Mike Van Horn is a small business advisor who writes science fiction on the side. What makes him notable is that he’s also a science fiction composer. For example, you can find half a dozen songs on SoundCloud tied to his novel Aliens Crashed in My Back Yard.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: You’re currently working on the “Agate and Breadbox Trilogy,” the first of which was “Aliens Crashed in My Back Yard.” How did the trilogy get its name?

 Mike Van Horn: Agate and Breadbox are the nicknames the alien and my heroine gave each other. When Selena, my MC, was first describing the alien to the sheriff, she said, “It’s bigger than a breadbox,” alluding to that old TV show Twenty Questions, where everything in the world is either bigger or smaller than a breadbox. The alien, when she learned to speak a little English, said Selena was like a beautiful gem of agate, so rare on the cosmic shore.

 

 Tamara Wilhite:Aliens Crashed in My Back Yard” is up on Amazon already. When will the next two books come out?

 Mike Van Horn: Soon! Very soon! Target date is mid-March, 2020. I’m going to release print and ebook versions at about the same time.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: Are all of your songs on SoundCloud tied to the “Agate and Breadbox Trilogy”?

 Mike Van Horn: Yes they are—so far. But I’ve written song lyrics for other stories.

 

Tamara Wilhite: And what led you write and then publish recorded songs to accompany your books?

Mike Van Horn: Selena is a singer/composer. I wrote epigraphs for the chapters with a couple of lines of lyrics for her hit songs, including “Cotton Candy Lovin’.” Some of these grew into lyrics for songs that she performs in the story. I thought, “If I have lyrics, I need music.” Since I have no musical talent, I found a guy to compose songs, and he found a vocalist to sing them. She became the voice of Selena. We also tried to do a song sung by the alien, but it sounded too hokey.

I had no inkling that I would become a lyricist! I astound myself! I’ve written about twenty songs—only seven produced so far. My message to writers is, go where your creativity takes you, even down totally unlikely pathways.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: What sets your stories apart?

 Mike Van Horn: I have a strong female protagonist—savvy and sassy, with a sense of humor. I write about contact with aliens that are not hostile–no alien invasion. The stories are lighthearted, not dystopian shoot-em-ups.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: What is your business background?

 Mike Van Horn: Ah, do we have to talk about business? Sci fi is much more fun! I have an MBA from UCLA, and I’ve always liked working with small businesses.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: What type of business consulting do you do?

 Mike Van Horn: I advise owners of small businesses on growing, making more money, and not having to work so dang hard. I wrote a book, “Grow Your Business without Driving Yourself Crazy,” and that has served as the foundation of my consulting for twenty-plus years.

I’m still doing this, but a few years ago I decided to switch gears and focus on writing my stories. So now I spend about two thirds of my time writing sci fi.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: How well do your business books like “Recapture Your Time” and “Build a Culture of Growth” sell?

 Mike Van Horn: These are workbooks, of which I have about twenty. I mostly sell them for workshops I lead. I put some of them on Amazon, but I’ve never pushed them, so I don’t get a lot of sales there. My workbooks are the basis of my Grow Your Businessbook.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: Writing biz books and science fiction sounds quite different. How did you get started writing sci fi?

 Mike Van Horn: Back in the 1980s, several of us got together for a writing group. We called it the “4F Society—Fun, Fortune, Fame, and F—k the Critics.” I started writing science fiction stories then, but never finished anything, because the biz books I was writing at the same time made me money. Sci fi was backburnered until a few years ago when I decided, “If I’m ever going to get these done in this lifetime, it has to be now.” My advice to writers, don’t wait 30 years to tell your stories!

 

 Tamara Wilhite: Where else are you published?

 Mike Van Horn: I’ve had non-fiction books published by Bantam and the American Management Association.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: What else are you working on?

 Mike Van Horn: Back to science fiction! My next book is “Bleeding Edge”—very different from my trilogy. Aliens lure Earth people with the promise of joining a wonderful galactic civilization, but instead shunt most of them off to a “hunting world” where they are treated as prey animals for wealthy outlaws from these worlds. Some survive, and fight back . . .

 

 Tamara Wilhite: Is there anything you’d like to add?

 Mike Van Horn: I love to connect with other writers of similar stories.

 

 Tamara Wilhite: Thank you for your time.

 Mike Van Horn: My pleasure!

 

You can check out Mike’s stories and listen to the music on galaxytalltales.com