Micheal Shean on his skills as a detective, self publishing vs. the houses, and his new novel, Bone Wires.
Bone Wires is set in the same world as your other novel, Shadow of a Dead Star. Are they part of a series or are they more of a set of companion novels?
Bone Wires is a companion novel, one which shares the same setting as Shadow of a Dead Star and the other upcoming novels of the Wonderland Cycle, which is Seattle of the late 21st century. There’s a lot of history in the setting that can be explored, and Bone Wires is an example of that.
What inspired Bone Wires‘ plot?
I’d been doing a lot of reading about the question of privitizing the police over in the United Kingdom, as well as essays on the prison-industrial complex that has established itself in this country. I’d already established the concept of Civil Protection in Shadow of a Dead Star, the corporation that runs the police in Seattle, and so I thought it would be interesting to explore that concept further through the eyes of an employee.
When you started writing, did you already have the Bone Wires‘ ending worked out?
I did, though like most of my books I know the beginning and the end but I know absolutely nothing about how I’m gonna get there until I write it out. That’s one of the things I love about the creative process!
Does it have an underlying message that you hope the readers grasp?
Well, the real message I’m putting out there is that it’s bad to let private businesses run vital civil agencies. You don’t have to go very far in order to see where the problems with that particular concept lie – don’t get me wrong, government doesn’t do a perfect job either, but when corporations get involved….
What are you working on next? Will it be a part of this same world?
I’ve just finished the second book in the Wonderland Cycle, which is called Redeye. I’m in the middle of a two-week hiatus until I start my next project, which may or may not be another Wonderland novel or something completely different. I have something like twelve or so lined out to be written, so it’s not like I’m running short on material!
If Bone Wires became a movie, who would you cast as Detective Daniel Gray?
I honestly really like Cilian Murphy, or someone who isn’t extremely well-known but can pull off calm and glacial while burning up on the inside. He can definitely pull that off, I think.
Do you have a method for developing your characters (a list of attributes, character sketches, etc.) or do you let them develop as you write?
I’m a really seat-of-the-pants kind of guy; the characters appear in my brain as I write them. Sometimes having a very organic process can get me in trouble, but I haven’t painted myself into a corner yet.
Do you write in genres other than Mystery and Sci-Fi?
Not yet, but I will. Pure horror, for example, and I’ve got a comedic novel I’ve thought of shopping around. People who’ve read it seem to really like it.
What are your thoughts on self publishing vs. using a publishing house?
Well I’ve done both, and I feel that they have their pluses and minuses – I think it really depends on how much work an author wants to put into the marketing and secondary production process, and how wide a net they want to cast in terms of circulation. I don’t think that traditional publishing is going anywhere, not even in its Big Six format, but I think that small press and self-publishing has real power and is here to stay.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. My good friend Tina Shelton’s got her first effort out, a sci-fi novel called The Corsican, so I intend to crack that open as soon as I’ve finished that.
Do you think you would make a good detective?
I’m told by others that I would, but I don’t know that I have an eye for detail. I certainly have a very strong sense of moral suspicion and so forth, but I can get pretty scattered sometimes. On the other hand, my wife seems to think I’d be too good of a detective – you know, one of those who ends up obsessed with the job. I figure she might be right. She usually is.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Well I’ve got a pretty seriously time-consuming day job, but when I’m not doing that or going on some random adventure with my wife, I like to paint or work with sculpture and such. I tend to stay pretty close to home – my big long commute ensures that – but man…I like getting out there, seeing things, meeting people. I really need to travel more often!
About Bone Wires
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.
Genre: Mystery/Science Fiction
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About Micheal Shean
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.
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Win one of 10 ebook copies of Bone Wires at this link. The giveaway runs until November 2, 2012.