Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan: Character Interview


Character Interview with
George Barber from Bringing Up Mike


Welcome George!  It's a real treat to have you with us!  Tell us about your family.

I’ve been married to Martha for twenty years. We had a teenage son, Marvin, who died of cancer. Recently we had a teenage boy and girl living with us, Joe and Sue, but they’re both out in California. They’ve become part of our family, along with Mike, so we expect they be back for Christmas and other holidays.


Who’s Mike?


He’s an artificial intelligence. When we first met him, it was by phone and email. We thought he was this smart, young kid, confined to a wheelchair with this incredible ability to mimic actors. Six months after we first started talking to him, Martha and me learned we were guinea pigs in an experiment to prove that Mike could pass as human. Who would have thought that?


What are you passionate about these days?

I love music, of all sorts and genres. Recently I helped arrange some country music songs. Mike was a great help. I’ve taught him how to sing the lyrics to the songs. He sings both the male and female parts.


What do you do to unwind and relax?

I play the piano after dinner. Sometimes friends stand around the piano and sing. During college and before getting married, I played keyboard in a rock band.


What is something people would be surprised to know about you?


I had long hair when I played rock in California. It was part of my image! I’ve had short hair since I’ve been in Tennessee.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

I love Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House in Lynchburg, TN. They serve real home-style Southern cooking at its best. A typical meal includes fried chicken, meatloaf, with sides of mashed potatoes, mac ’n’ cheese, squash casserole, green beans, fried okra, cornbread, and Jack Daniel’s apples.


What was the scariest moment of your life?

Four guys tried to rustle Joe’s stallion from our barn. I pointed a rifle at them while Martha held a shotgun. It’s a good thing they didn’t know I’m a terrible shot!



Bringing Up Mike

by Mark Duncan



What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.


As he walked down the windowless hallway, Joe’s long hair swung back and forth across his back. He swiped his badge against the door lock, entered a PIN code, and it clicked open. He took another gulp of coffee and entered his office.

He touched his finger to the keyboard to scan his fingerprint, then gestured on a touchpad to log in and authenticate himself. The lights went off in the office, the lock clicked in place, and the introduction to The Outer Limits began to play: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust”

“Mike, very funny. Stop the effects, turn on the lights.”

The office lights flickered on. “Your wish is my command, O Master.”
“Enough with mimicking the genie from Aladdin.”

 “I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”

“No, you’re perfect. I’m just not a morning person.” He pulled off his thick glasses and rubbed his brows before placing them back. “Any interesting news or urgent emails?”

“Nothing earth-shattering, the usual please respond immediately emails. Answered the trivial ones, but there are three that need your attention eventually.” 

“How’s the meeting going?” 

“Started half an hour ago. I gave your update ten minutes ago. Told them how we’d found and neutralized one hundred and four viruses and Trojans, and that if they didn’t like your acronym DAWG for Deleterious Adaptive Web Gladiator, you were open to suggestions. You want to listen?” 

“No, I’ll nap for a bit. Wake me if anything comes up.” 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike,,


Book and Author Links


Book Website: up mike.html

Publisher Website:  

Author Twitter:  


Buy Links




Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Rita said...

I liked the excerpt.

Anonymous said...

Fun excerpt!

Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

Angela said...

Lovely excerpt!

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.