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Photo: Christopher Magson

BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

Kalamazoo, MI —  As part of his ever-mystifying journey as a writer, Andy Mozina cleaned out his home office in preparation for new work.

Since returning galleys a year ago for his first novel, Contrary Motion, Mozina has injured himself in an ill-fated ATV celebration, promoted his novel on radio and TV, performed several public readings, compulsively checked the novel’s sales rank on Amazon, and hovered over his email waiting for prizes and invitations. Now, he says, he’s ready to write something again, and to prove it he’s been spending several days cleaning his office.

“I had the county send over a dumpster,” he said while wearing a respirator that muffled his voice. “My office mattress tested positive for e coli.” He chuckled. “I found an uneaten grilled cheese sandwich with ‘Ch. 17’ written on it in black Magic Marker, wedged into an early CM draft. And I’ll be damned—it was stuck in there right at the start of Chapter 17!”

Mozina spoke with this reporter while taking a break from disposal duty. He sat on his front porch knitting a cape for his newborn niece with teal and magenta yarn. Visible through the dumpster’s open gate were several badly charred stuffed animals, a metal sculpture in the shape of the anarchy symbol, a rolling rack of terry cloth bathrobes in primary colors, hundreds of empty hand sanitizer dispensers, and a badly defaced life-size wooden statue of a man Mozina cryptically said “could be the devil”—among other items.

“The point is not that I recycled $14.30 worth of soda cans, though that happened, the point is that as a writer sometimes you just have to clean your goddamned office. I mean that metaphorically and just so I don’t forget it I’m also doing it literally.”

What’s next for the mid-list iconoclast?

“First, a novel about organized crime. Sort of a Sopranos meets The Godfather. Then I’d like to set something either in outer space or at the bottom of the ocean. Which I’ve never done. Some situation where, instead of kissing, the characters can only butt helmets.”

Mozina smiled to himself. “The creative juices are already flowing,” he said, lifting the incipient cape for inspection.

BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

(Kalamazoo, MI) — In an act of self-promotion that has raised eye-brows even among fellow writers and drawn concern from the counseling community, Andy Mozina declared his debut novel Contrary Motion a “Must Read” for Father’s Day.

The novel is about a divorced harpist in Chicago preparing for a symphony audition. A main plot line is the harpist’s relationship with his troubled six-year-old daughter.

Mozina made the dubious self-recommendation during a recent interview while sitting on his front porch dressed in a cardigan, dress pants, and wing tips.

“The father-daughter relationship in this book is super touching,” Mozina claimed. “And there are plenty of insights into good parenting. If I weren’t me, I’d buy this novel and give it to myself for Father’s Day.”

Other writers questioned Mozina’s attempt to exploit the holiday.

“I once leafleted a juvenile detention center to promote my gardening book,” said Malcolm Broad, author of Ten Tips for (Secretly) Growing Your Own Marijuana, “but I would never stoop this low.”

“Whenever I see one of his Facebook posts about his novel, something inside of me dies,” said Jean Chodorow, a children’s book author. “Shoot me if I ever do anything like this Father’s Day thing of his.”

Stephanie Regal, a family therapist in Kalamazoo, recommended that readers think twice before drawing parenting insights from the novel.

“I would never diagnose someone just from reading about them in a book, or, for that matter, because they’ve written a certain book,” she said. “I guess I would just invite people to proceed with caution in this case.”

For his part, Mozina welcomed the skepticism, saying “it comes with the territory” of writing–and of fatherhood.

“Being a father isn’t easy,” Mozina asserted. “Sometimes it all boils over and you have to go in the woods and bite a tree or fire bullets into the air with the handgun you purchased to protect your family. But if you stick with it, and nothing too bad happens, eventually your kid will move out, and your work will be done.”

It was a lot of fun to talk with Audrey Nowakowski on Milwaukee Public Radio’s “Lake Effect” program.

Here’s the interview.

BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

Milwaukee, WI–On Wednesday morning, author Andy Mozina appeared on a local TV talk show posing as an authority on the “modern male psyche.”

The overly excited Mozina repeatedly interrupted his interviewers by exclaiming “yes” or “exactly!” to whatever they said. Offering one of his patented, off-the-cuff insights into the human condition, he asserted, “Everybody struggles with stuff.”

The topic of the segment was ostensibly contemporary masculinity, but the sales-hungry writer quickly steered the conversation to the fact that The New York Post had declared his novel a “must read.”

Click here for the complete interview.

 

I don’t know if they have any enforcement powers, but I like the idea that the New York Post is asserting that apparently everyone “must read” Contrary Motion. They don’t mention a deadline, so I’m assuming the sooner the better.

 

Very grateful to Dan Kaplan at BOOKLIST for this friendly (starred!) review of CONTRARY MOTION!:

http://www.booklistonline.com/Contrary-Motion-Andy-Mozina/pid=7883760

I’m very grateful to Zinta Aistars for a wonderful conversation about Contrary Motion. Please check it out here:

http://wmuk.org/post/between-lines-andy-mozinas-contrary-motion

BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

Kalamazoo, MI — On Friday afternoon author Andy Mozina announced the plan for the Kalamazoo launch of his new novel, Contrary Motion, setting off a firestorm of criticism among industry watchers and the book-buying public.

The author will host a “Super Launch” event at Bookbug on Thursday, March 10th at 7 p.m., followed by a “Mega Launch” at Michigan News on Wednesday, March 23rd, from 6 – 8 p.m. Then, incredibly, there will be a “Climactic Launch” on Friday, April 22 at 4 p.m. in the Olmsted Room at Kalamazoo College.

Condemnation of the unprecedented plan was swift and universal.

“You can’t ‘launch’ something three times,” said Jim Waxman, a reseller of instructor copies of textbooks. “It’s like he doesn’t know what words mean.”

“It’s sad and annoying,” said Katie Henderson, a marketing professor at Western Michigan University. “He thinks calling something ‘super’ or ‘mega’ makes it special.”

Other Kalamazoo residents were even less charitable. “Why is he doing this?” said Alice Huff, director of Spinebusters, a local book club. “So stressful.”

“Obscene,” said another resident, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

So which one is the real launch?

“It really is one launch,” Mozina said with a laugh, lounging on his porch in plain grey sweats, a green headband around each thigh. “With two intermissions several weeks long and some venue changes.”

Mozina noted that each phase of the launch will offer attendees a different experience. The protagonist of the novel is an interpersonally challenged concert harpist preparing for an orchestra audition, so the theme of the launch is “Music: Everlasting Beauty.”

“At the Bookbug ‘Super Launch’ my lovely wife, Lorraine, will be playing lounge standards on the harp,” Mozina explained. “At the Michigan News ‘Mega Launch’ there will be an interlude of silent harp. Then at the K-College ‘Climactic Launch,’ Lorraine and violinist Andrew Koehler will open the festivities with Camille St. Saëns’ ‘Fantaisie.’”

At each event Mozina will read from the novel and sign books.

Each phase will also feature a raffle with drawings for free CDs of harp music. “And if you come to more than one phase of the launch, you get a free CD,” Mozina promised. “No questions asked.”

Mozina is confident that live harp music and free merchandise will help him ride out the public scorn.

“People forget that the greatest accomplishment in human history—putting a man on the moon—began with a three-stage Saturn V rocket,” he said pedantically. “I’ll leave it to the public to judge the historical impact of my novel, but like the Apollo missions it will also have a three-stage launch.” The controversial author picked a piece of lint off the headband on his right thigh. “Just sayin’.”

BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

Kalamazoo, MI – After returning corrected galleys of his new novel, Contrary Motion, author Andy Mozina flipped his all-terrain vehicle on a dirt bike track outside Parchment, MI, seriously injuring himself in a celebration gone horribly wrong.

“Yeah, I was trying to do a wheelie,” Mozina admitted from his porch where he was recuperating, wearing unusually tight bicycle pants; a T-shirt with the sleeves and shoulders cut off, leaving a sort of tube top; and a cast on his forearm that appeared to have a zipper on it.

“I was just so relieved to be sending back those damn galleys,” the author said defensively. “By the end, I couldn’t tell a serial comma from a serial killer—you ever get that way?”

Eyewitnesses suggested alcohol was a factor in the accident.

According to several members of the Parchment High School marching band, on Wednesday afternoon Mozina towed a trailer holding two ATVs into the school parking lot, looking for someone to “off road” with.

“No one was interested,” said Blake Dent, a trombonist, “so he offered a case of beer to whoever went with him.”

Dent was persuaded.

“It was a mistake,” Dent said. “He got drunk really fast and started driving around half-standing up with a finger in the air, like he was number one. Then he went ass over tea kettle as soon as he got on the track.

“He wouldn’t let me take him to the hospital. Wanted to sober up, I guess.”

“I felt fine at first,” Mozina said from the comfort of his porch. “It was just a concussion and my arm.”

Mozina emphasized that the physical injuries from his ATV accident pale in comparison to the psychic damage he suffered composing the novel.

“Everybody thought my last book was morose and pervy,” he explained. “This new book is much more sensitive. It’s about a harpist, for Christ sake. I went super deep this time. I basically gave my soul a concussion writing that sucker.”

Mozina claimed he spent his entire advance on a “fleet“ of ATVs. He said the accident wouldn’t discourage him from the recreation he loves.

“The freedom I experience traveling off road is second to none,” Mozina declared, pulling two sweat bands from a Ziploc bag between his knees. He slipped them on his wrists, stretching one over his cast. “Pavement is for losers.”

Contrary Motion will be published on March 8, 2016, by Spiegel & Grau.

Great to see QUALITY SNACKS has been named a finalist for Foreward Review’s INDIEFAB Book Award in the Short Stories category. The winner will be announced in June.

https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/books/quality-snacks/