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Beyond the Page: Mike Mullin

This week we are excited to feature Mike Mullin, author of Surface Tension, (Tanglewood, out in paperback May 2019). Get to know him through fun questions below.

If you could live on any planet (and survive), which one would you choose and why?

I’d like to live on Venus. Not on the surface—that’s something like 900 degrees and utterly toxic. But if you could build a floating city in the upper atmosphere, Venus could be amazing—it’s got about the right gravity, about the right temperature, and more protection than Mars from radiation. Plus, how awesome would it be to live in a floating city!

What did you want to be growing up?

For a while, I wanted to be a ballet dancer. My desire was sparked by Lynn Swann, the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers receiver. That guy could jump! Later, I kept up with ballet because I had a crush on a ballerina. Then she dumped me, and that was the end of my interest in ballet.

What fictional place would you most like to go?

Narnia. The best holiday gift I ever got was the boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia my parents gave me when I was ten. I read the series eleven times over the course of the next year. I still have the boxed set—here’s a photo:

Tell us one fun insider-fact about Surface Tension.


There’s a scene near the end of Surface Tension where Jake notices a toilet sitting in the middle of the road. While I was researching the book, I drove to Durham, North Carolina, and almost hit a toilet stranded in the road. It was strange enough that I had to use it!


Mike Mullin


Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out. Mike lives in Danville, Indiana, with his wife and her three cats. Surface Tension is his fourth novel, releasing May 2019 in paperback. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a 2016 YALSA Popular Paperback.

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