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Monday 19 September 2016

ℚ The History Major - Michael Phillip Cash

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The History Major (, Chelshire, Inc., 132 pages), a Horror Suspense novella.

"Cash intermingles beauty and violence ...It's smartly ambiguous and open to interpretation, and some may delight in a second (or third) read." - Kirkus Reviews

"The History Major is a thriller, a mystery, a conundrum, a psychological study, a narrative on the brink of embracing horror (occasionally tipping but never quite remaining there), a lesson in history....Reading it is rather like seeing a Dali painting for the first time; every detail seems correct, but then the ultimate wrongness of the scene penetrates....Perhaps the closest literary cousin is Ambrose Bierce's superlative 1890 short story, "An Occurrence Owl Creek Bridge,..." - Michael Collings, Collingsnotes

Synopsis | Teaser | Author Q&A | About the Author | Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Michael Phillip Cash; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for The History Major?

"I was thinking about how we are the sum of all that came before us. I did a DNA test to see where my family came from. It was fascinating. I had all these ethnic and regional groups I never knew were in my ancestry. I went in thinking I was one things and learned there were many strange and wonderful other people who helped create the person I am today.

This got me thinking, what if their trauma affects us. Also, I wondered if we really know people. You may think a person is mean or nasty- but what in their life or history made them that way.

Amanda is a mean girl, she is needy and difficult. Was she born that way or is she the product of her environment."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"The campus was based on my university, CW Post. While it wasn't' an exact replica, I used the rolling hills and library as a template.

Amanda was someone I invented. I am a very different person, but that doesn't mean I don't know her."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The History Major - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"My brother actually does all the covers. He listens to the manuscript and said simply "Is Amanda's life written in stone? Are all our lives permanent? Can we control our own fate?"

We had our cover- a block of granite, perhaps a grave marker, the words carved into the stone, but being broken through by red and blue lights- perhaps the forces of good and evil?"
Why should we read The History Major and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"This book will make you think.

It's not a pretty story, but one that can make you wonder about your own life choices and what made you choose them. What events in your own life shaped the person you became.

One reader said "This is a thoughtful book." I enjoyed writing it."
Can you tell us something quirky about The History Major, its story and characters?
"My favorite character was writing Aristotle. I wanted to capture the essence of his, his arrogance. I had more fun writing about the historical figures and I think they were a highlight in the book. I was very nervous, but once I realized I could write about them as real people, think of them as doing everyday things, it was easy to write about them. Once I thought of Lucrezia Borgia and Joan d'Arc as teenage girls, it was easier to write them."

Who would you recommend The History Major to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Anyone who might be interested in having a long discussion afterwards or even a good long think, if you know what I mean.

I would let them know there are triggers of child abuse, molestation, and gun violence. There are figures representing Hitler and death. There is also my depiction of hell. There is nothing very graphic, however."
If you could / wished to turn The History Major into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"All of my books start as screenplays. I need to beat out every character arc and really flesh out my story before I even think about the novel.

The History Major is a special story for me. I had Anna Kendrick in mind as Amanda Greene the entire time. She’s funny and quirky, but can be completely serious at times. I love when she cries and doesn’t blink. That’s Amanda in my eyes.

I would obviously direct ;)

The location for all the settings was my alma mater CW Post – Long Island University."

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I love to genre jump, even though I shouldn’t.

The History Major is a thriller. Witches Protection Program is a popcorn summer blockbuster. Monsterland is the perfect Halloween classic.

 I’m actually working on a western now – something I never thought I would do, but once my subconscious screams a story in my ears, I have to listen and write what it tells me.

I’ve written paranormal romance, comedy, horror, thriller, suspense, science fiction, space operas – you name it. I can’t stick to just one particular genre. It’s not fun for me."
What is your writing process?
"9am to 4pm is research and development. I beat out my story and research my subject ad nauseam. Then, I cook dinner for my family. Play time with my kids until 7.30. They’re in bed by 8. Wife is in bed by 8.30, then I write…every night…until my eyes go. Generally until midnight."
What is in store next?
"I have four completed screenplays that are ready to be converted to novels. Monsterland II, Witches Protection Program II, Neandythal, and I Am Colossus.

The first two are sequels to my best-selling books. My audience wanted more of these characters. Neandythal is about a young adult who gets transported back to the Paleolithic age with an iPhone and a cup of coffee. I Am Colossus is my ode to all the great monster movies of the 50s.

On the novel front, I have a finished novel called Dragged Down Deep. Think Indiana Jones meets Creature from the Black Lagoon. My agent wants to take it to market this fall."

And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I’m not a pet person. I used to have dogs and severe asthma. After my last dog died, my asthma disappeared. I found out I am severely allergic to animals. So, no pets for this guy. But…I do have two kids. Which are kinda like pets! They eat all the time. They are so happy to see me when I get in the door. They break everything they touch. They complain when they don’t get their way. They also poop on the floor. The last part isn’t true, but I had to say that. I love my kids to no end. I would rather have a third kid then get a pet."
LOL.  It reminds me of a friend of mine who is severely allergic to dog air; in order to have a dog (the ever-smiling Daisy) he ended up on industrial dosages of anti-histamines - it worked :-D

Thank you again for being here today, Michael!

And don't forget to check out our other features on Michael's work: Pokergeist, and The Flip.

The History Major
Available NOW!

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