Michael Okon, author of the wildly popular Monsterland series, is about to launch his latest (and quite possibly greatest) book – Witches Protection Program.
Michael Okon began writing at a very early age and hasn’t put down his pen yet. He graduated with an English degree from Long Island University before pursuing his MBA in business and finance.
The concept for Witches Protection Program was born…in a bathroom (wildly enough)! Okon glanced at his wife’s magazine and misread the title (the original: Wetless Protection Program (equally intriguing, no?)) and thus the story of a down-and-out dyslexic cop was born.
Drawing inspiration from movies, such as Hellboy and Men in Black, Okon weaves a wonderfully complex and enjoyable tale in Witches Protection Program. Wes, the cop from earlier, has messed up (yet again), and in a desperate move, his boss-and-father reassigns Wes to the Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass program (DUMBO).
DUMBO is nothing like Wes expected – good witches and bad? Crazy stesmpunj vaporizers and darrow trance lifters? An evil cosmetic CEO scheming to take over the world? One thing is for certain – there’s no going back!
I’ve read and reviewed for Okon many times over, but this is the first time I’ve had the honor and privilege to interview the renowned author. Without further ado, here’s Seven Questions on a Saturday with Michael Okon!
1) What does a typical day of writing look for you?
Up at 5 am. Workout. Shower. Head to the office to research and develop my stories. Get home. Eat late lunch, early dinner. Play with kids. Chat with the wife. Tuck in kids. Tuck in wife. Write in my den with Golf Channel on mute in the background. In bed by midnight. Repeat the next day.
2) Your new book, Witches Protection Program, will be out on August 28th, 2019. Could you tell us what was your favorite part of writing it?
It was actually a fairly easy novel to compose because I did the script first. I have too many favorite scenes, but if I must choose one – then the showdown scene on the George Washington Bridge. That was fun to write because the action was so vivid in my mind.
3) In addition to Witches Protection Program, you wrote a duology, Monsterland, and Monsterland: Reanimated and all three books heavily lean into the supernatural. What was the strangest thing you had to research for one of your books? What about the supernatural genre that draws you in?
I didn’t have anything strange to research for Monsterland, Monsterland Reanimated, and WPP, but the oddest thing I never realized I’d be learning about were cicadas.
I wrote a book called Brood X about this trillion bug infestation and I had to research and learn about the habits of cicadas. Freaky bugs.
In regard to what drew me into the supernatural – I mean, we ARE supernatural. I know there’s an afterlife. I believe we are all spirits having a human experience. That translates to mean that everything about the human condition is supernatural.
People think just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there, but to me, everything is energy. You can’t see energy, but it’s there. Some people can feel it if they develop that sense enough. There is nothing more fascinating for me to write about than supernatural. It makes it more concrete for me.
I’m not saying I believe in witches, but I do believe that people can develop their senes to do much more than we do.
As for monsters, I think to believe we create monsters, they don’t create themselves.
The afterlife is as real to me as my own hand. It’s been a part of my life since I was a child. May parents and grandparents have always believed in mediums. In fact, my mom is studying to be one right now.
4) Do you work on a single book (from start-to-finish) or do you have several books in the works at a time? What unpublished or half-finished books do you have on your table?
I’m too restless for a single book. At least I have two books AND two screenplays in the pipeline. At most, I’ll have 5 books and 5 screenplays in my day-to-day world. They are easy to navigate because I’m so familiar with the stories and I know how each one is going to end.
I’m currently working on the following books: Dragged Down Deep – think Indiana Jones meets the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Whillpower – a group of students on the spectrum get accepted to a mysterious superhero high school, and Inheritance – an orphaned millennial is invited to her dead uncle’s manor to hear the reading of his will with her other dysfunctional family members. Lastly, Monsterland 3 (no spoilers). I’m currently working on the following screenplays – The Great Disruptor – a modern-day retelling of Frankenstein, Witches Protection Program 2 (no spoilers), and Monsterland 4 (again, no spoilers).
5) What mannerisms or events have you borrowed from real life and used it in your books? (if applicable: Has anyone ever found out? What was their reaction?)
My life is found in all my works. For instance, Wyatt, Melvin, and Howard Drucker in Monsterland were me in high school. Somewhat uncomfortable in my own skin, nervous, funny, insecure, razor-sharp tongue, and loved to tell stories. I don’t think anyone’s found out.
Many times family and friends look for themselves in my books. If they look hard enough, they will find it.
6) Breaking into the literary world can be quite a challenge. Now that you have your duology (Monsterland, Monsterland: Reanimated) and your latest novel ready to be released, what advice do you have for new authors seeking out a literary career? Any traps or pitfalls to avoid?
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Get out and market yourself. Brand yourself as a writer. Network your butt off. Listen to other people, Hang out on the writing threads on Goodreads. The last thing is don’t quit your day job until the checks start rolling in.
7) According to your blog, you are a lifelong writer – what was the first story that you remember writing? Would you ever consider turning it into a published book? Why or why not? (alternative (in case you hate your first story!): what was your favorite story written when you were young? Would you ever consider turning it into a published book? Why or why not?)
Well, I remember writing a story in kindergarten about a turtle that went to Atlantic City to gamble like my dad. I don’t think there’s a market for gambling turtles.
I wrote a screenplay in college called Heavenwood, which is about a young aspiring screenwriter who suddenly dies trying to make it big in LA, and learns that Heaven is just Hollywood in the sky. He has to write his next life and learns that free will isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
I pitched that idea to my film agent and she loved it, so I have it in my writing queue. I may retitle it something else, but that was such a fun story to create.
Interested in his books?