Bringing Up Mike
by Mark Duncan
What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.
Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple mourning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.
Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.
“Mike, what’s the Rebel going to look like?”
“Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…” said Mike in the voice of Josef Fischer in The Illusionist.
Sue looked at the first website. “That’s a bit gaudy. It looks like a coloring book. How about something with all the headings and text in black with white backgrounds?”
“Behind door number two.”
“That’s better. But I didn’t mean no color—rather, to reserve it for use in photos, graphics, maps, and clip art. Put one big visual at the top, and a small one elsewhere on the page. A feature story under the main headline, with room for two or three smaller stories to follow it. Some tabs for the various departments.”
“And behind door number three.”
“Yes, you got it.” Sue looked puzzled. “Mike, how can you possibly prototype a website so quickly?”
“My dear, a magician never reveals his secrets,” said Mike in the voice of Gypsy from A Bug’s Life.
“What are you, superhuman?”
“They’re just off-the-shelf WordPress templates. I selected a subset developed for online newspapers. You change the CSS and bibbity-bobbity-boo, presto-chang-o, a new website!” Now he used the voice of the fairy godmother from Cinderella.
It is my pleasure to welcome Mark Duncan, author of Bringing Up Mike, to Room With Books.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I workout two or three times a week at the Palo Alto YMCA. I’m at my computer a lot, responding to emails and reading blogs. I usually have one or more books that I’m reading. I watch movies from Netflix and get together with friends for lunch or dinner.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I very much liked Robert Heinlein, in particular The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land, but I’ve read all of his books. They all have strong protagonists who persevere through adversity.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I’ve been republishing books as electronic books for four years, so the actual publishing of Bringing Up Mike was easy. The major challenge for me as an author was working with three different editorial editors, then discovering that my book still needed proofreading and copy-editing.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The power to read woman’s minds! Sorry, this is actually a question that April poses to Joe when they go on a date to have pizza and a movie, in Bringing Up Mike. But speaking as a man, won’t it be great?
What was your first job?
I worked at a McDonalds for two weeks before getting a different summer job that paid better.
What types of books do you write?
Bringing Up Mike is a young adult, coming-of-age, science fiction novel.
Who’s your main audience?
For Bringing Up Mike, it is young adults who are at least 12. However it is estimated that 40% of the readers of young adult fiction are adults.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite?
I’m rather fond of Mike, the artificial intelligence in Bringing Up Mike. He’s part Dennis the Menace, and part Genie from the movie Aladdin.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I don’t start writing until I’ve defined a rough plot with character arcs. Typically each scene takes four to five days to write, with spot research during the first and second days. A chapter has between eight to twelve scenes.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
Sometimes. The scenes where Joe has problems seeing due to rain or dust are based on when I ran into a concrete curb riding my bike in the rain because my glasses were wet.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
No. The primary reason for Bringing Up Mike is that its both descriptive of the novel and is a unique title.
Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author. Why?
I’ve written software, designed digital circuitry, managed projects, helped get a product released and out the door, interviewed people and helped companies define strategies and tactics. I like doing jobs that are new and challenging. Certainly I would not do a job requiring heavy lifting since my lower back is problematic.
What are you currently working on?
The sequel to Bringing Up Mike.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? I alternate between Jamaican Almond Fudge and Burgundy Cherry
Night owl, or early bird? I’m a night owl—it’s when I’m most productive.
Red, or white wine? It depends on what and whom I’m eating with. I’m quite flexible.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Roller coasters, particularly all wood ones that rattle and shake!
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Pool, there are no sharks. I prefer saline pools to ones that are chlorinated.
Walking or fitness club? I work out at the Palo Alto YMCA two to three times a week.
Any last words?
If you would like to be added to my mailing list, send an email to email@example.com
Thank you for taking time with us today and for having Room With Books as part of your tour.
Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike, www.askmarpublishing.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com
Author Website: http://www.askmaroublishing.com/authors/mark duncan.html
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/askmarpub
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/askmar
Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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