As an author, artist and musician, M. D. Boncher has lead an eclectic life, or a “Writer’s Life”, to paraphrase Stephen King. He has held several careers in many different industries from hospitality to trucking, giving him a wide breadth of experience with the human condition to draw on for his work. He has a passion for history, philosophy, and his Christian faith. His hobbies include such nerdy things as Tabletop RPGs, videogames, camping, gardening and (now) hunting, but most of it is spent in artistic creations. When not creating he’s either reading or watching a movie from his extensive curated collection of sci-fi, fantasy, comics, horror, action, comedies, classics literature or film, detective fiction or pulp.
An expatriated native Wisconsinite, he relocated during the pandemic and now lives deep in the mountains of West Virginia with his wife, four very fluffy cats and small flock of feisty but naïve chickens.
“Who are you as a writer?”
My given name is Michael, and that is how I always write it . Mike is fine. (M.D. just sounds better in my ear for an author) Just don’t add the “ie” or “y” to the end. It’s pissed me off ever since that commercial with only two people in my life I’ve allowed to call me by that. One because I was 3 at the time, and the other because he was a Fabio looking Argentinian who was a really cool guy and just was able to make it not sound like an insult to my age and maturity. I realize the curious nature it is to spend so much time discussing such a small things, but I’m nothing if not quirky and prone to “Ooh Ooh Shiny” syndrome.
I’ve been artistic all my life, writing, singing, painting, drawing, computer graphics. Just not sculpting or crafty sort of things.
My writing career started when I was in Junior High School as a substitute for friends and as a way to get out my imagination that wasn’t always being satiated by Role Playing games, which I started playing in 1980 at the age of 9. My writing was more or less therapy. Nothing I was going to see published I suspected because I had no idea what I was doing. I mostly wrote horror stories back then with some sci fi.
In High School I learned to write comic book scripts, but due to life rearing its ugly, vindictive head, I threw that dream on the pyre because I did not like the type of world it was leading me to. But during High School, in an acme of loneliness I managed to write more than a few short stories, and a very bad novel to which I am glad all have vanished. My main influences of that era were Stephen King, Harry Harrison, Piers Anthony, Alan Dean Foster and an assorted smattering of other sci fi and horror authors
University, I still wrote off and on, mostly to satisfy courses, but for one project I wrote a novella that has survived somehow. Wow… Seeing what my mind was at that stage of my life, I am glad it will never see the light of day, and a pair of short stories. One of which I ought to redo because it was not half bad. the other… Ick. By this time I had become big fans of Chris Clairmont, Frank Miller, David Micheline, Peter David, Alan Davis, Mike Baron, Chuck Dixon and several other comic book writers. In fact, I was beyond tickled to meet most of them one Chicago Comicon as well as my fanboy favorite artist of Timothy Bradstreet. But my dream of being a writer was shattered by then, because I just couldn’t see myself getting into the industry and there was no way in hell I was moving to New York. I like Northeastern Wisconsin and the Great Lakes. (which also influence my writing)
My writing languished, kept waiting under the heat lamps after leaving University and dealing with my social life. I became a consumer of art rather than a producer. It was swarmed under by, a life, getting married and divorced, becoming a Born Again Christian with a very apostolic walk, and being satisfied by RPGs. Whatever was left over eventually channeled into creative computer games. Hard to write when you’re contemplating a land war in Asia for the glory of the Incan Empire. I wrote a lot of little things for games that I both ran and played in. Some were fairly popular in my circle. Source books for Palladium Heroes Unlimited, Lots of Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun modules and a few epic adventures. Some day I might do my post apocalyptic “Up The River” Campaign for Twilight 2000 as a novel. It has great potential to be a post apocalyptic action adventure. Things that influenced me were more from the Role Playing Game genre and movies than anything else. I did spend some time discovering classic Sci Fi authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein.
Far later on, about 10 years ago now, I found an online shared “Diamond Hard Sci Fi” creative universe called Orion’s Arm, for which I published a lot of articles and creations that are under the creative commons license. Unfortunately, their focus on Transhumanism and Collectivist propaganda chafed my Christian Individualist sensibilities. I learned a lot about writing in a shared way there. Particularly in how lesser minds use politics and protocol to keep good ideas out as well as stupid ideas in depending on who says them. To quote Bugs Bunny:
I won’t say it has be a slice of heaven… because it hasn’t,
but there were some good times and discussions there mixed in, and I got to play contrarian reactionary from time to time in ways that I think made the setting a much grander place. My taste in reading had drifted more towards hard boiled fiction of Andrew Vachss, political thrillers by Tom Clancy, Historical epics by James Clavell and the lighter works of Robert. B. Parker, Douglas Adams, Spider Robinson and a new genre of hard sci fi in Wil McCarthy.
In the background of all that, I was participating in political and religious forums (Aren’t you glad I’m keeping those things to Facebook and not here?), which greatly sped up my writing and helped me to develop a more conversational form of writing that I would flatter myself to think has shades and flavors of Mark Twain, particularly when I get my dander up. In fact, over recent years, I had started reading more of the classics like Dickens, Tolkien, Twain and others. I discovered Caleb Carr as well and took on a much stronger interest in history as well as Christian philosophers and ministries like C.S. Lewis, Watchman Nee and Hannah Hurnard.
All this came forth in creating my style and sensibilities. At 45 years old, I dedicated and sanctified my writing to God. What I hope and pray to do is turn out good stories I want to read that do not remove Him from the equation or treat Him as an afterthought. I must say, since choosing to do that, the ideas flowed in and given new twists to some time honored tropes!
Update: Six years later, I’ve remarried to a wonderful and supportive woman, relocated to the mountains of West Virginia and I’m about to introduce the world to my retrofuturist serial, “Tales From The Dream Nebula”. With the end of lockdowns and life trying to return to normal, I will be starting a list of speaking events, conventions and craft show appearances. There will be expansion in related merchandise as well as many new books to come.
Next obvious question. Where is this all going?
what is my brand?
Summed up it’s this:
Grand Adventure, Dark Fantasy!
My first series, Akiniwazisaga, is Dark Christian Fantasy. Generally it’s a mashup of genres that include Epic Christian fantasy, myth and legends, Native American folklore, lumberjack stories, spiritual warfare, steampunk, alt history and a smattering of horror. The first three novels are out and available on Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold. (No, really! Order a paperback or hardcover from your local store and support your hometown shops!)
But my love of Sci Fi has spawned “Tales From The Dream Nebula”. This is in a different vein than the dark fantasy. Much faster and comedic in tempo, but it’s pulpy retro-futuristic goodness so expect thrills and chills! It’s a genre mashup as well combining elements of classic sci fi pulp, decopunk, cyberpunk, nanopunk, biopunk, space opera, neo noir and lots of John Carteresque scares, chases and mysteries. The first three novels are slated to release in 2023.
That’s what I like to read, so that is what I’m going to write.