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Interview with Michael Sussman, author of INCOGNOLIO

Tell us a little bit about your book.

I call Incognolio a psychological thriller, however it also contains elements of mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. More importantly, it’s a page-turner!

I wrote the first draft with no plan in mind, other than a protagonist who is writing a novel without thought or planning, giving his subconscious mind free rein. Like the reader, I had no idea what would happen next, and the story is full of surprises.

Although it’s essentially a comic novel, the story also delves into some dark and disturbing territory. And while the tale meanders and often leaves subplots unresolved, by the end it somehow manages to form a satisfying whole. I would say, however, that readers who enjoy quirky, unconventional novels will probably enjoy it the most.

Have you published before?

I’m a clinical psychologist and have published two professional books, A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy and A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.

I’ve also published a children’s picture book—Otto Grows Down—and a Young Adult novel called Crashing Eden.


Are you currently working on anything else?

I’m working on a sequel to my children’s picture book—Duckworth, the Difficult Child—which will be published in 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I am also writing a comic sci-fi Middle Grade novel.

What is your favorite writing snack?

Chocolate, without a doubt.


What gets you in the mood to write?

When I’ve got a good idea for a story, I don’t need to get in the mood to write, I just write, excited and inspired by the productions of my imagination.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Huckleberry Finn. I love the way he narrates his story, his honesty and naiveté, his loyalty to Jim, and his willingness to help Jim escape from slavery, even though Huck is convinced that by doing so he will surely be punished in the afterlife.

Favorite book of all time?

I can’t pick just one. My favorites include The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Idiot by Dostoyevsky, Lolita by Nabakov,  Nine Short Stories by J.D. Salinger, and East of Eden by Steinbeck.

I think breakfast says a lot about a person, what is your perfect breakfast?

French toast made with challah, served with fresh fruit and genuine maple syrup.

Do you have a favorite period of time that you like to write about or would like to live?

I would like to live in a future era in which humans have learned to take care of the earth, promote the welfare of all animals, and live together in peace.

Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book!

Because it is hilarious, suspenseful, mind-boggling, and unlike any other novel you’ve ever read.

INCOGNOLIO by Michael Sussman

Bewildered but lovable author, Muldoon, is trapped in the dreamlike narrative of his own surrealistic novel. Beginning with just a title—Incognolio—he enters a bizarre fictional realm that plunges him into an identity crisis of anguishing proportions. Is he writing a story in which his stillborn twin sister has come to life, or is he the one who died at birth and it’s his sister who’s writing the novel? Guided only by the whims and dictates of his subconscious mind, Muldoon must unravel the mystery of Incognolio and write his way to freedom or succumb to madness.


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Abandoned by a cackle of laughing hyenas, Michael Sussman endured the drudgery and hardships of a Moldavian orphanage until fleeing with a traveling circus at the age of twelve. A promising career as a trapeze artist was cut short by a concussion that rendered him lame and mute. Sussman wandered the world, getting by on such odd jobs as pet-food tester, cheese sculptor, human scarecrow, and professional mourner while teaching himself the art of fiction. He now lives in Tahiti with Gauguin, an African Grey parrot.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelbsussman
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelBSussman
Author Site: https://www.michaelsussmanbooks.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/470851.Michael_Sussman

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