Pride Month: Michael Mahin

Our ninth and final author for Pride 2021 is Michael Mahin!

Represent Publishing decided to do a quick interview with Michael to get to know him better and learn more about his release.

Question and Answer:

Name and Genre:

I’m Michael Mahin and I primarily write poetry. I’m self-publishing my work under a little indie self-publishing press that I created (entitled Pumpkin Boy Press). 

What are some fun facts about you?

I received my undergraduate degree in screenwriting; I’m obsessed with all things Halloween; and I have ten tattoos (and I’m working on getting two full sleeves)! I’m also currently studying to become an English Language Arts teacher and will be moving to witch city (i.e. Salem, MA) within the next month or so. 

Tell me about your recent release:

Songs On Car Stereos is a book of poetry, which was inspired by my experience as both a recent cancer survivor and a queer person in my 20s. The poems are very much about the “terror” of living through our twenties, and all that entails — namely, trying to figure out who we are, what we want and what we value during what is such a weird, beautiful, upsetting transitional time in almost all of our lives.

It’s also about how all of these ideals and values can be complicated by a life-altering, life-threatening experience, such as a cancer diagnosis. But it isn’t all sad — there are plenty of poems about queer love and identity and the healing power of scream-singing in your car with your friends (just to help round things out). I’m also hoping there are some cancer patients and survivors (possibly even some in their 20s) for whom the book will resonate and potentially provide a little bit of solace. Because there were a lot of good and interesting and surprising things ahead in my post-cancer journey, even if it felt like I couldn’t see or sense them for a long time. And these poems are sort of about the process of awakening to those good things in my path — the process of slowly seeing my life again, in color. 

When will your book release?

I’m planning to release the book at the end of this summer (2021) — the pre-sale link is coming soon and will be available at pumpkinboypress.weebly.com.

How did you publish, and why did you choose to publish that way?

I will be self-publishing Songs on Car Stereos through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Prior to starting Pumpkin Boy Press, I worked with a queer author in my hometown to design and self-publish some LGBTQ+ children’s books they had written (if you’re interested, their self-publishing press is called Laz-E-Femme press — you can check them out at lazefemmepress.weebly.com). I had to independently teach myself how to design the layout for a book and how to work with self-publishing tools like KDP, which I had never used before. It’s been a bit of a wild process, and I’m still a novice. But it’s so much fun to design the layout for my own book and have control over when and how I publish my work. I really love the freedom it allows me. 

Do you have any advice for new writers?

I heard a great quote from the author Cheryl Strayed the other day (from an event she hosted in 2018), which I think all new writers (myself included) absolutely need to hear and re-hear. I’m paraphrasing slightly, but she noted: “I’m not going to be able to write the brilliant book I set out to write. But guess what I can do? I can write a book. And the book might suck. It might be mediocre. But the thing is, my work isn’t really to write the brilliant book. My work is to write the book.” I’m trying to remind myself of this every day. 

Make sure to check out Michael and Pumpkin Press to learn more about him and his recent releases!

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