Author and Door County native James Mihaley returns to Write On from his Los Angeles home to lead our second annual Writing and Yoga Retreat, August 1-5. The retreat will take place at various locations throughout the county. Maggie Peterman recently had the opportunity to talk with Jim about his writing, his inspirations, and his upcoming class.
Maggie Peterman: Where do you live?
James Mihaley: Los Angeles
MP: Which author has most influenced your writing and why?
JM: I couldn’t possibly pick one writer. Therefore, I’ll tell you the writer who currently holds the biggest spell over me. That is the Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue. He is a towering genius. His work is deeply life affirming.
MP: What is your writing discipline like?
JM: I write five days a week, four to five hours a day. Along with working directly on the computer, I also use a pen and paper and a voice recorder. I’m driven by nature, so my biggest challenge is to not push too hard. I’ve learned that stepping away from the computer, putting down the pen, not forcing the matter is often the most productive path.
MP: Can you tell us about your current writing project?
JM: I’m finishing up three projects. The first is an adult literary novel, part of which takes place in Door County. It’s a funny and ferocious love story like ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. The second project is a pilot for a TV Show called ‘Vegan Pizzeria’. It’s a whacky comedy with heart about a famous criminal who gets released from prison and moves to LA to redeem himself with his daughter. We’re trying to get Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino attached for the lead role. I collaborated on the script with Philip Holahan, who worked on ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’. I’m also finishing up a yoga-inspired spoken word project for i-Tunes. My poetry is accompanied by the music of Grecco Buratto, who will be the lead guitarist for Gwen Stefani on her upcoming tour. As soon as these projects are completed, I’ll be diving into a children’s book set in Door County.
MP: What is your favorite place to visit in Door County?
JM: Cave Point
MP: Unrelated to writing, what is your favorite activity?
MP: How did you become acquainted with Door County?
JM: I grew up here. I can’t tell you how lucky that makes me feel!
MP: How did you become involved with Write On?
JM: I was introduced to Jerod through a mutual friend. He impressed me immediately. I think Write On is a wonderful organization and I’m thrilled to part of it.
MP: What can people expect from your upcoming writing and yoga retreat?
JM: Writing can be stressful. It can be hard on the ego. The purpose of this retreat is to find a more graceful approach. Yoga and meditation are powerful forces. So is the natural beauty of Door County. We will tap into all three of them. We’ll exercise, write our butts off and laugh a lot!
MP: What advice can you give to aspiring Write On writers?
JM: Don’t be afraid to explore new genres. If you’re a novelist, give poetry a shot. In the long run, it may elevate the quality of your novel.