5 Burning Questions with Mike Maggio

Mike Maggio is one of our featured writers for a 2020 reading which has been postponed, but we wanted to introduce you to him anyway. Check out our interview with him below.

What is your first memory of writing for fun?

I was a child of maybe 9 years old and I started writing short plays, based on B-rated horror movies. They were awful – very melodramatic. The good thing: I knew it. But I didn’t know how to fix it.

How many drafts = done?

Good question.  MY first novel, The Wizard and the White House, went through 8 drafts. Then, when it was accepted for publication, it went through another. It probably could still use editing. So the answer: there is not answer. It’s as many drafts as it takes. And maybe a story or a poem is never done.

What is your favorite book or favorite book-of-the-moment?

This is such a difficult question. I could easily answer who my favorite author it: Nikolai Gogol. But my favorite book? Perhaps Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I’ve read it many times. Or Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. But then there’s Kafka (Metamorphosis, The Trial) and Camus’s The Stranger.

What is it about your discipline that gets you the most excited?

I love the creative process. I love starting something and not knowing anything about it and slowly learning. And then I like the revision process which is an on-going thing as I write.

What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?

Periwinkle. I love the sound of it. How it rolls off your tongue. It’s soft and, of course, it evokes visions of the sea and of a soft blue color.

Bonus question: What level of quarantine are you at? 1) relaxing with a book,  2) the dog clears her throat too loudly,  3) hot dog fries, 4) THE PRINTER IS BROKEN I DON’T NEED A PRINTER, 5) I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.

What level of quarantine?  Hard to tell. I am now finishing up my fourteen-day quarantine after a possible contact with someone who has COVID. Seems like I’m free and clear. I still have to work (an essential worker) and I work in a small room with some others in the basement of a government building. It’s also Ramadan (I’m Muslim) so I’m in the middle of a fast).. And the streets are eerily empty (though it seems traffic is building again). So this all adds up to something totally surreal. It’s like a dream. A nightmare that you want to end but it doesn’t seem like it will. Depressing? Yes. Scary? Yes. Filled with uncertainty? Yes.


Mike Maggio has published fiction, poetry, travel and reviews in many local, national and international publications including Potomac Review, The L.A. Weekly, The Washington CityPaper, and The Washington Independent Review of Books. His novel, The Wizard and the White House (Little Feather Books), was released in 2014 and his novella, The Appointment (Vine Leaves Press), was released in May 2017.  His newest collection of short stories Letters from Inside (Vine Leaves Press), was just released in October 2019. He is a graduate of George Mason University’s MFA program and the Northern Regional Vice-President of the Poetry Society of Virginia. His web site is http://www.mikemaggio.net

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