Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Five -- Mike Jung

 Mike Jung is a fellow Apocalypsies author and northern Californian, as well as the author of GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES, coming from Scholastic on October 1, as well as a contributor to DEAR TEEN ME, an anthology of letters from authors to their teen selves (coming November 1 from Zest Books).  I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him at my local SCBWI conference this spring, and look forward to the next time!


1.  What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

The obvious answer is “a giant pile of money,” but would that really improve the quality of my life? The truly meaningful things in my life have nothing to do with money, but are all about people, emotional experiences, creative exploration, internal reflection, etc. Sure, I’d love to be able to support my friends and colleagues in the industry by buying more books.  Yes, my broken-down subcompact car isn’t meeting my transportation needs in the most effortless way. All right, I’d give my left arm for a personal office devoted entirely to my writing career.

Does that really mean a giant pile of money would improve the quality of my life. YES, obviously. But that makes me sound like such a materialistic chowderhead! So instead of “a big pile of money” I’m gonna say a complete set of All-Clad cookware. The heat distribution in those pans is flipping amazing. They’re really expensive, though – buying a full set means spending a giant pile of mon—huh. Wait a minute…

2.  What is your guiltiest pleasure? 

For years I tried to up my quotient of hipster music snobbery, which introduced me to some really great music but was toxic for my intellectual and emotional health. One person’s guilty pleasure is another person’s cultural touchstone, so who am I to say what’s universally good or bad? I haven’t entirely shaken those attitudes, unfortunately, but a number of years ago I heard about Richard Thompson’s 1000 Years of Music tour. In the course of a single show he plays every kind of music under the sun, including “Oops I Did It Again” by Britney Spears, and apparently he does it straight, no irony, no mockery, no sarcasm. So, following his example, I’ll profess my fondness for Avril Lavigne’s breakout hit, “Complicated.” I love that song. I might learn to play it just so I can record myself performing it for a vlog post.

3.  What is the worst job you’ve done?

A couple of buddies and I spent one desolate summer working on the assembly line in a Worcestershire sauce factory. We’d empty crates of garlic onto a table, sort through them for assorted garbage (of which there was quite a variety – pens! Already-chewed gum! An entire pack of cigarettes!), push the garlic into the hopper of a huge industrial garlic press, cap the resulting barrels of garlic juice, and roll the barrels into a storage room. The smell was incredible - I’d drive home with the windows rolled all the way down, leave my shoes outside, and stuff my work clothes into a sealed plastic bag until laundry day. On the plus side, none of us were attacked by vampires that summer.

4.  What one word do you think describes you best?

Hmm. That’s a tough one…I’d say “creative,” but geez, that makes me sound a lot more together and self-assured than I actually am. I could also say “expressive,” but aaargh, that doesn’t capture the complexity of it all! I’m profoundly introverted, but is that THE word? How about conflicted? Self-contradictory? Indecisive?

5. What is your favorite word?

I’ve always had a fondness for “defenestration.” “Hornswoggle” is another good one, and I’ve made liberal use of “troglodyte” in my Facebook status updates. “Gobsmacked” also has its own peculiar kind of aesthetic appeal, as does “fisticuffs.”


Vincent Wu is Captain Stupendous’s No. 1 Fan, but even he has to admit that Captain Stupendous has been a little off lately. During Professor Mayhem’s latest attack, Captain Stupendous barely made it out alive – although he did manage to save Vincent from a giant monster robot. It’s Vincent’s dream come true… until he finds out Captain Stupendous’s secret identity: It’s Polly Winnicott-Lee, the girl Vincent happens to have a crush on.

Captain Stupendous’s powers were recently transferred to Polly in a fluke accident, and so while she has all of his super strength and super speed, she doesn’t know how to use them, and she definitely doesn’t know all the strengths and weaknesses of his many nemeses. But Vincent and his friends are just the right fan club to train up their favorite superhero before he (she?) has to face Professor Mayhem again. And if they make it through this battle for the safety of Copperplate City, Vincent might just get up the courage to ask Polly on a date.

You can preorder GEEKS here.


You want to follow him on Twitter.
Mike's Facebook page.
Mike's blog.


  1. Oh, that factory job sounds horrible. But I see a book in that - a vampire is sentenced to go work at a garlic plant or something. :-D
    Looking forward to your book, Mike!

  2. I knew we were separated at birth. Defenestration is one of my favorite words, too!