I became acquainted with a very interesting gentleman on the internet by way of me leaving a not so favorable review of a Kindle Single he had written on Amazon.com. The review was favorable for the story but not so for the main character, which happened to be the author. He responded to my comment and an exchange began and I better understood him. It turns out my views were fueled by my own experience, which actually meant the author did his job, he made me feel.
Let’s back up, what is a Kindle Single, you may ask? They are short stories or works between 5,000 and 30,000 words, a sort of novella only available in digital version using Kindle or an online reader. Works are submitted or chosen by Amazon and promoted by them. Not just anyone can sell a Kindle Single, it’s pretty much like they are a publisher and they say yay or nay. It has become quite lucrative for some.
So, enter Mishka Shubaly. Mishka has written seven, count ’em 7, best selling Kindle Singles! The poster boy for Amazon Kindle Single success stories has recently published his seventh hit Of Mice and Me.
I absolutely loved this story. I read it from beginning to end in just a few hours, I couldn’t put it down. The description from Amazon is most accurate…
“At 37, writer/musician Mishka Shubaly thought his life was going great. He had a beautiful new girlfriend and sudden prosperity as an author. But when he adopts an orphaned infant mouse, his world is turned on its head. The mouse comes to symbolize everything left unresolved in his life — his relationship with his divorced parents, his fear of family and commitment, and his inability to feel true happiness and love. By turns hilarious and moving, Mishka Shubaly’s latest Kindle Single captures the journey we all take in life — from being loved, to giving love.”
While clearing brush he finds a baby mouse in dire straits and somehow feels compelled (maybe guilt) to help the mouse. Help turns into care and nurturing, which haven’t been natural instincts for Mishka thus far in his life having never been married nor a parent and being a recovering addict. It’s funny, it’s moving, it’s insightful. I highly recommend this Kindle Single. I also recommend all of his other works which can be found here at Mishka Shubaly’s Author Page on Amazon.com.
As an added bonus, I had an interview with Mishka to gain more insight on the author and Kindle Singles, excerpts are below… (my questions/comments in bold)
Where were you born and raised?
Born in a small town in Ontario, Canada. Moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico when I was 8. Moved to New Hampshire when I was 13. Started college in Massachusetts when I was 15. Then… the wind sorta took me. Saskatchewan, Colorado, Massachusetts, Virgin Islands, time in California and Virginia. Wound up in NYC at 21 and been here ever since. Moved here with $300 16 years ago this month. Jesus.
Damn, girl! Ok, what college for undergrad?
Simon’s Rock for two years, then University of Colorado for BFA, then Columbia for my MFA. I mean, none of that shit matters, though…
No, I know but in a way it does. It doesn’t necessarily “matter” but it contributes to who you are, good or bad.
What’s remarkable is how little I’ve done considering how much $ was spent on my stupid education
You sound like you’ve had a Kerouac-esque life.
In some ways, yes. I wanted to be like Jack Kerouac until I read his writing and realized that I had nothing in common with him. I was way more into Burroughs and Bukowski.
Well, I mean I read a biography on JK and he moved around a lot.
I hated the whole ‘Beat’ movement until I read the description of it not as a drumbeat but as in ‘tired, worn out.’ That made a lot of sense to me.
I realized in the book that I didn’t like him because he was an irresponsible, bored, dick. And I’m not comparing that part to you at all, just the moving around. So, when did the interest in writing start
I can’t remember ever not having an interest in story– telling stories, hearing stories, reading stories. Apparently, I wrote narratives in my head before I could write. (this is from my mom) when I was six, I wanted to be a kind of troubadour/ roustabout, just traveling from town to town with my guitar and, Jesus, I don’t know, a bindle?
When I was 17, despairing about what I would do with my life, my mom said “you’ll probably be a writer” and bought me a subscription to the New Yorker. That was a fairly pivotal moment for me. I think that’s when I started getting serious about it. Or “serious.” I mean, I was 17.
Has your Mother always been supportive, encouraging like that?
I can’t remember which of your stories contained the story about grad school.
I think it was Beat the Devil, the one you HATED, the one that made you HATE ME!
Oh stop with the pity party. I was internalizing your story. lol
To be fair, that was a pretty rough story to start with a lot of people had negative reactions to it.
Self-examination can blow. But can be as healthy as a colon cleanse when it’s done.
It was a brutal time in my life, and it’s a brutal aspect of my personality. I’m as proud of the writing as I am unproud of the behavior described. But it’s not really a story that leaves the reader eager to read more by me. C’mon, Madge, grill me! where are all the gotcha questions?
I’m tricking you right now and you don’t even know it.
Um, so where was I? OK, so did you feel guilty making money off stories of being a train wreck and leaving people in mangled bloody heaps behind you? How was that for gotcha?
*curtsies* Was your first published work a Kindles Single or was there something before it?
I feel guilty for a few things, okay a lot of things, okay almost everything. But I don’t feel guilty about my writing or the money its generated. I earned those stories the hard way. Yes, I did hurt some people but, even when I was fucked up, I did my best to shield people from the worst because I understood that I was fucked up. I didn’t really have a long-suffering enabler who I abused and took advantage of. One thing we tend to forget is that being wrong doesn’t necessarily make the other party right. I was wrong for a lot of my drinking career… but a lot of the other folks involved were also wrong. I published a few reckless accounts of my drug abuse in the NYPress before I published via Kindle Singles. But that was certainly my first publishing of note.
Wow. I’m really impressed with your insight.
Well… I worry about my past professionally, you know? I sort of get paid to go through therapy in public.
It ain’t always fun, but it beats having a real job.
Beats having a real job indeed. I had a lot of fun interviewing Mishka Shubaly. I’m going to keep trying to get my stuff on Kindle Singles, I want to be just like Mishka when I grow up, sans being a male recovering addict. Big kudos to you sir, and I look forward to reading more in the future! Again visit Amazon.com
to see the collection of his (and others) Kindle Singles.