Meghan: Hi, Mike. It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?
M. Ennenbach: I finished a novella for a secret project with the guys at Death’s Head Press. I finally got my first novel edited. And compiled a collection of poetry. Shopping them around now in the hopes someone will put them out soon. Also had a short in Dig Graves Volume 2. It has been a busy first year as a published writer.
Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?
M. Ennenbach: Father to two. Neopost technician that travels the DFW area fixing mailing machines. Daily poet at mennenbach.com.
Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?
M. Ennenbach: Anyone that knows me has determined long ago that I have issues and their reading my words will just prove them right. It is daunting though. Like being stripped naked and paraded in front of them to judge.
Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
M. Ennenbach: Nice. Both. The ability to write and make others feel emotion is one of the greatest gifts. Not having enough hours in the day to scribble down every single idea and refine them is a curse.
Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?
M. Ennenbach: As a kid, my parents always had a book in front of them. They instilled a deep seated love of the written word. Battling depression my entire life has colored my writing. It adds it’s distinct coloring to my tales.
Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?
M. Ennenbach: The worst was one night I spent an hour doing algebra to determine how far from shore a man would have to be to out swim crocodiles. An hour for a paragraph.
I made friends with genital torturers and doms for a short story in Notches. It led me down a rabbit hole that helped shape a character in my novel as well. So many things seen that cannot be unseen.
Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?
M. Ennenbach: The middle. I know the beginning most of the time. And the ending is there but nebulous. The middle is always a surprise to me. I feel I corral the words towards the ending with no real control over what happens. It’s nerve wracking. I’ve killed characters I had no intention of killing because that is where the story took itself.
Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?
M. Ennenbach: Usually I have a vague idea. I like to write a prologue that pops and catches attention for an opening scene. No outlines though. Too stringent and when I try and make one I become bored of the story. Nine times out of ten, I just let it flow and around chapter three I hurry to jot down a list of characters so I can remember who does what. Very professionally unprofessional.
Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?
M. Ennenbach: Let them tell their own story. The best made plans can become a better story if you let it fall how it wants to. Organically developing twists are what makes it fun for me.
Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?
M. Ennenbach: Ryo Fukui playing in the background. A big cup of coffee and a blank screen. I make myself wrote two or three poems a day to keep myself in writing mode. Since I do all of my writing on my phone it makes it easy to scribble when inspiration strikes.
Meghan: Are you an avid reader?
M. Ennenbach: Yes. Been reading a lot of beat stuff lately. Anything Bukowski or Thompson.
Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?
M. Ennenbach: Horror or fantasy is my go to genres. Eastern European and Russian lit is also great because they give this tragic and off-putting feel in everyday living.
Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?
M. Ennenbach: I’m not a snob. I know it is impossible to refine one thousand pages into two hours. That said, the trend of ten episode shows based on books is way better. I prefer the author being involved in some capacity to keep it authentic.
Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?
M. Ennenbach: Yes. A few. No one is safe. If you know a character is safe it takes away the stakes.
Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?
M. Ennenbach: I like to let then dig a hole and have to find a way out. Suffering is part of living, so while I don’t take pleasure from writing it, it would be wrong to leave it out.
Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?
M. Ennenbach: I have a drug addled leprechaun in my novel. He snorts a drug he makes called Unicorn Blow. Then there is the Undersecretary of Hell that transcribes the meeting of Satan and his demons.
Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?
M. Ennenbach: The best has been being told certain stories actually made them cry. To move someone with a story like that blew my mind. The worst was an ex asked why I waste my time writing stories no one will ever read. I set down my pen for five years after that.
Meghan: What do your fans mean to you?
M. Ennenbach: I don’t have fans. Not yet. I have a core group of readers that have become friends. If I ever get to the point of having fans I hope to make them all friends as well. I guess it is a concept I cannot wrap my head around.
Meghan: If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?
Meghan: If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?
M. Ennenbach: Dang. Richard Kadrey wrote a book, Butcher Bird, a decade or so back. He says he will never write a sequel and went on to the Sandman Slim series. I would like to dive back into the world he created and explore the mythos of it. A badass assassin on a mission to expose the hidden world to all.
Meghan: If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?
M. Ennenbach: A dream scenario would be with China Mieville on a prequel to Perdido Street Station. I would like to tackle the Malaria Wars between the people of the Bas Lag and the mosquito creatures that threatened extinction. It was a quarter chapter idea in The Scar that made me chomp at the bit to see fleshed out.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
M. Ennenbach: The secret project is due out in early 2020. I’m really excited about it and feel it is a great story. I am in the midst of writing the sequel to my novel. New poetry everyday and hope to see a collection of two of it hit the shelves soon.
Meghan: Where can we find you?
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview or the last?
M. Ennenbach: Thank you for reading so far. More is coming and I feel I am just getting better with each release. Leave reviews after you read. It really helps spread the word about your favorite authors.
M. Ennenbach is a lot of things. Part time dreamer. Full time poet. Scribbler of tales. An Illinois yankee in DFW, but don’t hold any of that against him. A proud father of two that he loves more than life itself. His stories are written from a place of raw emotion, stripped pieces of the man himself spun into powerful trips through nightmare and daydream. Sometimes bleak, at others hilarious but always unique glimpses of another realm; his words will take you on a journey. His first collection, Notches, is available on Amazon and Death’s Head Press with more on the way.
A Collection of dark, twisted and some humorous stories including an epic dark poem from the tormented mind of M. Ennenbach. Each story will give you a window into the darkness of the soul. Fueled by raw, powerful emotions. They will chew you up and spit you out, leaving you quivering on the floor in a gruesome mess begging for more. Are you brave enough to traverse the dark path laid before you or will you become another notch on the wall?