In October, I had the pleasure of reviewing Michael Bradley's novel, Black and White and Dead All Over. If you missed my book review, you can go back to this post and read it. I enjoyed it a great deal. Mr.Bradley is currently on a blog tour with his novel and today I am hosting a tour stop with an interview.
Hi Mr. Bradley, thanks so much for joining us today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in southern New Jersey, the part of the state that is NOT influenced by New York. My friends from high school could certainly tell a few good tales about my writing from back then. I had this terrible habit of putting all of my friends into the stories that I would write. I also wrote a little poetry back then, although it wasn’t very good.
Eventually, I moved into radio broadcasting, working as an on-air personality at stations in New Jersey and West Virginia. After eight years, I ran out of things to say, and made the transition into IT, which is where I have been ever since. My job keeps me on the road quite a bit. So, this year, in order to stave off some boredom in my hotel rooms, I started writing a bunch of noir detective short stories, which eventually became my first book, The Case Files of Doyle & McCraken. Since then, the words have just flowed.
My wife and I now live just outside of Newark, Delaware with our two little dogs, Simon and Brandy.
I thought your novel, Black and White and Dead All Over, was a wonderful read. Where did the inspiration come from for your story?
Oddly enough, the inspiration came from an old house in Newark. This house has been boarded up, unoccupied for years. I would drive past it about once or twice a week. It became a fascination for me. I kept wondering what it was like inside, who might have lived there, and what secrets it might hide. My imagination started churning, and eventually, I came up with the idea of the murder that became the basis for the book.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think the hardest part for me was sketching out the ideas, the storyline, and the characters. Once I have that, the actually writing seems to come fairly easy. But, getting that initial outline of where the story is going to go and what is driving the characters is definitely hard.
Are there any similarities between you and your main character, Brian Wilder?
There are probably more differences than similarities. For one, he has more hair. J You know, one sometimes hears about parents living vicariously through their children. To a certain extent, I feel like I did that with Brian Wilder. He gave me a chance to explore things in life differently than I can as myself. Brian has had his share of tragedy, and I found myself, during the writing process, almost feeling pains that I myself have never had to experience. To a certain extent, Brian Wilder, for me, represents my ideal hero. He isn’t perfect. He has those areas in his life that define who he is, and no matter how painful those moments may be, they are eternally a part of him. They define him, define his character, and define his actions. Perhaps, to a certain degree, Brian Wilder is what I long to be. Not so much from the perspective of career and lifestyle, but longing to reach a point where my actions, words, and beliefs are more defined by experience than money, fame, or power. I guess that could be a bit counter productive for an author.
Did you learn anything from writing your book? If so, what was it?
Yes. I learned that when you think you are done editing, you’re not done editing. In all seriousness, I think I learned how to step into other people’s shoes. When writing about a character’s reactions to certain situations, I found that I wanted to write about how I would react in those situations. And, I needed to step back and learn how to become someone else. I needed to learn how to get deep into my characters minds and really think like them, and not myself. It meant learning how to be a fiftyish police chief, a newspaper reporter with a tragic past, and even a twenty something female punk photographer. Creating characters is a lot harder than it seems.
Who designed the cover of Black, White, and Dead All Over?
I designed the cover for the book. I just started playing around one Sunday afternoon on my Mac. Then a few hours later, I had the first draft of what would eventually become the cover for the book.
What are your current projects?
I am currently working on the final edits of the follow-up to BLACK and WHITE and DEAD ALL OVER, which is called Deadlines. I am also in the process of writing a little something that I am calling Synchronicity, which is more of a supernatural mystery involving a curse with an evil connection between Delaware and Scotland.