, survived natural disasters, and met a variety of colorful characters all over the globe. His first book, Entertaining Detours, is an insightful memoir and humorous look at his many unique adventures—and misadventures—along the way.
Hawron and his wife, Annette, live on a small farm in rural New Boston, Texas, the setting and source of the stories contained in his heartwarming collection, The Little Town with the Big Heart. The final installment in his True Tales Trilogy is Awesome Footsteps, a collection of faith-inspiring stories from his experiences in missionary travels, which won the 2019 Best in Texas award for its category.
Hawron is the father of twelve children and grandfather to fifteen. His new spy thriller, Just Good Clean Fun, is his first published work of historical fiction.
Mike is a member of the Texas Authors Association, the East Texas Writers Association and the Northeast Texas Writers Organization. He was the 2018 winner among Texan authors for his historical spy fiction entry, Just Good Clean Fun, and the 2018 winner of the Jory Sherman short story contest. In addition to his writing, he contributes to the profession through lectures, workshops, mentoring, and networking.
Hawron has participated annually in the Gathering of Authors Convention to help raise funds for the St. Jude Children’s and Arkansas Children’s Hospitals.
To keep up to date on all of Mike’s adventures, be sure to follow him on social media at…
StoryRocket: https://www.storyrocket.com/Michael Hawron