THE NIGHT IS MINE
What is the best part of being a writer? What is the worst?
MB: I love having a free license to sit in the corner and play with my characters, to build a story, to bring a blank page to life. It is one of the satisfying and emotional challenging things I’ve ever attempted. When the story is going well, I sit in my corner and chortle (or cry) along with my characters. When it’s going badly, I want to pound my head through a wall for ever imagining that writing was a good idea. That’s all on the good side though.
The worst part?
I think it’s the people. Not the ones who come up to me at a party, find out I’m a writer and want me to help them with the million-copy book idea they just never get around to. Nor is it the 100th eager beginner just dying to know the secret key (they never like the answer which is that there is one, put your butt in the chair and write the book, then the next one, then the next). I think the worst is the naysayers, the ones who only believe we are destined to fail at our dreams, that want to drag me from my fantasy of writing into their world of “it can happen, just not to you.” My father was the champion of these, though I’m sorry to say I lost several friends this way as well. I lost my entire first critique group, and I thought we were quite close, because I landed the first sale back in 1996. It started coming apart the very next day.
Why do you write?
MB: I stumbled into writing by starting a vignette about a freshman roommate who killed alarm clocks, regularly. I often woke up to watch one go flying by. And it sort of turned into my first novel sale, “Cookbook from Hell” about the Devil having her mid-life crisis, though neither the roommate (sorry, Andy) nor the alarm clocks made it into the story. But what hooked me was how much fun I had doing it. I have developed a passion for attempting to capture human nature and place it on the page, for the places that leads my thoughts, my reading and my research. My theme can be seen a couple questions down. But my “why” is because it is just so much fun!
Name one eye-opening thing you learned from your book research.
MB: “The Night Stalker” series and “The Night is Mine” started from an accidental discovery. In another book, my foodie thriller “Swap Out!” I had a woman show up to rescue the hero chef in a nasty military helicopter. I don’t know why, at that point I didn’t know who she was, but she showed up. So, I had to start researching military helicopters. That’s when I stumbled on SOAR, the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment. They’re the ones who take SEALs, Rangers, Delta Force to places no one else can get to, and then they go back in to get them out.
But that wasn’t the eye-opener. The thing that really rocked me back on my heels was learning why they did it, and their “why.” For no glory (if you hear about it, it probably means they screwed up, except a few things like bin Laden and Grenada and…), they train constantly. These are professionals with immense experience who have volunteered to take brutal tests at least 5 times over at least a half decade and then require 2 more years of training before they’re mission ready. These are the rock stars and celebrities of their profession. What I learned was the immense respect (which is too small a word) that I have for these individuals. Just reading and writing about them has changed the way I think of our military, not necessarily the political choices but rather those who chose to serve as a career, and how I now think of the gift of my own personal safety for the random chance of being born in this country rather than another. I didn’t expect that.
Do you have a favorite motto?
MB: It sits on the wall above my writing desk, right where my eye naturally travels if I look away from the screen: “To Champion the Human Spirit, to Celebrate the Power of Joy, and Revel in the Wonder of Love.” That’s my writing motto… the words are mine.
Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Favorite fictional heroine?
MB: Two come easily to mind, followed quickly by a dozen others. Alvin, from Arthur C. Clarke’s “The City and the Stars” came first. I discovered him at ten and I was completely captivated by his insatiable desire to know. In my teen years, Dagny Taggart rode her train right out of “Atlas Shrugged” as a symbol of hope. The naysayers I mentioned before didn’t land on earth when I started writing, they were there in high school and childhood too. But when faced with choices, hard choices, I am always drawn to her determination, her dream and active quest for a better place, a better way of living, of being.
Which fictional character would you hang out with?
MB: Alvin is a little one dimensional and Dagny a little driven-almost-scary. Leaving my own books aside, a journey through Wonderland would be fun. The cat and I would have a great time smiling at people, but it’s not a place I’d lose my head over. I’d hang with someone calm but fun, interesting and thoughtful yet able to act when called upon, someone triumphant. Jack Reacher comes to mind, almost any of Susan Wiggs heroines would be a hoot and several of her heroes. Push came to shove, I’d probably settle down in an Irish cottage, cook meals with Nora’s heroine of “Born in Ice,” laugh and drink with her husband and the gang down at the local pub, and go back and bury myself in my next novel until it was time to do it all over again. I’ve always liked that crowd and keep going back to them.
What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
MB: “The Mote in God’s Eye” has always grabbed me. And the crouching Atlas on “Atlas Shrugged.” I love Burrough’s “The Princess of Mars,” the lush drawing of half-naked people and strange aliens because it exemplifies exactly what the book is. I’m particularly happy with the cover I just designed for the first book of my latest romance series, “Where Dreams are Born.” And I have to confess, though I was at first shocked that I’d ever written a book that would have a cover like “The Night is Mine,” that it’s really growing on me. It describes the book wonderfully and really grabs the eye. Sourcebooks, my publisher, just nailed it. … and wait until you see the second book’s cover. Whee!
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
MB: That I’m male and write romance. That’s one that stops folks in the street. By day, a highly skilled project manager, by night, a Romance Novelist! I think the most surprising is the variety of things I’ve done: I used to fly small planes, I rebuilt a 50-foot sailboat and could single-hand it pretty comfortably, I’ve designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. None of which were what I did for a living. I just asked my wife: she said it was the day (while we were still dating), that I showed up wearing a tool belt (she had some things I could fix easily) and carrying a bread machine (I had one and she’d mentioned she’d always wanted to play with one).
What’s the strangest thing you have ever learned by Googling your name?
MB: That I am: a) a pretty successful middle school sports coach in Chetek, Wisconsin (I’ve been following his success for a couple of years now) and b) that I’m running for State Representative in Arkansas www.buchmannow.com.
If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose? Why?
MB: Forward, except my wife would go back. I want to see what’s next, what’s possible, what we’ve figured out how to do. We are in a time of ever expanding possibility and I love that. But my wife has a point, going back a little before technology supplanted a quiet evening spent chatting with friends, when you knew, for better or worse, the neighbors in your town, when you were more likely to grow up, belong, continue together… I wouldn’t mind that much either.
M.L., congratulations on the release of your latest in your Night Stalker series, “THE NIGHT IS MINE” released by Sourcebooks Casablanca. Please share a bit more about it.
MB: Some books just walk out of the mist and slap me up side the head, some I start out with a plan, though I’m never able to predict the twists and turns. This was one of the latter. I had been reading and eventually researching the world of SOAR, the most elite helicopter pilots ever to launch into the night sky. And I thought about the challenges of a woman entering a man’s world. Not just the working world, but like the first all-women’s team to sail in the America’s Cup trials. Women have a certain role they must choose to survive when they cross into such male-dominated worlds (even more so than they must simply to survive in our day-to-day world) and Emily Beale does it by simply being better at the men’s game than the men are. (A peek ahead, Kee Smith does it by being a complete bulldog, a real fighter. Man oh man is she tenacious.)
So, I had my lead character and my world, but I wanted to have fun with it. I made her a childhood friend of the President, her first crush, and sent her to protect the First Lady. But a long ago first crush doesn’t even register when faced with the intense attraction of her commanding officer… That’s where it got fun!
Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
MB: To me its voice, voice, voice, and voice. I see story as something that is driven by the characters. Their unique voice (in speaking, in thought, in action, in reaction [hence the 4 repetitions]) is what will shape the story around them. Story is what happens in the book, voice is what makes us remember the character after we put the book back down.
M.L, where can readers connect with you in cyber world? =)
MB: www.mlbuchman.com is my personal blog and that’s my main contact with the outside world. I have a very limited Facebook presence mainly because I’d rather be writing the next book. My day job world is LinkedIn and www.matthewbuchman.com.
I know this is a difficult question with there being so many amazing authors out there to choose from, but who are some of the GOT-TO-HAVE authors in your TBR pile?
MB: There are some authors that I’ve gone out and read every word they’ve written: Rand, Hesse, Clarke, Lewis Carroll, Clavell, Austen, Tolkien, Shakespeare. There are some I’ve read an immense amount of: Asimov, Nora, Heinlein, Dickens. There are some I wish I had time to: King, Wiggs, Kinsale, Stephenson. My bedside pile presently has: Westerfeld, Grayson & Rusch (same author – a lot of hers), Jemison, Atwood, and Lee Child. (Plus a couple books on helicopters.)
What’s next in the works for you? When can readers expect to see it out on shelves in their local bookstores?
MB: August will bring about “I Own the Dawn” and the 1st female addition to Emily’s helicopter crew. The DAP Black Hawk has 4 seats and hence my 4-book series “The Night Stalkers” fills them one-by-one. Kee Smith is the gunner and she’s awesome. I love that book! (Of course I love all my books.) I’m nearing the end of a couple of fantasy novels that will be available soon. I also just pubbed the first of my “Angelo’s Hearth” contemporary romance series “Where Dreams Are Born.” Two calendars, twelve lighthouses, and two hearts… that are looking for anyone but each other. Look for book 2 of Angelo’s this fall.
M.L, thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with Over the Edge readers and myself; it has really been a blast getting to know more about you and your books.
MB: Thanks for the great questions! I love being pushed into really thinking about things.
THE NIGHT IS MINE BY M.L. BUCHMAN
NAME: Emily Beale
MISSION: Fly undercover to prevent the assassination of the First Lady, posing as her executive pilot.
NAME: Mark Henderson, code name Viper
MISSION: Undercover role of wealthy, ex-mercenary boyfriend to Emily
Their jobs are high risk, high reward:
Protect the lives of the powerful and the elite at all cost. Neither expected that one kiss could distract them from their mission. But as the passion mounts between them, their lives and their hearts will both be risked...and the reward this time may well be worth it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It's amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of incredible people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit http://www.mlbuchman.com/.
RCJR is proud to present romantic suspense author M.L. Buchman's Sourcebook release, THE NIGHT IS MINE, the first installment in his phenomenal The Night Stalkers series.
THE PRIZE: Two lucky readers will win their very own copy of THE NIGHT IS MINE.
To enter: Please leave a comment for M.L. Buchman including your email address.
*Connect with RCJR eZine at:
Contest is open to ALL
It will runs until February 14, 2012
I will contact the winners directly on February 15, 2012
HAPPY READING! =)