Book Talk, Special Guest

Interview with Mike Gosalia, Editor-in-Chief of The Tomahawk Creek Review

This week, we have a very special guest! The brand-new literary journal, The Tomahawk Creek Review, is open to submissions for its first summer issue, and the editor-in-chief, Mike Gosalia, stopped by for a chat. Mike is a fellow writer and friend, so I’m super excited to have him on the blog this week.

Mike Gosalia ia an author, RWW graduate, and editor-in-chief of The Tomahawk Review.

Rachel Sandell: Thank you so much for stopping by, Mike! It’s so excited that The Tomahawk Creek Review is open to its first round of submissions. But you aren’t just an editor; you’re a writer too. What is your history with writing? What do you like to write, and how long have you been writing?

Mike Gosalia: Before I began to write, I first loved to read. That love began when I was a child and teenager. I read authors like Roald Dahl, JRR Tolkien, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Knowles, knowing that I stepped into a very intricate and serious world, one that required a great deal of thought and daydreaming. I wanted to be like one of those authors, telling stories that moved others. I figured, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” In college, I moved onto a love of Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky, and in graduate school, Charles Dickens.

My writing journey began in my mid-twenties, but I was not able to describe what I felt in story format. After my health improved with medication (I have bipolar disorder), my thinking became much clearer, and then, wouldn’t you know, thoughts and ideas spilled onto the page! I published my first novel, a romantic adventure called The Drug from Mumbai at age thirty-four, and now that I’m in my early forties, I love to write short stories, literary fiction, and I’m always submitting. I’ve been writing seriously now for twelve years.

Currently, I’m working on a collection of short stories about mental health recovery.

Mike Gosalia's book, The Drug from Mumbai, was published in 2016.

RS: What does your writing process look like?

MG: My writing process can vary, but the best way to sketch out a story, I’ve found, is to write it with pen onto paper, and then transfer it to the computer. For example, I’ll write a third of the story with pen, then transfer and edit it in a word processor, then go back and write more with pen, and keep going back and forth until the first draft is finished. Then, I’ll ask some friends (like Rachel, who I went to grad school with) to read it for me and provide notes. Once I digest those notes, I’ll go back to the story and see what can be improved and what needs work. This goes on to about a draft three or four, and then to a final draft. It’s important to edit for about as much time as it takes to write a story, or longer. In other words, editing is a huge part of the process, and this is one of the biggest things I learned from my graduate work. “Leave no stone unturned,” I remember hearing. “If you can spot a flaw in your writing, then your reader can, too.”

RS: How do you deal with writer’s block?

MG: I had a great deal of writer’s block after I graduated with my MFA in creative writing from Pacific Lutheran University in 2022. I knew I couldn’t write—I was burnt out creatively—but I still wanted to express my feelings. So what I did was turn to another creative outlet of mine, music. I wrote songs on my guitar and on my piano and even lyrics for them, recording them onto my computer and posting them on SoundCloud. It was great fun. It helped me to think about what I wanted to really express from within myself, and hence, what I wanted to write about. Eventually, I got up the energy to write again, and that’s how I dealt with my writer’s block.

RS: What’s the story behind The Tomahawk Creek Review? How did it get started?

MG: I live near a park, and in that park, there is a winding creek called the Tomahawk Creek. Often, I go down to the park to think about things and to dream. It’s a lovely park, with deer, cranes, geese, all kinds of animals, and a great deal of beautiful trees and ponds. I thought, what better name to call a journal than The Tomahawk Creek Review.

RS: What sort of writing is The Tomahawk Creek Review on the lookout for?

MG: We’re on the lookout for poetry, fiction, nonfiction (essays, articles, creative nonfiction) of all styles and themes. The first issue is open—we want to publish a bit of everything. That said, we lean towards aesthetics rather than issues of the day such as political matters, but if that comes up, it’s okay, too. Everything is fair game in the theater of our humanity.

Photo by Mike Gosalia, from The Tomahawk Creek Review.

RS: The site for the journal highlights the importance of a positive message in stories. Can you say a bit more about that?

MG: Yes, a story can be dark, even depressing, but if there is a positive outlook, a moral to be learned, then we will gravitate towards that. Learning often comes from different avenues, peering into the darkness, reveling in a celebration and something happy, or perhaps even just thinking about things. Our humanity encompasses all sorts of emotions and feelings, but at the end of the day, we all aim to live happy, positive lives, and so I wanted to reflect that in the literature we publish.

RS: What are you most excited about for The Tomahawk Creek Review’s first issue?

MG: I’m excited to see it all come together on a front page—an illustration with a table of contents. We have accepted a few fiction pieces already and are in deep consideration of others, especially poetry. One fiction piece is from a retired French diplomat, so we’re curious to see how our readers will like that, but we expect every piece in Issue 1 to have its own charm and appeal.

The submissions deadline for The Tomahawk Review's Issue 1 is June 1st. Until then, submit, submit, submit!

RS: Do you have any writing or editing advice for beginners? If you could give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?

MG: Yes, I’ll say the one thing that has kept me going throughout the years was a belief in myself, that I could do it, be a writer and even publish something. That dream came out to be true. Always follow your dreams and your heart. It may not seem practical all the time, and it may even seem a bit crazy, but the heart knows best. I believe that. If I could give a younger version of myself one piece of advice, I’d say it’s very important to write about what interests you. Work always seems to come out better when you let the story dictate the theme, and not vice versa.


An extra special thank-you to Mike Gosalia for his time! If you want to submit to The Tomahawk Creek Review, now is the perfect time!