Saturday, July 5, 2008

Michael Koryta Q & A revisited!

A week ago Friday, I posted this Q & A with Michael Koryta. Today is one month from the release date of Michael's new novel, Envy the Night. So, since my very good friend Mary gave me a crash course in html and I was able to clean up some of the mess the translator created, I thought I would repost this Q & A in its much nicer format. If you missed out, please enjoy this awesome interview with a very talented young writer!

About a year ago while trying to find out more about Robert Crais, I stumbled into an on-line discussion group called "The Craisie Club." At the time I discovered this group, they had a thread going about who other than RC, they had on their "must read" lists. Naomi posted quite passionately about a young author of whom she thought very highly. Because of how adamant she was about this author, I checked his first book out from the library. I don't think I made it a quarter of the way through before I ordered all three for my personal library! I feel indebted to Naomi for bringing this great pleasure into my reading experience; I think Naomi would appreciate it if I "pay it forward." So, my online reading friends, I would like to share with you (if you have not already discovered him for yourself) Michael Koryta!

To give you a little background, Michael is 25 - yes that number is correct, it isn't a typo; the man is 25 and an award-winning novelist. He's from Bloomington, Indiana, but since his parents were born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he knows the area and decided to make it the primary backdrop for his first three books: Tonight, I Said Goodbye; Sorrow's Anthem; A Welcome Grave. In his spare time (haha) he works for a detective agency and teaches journalism at Indiana University. Oh yeah, did I mention he's also been an award-winning journalist? What do you expect? After all, he's had 25 years to accomplish something in his life. What's he waiting for? Alright, joking aside, he definitely has quite an impressive resume, but he's also a genuinely nice person - is it o.k. to say that Michael? I wouldn't want you to get the wrong "rep" or something! :) I've had the pleasure of listening to Michael speak on two separate occasions, and he's equally as talented verbally as he is with his pen (er, computer).

I am very humbled that he made time to answer my questions, and I'm honored to share them with you today. So, without further ado:

Q: Michael, you've said that you often write while wearing headphones. What are you listening to these days on those headphones?

Michael: Current favorite is a guy named Mason Jennings. His CD Boneclouds is outstanding. I also love the new Drive-by Truckers album, Brighter Than Creation's Dark. Also in the rotation right now: Langhorne Slim, Jakob Dylan, James McMurty, the National and Shawn Mullins.

Q: What book have you read in the last six months that you would recommend to people who enjoy YOUR work?

Michael: I'm reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle right now and so far it is just brilliant, a really remarkable piece of work. In the crime fiction world, James Sallis has become a favorite. The most fun I had reading a novel last year was Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, and this spring I was fortunate to read advance copies of The Given Day by Dennis Lehane and The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly and will tell everyone to look for those in the upcoming months...but I don't think they're hurting for promo help from the likes of me!

Q: You mentioned in one of your presentations that part of your idea for A Welcome Grave came from something you were doing as a private investigator. Have you had any other inspirations come from your job there? Anything from your journalism days?

Michael: You know, I think most of the inspiration from those jobs lurks beneath the surface, in the subconscious and in the impact of people I've met along the way in those jobs. Less so in grand terms of plot.

Q: What's the most interesting situation you've encountered as a private investigator?

Michael: I assisted on a death penalty defense investigation that was pretty fascinating and culminated in an overturned conviction. As far as amusing stories go, a recent one would be working a surveillance in which we couldn't locate the subject at any of the locations he was supposed to frequent, then determined that was because he was in jail after pointing a gun at a cop. Makes it easier to keep an eye on him from there,certainly.

Q: From your time on your book tours, what's been a memorable moment?

Michael: There was a woman who raised her hand immediately when the Q/A period began and then asked, "Do you cook?" This was prompted, evidently, by a rumor that "young men don't usually cook." If there was a correlation to my writing, I have no idea what it was. I've also had a few distant family members appear at events.

Q. How do you like teaching?

Michael: I really enjoyed it a great deal, though I'm taking a break this fall because I'm doing a fair number of events. When the students are engaged, it is a blast, and a nice opportunity for me to pass along some of the things that I've learned are key to the craft. I think anyone who has had really great teachers, as I have, appreciate the opportunity to pass along those lessons.

Q: You write, you teach, you work for the detective agency, do you have any time for hobbies or other outside interests?

Michael: You know, I never feel as busy as I sound in summary. I suppose that's a good thing. I'm always engaged in something, and try to stay active -- hike a lot, lift weights, play some basketball and a very poor game of golf, things of that nature.

Q: At an event, you explained how you came up with your Russian character names; where did "Lincoln" come from? Any particular reason or source of his name?

Michael: There's no purpose for it at all but I can tell you exactly where I was when I came up with it: sixteen years old and walking my neighbor's dog while they were out of town. Can't say why it came to mind or why it stuck, but I thought it was a good character name and somehow I hung onto it for a few years. It seems there's a painter of some renown named Lincoln Perry.

Q. You have indicated that under the right circumstances, you would be willing to sell the movie rights to your books. If you found out you had an open-ended budget and the executives found it in their hearts to let you pick the actor of your choice for Lincoln and/or Frank, who would it/they be? Why?
Michael: I don't have anyone in mind for either, really. I'd just want a good cast. The actor would have to change the character dramatically from what exists in my mind, and I'd be interested to see how they did it.

Q: O.k., last question. There is a book out called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. What would be YOUR six-word memoir?

Michael:Can I have a seventh word? would be six words, right? I think that sums up most writers' mindsets.

And there you have it folks. In the words of Michael Koryta! Personally, I've been looking forward to the next WRITTEN words from Michael since last November. They will be here in the form of his fourth novel, Envy the Night, on August 5th. You can learn more about Michael, the novel, read an excerpt, all at his website. Keep an eye on that event schedule, too. If you have the chance to get out and meet him in person, it's time well spent.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be on the lookout for the next author in this Summer Q & A series! Happy Reading!


Beth July 9, 2008 at 12:17 AM  

your author has good taste in music...


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