Mike Friedman Joins the Blog Hop

Aztlan front coverA couple of weeks ago, my pal Ilsa Bick asked me if I wanted to do the Big Blog Hop. What’s a blog hop? I asked. Turns out it’s an elaborate game of tag. Ilsa tags me, I talk about my latest book, then I tag someone else, who talks about theirs. If you’re nice enough to play along, you get to meet one author after the other until you’re dizzy and you throw up.

Or something like that.

Ilsa, by the way, is one of the spookiest writers working today. Her  latest book is The Sin-Eater’s Confession. Get it, read it, tell all your friends how good it is.

But in the meantime, check this out…

1) What is the title of your latest book?

Aztlan: The Maxtla Colhua Mysteries.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always been interested in the Aztecs, and with the “end” of the Mesoamerican calendar looming, I wanted to do something alternate-history-ish with it. On the other hand, I wanted it to be different — and what’s more different from your normal alternate history than a noire murder mystery?

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Alternate history, if it falls under any genre at all. But unlike most other alternate histories, it doesn’t deal with the events that follow immediately from the historical turning point. It takes place hundreds of years later, and all those events are merely part of the culture’s history. The focus is on the character Maxtla Colhua and the cases he has to solve as an Investigator for the Empire.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?

Maxtla might be played by Christian Bale. Necalli could be Harvey Keitel if he were twenty years younger. Eren could be Jennifer Garner. Calli could be Penelope Cruz.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence doesn’t do it justice. So…

Maxtla Colhua is an Investigator for the Empire—a 21st-century Aztec Empire that, having successfully repelled Hernan Cortes in 1603, stretches from one end of what we know as the Americas to the other. In Aztlan: The Last Sun, someone has decided to punctuate the end of the Aztec calendar with a series of grisly murders reminiscent of the pagan sacrifices carried out in ancient times. Can Maxtla find the killer before his city is ripped apart and the Last Sun becomes the death knell for the Empire? In Aztlan: The Courts of Heaven, Maxtla is looking for the missing star of a brutal Aztec ball game in which gambling fortunes are won and lost. To find the idol of millions, he will have to challenge the most powerful men and women in the Empire—or see the streets of Aztlan run red with blood. Two murder mysteries set in an exciting world that never was but could have been—collected in a single volume!

6) Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

A couple of years ago, four other writers and I formed an indie publishing venture called Crazy 8 Press. That’s the publisher.

7) How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I write two pages on a slow or otherwise cluttered day, of which there are many, or eight on a great day, of which there are few. So maybe 80 working days.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t want to dodge the question but it’s really not like anything I’ve ever seen or anything I’ve written before — which is why I wanted to write it. On one hand, it has elements in common with alternate histories, but in that it’s a noire mystery it’s also like a Mickey Spillane novel. Read it and tell me if there’s anything it reminds you of — your take is as good as mine.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Every writer I’ve ever admired, I suppose. No one in particular because — once again — I’ve never read anything like this.

10) What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

Aztlan is really about relationships–familial, romantic, professional, and so on. A big one in this book is father-son. My dad passed away a few years ago and I see now that I came to grips with what he meant to me in the pages of Aztlan.

The next writer on the hop is…

Peter David


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