Today I’m please to welcome Michael Shean to Off the Page chatting about his new book Bone Wires.
Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in his work as a consequence. At the age of 16, Michael began to experience a chain of vivid nightmares that has continued to this day; it is from these aberrant dreams that he draws inspiration.
In 2001 Michael left West Virginia to pursue a career in the tech industry, and he settled in the Washington, DC area as a web designer and graphic artist. As a result his writing was put aside and not revisited until five years later. In 2006 he met his current fiancee, who urged him to pick up his writing once more. Several years of work and experimentation yielded the core of what would become his first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star (2011). Michael is currently signed with Curiosity Quills Press, who has overtaken publication of Shadow of a Dead Star and the other books of his Wonderland Cycle.
Find the Author:
1. Tell a little about yourself, what you do when you’re not writing, what are your aspirations for the future?
I’m a huge extroverted nerd, basically. I was born and raised in southern West Virginia, where I grew up a huge fan of science fiction and horror movies – not really much of a country boy, either. So I grew up a misfit and I really haven’t changed since then, and that just suits me fine. I don’t fit in with my current career, either, and I suppose that’s why I like to write so much; writers often never fit in, even with each other, and yet it works. That’s peace to me, man. That’s what I want.
2. When and why did you start writing?
I’ve really always been writing. I learned to read very very early as a child, and as early as first grade or so I was obsessed with creating stories. There’s never been any why to it, really, it’s just been something of a calling. Sort of an infection, really – it’s gotten inside of me and happily enough there’s no sort of cure for it!
3. If you could only read one book over and over again for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Bulfinch’s Mythology. I grew up on it, and nothing’s given me so much pleasure over the years as to sit down and crack it open from time to time.
4. Give us some back story about Bone Wires, where and when did you
I wrote Bone Wires as a serial novel, which was released on my publisher’s website before they’d signed me for the novels of the Wonderland Cycle. I wrote it as kind of a creative exercise between my first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star, and its sequel, Redeye. I wrote it over six months, from November 2011 to May 2012. As for where, it was written primarily on the train to and from work (I have a long commute) and at home when I could swing it. That’s usually a fairly tall order, but I guess I did all right.
5. What inspired your story?
Oh, I don’t know. I supposed I’d been reading about a potential trend toward the privatization of police in the United Kingdom, and I have a dim view of it. This sort of thing falls into the corporate-dominated future that the Wonderland Cycle is set in, so I thought I’d explore it – what kind of police protection can a civil population expect when profits eclipse public safety? What would it be like to work for a company like that? That’s what Bone Wires asks.
6. What was your favorite part of Bone Wires to write?
The relationship between Dan Gray, the protagonist, and the stripper, Angie Velasquez. Not to spoil the story, but it’s a very irrational sort of relationship – and for good reason, as it turns out. I like the idea that what looks like the sweetest of things can destroy you. In fact, that’s a major theme of my books in general: beautiful things that have at their core a terrible evil. I have a great distrust of things that look too lovely.
7. Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
I’m finishing up the second book in the Wonderland Cycle, which is called Redeye. When I’m done with that, I’ll be working on the third and final book in the Cycle, and following that I have something like ten novels that are due to be produced. Like I said, it’s kind of an incurable infection.
8. Are you a Pantser or Plotter? Why?
Plotter in that I know how the story will begin and how it will end, pantser in regard to everything in between. This writing thing is an organic process for me – I like being surprised as things play out. I want my characters and my events to have a life of their own, and this is the only way I know to make it happen.
9. Do you have any tricks to your trade, bottomless coffee, a magic pen, a special muse?
I have a muse, yeah. I’ll probably end up sounding like a delusional creature, but she’s real to me, and she damn near dominates my life at times – plagues me in my dreams, haunts my thoughts, that sort of thing. It would be easier if she were in the real world, I think, but then again I think my wife might object to it. Not that she’s terribly happy that there’s some woman lurking in my head that she can’t interact with, either!
10. If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be and why?
Oh, lord, I have no idea. I’ve been through an exciting enough past to be a main character. Who knows?
In the wasteland of commercial culture that is future America, police are operated not by government but by private companies.
In Seattle, that role is filled by Civil Protection, and Daniel Gray is a detective in Homicide Solutions. What used to be considered an important – even glamorous – department for public police is very different for the corporate species, and Gray finds himself stuck in a dead end job. That is, until the Spine Thief arrives.
When a serial killer begins harvesting the spinal tissue of corporate employees all over the city, Detective Gray finds himself plunged into the first truly major case of his career. Caught in a dangerous mix of murder, betrayal and conflicting corporate interest, Gray will find himself not only matching wits with a diabolical murderer but grapple with his growing doubt toward his employers in the dawning months of the American tricentennial.
A thrilling mystery set in the same world as the Wonderland Cycle, Bone Wires is a grim trip into the streets of the empty future.