Tag Archives: edward mullen

The Secret Origins of Prodigy

Prodigy - Edward MullenRecently I was asked: “Where did you come up with the idea for Prodigy?”

I thought it was an interesting question and that others would like to know, so here is the tale of how Prodigy came to be.

When I started writing my debut novel The Art of the Hustle, it was just a side project, something to keep me busy. I had no idea at the time that I wanted to be a writer and hadn’t really written fiction. In fact, I kind of stumbled into writing. The Art of the Hustle originally began as an inspirational email I wrote to a friend who was suicidal. I told him a story from my past and highlighted some of the troubled emotions I had gone through in hopes it would help him get through whatever he was dealing with.

When I was done the email, I realized I had written a huge amount of text, and I wanted to do something with it, turn it into a story perhaps that others could read. I sent the short story out to a few other people and the response was really positive. They all wanted to know more.

I kept writing my story, which followed my life pretty closely. I had so much fun writing the book that I completely re-evaluated my life choices. At the time, I was studying for the LSAT and was trying to get into law school. I decided that maybe a career in writing would better suit my personality.

I decided to write a second book, but if I was going to be serious about being a novelist, I should be able to write about anything. Sure, I could write a story about my life, but what about something I’ve never experienced? I accepted the challenge and deliberately wrote a story from a female perspective, set 100 years in the future, and who has a form of autism that makes her exceptionally brilliant.

At the time, I had just got my iPhone and was blown away by the technology. I had never seen anything like it and it captured my imagination. I particularly found the iBooks app of interest. I couldn’t believe I could access nearly any book ever printed on a such a small piece of metal and glass that could sit in my hand.

Naturally, I asked myself, ‘What’s the iPhone 100 going to be like?’ In other words, what would be better than this? I then thought, instead of reading any book, wouldn’t it be cool if you could just download any book you ever wanted into your brain and it would forever be in your memory. And if that’s possible, you could do that with any piece of information. What if everyone did this, what would that do to society? What if we all became enlightened, rational, and kind?

And so the story began to swirl around in my head. I had some concept of perfect civilizations from political science and philosophy classes I had taken, so I set out to theorize my own version. This was also fueled by my frustration at home stupid us humans can be. So my society had no crime, no poverty, no corruption… The only problem was, there was no conflict for our hero to go through. I then created a controversial law called The Child Rearing Act and opened with scene that suggested society wasn’t so perfect.

To pay homage to Plato — an ancient Greek philosopher — I reference his masterful work, ‘The Republic’. Milo finds a paperback copy at one point and reads from it. Some others have pointed out that there are a lot of Greek references in the book. Yes, I know! This is deliberate. I borrowed (stole) the concept of the guardians from Plato, called a character Archimedes, and made about two dozen other references.

So there it is, that’s how Prodigy became a real story. I’m so glad it resonates with so many people. I really enjoy the characters, especially Alex, and would love to see her on the big screen one day!

Thanks for reading, I appreciate you.


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Hachette Book Group’s #WhereIWrite Project

Edward Mullen Where I Write

As part of Hachette Book Group’s #WhereIWrite project, I will be broadcasting LIVE on Periscope, Monday July 6th at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. If you have Periscope and Twitter, be sure to log in and view my LIVE broadcast. If you want to see where I write and ask me some questions in real time, get the app, figure out how it works, and spend a few minutes with me next Monday!

About the Project:

“#WhereIwrite is a global project started by the Hachette Book Group that aims to celebrate writers and the places where they create. Each month for the rest of the year, Hachette will be turning over the keys to their project to various other publishers and writing platforms to allow their creators to share the spaces that inspire them to create the content their readers love most.”


Edward Mullen


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The Secret Manuscript – Chapter One

Here’s a video I made of me reading chapter one of my new book, The Secret Manuscript, which was published in August of 2014. If you haven’t already purchased a copy, it’s available in every major ebook store. For those who want to follow along at home, here is the text for chapter one.

The Secret Manuscript – Chapter One

Ben pulled out a knife from his back pocket and extracted the blade. Piercing the sharp edge into a corrugated box, he slid the razor between the two flaps that were being held together by a strip of tape. He proceeded to slice off the flaps to prepare yet another box for the floor.

For the most part, Ben kept his head down and worked diligently and unsupervised all morning. He fought the temptation to look at the clock as he knew that would only make time seem to go slower. The only joy of working in the stockroom of a grocery store was that there would be several deliveries throughout the day, giving Ben a chance to be outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, even if it was just from the loading docks. The rest of the day, he was stuck in the chilly stockroom under the dim lighting, contemplating his life choices.

A small radio played soft rock while he worked. Over the tunes, Ben heard a voice shout to him.

“Hey, B.O., I need you in aisle six!” his manager, Chad, demanded.

The secret manuscript book coverBen retracted his knife and put it in his apron before heading onto the sales floor. Chad had a disgusted look on his face as if Ben was the cause of all his problems.

“Somebody dropped a jar of pickles,” Chad said.

“Okay, I’ll get right on it,” Ben replied.

“I’ll be deducting the cost of the pickles from your paycheque.”

“What? You can’t do that.”

“First of all, don’t talk back to me,” Chad said aggressively as he approached Ben in threatening manner. “Second, someone has to pay for those pickles. Pickles aren’t free you know.”

It was the worst logic Ben had ever heard, but he decided to let it go. Unfortunately for him, he needed the job to support his meaningless existence.

“Yes, sir,” he said submissively.

Ben hung his head low and begrudgingly walked to the back to retrieve the usual clean-up supplies. He returned to the sales floor, wheeling a mop and bucket with one hand and carrying a broom and dustpan in the other. The resentful look on his face caught the attention of an attractive girl who was about his age. She must have overheard the discourse between Ben and his manager because she approached him and offered some words of encouragement.

“Don’t worry about him, he’s a jerk,” she said.

“Thanks,” Ben replied. He looked at the woman in awe. In his mind, he quickly made the following deductions — attractive woman in Cold Lake, must be from out of town, must have a boyfriend, probability of getting her… zero. Whatever Ben’s confidence was before he started mopping up pickles in his dorky uniform had now been reduced substantially. The only sensible thing to do was to forget about her and get his work done before he got into any trouble.

As Ben pushed the dirty mop back and forth through the sticky pickle juice, a thousand thoughts ran through his mind. He questioned whether the flack he received from Chad was worth it. Being a stock boy for the local grocery store was not how he envisioned his adult life, but he took solace in the fact he was at least not making minimum wage. For all that the job did not offer, there were a few perks. The main one being the discount he received on all his groceries. Having that reduced his cost of living, making it seem like he was earning more money than he actually was.

It was a task-based job comprised mostly of stocking shelves, handling incoming shipments, and doing the occasional clean up. He could simply come into work, put his head down for a few hours, and not have to deal with people. In fact, he enjoyed the solitude. That way he could get the real work done — creating characters, plotting stories, and developing dialogue. He would store all this information in his head throughout the day, then after his shift, he would go home and write.

However, his one-time dream of being a published author was being crushed with every waking moment. The reality was that he lived in a small town of less than 2,500 people, so being anything other than what he was — a menial worker — was an unlikely prospect.

Upon completing high school in Cold Lake, kids usually did one of three things: move to a bigger city to attend college, move to a bigger city to find work, or stay in town and work some dead-end job. The latter was what Ben had chosen to do — the typical choice of the unaspiring working-class citizen. Nobody really wanted to stay in Cold Lake, Alberta. Those who did slowly withered away leaving behind a hollow legacy of nothingness. Ben did not want that to happen to him. Instead, he wanted to find his purpose, a reason for existing, but from his current standpoint, his future looked bleak.

What made matters worse was the grocery store manager, Chad. He was a few years older than Ben and by this point in his life had worked his way up to a management position. The gross abuse of power was evident in nearly every decision and directive he made. For the unaspiring, having authority over others quickly fostered delusions of grandeur. Those who wielded the minutest of power rationalized their position as having a natural superiority over their subordinates. Chad was no exception. He made everybody’s life there a living hell, especially Ben’s. Ever since Chad was promoted, Ben had been looking for a way out — any way.

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Drowning in a Sea of Ignorance

Many of you may already know there is often a great disparity between knowledge and wisdom. Take for example a recent situation I had at an annual meeting for the building I live in.

My neighbourhood, and more specifically my apartment building, is comprised of high-income earning professionals — doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc., and therefore, one may think with such a concentration of intellectuals, common sense would thrive like algae under the hot sun. However, if you thought that, like I did, you would be wrong. As I discovered, common sense can be crushed by the obese weight of ignorance. I documented the experience in a little short story I’m calling…

Drowning in a Sea of Ignorance

The meeting was held at seven o’clock on a Thursday night. My girlfriend and I arrived early and found a set of seats about midway down the aisle. While browsing the Internet on our phones to pass the time, we took notice of the mix of people who funnelled in through the rear doors.

The room quickly filled with chatter as people took to their seats. Acquaintances made polite introductions to one another and laughed over small talk. Despite the familiar faces, most people did not know each other beyond holding open a door in the rain, or sharing an elevator ride. As I would expect is the case with many apartment buildings, we are a community of strangers.

There were several topics on the agenda for our building’s annual meeting. One of which was to discuss the issue of owners renting out their parking spaces to non-building residents. As it occurred to some, this created a potential security risk.

parking garage black and white

Photo credit: midnight-vanburen.deviantart.com

“I’d like to open the floor for discussion,” the speaker announced.

“We cannot just allow non-residents access to our building,” a man said smugly.

I try not to make snap judgements about people, but we all do it. When analyzing the man’s purposefully stiff posture and very deliberate outfit, I began to unconsciously put him into a particular category. He had been the most vocal participant for the better part of an hour, and quite frankly I was getting annoyed. He spoke confidently and mostly went unchallenged.

As he was talking, I leaned over to my girlfriend and asked, “Who is this guy?”

“He’s this really pretentious painter who lives on the second floor,” she informed me. “I once overheard someone inquire about one of his paintings, and he told her, ‘You couldn’t afford my work’.”

man holding a sign that says, "I am a moron."

Photo credit: gawker.com

“Wow, what an obnoxious thing to say to someone.”

The man continued. “We have had several car break-ins and bike thefts recently and we need to keep ourselves and our property safe,” the stout man said. “I say we outright ban this practice.”

I looked around the crowd and saw people nodding in unison. It appeared as though this overly simplified and obviously ignorant assumption was gaining support. Up until that point, neither my girlfriend nor I had said a word, we remained passive listeners. I decided that I had heard enough and was going to offer the crowd an alternative to his one-sided ear beating.

“Do we even know this to be an issue?” I asked. There were some murmurs amongst the crowd, but I cleared my throat and proceeded. “If I understand this correctly, you’re saying that non-residents are the cause of the break-ins and bike thefts. If this is true and this is a real issue, then there are several solutions we could discuss rather than an outright ban. However, if they are not the cause, then we are not only banning something that doesn’t need to be banned, we are also wasting time discussing a non-issue.”

“So what do you propose?” the speaker asked.

“First,” I said, “we need to know if people are renting their stalls to non-residents. I mean, how many people are actually doing this? Second, we need to know if those individuals, if there are indeed some, are the cause of the break-ins and thefts. If a resident is renting their stall to a non-resident, then perhaps a simple registration would allow us to screen people and keep a record of who is coming and going from our building.”

“A registration?” the man scoffed in outrage. “Nobody fills out forms!”

“Then we can make a rule, if you don’t fill out the form, you don’t get the parking stall,” I suggested.

“But then we’re going to have a stack of forms and it will be too difficult to maintain,” the man said in disgust as if I made some horrible proposal.

“A stack of forms?” I questioned. “We have no idea how many, if any of us, actually rent out their stalls.”

“I rent out my stall,” someone from the crowd said.

“Okay, and who do you rent out your stall to, if you don’t mind me asking?” I said.

“My sister.”

“Okay, so we know of at least one person, are there any others?”

A half dozen people reluctantly raised their hands.

man shouting in a meeting

Photo credit: thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com

“So if this ban goes through, we will not only be limiting the income of some individuals, we’d be denying a person’s sister — someone who they’ve presumably known their entire life — the opportunity and convenience to use an otherwise unoccupied space. At the very least there ought to be a grandfather clause to allow residents to continue to rent their stall to people they know well. If it is deemed necessary, we could simply ask these individuals, as well as future stall renters, to give us some details about themselves. In the event of a break-in or theft, and they are suspected, we can have a database of who they are.”

“You’re missing the point,” the man said. “We don’t want non-residents in the building. With their key fobs, they can access certain floors… it’s a safety concern.”

“With respect, I think I understand the point very clearly. And if I may, I’d like to point out that this fear-based decision may not have anything to do with non-resident stall-renters. If having superfluous access is the issue, perhaps we could limit their fobs usage to just the parkade.”

The groans from the audience told me I was barking up the wrong tree. Mind you, I do not rent my stall so either way the vote goes, I won’t be affected. The main reason I spoke up was to save common sense from drowning in a sea of ignorance. As a secondary reason, I wanted to speak up for those who may be absent from the meeting, or are too shy to address their concern in front of a room full of their peers, especially in the face of such defiant dissention.

“Don’t renters pose the same problem?” someone else said. Yes, I am not alone! As soon as I heard the sweet voice of reason amongst the crowd, I had a brief glimmer of hope. Common sense may be gaining momentum after all. The optimism was short-lived when I realized the voice was coming from my girlfriend, who was sitting beside me.

“Currently, owners are permitted to rent their units to anyone they wish,” she pointed out, “and no one has said a word about that. How is renting a stall any different? In fact, one could argue, renting an apartment to someone poses even more of a security threat since it gives the renter a reason to be in the same living space as everyone in the building. This could lead to more opportunities of crime for opportunistic criminals.”

“I agree,” I said in support.

“And what if we have an overnight guest,” she said, “—someone we trust — a friend over for a visit, relatives from out of town? Can we not provide our space to certain people in certain instances?”

“Of course, that is most certainly acceptable,” the speaker said.

“So lending out our space is permitted, but accepting a fee for it is not?” she pointed out.

“The two scenarios are a bit different.”

“How are they different? Moments ago we learned that someone is renting their space to their sister, for which it is certainly reasonable to accept a fee. The ban would effectively prohibit this exchange. Does that seem right to everyone?”

Since no one was brave enough to answer the question, the room fell into an awkward silence.

“Alright, I think we’ve heard enough from both sides to make a decision on the issue,” the speaker announced. “Let’s put it to a vote, shall we?”

Photo credit: www.nola.com

Photo credit: http://www.nola.com

After the final votes were tableted, the results were astounding. 54 people voted ‘Nay’, and a meager 10 people voted ‘Yay’. Shocking, I know. As my girlfriend and I later discussed the issue, we concluded the people who voted ‘Nay’ fell into at least one of the following categories:

  • Most people don’t rent their stalls so they did not have a dog in the fight
  • Despite the lack of evidence for the threat, most people would rather err on the side of caution
  • Most people who show up to these events (a small fraction of the building’s residence) are dumb people who want to feel important — the type of people who are unaware they are dumb
  • Professionals who spent most of their lives studying and have very little common sense

As we shook our heads at the fact the ban was passed with such overwhelming support, we realized three loopholes that are equally as dumbfounding.

  • Despite their best efforts to curb a potential security risk, there was no discussion as to how this policy will be enforced. Will it go on the honour system? As it stands, there is no way to know if people are renting their stalls.
  • Lending out your stall seems to be permissible, even if it’s for an indefinite period of time. In effect, this amounts to the same way it was before.
  • The rule, as it was purposed, only prohibits a resident from renting their own space to non-residents, but one can still rent their stall to a resident within the building. However, there is no rule in place that prevents this renter from subsequently renting the stall to a non-resident. In effect creating an easy way to circumvent this policy.

In conclusion, ignorance prevailed, but I hope with this post, I will spread the word of my cause and have common sense live up to its name, and be common.

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Finally, a Prodigy Sequel!

Prodigy - Edward MullenAfter months of planning — plotting out the characters and story arcs — I finally sat down last Monday and began writing the sequel to my futuristic techno-thriller, Prodigy. I’ve been working on it nearly every day and currently have roughly 14,000 words. I wanted to make a post answering some questions that may come up about the book.

Why a sequel?

While I like to leave the endings of my books open to allow for sequels, I never planned on writing one for Prodigy. However, due to the popularity of the book, I have reconsidered my position. The book I planned to write this year will have to wait until next year… no big deal.

The great thing about Alex is that she is young, so there’s so much about the world she has yet to discover. Diving back into this world has been a lot of fun. Once I started, I was super motivated to find out what happens next. I even designed the cover art, which is something I usually save until the end. Needless to say, I am brimming with creative juice on this project.

When’s it coming out?

Since I write full-time, I should be able to finish the book in the next four to six weeks, depending on my schedule. The actual writing of the book doesn’t take too long (if I work on it 70+ hours per week), the most time-consuming part is always the editing. That can take many months. So if I finish on schedule, and the edits go smoothly, the book could be out before the end of the year or early next year. We’ll see how things go and I will continue to post updates on my social media channels.

1069921_10100669193867131_531800510_nWhat’s it about?

I don’t want to give any of the plot away at this time, but I can assure you if you’re a fan of the first book, you’ll like this one. It takes place one year after the last book ends and addresses some of the craziness Alex would expect to face as she transitions back to her life. I’ve added a new cast of characters and brought in some of the old ones as well. So far I’ve tied in many elements that made the first book special so technically you could probably read the sequel without having read the first book.

The main challenge for me was to come up with a story that is equally as epic as the first novel. After what went down with her in the first book, I couldn’t just have some regular Tom Sawyer fence-painting adventure, it needed to be able to compete with the first book.

Writing is like a puzzle to me in that I don’t necessarily see the big picture from the beginning. Even yesterday I was struggling to fit certain pieces together, but I did not get discouraged. I slowly picked away at it and arranged more pieces. Once those pieces fell into place, I had another chuck I could add to the whole. That’s what it’s all about for me, showing up each day and arranging my ideas and words in a way that assembles something greater than the sum of all its parts. I guess what I’m saying is that at this point I have an idea what it’s going to be about, but I’m discovering so much along the way, stuff that would be difficult to sit down at the beginning and plan for. Once I start writing, the story almost takes on a life of its own and could turn out drastically different than what I originally intended.

What about other Prodigy projects?

I am currently working on a Prodigy audio book, as well as a Prodigy graphic novel. The audio book takes a lot of time to do well. It’s currently on hold while I have some people record their voices. Once I get those recordings, I just need to piece it together.

The situation regarding the graphic novel is this: I hired a really talented artist, inker, and colourist to help me bring my vision to life. Eventually, I’d like to direct a big-budget feature, but I have to pay my dues first and gain more of a following. But for now, a graphic novel seems to make sense. Anyways, I’m paying to produce this book out of pocket and it’s not cheap. To tell the full story may end up costing around $100,000. From a business perspective, it would not make much sense spending that kind of money without first testing the demand for the book. So what a lot of people do, and what I am also doing, is creating a first issue in a 22-page comic-book. If people like it and sales permit, I will produce a second one and so one.

A few more things…

As always, thank you for your support. If you haven’t already liked me or subscribed to my various channels, I would appreciate you doing that. It’s a simple thing to do, but cumulatively it can change a person’s life. The more followers and support one receives, the more doors begin to open for them.

Also on that note, 5-star reviews are extremely important – heck I’ll take 4-star reviews! The reviews let others know about the books and encourages more people to check them out. Often times when we like something, we don’t leave a review, but if we hate something or have had a bad experience, we lash out. It feels good, almost like we’re righting a wrong that has been done to us. What can end up happening is those negative reviews give other readers a false perspective of the quality of the book.

Art is subjective – something may be loved by someone and hated by another. So if you like comedy flicks but hate horror, then it doesn’t seem fair to give the horror flick a scathing 1-star review… It may be the greatest horror flick ever made, but it wasn’t made for you, it was made for an audience who likes that sort of thing. Please keep that in mind for reviewing in general, especially my books. Thanks.

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Discovering Mystery in the Ancient City of Riga, Latvia


In March 2014, Sarah and I set off on another adventure – this time to Riga and Jurmala, Latvia. Riga is renowned for many things, but it can now boast the prestigious honour of being labelled one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2014. Needless to say, we were excited to travel to the beautiful and historic city.

We arrived by bus in the evening just as the sun was descending over the horizon. The warm colours of the sky made us forget that it was freezing cold. As we came properly prepared for the weather, we stopped to take a few photos of the red and orange sky before proceeding.


With our heavy backpacks in tow, we were eager to find our hotel. Sarah had printed a map from the Internet, which proved very quickly to be useless. We remained on the main street, walking along the sidewalk with the water and sunset to our left. Eventually we found a Wellton Hotel (not the one we had booked), and figured we’d ask them for directions to our hotel. As it turned out, we were not very far from our hotel at all. The receptionist assured us we just needed to follow the road for another two blocks and then turn left and we couldn’t miss it. Sure enough, we found our hotel.


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After checking in, we set our bags down and immediately went back out to explore the city. By this time, the sun had completely receded and it was now night time. The starry sky provided the perfect backdrop to the ancient architecture and cobblestone streets. Despite it being below zero, we happily snapped more photos of the rustic buildings.


The following days and nights were filled with awe-inspiring discovery. At one particular church, we found an odd-looking boulder with a face carved into it. Upon reading the blurb, it turned out to have quite a fascinating story.

It was called The Stone Head of Salaspils. The origin and time of this idol are unknown. The earliest information about it can be traced back to mid-nineteenth century. As the story goes, a farmer from Salaspils discovered the stone idol on his property in 1851. The head went on display at a museum until 1875, where it then disappeared for the next 125 years. It finally resurfaced in the year 2000, when it was found buried in the yard of the church where it now resides. The origins and disappearance still remain a mystery to this day.

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Episode #18 – The Death of Socrates!

trial of socrates

On episode 18 of The Edward Mullen Podcast, I recount the death of Socrates based on Plato’s Crito. Listen as Socrates presents his case to his friend Crito on whether he should honour his word and obey the law, or escape from prison and live in exile.







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