Author Mike Duke chats with Kendall Reviews.

Mike was a cop for almost 12 years, but the last 12 years he’s been teaching Military, Law Enforcement and Bodyguards high-speed, tactical and off-road driving as well as hand to hand Combatives. He enjoys martial arts and has been a practitioner since 1989 of various styles. Filipino blade arts are his current favorite. Since he was a teenager he’s loved reading, writing, and watching movies…particularly in the horror and sci-fi genre. He’s also been a prolific reader of theology and studied quite extensively for a layman. He has a beautiful wife who is very supportive and a son and daughter her are both graduated. His babies now are a German Shepherd named Ziva, a Daddy’s girl who loves to play…even when he’s writing and a Border Collie mix named Joey “The Bandit” who will steal anything and everything he can, even the toys right out of Ziva’s mouth. Mike is a lover of music as well and it is an integral part of his writing ritual.

Mike writes an eclectic mix of horror stories. He explores dark supernatural entities, cosmic terrors, and natural monstrosities. However, the wicked deeds the human heart can conceive and inflict on others as well as our capacity to act against such things pervades much of his work. According to Chris Hall, at DLS Reviews, Mike is “a master of utterly uncompromising hardboiled revenge-thrillers.” He has a way of provoking a significant response from his readers – whether shock, terror, dread, an uneasy sense of empathy, Heebie Jeebie crawlies or surprise at unexpected twists. Mike will make you feel while you read his words. Afterwards, the potential horrors of twisted moral visions, the deplorable nature of humanity’s vices and weaknesses, the possibility of unearthly and supernatural threats and the plausibility of the hideous within the normal; all these things will consciously disturb and haunt you, attempting to take root in your mind and make you question what you know and believe. For how long? Take a read and find out.

His latest works are the novel LOW from Stitched Smiles Publications and the novella ‘Warm, Dark Places are Best’, which he self-published. His most well-known work thus far is his first, a novella entitled Ashley’s Tale.

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

MD: I was a police officer for almost 12 years before going into the professional training industry. I’ve been teaching military, LE, body guards and private citizens High Speed, Tactical and Off Road Driving as well as Hand to Hand Combatives and Blade Tactics since 2006. I have a wife and two kids. Been married 26 years now. Kids are both out of high school and pursuing careers. Now my two kiddoes are my German Shepherd, Ziva, a real Daddy’s girl, and a Border Collie mix named Joey “The Bandit” who will steal anything and everything, including the toys right out of Ziva’s mouth. I started writing short stories and poetry in high school but ended up stopping for several years before starting up again.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

MD: I love martial arts. Have since high school when I first started practicing. I’ve done several different styles over the years but the last 8 years I’ve been heavy into Filipino martial arts and learning how to really use a knife in combat. I also enjoy working out, movies, music, reading, and playing video games every now and then.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

MD: Hmmm. That’s tough, there were so many, but probably Flight of the White Wolf by Ellis Mel. Anne McCaffrey’s book White Dragon (part three of the Dragonriders of Pern series) would be a close second. And the non-fiction series, Born Free, Living Free and Forever Free would probably be third. (about a lioness in a Kenyan game preserve as she grew and found her way).

KR: What are you reading now?

MD: Just finished The City by S. C. Mendes, which I can’t recommend highly enough. Incredible book.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

MD: Early on it was Jack London, Anne McCaffrey, Stephen King and Brian Lumley. Later in life, and more recently, Neil Gaiman and H. P. Lovecraft primarily.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

MD: I usually develop some basic plot or outline and work from there, but I always leave room for inspiration and will adapt when the story develops a different turn in events as I write. I believe in having a plan but being able to adapt and adjust on the fly.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

MD: Depends on what I’m writing and how much personal knowledge I have on the subject. I researched night terrors, typical treatment, nightmares, old folk lore surrounding nightmares etc. before starting up my novel LOW. I recently researched information on ley lines and energy held in certain ancient locations across the globe and how they interact for a novel I’m working on. Interesting stuff. Not something everyone would buy into, but it made for an interesting additional layer of depth I think to what I was writing.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

MD: I don’t have a typical day. I’m pretty sporadic with my work schedule. But usually it’s in the evening or late at night. I MUST have my music. Headphones on, the right music playing, and I try to find my zone and plug ahead. Ziva and Joey will usually come over periodically and want to be rubbed but that doesn’t bother me. Finding the right music for my mood and the type of thing I’m currently writing is a big part for me. If the inspiration clicks I’ll write my butt off.

KR: Which is your favourite of the books/stories you have written?

MD: Man, I’d have to say LOW because I spent so much time on it and it means so much to me but my novella Ashley’s Tale will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first thing I published and has had such a great response from so many readers.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

MD: Oh yeah! I don’t just write because I want to do it for myself. Impacting other people with my words that’s what motivates me. I want to know that I’m connecting with and affecting other people with my stories. I definitely read the reviews.

KR: What scares you?

MD: Failure, losing my family, and losing myself to the ravages of time and my own weaknesses.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

MD: I used to be hardcore paperback but I have to say having a Kindle app on my phone and IPad and how easy that makes it to take what I’m reading with me anywhere without anything extra to lug around has kinda converted me.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

MD: My novel LOW is a supernatural crime thriller essentially. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Officer Mark Adams is fed up with God, his wife and the legal constraints of his job. He longs for a life he can enjoy and to see true justice meted out. 

Chad Bigleby is a lawyer thrown into a deadly moral quagmire, forced to decide whether he will abide by man’s laws or make his own. 

Each man is being driven to the edge of his limits. 

Both men are on a collision course. 

All because something wicked has arrived in Pleasant Grove, something ancient and obsessed with vengeance, eager to punish the souls of men for their sins. 

How LOW will they go to get what they desire most? And what will it cost them in the end? 

Hell only knows…

It’s an intelligent horror novel in many ways (according to the critics thus far) “a masterwork of sinister, philosophical horror” even (Lisa Lee at Bibliophillia Templum) but “when the horror steps out of the murky shadows, you f@#$%&! know about it.” (Chris Hall at DLS Reviews). Chuck Anderson at SciFi Monkeys said Low is “epic in every sense of the word…a horror masterpiece.”

At it’s core, LOW is a character driven storyline about our greatest temptations, our weaknesses and failures and our struggle for redemption. It embraces strong philosophical and moral themes while taking you on a supernatural, nightmare rollercoaster descent into the depths of hell and the hells people make for themselves.

(KR: I’m delighted to have an excerpt from Low on Kendall Reviews here)

KR: What are you working on now?

MD: I have another novel coming out in the next few months. It’s part three to my Ashley’s Tale series. The first two parts were both novellas. Part three is novel length. Stitched Smiles Publications is going to collect the first two novellas together with part three and publish them together. I’m also about halfway through a cosmic horror novel or two novellas. I really haven’t decided yet how I will put them out but I’m leaning towards combining them together into a novel. The two novellas are entitled Where the Gods Sleep and Where Gods and Monsters Reign. I also have plans for a couple of short stories and turning the first Ashley’s Tale novella into a screenplay. Then I’m going to turn my hand to the sequel for LOW, I think.

KR: Fast forward ten years! Where do you see yourself?

MD: As a household name amongst horror readers and movie goers alike, I hope!

KR: Thank you very much Mike.


You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDuke_author.

Visit Mike’s author page here

You can purchase a copy of Low from Amazon US & Amazon UK


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