Mike Cobb Biography
Mike Cobb Biography
Mike Cobb the Writer
I write because that is fundamentally who I am. Writing, for me, is bliss. But it’s not about me. I am simply a conduit through which my characters tell the story. They are the story. In fact, my characters live inside me. They talk to me. We engage in lively discussions. Sometimes they tap me on the shoulder when I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store. Sometimes they wake me in the middle of the night. No, I’m not crazy. I promise!
My body of work includes fiction and nonfiction, short form and long form, as well as articles and blogs of literary interest. While I am comfortable playing across a broad range of genres, much of my focus is on historical fiction, crime fiction, and true crime. Rigorous historical research is foundational to my writing. I get that honestly, having spent most of my professional career as a scientist. More about that below.
I split my time between midtown Atlanta and a lake in the North Georgia mountains, far away from the rat race of the city. The balance between city life and mountain life inspires my writing. I still don’t fully understand how, but it does.
I am an early riser. I do my best work in the morning, although I have found that, as I get older, I am more comfortable with an unregimented lifestyle that allows me to write whenever creativity strikes, regardless of time or place. Like right now. Creativity just struck. I need to hurry up and finish writing this so I can get back to work!
Mike Cobb the Scientist
In addition to being a writer, I am a professionally-trained scientist. My love of science began around the same time as my love of writing, very early in my life on this planet. See the stuff about the kid, below.
Please don’t hold this against me, but I am what most people would call a geek, a wonk. Think Big Bang Theory nerdish. But don’t worry, that doesn’t come through in my writing…at least I hope it doesn’t!
In 1980, I was awarded a PhD in Physical Chemistry, with a focus on computational quantum physics. With my degree in hand, I left Georgia Tech and headed north, with my wife, to the great state of New Jersey. From there we moved to Ohio and then back to Atlanta. By the way, I pulled my dissertation off the shelf recently. I didn’t understand half of it.
I spent forty years as a scientist, entrepreneur, and consultant. Throughout that time, I wrote numerous technical papers and articles. Boring to 99.5% of reading population.
But all along, my true passion was creative writing.
I retired in 2021 and now spend my days writing about things I want to write about instead of things demanded by my career.
My love of science abides, and it always will. I am still involved with my alma mater as a member of the Georgia Tech College of Sciences Advisory Board. This affords me the opportunity to keep my toe dipped in the science waters.
Michael the Nerdy Kid
Please indulge me as I shift from first person to third. It easier that way because I’m not that kid anymore. But he still lives inside me.
Back in the mid-fifties in a small, idyllic, middle class neighborhood in Atlanta, East Atlanta to be specific, there was this skinny-as-a-rail kid. He was introverted (but over the years he outgrew that). People said he was very bright (but he didn’t completely buy into their enthusiasm). He had a few friends (but those around him found him a bit too aloof, even self-absorbed). He loved to write. Writing, to him, was a form of inspiration and escape. And he loved science. Writing and science fueled his curiosity and imagination. And yes, he was Michael back then.
Speaking of imagination, when he was quite young, he had imaginary friends. But we won’t go into that!
His teachers would send home notes saying Michael’s smart, but he won’t sit still, and his mind wonders all over the place…or something to that effect. Undiagnosed ADHD? Probably.
His sixth-grade teacher, Dorothy Barker, shaped who he is today in so many ways. She was such a force in his childhood that he would end up dedicating his first novel, Dead Beckoning, to her. She also taught him to play golf, which he never does anymore.
That kid grew up and became Mike Cobb the adult. And the rest is history, as they say. Oh, and one other thing. The skinny-as-a-rail kid is definitely not skinny anymore. Alas.
Mike Cobb the Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Friend
I split my time between Atlanta and Blue Ridge, Georgia with Caren, my wife of forty-plus years, our dog Bella, and two cats, with whom I have established a relationship of mutual tolerance. We are the proud parents of two daughters, Mandy and Laura, two sons-in-law, John and Kian, and two adorable granddaughters, Stella and Penelope. Want to see pictures? I have plenty.
And, of course, there are our close friends. North Georgia mountain friends, city friends, and friends both stateside and abroad. I don’t know what I would do without them. Four of them are serious fellow writers with whom I meet regularly. They challenge me, encourage me, and keep me from going off the rails. I am eternally indebted to them. Actually, come to think of it, my friends might say I’m crazy after all (see above).
When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, traveling, walking, wine, cooking, and spending time on the water. And drinking Corpse Reviver #2s. Can’t leave that out.
Come Journey With Me
Life is a journey. Please join me on mine. The road may be rocky––even fraught––at times, but I promise it will be an adventure.
Honesty, loyalty, empathy, authenticity, and an insatiable curiosity. I strive every day to live by these principles. They keep my path straight, my relationships solid, and my writing fresh, unique, and real. Real, as opposed to imaginary like my childhood friends (above).
Parts of Speech, Sentences, and the Oxford Comma
I use nouns and verbs liberally, adjectives and adverbs only when needed.
Contrary to what Mrs. Barker taught me, I sometimes don’t write complete sentences. Like this one.
And in case it’s not obvious by now, you should know that I’m a fan of the Oxford comma. You might say I’m a serial offender. Please don’t hold that against me. And don’t make fun of my bad dad joke.
Point of View
I’ll admit to being a bit obsessed with POV. Perhaps to a fault. I never want to be called a head-hopper.
First versus Third Person
I’m comfortable writing in first or third person.
Dead Beckoning was written in third person.
My second novel, The Devil You Knew, shifts between first and third person across chapters. It works.
Parting Words About Writing
“if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.”
Read blogs and short articles written by Mike Cobb here.