Guest Author Jon Michaelsen

Delighted to have fellow Lethe author Jon as my guest.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always had an active imagination, at least that’s what my parents said when I was little. I used to go around telling made-up stories. In fact, one of my late grandmother’s favourite pastimes just before going to sleep at night was when I’d sit on the edge of her bed and recite the stories I’d made up. She encouraged me to start capturing them on paper, and I think I wrote my first story when I was about seven or eight.
What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?
An absolutely incredible feeling! A writer understands there never really is a “first book” in that often, there are many starts and stops to eventually get to the one book that you are confident in sharing with people. I’ve written several novels over my lifetime, starting in my early teens, but published none of them. In fact, I didn’t even publish my first full-length novel until late 2014 with the release of my gay police-procedural mystery/thriller, Pretty Boy Dead, the first in the Kendall Parker Mystery series.
Why this particular setting and era for Prince of the Sea?
I’ve been in love with Tybee Island, Georgia from the moment I visited the quaint little islet in my twenties; (I’m in my fifties now). I’ve always wanted to use the beautiful setting in a story, but I needed to wait for the right plot. The theme of Prince of the Sea had been percolating in my head for several years before I actually sat down to write the prose. It took a while because I needed to flush out the paranormal elements to be more cursory, and the mystery/thriller plot twist that would work in such a quiet, romantic place.
Are you character or plot driven?

What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent? That’s a tough one; some of my stories are definitely character driven, such as my Kendall Parker mystery series. Though some might argue the mysteries are plot driven, I’ve intended to focus on the series’ protagonist, Homicide Detective Kendall Parker – how he responds to situations in life based on his personal experiences, his values, etc., with plot being a very integral component to the novel, but secondary.

If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?

Most definitely the one I’d want to save me is homicide detective Sgt. Kendall Parker of the Atlanta Police Department. He may be a little rough around the edges, but he’s loyal to a fault. He tough, but fair, a former army veteran with a heart of gold; big and muscular, standing at 6’4”. He’s the kind of man who would lay down his life for his friends. He may not start the fight, but he’ll definitely end it.

If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?

I guess I would write my life story; a semi-fictional account of my life’s experiences growing up in a conservative, southern family.

Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn’t finish?

Moby Dick. Not matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t get through it.

What’s your favourite gay fiction book? And why?

Oh, man, there are so many. If I had to choose just one, it would have to be The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren. It was the single, most influential novel that I read in the teens which helped me realize it would be possible to fall in love with another man. Until reading the novel, I’d been subjected to all the horror stories, taunts, news reports that labelled homosexuality as a mental disorder (I came of age in the mid-70s).

What’s your next project?

Prince of the Sea will be released via audio later this month, which is really exciting as the release with be my first in audiobook. I’ve preselected a narrator with my publisher, Lethe Press, but won’t be able to share more until later. Also, I am currently writing the second Kendall Parker Mystery.

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