Tuesday, May 28, 2013
M.R. Tain is the May, Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob and his YA book, This Isn't Normal, is really introspective. I decided to ask M.R. Tain some questions about what inspires him and how he finds time to write as well as other important tidbits. Read on to find out more about M.R. and his books.
Welcome M.R. Tain,
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in 1958, and grew up in a small town in Iowa. I attended grade school in the sixties, and junior high and high school in the seventies. I had two older brothers who attended high school in the sixties. I started writing puppet shows in the eighties, then some TV programs on public access TV (some of which involved puppets), and in 2005, I started writing for the Community Voices column in the Savage Pacer after noticing that I was writing an awful lot of letters to the editor. I figured I should have one chance to sound off every twelve weeks and keep quiet the rest of the time. It was also in 2005 that I decided to try writing a novel, which became “This isn’t Normal.”
2. What is the inspiration behind your story “This Isn’t Normal”?
I experienced culture shock when our sons told us what it was like in high school. I decided to write a story to build a bridge between generations. I chose my older brothers’ high school years because the difference between 1965 and 2005 was more pronounced than if I’d written about my own experience in the seventies.
3. Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book. Did you do that? Do you have anything in common with your characters?
Absolutely! Karla’s grandfather is based on how I would have reacted to the circumstances around Karla’s life had I been in his shoes. Also, Dave Baker’s father, Joe Baker, is basically me. A story I attribute to the character of Paul Baker, “My Adventures in Outer Space,” is taken directly from an unpublished work I wrote just for my own amusement.
Aside from the reasons I stated in question 2, my wife has always been a writer. She made writing interesting to me. I thought, “This is going to be a novel, a short story, or a total flop. I may as well try and see what happens.” We were both quite surprised when I published first.
5. Do you like to read? What are some of your favorite books and authors?
“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams,
“This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness” by Frank Peretti,
C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy, “Out of the Silent Planet,” “Perelandra,” and “That Hideous Strength.”
“The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis.
6. What are some of the issues that you feel are integral to your book?
Issues involving love and sex; the relationship between the two, and the differences between them.
7. What is the most important lesson/idea you want readers to take away from This Isn’t Normal?
That teens and young adults should question the social norms that have been presented to them today. I present a contrast over the period of forty years and invite young people to evaluate for themselves, what they believe to be a “normal” lifestyle.
8. How do you carve time out of your busy day to write?
The best time to do it is when my day job gets slow. Other than that, I discipline myself to at least turn
9. Tell us about your second book, Peace, Man?
“Peace, Man,” is a sequel of sorts to “This isn’t Normal.” It takes place two years later on a college campus. The protagonist is male, but Karla returns to play an important role in his story.
10. Are you currently working on a third novel? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
My third novel is currently called, “For the Children.” No characters experience time-travel this time, but the reader is conveyed to the year 2023. The story is about both protagonists from each of the first two books, and as the title suggests, involves the lives of their children.
11. Tell us in one sentence why we should read This Isn’t Normal?
The culture clash of time travel gets pretty amusing, and I believe it can broaden one’s understanding of other generations and their cultures.
If you would like to win a copy of M.R. Tain's book This Isn't Normal please click here: This Isn't Normal Giveaway