1 - Who has had the most influence in your life? What lessons did this person teach you?
TM: While it might sound clichéd, I have to say my mother has been the biggest influence on me. Despite all my stupidity andlack of motivation, she never gave up on me. She always believed I could make something of myself. She never forced the issue, but if she hadn’t been so devoted in her belief, I don’t think I’d have accomplished half of what I have.
2 - How would you like to be remembered?
TM: You know, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I think, if anything, I want to be seen as a person who tried to do more good than bad. There’s no real expectation on my behalf that I’ll be lovingly remembered by everyone I’ve encountered, but I would hope my footprint in the lives of the people whose paths I’ve crossed never brought them real harm.
3 - If you could interview anyone from your life, living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
TM: You know, I think I’d like to sit down with my dad one last time. We were barely in each other’s lives, and I don’t think I ever really know what made him tick.
4 - If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they were writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give?
TM: This actually happens a lot. I love listening to other people’s ideas, but that leads to the advice I would offer. Stop worrying about the idea and put more effort into the execution of it. What separates the successful writers from the idealists is the evolution of an idea into a story. Without that piece of the puzzle, the idea is dead in the water. Doesn’t matter how brilliant it is, and idea is nothing without effort.
5 - How would you describe yourself in three words?
TM: Difficult, angry, damaged.
6 - What is the most demeaning/demoralizing thing ever said about you as a writer?
TM: Absolutely nothing. While I’ve had people talk trash to me in reviews, bad mouth what I do and have written, none of that matters. Only I can tear myself down. The rest are just farts in the wind. One good blow and they’re gone.
7 - How do you react to a bad interview of one of your books?
TM: Generally, I look to see if anything resonates. If something does, I parcel that criticism away so it’s there when I work on my next book. If it’s a personal rant or a blatant attack, I laugh it off. There’s not enough time in my life for me to worry about what assholes think. Reasoned opinions, even if it’s, “I just couldn’t get into it,” are fine. I can’t please everyone, and have no intentions of trying.
8 - Would you rather write for children or adults?
TM: Definitely adults. While I occasionally branch out and do YA books, I like the freedom of not having to restrain my voice or ideas. While I tend toward the shallow end of the spectrum when I writer—doing so for entertainment rather than enlightenment—I don’t want to tie my hands with regards to my expression.
9 - What are the most important attributes to staying sane as a writer?
TM: Honesty would be foremost; especially with yourself. Being able to accept the truth of things and be honest about your limitations and expectations. If you lie to yourself in your writing, everyone will know. You can’t fake the blood on the page.
10 - Are you jealous of other writers?
TM: It doesn’t happen often, but I’m not gonna lie and say it never does. There are authors who I (probably quite selfishly) wonder how they managed to reach the point they’re at. It’s petty of me, and I know that, but I can’t help it. Sometimes it’s just sour grapes, you know?
11 - What do you like most about being a writer?
TM: I think I like the freedom most. The fact that I can sit down and write anything I want and have people who want to read it. There’s a catharsis in that, a release I have never experienced in my life.
12 - Is Elvis really dead?
TM: It’s horrible to think he really is, but then again, perhaps it was for the best with regards to his legacy. He was on a downswing, so with his passing, at least we’re left with his amazing voice for all eternity.
13 - If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
TM: Grow the fuck up.
It took me a long time to do so, and I suspect it would have been in my best interest had I done that long before I managed to do it.
14 - Name one thing that drives you crazy.
TM: Shit. I’d be better off telling you the list of things that don’t drive me crazy. That said, I think inconsiderate people are at the top of the list. I was raised to hold the door for people, to say please and thank you, and to be polite. It’s ingrained in me, and it drives me totally fucking nuts that we’ve lost so much of that in the last couple generations.
15 - Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
TM: Hardcovers are my idea of a collector’s item, but I have to say I’ve become a huge eBook fan. Being able to load all my books on my reader and pick up new ones within seconds has made my reading so much more convenient. While I’ve always read a lot, I read so much more now.