Short, Sharp Interview: Kevin Michaels

9 in the morningPDB: Can you pitch NINE IN THE MORNING in 25 words or less?

KM:   An intense, edgy, and explosive collection of stories offering a vivid glimpse into the desperation and despair of the urban poor in America.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?


Books:  Loved “The Weight of Blood” by Laura McHugh, “The Double” by George Pelecanos, and “Cover of Snow” by Jenny Milchman.  “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling is on the nightstand but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  With the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez I’ll probably go back and reread “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.

TV – I’ve been hooked on “Justified” for years,  just discovered “House Of Cards”,  and “True Detective” blew me away……and I need time to finish the last season of “Luther”.

Music: My iPod playlist is a  schizophrenic blend of styles right now…..Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt – Dierks Bentley’s Riser – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – significant amounts of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and The Killers.  While I was editing NINE IN THE MORNING I spent time listening to Notorious B.I.G., Ice-T, and NWA as a frame of reference.

And no day is complete without a little Muddy waters, Howlin’ Wolf, or Lightnin’ Hopkins.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

KM:   It’s possible but I’m not sure I can be an objective reader.  I generally read books I have a great interest in reading, or seek out work by authors I know, like, or have heard about.  So that shoots most of my objectivity out the window.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

KM:   Yes – right now I’m all about fiction, but I see theatre and television in my future…..films might be farther down the road.  There is something powerful and attractive about the stage and I would love to give it a shot.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

KM:   It depends on the story. Writers are story tellers and that involves imagination and creativity, but you still need credible realism.  If you’re writing a story about a character in prison, you can’t fake that.  You have to understand the routines, the vocabulary, the sounds, the atmosphere…. I’m not saying you need to do time in lock-up, but you should take the time to understand what you’re writing about because readers expect believability.  I’ve ridden with cops on patrol, hung out with gang members, and traded stories with mobsters but I draw the line at cooking meth and burying bodies.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

KM:   Social media helps me connect with friends, other writers, and readers, and it gives me a platform to promote my work.  It’s important as a networking tool, but not for writing.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

KM:   I have another book entitled STILL BLACK REMAINS launching this summer –I’ve included the first chapter in NINE IN THE MORNING as a preview. I’m finishing my next novel, and working on a couple of short stories that are past their deadlines, and then I’d like to bang out another book for the Fight Card series.

Bio: Kevin Michaels is the author of the critically acclaimed novel “LOST EXIT“, as well as two entries in the Fight Card series: “HARD ROAD” and “CAN’T MISS CONTENDER”. His newest book – a collection of short stories entitled “NINE IN THE MORNING” was released in April 2014. His short stories and flash fiction have also appeared in a number of magazines and indie zines, and in 2011 he was nominated for two separate Pushcart Prize awards for his short stories. He lives and writes in New Jersey.