While his adventures have led to travels all around the world, Michael lives in Florida with his wife Kim.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I come from a military background. I was a service brat, growing up in the US Air Force. We moved around a little, only five times, which isn’t much by military standards, but it helped me learn to adapt as I grew up. It also sparked the creative outlet in me as a child. I grew up and joined the Air Force to be a pilot. The creativeness in me never went away, as I started writing early in my Air Force career. Now, I’m a pilot for a major US airline.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Ohio, then moved to Washington DC for a few months, then to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. My father was a pilot assigned to Hurlburt Field as part of the Air Force’s new special operations program and was sent to Vietnam. He was killed in combat in 1965. Mother remarried another Air Force member several years later and we moved to Maxwell AFB, Alabama and then to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. My stepfather retired from there and we moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I finished High School and attended Louisiana State University. I joined the Air Force a couple of years after graduating college. Ironically, after three years in the Air Force, I also joined Air Force Special Operations and returned to Hurlburt Field in 1995 flying the AC-130U gunship until I retired.
When did you begin writing?
Like I said, I was always creative, Art, photography, storytelling, things like that. Somehow, after I finished pilot training in the Air Force, I got the idea in my head I wanted to write a book about the experience, because it was fascinating that they could take a pedestrian off the street, and in one year, turn them into a supersonic jet-pilot. This was back in 1992. So, I mulled it around in my head and on paper for about a week, then finally realized this was boring, no one would want to read it. But then I said, “What if I wrapped a spy story around this?” and that was how my first novel, Surly Bonds, was written. A very unique tale with a protagonist who is a student pilot.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
In a perfect world, I like to write in the morning, while everyone is sleeping and I’m alone in my thoughts. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, so I learned I needed to learn to write whenever and wherever I could. Fortunately, technology allows authors to do that in a very productive manner these days. I write in a lot of hotel rooms when I’m traveling on the road, on an airplane, in the terminal, on a bus . . . you name it, I’ve probably written there.
What is this book about?
The Pilate Scroll is about a young woman, Kadie Jenkins, who is part of a team of academics and scientists, who are banded together to find a cure for a bioweapon that is planned to be used against the West. She soon learns that the cure is not their true objective. And what they’re actually searching for, can change the course of human history. Along the way, Kadie’s journey includes learning about herself and the Christian virtues of forgiveness, redemption, transformation, and healing. This, of course, is wrapped around an adventure that transports you to exotic locations in the Middle East and Europe in a pulse-pounding non-stop thrill ride. Trust me, there’s nothing else out there like it.
What inspired you to write it?
Back in 2018, my wife Kim and I were on a tour of the Holy Land with Mike Huckabee’s Blue Diamond Travel Group. It was an amazing, life-changing experience, touring the Holy Land and experiencing the Bible in 3-D, to actually visit and walk in the places we’d heard and read about our entire lives. I said to Kim, “There’s a book in here somewhere.” Well, as I like to say, I never found it. It found me. It was the fastest book I’d ever written, and the most passionate. As a Christian, it’s hard sometimes to find that epic story that resonates with a large audience that has a positive message throughout the book. This is that book. It has a mass appeal that will please believers and non-believers alike and doesn’t come across as a ‘preachy’ book.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
No, but I have a small group of trusted agents I bounce ideas and manuscripts off. I don’t write in a vacuum. There is a small group of authors in my community who tried to get together on a monthly basis, but with my schedule, I couldn’t guarantee I’d be there every month, so we struggled to get it off the ground. But we stay in touch on social media. The author community is a very friendly community. We tend to help each other out, because no matter where you are at in that creative process, we’ve all been there.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
If “then” means when I wrote my first book, I would have gotten an editor early and a proofreader often. It’s the one area new authors tend to skip, mainly because it can cost you a lot of money. But, depending on your objectives, it will be money well spent. Publishing Surly Bonds was almost an accident, so it was an area that I skipped initially. I went back after the book was published and had it edited. Yeah, I did it backwards, I know. But that book still won three different Book contests and climbed to the #1 spot of three different Amazon Bestseller charts.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The Pilate Scroll is available at all the major online retailers where books are sold. It’s available in hardback, paperback, and e-book format on all the standard platforms.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
My website is www.thepilatescroll.com and also contains retail links for all my books: The Pilate Scroll as well as my military aviation novels in the Jason Conrad Thriller series. There’s also a media page, with different articles and interviews in print, video, and audio.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
You can do this. Anyone can write a book. Just like anything else in the world, some people are better at it than others. And some people get the lucky break that more talented people didn’t. Don’t let that discourage you. Writing a book can be done by anyone. You can write at your own pace, get as much or as little help as you want or need, and you can simply let your imagination wander. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s something you can’t do.
What is up next for you?
I’ve got a draft completed and ready to start writing the next book in the Jason Conrad Thriller series and I’m working on the outline of the sequel to The Pilate Scroll. My writing was momentarily pre-empted last year with a couple of surgeries, and then training for a new airplane at work has occupied all of my time the past few months, but I’m looking forward and getting back behind the keyboard.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for having me! I hope your readers and followers check out The Pilate Scroll. I’m sure they will love it.