By day, Tegon Maus is a successful home remodeling contractor, but his true passion is storytelling. Raised by a devoted mother and a strict father, Tegon was an inventive, curious child who grew up surrounded by all of the imaginary friends his mind could concoct. He began writing when he met his wife, and he found a wellspring of inspiration when the couple joined a dream interpretation group. Encouraged to write down his dreams as they occurred, Tegon found his creative stride.
In September of 2012, he published his first novel, The Gift: The Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield, a story of magic, power and sacrifice, and in 2014, Tirgearr Publishing released Maus’s BOB, an action-packed sci-fi adventure about a journalist who is sent to write a story about mysterious lights in the night sky over Arizona and stumbles upon far more than he bargained for.
Maus currently resides in the small town of Cherry Valley in Southern California. To learn more about Maus and his work, follow him on Twitter.
What was your childhood like, and how did it help to shape who you are today?
Childhood ? That was a long time ago, and I have trouble remembering last week. I spent a lot of time alone… happily doing my own thing. My parents always encouraged me to make friends… so I did… I built robots to keep me company. One of the few things that I still remember is my Aunt – she hated my machines and for good reason. I tormented her with them endlessly. Ooh, it was great fun for me ! Her reactions made me want to build better and better machines. I reveled in the “What would happen if” in regards to her discomfort. I was a bastard to her… I’m sure she hated me and I loved her for it! I think that she, more than anything else, pushed me toward sci-fi.
Growing up, who were your biggest creative influences?
Fortunately for me, my parents were very encouraging. For the most part, I lived in my head – books, movies, TV – day-dreaming, as it were. It wasn’t until I got into junior high that it became a liability.
What inspired the story of BOB?
Had this silly dream… I was parking a car at the curb outside a barber shop. I watched myself come in… inside were three men and an old woman. She stood over a very large pot stirring it slowly, steam or smoke rose from it as she lifted the spoon. “You’re late,” she said dully. “I’m always late,” I returned, taking the spoon from her. I took the spoon and, as it rose out of the fog, hovering over the liquid was a spoonful of tiny, live frogs. I swallowed them and began to choke. The old woman laughed, patted me on the back and said, “It’s okay, I have cousin.” It’s a central thread that runs all through BOB.
In what ways are you similar to Peter Anderson, the protagonist of BOB?
I think all my characters are part of me in some form or another, as weird as that may be. Peter is just like all of us… trying our best in a very frustrating world. We all fail… we all achieve a level of success. I think that makes a character relatable. We all want the same things.
How have you evolved as a writer over the years?
I have been writing for some time now… I’ve been rejected 211 times but now have four different publishers. I think as time goes along, you become better and better through trial and error. Once I quit trying to write what I thought others wanted to read and just write what I wanted to write things are much better.
Have you received any particularly harsh rejections over the years?
My first book, The Children of Grisma, received terrible reviews! I was told it was “divertive, not fit for human consumption, and I HAVE READ BETTER ON BATHROOM WALLS.” It would take 20 years before I would try again. It took that long before I realized they were right!
Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life?
Yes, don’t you? How can you not? There are approximately 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone. According to the Drake Equation, that means there should be at least 26,000 civilizations at our level or better, and that’s just one galaxy. We’ve mapped another 15,000 galaxies in the last ten years. We’ve only been around for a little under four billion years. Some of the stars in our galaxy has been around for 13 billion years… that’s a pretty good head start!
How did you meet your wife?
We met over the phone. She was working as a sales person for Kirby Vacuums and I was home prepping for mid-terms, and one thing lead to another. When I met her for the first time, she wore a pale yellow top covered with a black vest and matching jeans. She had a string tie with a blue stone at its center. The spitting image of a cowgirl. Joking with her, I asked where her horse was… she told me that she didn’t have one, but how could one find her if they didn’t know she was looking. I couldn’t argue with that… Dearheart and I have been married for 45 years.
Did you end up buying a vaccuum after speaking to your future wife on the phone for the first time?
As it turns out, my wife and I did buy a vacuum… three years after we were married. Kirbys are expensive, and it took that long to get one!
What contemporary authors do you most admire?
I try not to read anything while in the middle of a project. It’s hard for me to keep things separate. If I had to pick, it would be a tossup between Kimberley Shortland, a romance writer, and Troy Lambert, who writes thrillers.
What are you working on next?
I’m finishing the third book in my Eve Project called The Cordovian Effect, as well as the second book in my Littlefield series, Black Moon. The Black Moon has passed and the murder of the Sholic has brought the Norha to power… war is coming. For the next 28 years, the Norha will rule the Kindred… all is loss.
Book three of the Littlefield series, The Rise of the Norha. The Kindred have gathered for the Black Moon and reluctantly dragged along Tucker Littlefield. All he wants is to return home, but that luxury was not to be. The Sholic has been murdered, the Kindred are beginning to unravel and the only thing to stand between them and civil war is Tucker Littlefield. With his wife at his back, he is caught between a very hard rock and an impossible hard place… the Norha are coming, and they are hungry.