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These photos are free to download and re-use.
Please credit the photographer, M. Donohue.
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- Email: mike AT mikedonohuebooks.com
- Website: www.mikedonohuebooks.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/mikedonohuebooks
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/@miked_mystery
Sell Sheet for The Salt House
Book Cover for The Salt House
Excerpt from THE SALT HOUSE
Sample Interview Questions
- What made you choose thrillers? What do you like about the genre?
- Where did the character of Max come from?
- How much research do you do for each book?
- What do you like about writing a series? Do you have plans to continue with Max?
- What do you like to read?
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Where did you get the idea for the Max Strong series?I wrote most of the first Max Strong book, Shaking the Tree, over a decade ago in 2009 and 2010. This was after the financial crisis and there was a lot of anger and tension in the world. This was also the height of peak TV and the rise of the anti-hero. Shows like The Shield, The Wire, Breaking Bad, or Justified were popular. I was interested in the mixing of those themes and moral shades of gray. No one ever thinks they are the villain. Max was born out of that. How would a criminal or immoral man react when he tries to do the right thing and it all goes very wrong? And through five books now, Max continues to ask those questions of himself. Where is that line for him personally? What are the consequences of his actions? How can he make amends?
What traits and other tidbits do you share with Max?If there is any of me in Max it comes through in his downtime or quieter moments. We both like to read and stay active and perhaps ponder the big cosmic questions as we lie awake at night. But after that, we are very different! I wouldn’t last ten minutes with Max on a job or trying to help someone one. I’m a very big rule follower, which makes writing these books a kick, but I’m the first one calling the police.
Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your real life experiences?Thankfully, truth is not stranger than fiction in these cases. I’ve never had the crazy experiences that I put Max through. The only part that is inspired from real-life is some of the settings. I’ve lived in Boston now for over twenty years so that sense of place was within easy reach for HOLLOW CITY and the two Max prequel novellas. For the past two summers, we’ve traveled to Prince Edward Island in Canada for vacation and just fell in love with place and I couldn’t resist using the province as a setting for TROUBLE WILL FIND ME. The sense of strong community, but also isolation was catnip for a thriller writer. Finally, I have still have a lot of family in Philadelphia and we visit often so I hope I did the city of brotherly love justice in the latest book.
What made you decide to self-publish?In addition to writing, I just love creating and learning new things. Back in 2011, there were few of the tools that exist today that make self-publishing so much easier, so that was part of the challenge. I wanted to write a book but I also wanted to figure out how to get it uploaded and working on this new thing Amazon had put out called a Kindle. I continue to self-publish today because I enjoy running a small business and there are always new tools, processes, and products to learn.
When you self publish, do you do it all yourself?My number one goal in self-publishing is to be indistinguishable from the traditionally publisher authors and the first unbreakable rule for that is to have a quality editor. I’ve been lucky to work with Melissa for the past four years and she has really helped level up the books and avoid embarrassing typos and grammar gaffes. After Melissa, is the team of early advance readers. One the best parts of self publishing is the direct feedback and relationships you develop with readers. I have a monthly newsletter and some great friendships have developed just in the back and forth that started from those emails.
Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?I love reading mysteries and thrillers almost as much as I enjoy writing them. In particular, I like John Sandford’s Prey and Virgil Flowers series both for the way he handles the cast of characters over time and his mix of humor, drama, and suspense. It’s a delicate balance to make work and I think he almost always nails it. I also enjoy the prose of Dennis Lehane, the intricate plotting of Richard Powers, and the small, everyday, yet sometimes devastating observations of Laura Lippman and Louise Penny.
Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?I’ve always admired the way Tana French’s Dublin Murder Series uses one side character from the previous book and they become the focal point of the next book. I’ve gotten more than one comment about a detective in Hollow City and what she might be doing now. I think her and Max may cross paths again in the next book and if she has more to say, she might get a few books of her own.