Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
I grew up in Cenral Kentucky, lived in DC for eighteen months, and for the past seventeen years, have lived in beautiful Athens, Georgia. Guess that makes me a Southerner. I’ve worked in academia for nearly thirty years as a financial education specialist with Cooperative Extension—the outreach arm of the land-grant university system. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. My mother still doesn’t understand what I do for a living. Eyes glaze over when I try to explain, so I’ll spare you the details.
Writing is a big part of my day job and has always been part of my life. Before the advent of e-mail and unlmited long-distance plans, I wrote long letters to friends and family who lived out of town. The personal journal I started in 1979 now exceeds twenty volumes. Other than a couple of short stories I wrote for a college creative writing class, the thought of writing fiction never occurred to me. Like becoming an astronaut or a neurosurgeon, penning a novel was one of those things I long ago decided I could never do.
Just for fun, I started blogging as the Crotchety Old Man in 2008. My devoted followers (mostly friends from high school) encouraged me to write a book. I joined the Athens Writers Group to learn more about writing fiction in 2010, and published my first book in 2012. The rest, as they say, is history.
I write “stories true enough for government work.” Motivated by a desire to show m-m readers the way things were for gay men in the 1960s, my first novels are semi-historical. Writing historical fiction is a lot of extra work. Expect to see more historical fiction from me in the future, but after Happy Independence Day—a story around the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York—I was ready to try something different.
Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
My dear friend Charlie Cochet, author of the THIRDS series, shares my affection for historical fiction. When I told her about my desire to write something else, she suggested a contemporary May-September romance. Mom reads all my books and is my biggest fan. She enjoys the humor sprinkled throughout my earlier works and suggested I write a funny story. Whippersnapper is the result.
Whippersnapper is set in Fallisville, a fictional Kentucky town located about halfway between Lexington and Cincinnati, Ohio. Until I wrote it, I had no idea how hard writing my historical novels had been. From the start, I had a blast writing Whippersnapper. Making everything up is a lot more fun than dealing with historical accuracy.
Whippersnapper is more than a story about young Tellumo Magnater and curmudgeonly Oliver Crumbly. It’s about relationships—between lovers, family members, and friends.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2015 and beyond?
My goal is to publish one novel every year. Whippersnapper is my 2015 book—one month past my goal. A demanding day job, the responsibilities that come with living alone, and a desire to do more than work and sleep often get in the way of my writing career. Attempts to follow the advice of experts to write every day sucked all the joy from a hobby I’ve always enjoyed. Until I retire from the day job, I write when I can and no longer feel guilty when I can’t.
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
The past nine months have been highly unusual. Whippersnapper is my fourth novel. My second and third novels are being re-released later this year by Dreamspinner Press Publications. No Good Deed (formerly After Christmas Eve) is coming out April 26. Happy Independence Day is scheduled for release in June or July. Taking three novels through editing at the same time and maintaiing my web site have consumed the lion’s share of my writing time. I don’t have a snippet to share, but my next project is a still untitled sequel to Whippersnapper.
Are there any characters that you write that are based on you or people you know?
Yes and no. I often start out thinking about a particular person as the basis for a character, but as the story grows, the character comes to life and becomes his (or her) own person. Oliver Crumbly in Whippersnapper is a good example. He’s loosely based on me, and although we certainly have a lot in common, we’re not the same person. We both go to the gym, but Oliver is a lot more consistant than I am. Some of Oliver’s failures in the kitchen are things I’ve done. Dialing up traits—like Oliver’s tendency to get a little crotchety—is a lot of fun.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you've written? Who, what and why?
I adore Philip Potter—a central character in my first three novels. He’s the first character I created who isn’t based on anyone, and in many ways, is the person I’d like to be. I especially admire his positive attitude, his kindness, and his actions to make a difference. I’m proud of all my novels, but Whippersnapper is my favorite story. My first two novels revolve around serial killers, and the Mafia is an everpresent threat in the third. A desire to inform motivated me to write them, unlike Whippersnapper which I wrote simply to entertain.
Are there people in your life that annoy you, and you write into your books?
Not really. A criticism I often hear from other writers is that my characters don’t suffer or struggle enough. I can’t help it. I just don’t think that way, which maybe is a good thing. I tried. Peggy Tucker in Whippersnapper was originally based on a former coworker who I really disliked. I even used her name. Basing the character on the evil bitch was supposed to make it easier for me to beat her up in the story. It didn’t work. She grew on me, and I had to change her name because I didn’t want my former coworker to think I liked her enough to name a character after her.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’d love to be a plotter, but my characters won’t stand for it. After a chapter or two, any outline is rendered irrelevent by something unexpected a character says or does. A note or two about what needs to happen in the next few chapters is the closest I come to plotting.
When is your next book coming out, and what’s it about?
Dreamspinner Press Publications will release No Good Deed on April 26. It’s a mystery, set in the 1960s, featuring Philip Potter. Someone is killing street hustlers in Washington, DC. An act of kindness makes Philip a suspect.
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Can you tell us about your pets?
For years, I had cats because they were more convenient and easier to care for than dogs. In 2009, my partner at the time wanted a dog and we got Tico, a long-haired chihuahua. He’s a super sweet little dog, but very much belongs to my ex. A few months later, we got another one—a little girl—for me. I call her Toodles, which was the nickname of my favorite aunt. The ex and I remain close friends, so Tico and Toodles get together often for play dates.
AUTHOR: Michael Rupured
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning
LENGTH: 220 Pages
RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2016
BLURB: Tellumo Magnamater is a fresh-out-of-college, first-year English teacher at Salt Lick County High School in Kentucky. He rides the bus to and from work, and every day he walks to the gym behind his small efficiency apartment to exercise. Perhaps because of being raised by two lesbians, Tellumo is attracted to older men. He sets his sights on fifty-something available bachelor Oliver Crumbly. But Tellumo isn’t the only resident interested in Oliver.
Peggy Tucker, a widow approaching her sixtieth birthday, is determined to marry again, and she thinks Oliver is her perfect match. Despite Tellumo and Peggy striking up a friendship at the gym, neither realizes they are interested in the same man. But the joke might be on both of them. Oliver, a retired history teacher, is the original crotchety old man who hates everything and everybody—especially young people.
Oliver Crumbly watched the Salt Lick County snowplow scrape the street in front of his house with a mixture of satisfaction and relief. Ten days of complaining had finally paid off. Two feet of snow had fallen in the day or two leading up to Christmas. A week later, before plows or salt trucks had reached Thoroughbred Acres, another six inches had fallen.
He’d been trapped at home since Christmas Eve. Worn treads had kept his Taurus from getting any traction on the flat street in front of his house. Driving out of the hilly subdivision would have been impossible.
Bill Pinkley, head meteorologist for local Channel 13, said El Nino or El Nina had caused the winter storm. Oliver couldn’t remember which, or why what happened so far away made a difference in the weather in Northern Kentucky, but if Bill Pinkley said so, it must be true. Heeding his advice to stock up on groceries ahead of the first flurries had kept Oliver from running out of food.
Thirty inches was a lot of snow to have fallen in a week’s time, and Calumet Circle was in the back of Thoroughbred Acres. Still, ten days was too long to wait for snow removal. Calls to the county road department had fallen on deaf ears. The surly customer service representative had hung up on him—four times. Miss Bethany Williams, Customer Service Representative II, was about to learn messing with Oliver Crumbly was a mistake. He’d mailed a lengthy letter detailing her incompetence and rude behavior to the director of the county road department with copies to the mayor, Oliver’s representative on the city council, and the Kentucky and U.S. Departments of Transportation.
Too bad Kevin Leonard had missed the blizzard. For eight years, Oliver’s ex had complained about the lack of winter snow. But then, nothing in Kentucky had suited Kevin. He’d grown up in the upper Midwest, where life was better in every way. Eight years of Kevin’s delusions of grandeur, condescending attitude, and manufactured facts had been a good four too many.
Oliver didn’t miss him one little bit. Not anymore. He dropped into his recliner, turned on the television, and flipped to the TV Guide Channel. His forty-eight-year-old ex had returned to North Dakota last February to live with his parents, and according to a mutual friend, was still unemployed. Because Mr. and Mrs. Leonard had often driven their camper down to Kentucky for weeklong visits, Oliver knew them a lot better than he’d have preferred. In his opinion, the sorry son and his parents deserved each other.
The viewing options scrolling on the screen at a snail’s pace failed to keep his attention, and his mind wandered. Falling for the wrong guys was Oliver’s gift. The first time his heart had been broken, he’d believed he would die. But he’d lived to love again… and again… and again… and again. Five times he’d survived a broken heart and the end of yet another relationship gone bad. Getting over kicking men out of his life had grown easier with experience. After Kevin left, Oliver’s battle-scarred heart had healed in record-breaking time.
Michael Rupured loves to write. Before learning the alphabet, he filled page after page with rows of tiny circles he now believes were his first novels, and has been writing ever since. He lives in Athens, Georgia, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, came out as a gay man at the age of twenty-one in the late 1970s, and considers surviving his wild and reckless twenties to have been a miracle. To find out what Michael’s up to now, visit his blog (rupured.com), follow him on Twitter (@crotchetyman) or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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