A couple of weeks ago, I invited my dear readers to ask me anything. Today I answer those questions, and conclude by making an announcement about this blog.
Here we go!
Kristi asks: Since choosing to not continue with the books following the one you published, have you regretted or reconsidered that decision? Do you continue to write in that world, even if you have no plans for publication?
The unfinished tale of Lance Eliot is near and dear to my heart, yet I’ve neither regretted nor reconsidered my decision to let it go. The first novel was a commercial disaster, I didn’t have time to continue writing fiction, and Lance Eliot’s story was exhausting me. I believe it was right for me to set it aside.
Someday, if I have the time, I may try again. I would like to rework the first novel, The Trials of Lance Eliot, and then write its two sequels at my own pace. Then, with all three novels completely finished, I could focus on getting them published.
In this chapter of my life, I already feel overwhelmed by work, blogging, and other commitments. In order to write The Eliot Papers, I would have have to stop working or blogging… and I doubt I’ll be quitting either of those any time soon!
ferrettt55 asks: I’ve kind of been wondering why you wrote your book under the name M.L. Brown. Any particular reason? A story behind it, perhaps?
I had two reasons for using a pen name. The first is that I liked the idea of being an anonymous success: a literary superhero with a secret identity. (In retrospect, this was a stupid reason.)
My other reason for calling myself M.L. Brown was to build a frame story around the tale of Lance Eliot. I wasn’t Adam Stück, the author of novels—no, I was M.L. Brown, the supposed “editor” of Lance Eliot’s “memoirs.” Brown was eventually going to appear as a minor character in the last book. (The author who called himself Lemony Snicket did something similar in A Series of Unfortunate Events.)
In the end, I regret not using my real name. It would have made marketing my novel much, much easier, and perhaps sold a few more copies.
Fun fact: The initials M.L. stand for Michael Lewis. In full, my pen name alluded to the archangel Michael, the author C.S. Lewis, and the detective Father Brown.
JK Riki asks: If you had unlimited resources (time, money, skill, whatever necessary) what is the one thing you would do that you’ve either always wanted to or felt called to do? (It can be a silly answer like “Eat a taco with both chicken AND beef” but I’m kind of plumbing for a deeper response here with some real meaning and thought. Your choice, though.)
If I had boundless time and money, I would first celebrate with pizza! I would then take a few weeks to plan my next steps, pray, and confer with trusted friends and relatives. In the end, I would probably move to a cozy apartment somewhere on America’s west coast, donate most of my money to churches and charities, and spend my time writing fiction, volunteering, blogging, and drinking too much coffee. (Some things never change.)
If I had limitless talents, I would probably become a professional author and an ambassador for a charitable organization or relief agency. I would also drink too much coffee, natch.
Socrates asks: Where are your monkeys from (and I DON’T mean Amazon.com)? I mean, where were they actually born (are any of them from, y’know, THE Amazon?), what schools did they attend, are any of them related (to each other, I mean), had you met any of them before finding them on the internet?
I didn’t know any of my typewriter monkeys before I purchased them from Amazon.com, but I’m pretty sure they have ties to criminal cartels, and at least two of my monkeys have spent time in Colombian prisons.
Listen, sometimes it’s best not to ask these kinds of questions.
Some Guy asks: Do you know anyone actually named Socrates? Have you seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? It’s not that great of a film, but I am reminded of it whenever you refer to Socrates. What is the plural of Socrates? You play and review video games, but what are your favorite non-video games? I’m thinking board and card games, but other categories are fair too (tag, dodgeball, darts, etc.)
Sadly, I don’t know any Socrateses. (I’m guessing Socrateses is the plural of Socrates.) Socrates is my go-to pseudonym because I respect the ancient Greek philosopher, and also because I’m too lazy to come up with a new pseudonym every time I need one.
I’ve heard of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but I haven’t seen it. Doctor Who has satisfied my desire to see someone travel through time in a phone box!
Confession: I… um… I don’t like non-video games. Competition stresses me out.
Mind you, I have absolutely nothing against sports or board games. In fact, I’ve played quite a lot of them: Monopoly, cards, bowling, Munchkin, darts, Sorry, checkers, Risk, fútbol (or soccer, if you want to be American about it), and badminton, among others. As much as I appreciate these games, I seldom enjoy competition. (Mario Kart is an exception, of course.) I prefer relaxing pastimes such as one-player video games, going for walks, and climbing trees.
Thomas Mark Zuniga asks: Do you have other awesome hats like the one depicted here? What is your hat-wearing to non-hat-wearing ratio? I’ve always been intrigued by hats and hat-people.
I’m honored to be called a hat-person.
When shopping or running errands, I generally wear my cherished cloth cap. I occasionally wear a fez at home, especially when watching Doctor Who or Gravity Falls, which are my reasons for owning a fez in the first place. (I have no regrets.) My other hats include a couple of beanies, a leather flat cap, a baseball cap, and a gaudy jester hat promoting Ecuador’s national fútbol team.
I once shared pictures of my hats in a post on this blog… which promptly received more views than nearly any two of my other posts combined. As a blogger, I was humiliated to be outperformed by a bunch of hats.
I would like to thank everyone who submitted a question for this Q&A! (Without you, this would have been a really short post.) I would also like to make a quick announcement about this blog.
TMTF will be taking a three-week break, returning with new posts on April 20. The blog will not go dark during the break; I’ll post an original short story on Monday, followed by old posts on the usual schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) until TMTF resumes in a few weeks.
We’ll be back with new content on Monday, April 20. Thank you for reading!