Alhambra writer Michael Tanner talks comic books, genre fiction and Indie Author Day


Alhambra , CA United States

Alhambra has a strong independent arts scene and Michael Tanner, comic book and short story writer, is one part of that. He’s participating in Indie Author Day at the Alhambra Civic Center Library this Saturday. The Alhambra Source talked to him about the event, what it’s like getting your work out as an independent comic book author and why Alhambra is an ideal place for writers.

How long have you lived in Alhambra?

My wife and I moved to Alhambra about 8 years ago. Originally it was a compromise location for us. I loved living in Los Angeles proper but she preferred a less congested and way less hipster place to live (we moved from Silver Lake). We knew nothing about the area when we moved. Now we both love it here. We’ve lived here so long that we’re at the point where businesses have come and gone or moved and we argue about bits of trivia. “What used to be there?” “No, that was before the Dog House opened.” “Is that the fourth or fifth Taiwanese cafe in that location?”

What is your favorite thing to do in Alhambra?

Eat! Obviously. After that, I love the parks here.

Is writing your full-time job?

Sadly, no. I still work a regular day job. The reality is for most writers–unless you are a top tier creator or get some of that sweet Hollywood option money or can crank out books like a machine–a day job is a necessity.

Tell us about Indie Author Day.

Indie Author Day is an event that gives writers an opportunity to get in front of the public and talk about their work and hopefully get someone interested. For a writer who is self-publishing, or even someone with a “small fish” publisher, there are very few opportunities for them to get their work in front of people in a physical form. Almost everything is web based. My main background is comic books. In the comic book world we have conventions–in fact in Southern California there’s probably a comic book convention every month of the year–so comic creators have a lot of chances to get in front of an audience–it’s very different for independent prose or poetry writers. There are not a lot of opportunities for them to get face to face with people. This is my second year participating.

What got you into writing?

Being a latch-key kid to some extent and spending a lot of time with movies, TV, books and comics–being steeped in stories eventually made me want to tell my own.

How would you define your work?

I write mostly genre fiction–light horror or adventure. I used to be a comedian, but oddly, writing comedy that isn’t meant to be performed (either sketch or stand-up) is always struggle.

Do you self-publish?

I was very lucky that my first comic book work came out from a larger publisher, but I am currently working on a self-published comic that should be out in the Spring. I publish my short stories on my website and will be printing a short collection to have for sale at Indie Author Day.

Tell me about being an Indie author in Alhambra. Is it difficult?

It would be difficult anywhere, but luckily Alhambra is such a great town to be in. I mean, the abundance of tea houses means there’s always somewhere with wifi, right?

How could we improve, if at all, the indie author or local artist community in Alhambra?

It really has to be spearheaded by the members of that community. I’m hoping that Indie Author Day helps bring more people out so we can all see and meet each other.

To my knowledge, your last event was FairviewCon. Your next is Indie Author Day. What else are you looking forward to this year?

In a couple of weeks I’ll be at the Bakersfield Comic Con which I’m excited to do. Bakersfield is an interesting town and I hear it’s a good convention. I’m also a volunteer with the LA Derby Dolls (I was a referee for 8 years but now I help with fundraising) whose building is located just down by where Alhambra Avenue meets Valley Boulevard.

Where can we find your work?

Bymichaeltanner.com for my prose. My graphic novel, Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Comic Cellar on Main Street I believe is sold out, but you can always ask them to order more.

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