Interview with J. Michael Best

What are you working on next?
Im currently wrapping up the 3rd book in The Badhorn Chronicles series. It's called "Wolves? Where?" and it goes back to a focus on Detective Raymond Montgomery as he recalls one of his more prolific cases, the one that really put him on the map. It features bikers, broads, Nazis, werewolves, and Nazi werewolves. Everything a good book should have. You don't have to have ready the first two to enjoy this story, but they might give you a good frame of reference for a few details.

After that, I'm working on completing a new detective/thriller script which features an up-and-coming rock diva, a hard boiled cop, and the diva's ...uhmm...extra-passionate fan.

I'm also developing another script which is basically a female Mad Max buddy cop film. Lots of sand, explosions, and bad jokes. Stay tuned!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I was put on this earth to create - whether its books, movies, music games, whatever. I love to create worlds and develop these worlds into full fledged things. I'm inspired to build the life I want and to do it on my own terms and to help others do the same. I truly believe that you can do whatever you want if you believe and take action. Plus I'm inspired by the fact that my mother and grandmother are still working and I want to take care of them. That propels me out of bed each morning.
What is your writing process?
Normally, I have a seed of an idea, and I just write. I might take half an hour or so to put the scene together and then just go at it. I don't worry too much about whether the writing is "good" or not (yes, we can tell, some of you are saying.), at least not at first. I just write and then after I finish the whole story, I got back over it again and again making corrections, cleaning things up, checking for continuity, etc. And then we have story.
Who are your favorite authors?
As a kid I read every Encyclopedia Brown, Hardy Boys, and Choose Your Own Adventure book I could get my hands on. Today, I still love William Gibson and all the cyberpunk stuff. I just really enjoy the vibe of that scene. Big fan of John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy, though I don't know if I could ever write like either of them. Recently, I've been reading a lot of Chandler and Hammett. Loving the hardboiled stuff.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small manufacturing town in Indiana. I think this influenced me to write big, out of this world type of stories because I was so bored there. I wanted to escape so bad! I've never been interested in writing realistic, everyday tales because I feel like I saw enough of those growing up. I witnessed enough tales of small town hopelessness and settling for everyday boredom. Why would I want to spend my time writing about that? I've always loved larger than life stories, music, and movies becuase I didn't know anyone like that where I was. Those people, they were like superheroes to me. I wanted to be a part of that life so bad and now I am.
Describe your desk
My desk is my creative altar. It's decorated with candles, flowers, and pictures of myself and my family. I have a small toy lamborghini that helps to remind me why I keep writing. I also produce music at my desk, so there are large speakers on either side of me that work great for cranking out some Melvins or Bohren & der Club of Gore or some binaural beats when I'm writing. Theres also an area where I keep my physical manuscripts because I love to make edits and read on the physical copy and an empty coffee cup and a big bottle of water.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing, I'm in my studio making music or producing movies. I also help run a boutique puppy supply company called Elite Puppy Club, focusing on accessories to show off just how awesome your puppy is. Or I might be at the gym working on my fitness. Just like Fergie.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote -or at least partially remember- was called "The Great Cookie Caper" and it featured some sort of cookie larceny. Later, I'd go on to create a series of very short stories called "George the Spectacular Flying Cow" which featured a radiated bovine flying around and saving the day. I'd draw the covers, do all the title pages, tried to make it look as real as possible. I still have them somewhere.
How do you approach cover design?
Find an artist who I think is awesome, give him a few ideas and a summary of the story, and then let him do that voodoo he does so well.
What do you read for pleasure?
Currently I love the series "Elephantmen" written by Richard Starkings and published by Image Comics. I love the noir/cyberpunk feel of it and the artwork is great as well. The last book I read was "Red Harvest" by Dashiell Hammett because I've been on a big hardboiled kick lately. Before that was "Child of God" by Cormac McCarthy. Very good, but very dark. Usually you'll find me some fantasy or sci-fi think in my hand though.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a nook, but plan to pick up a kindle, simply because I find most of my books on Amazon. I usually read on my phone, but, for me, I still prefer the physical copy.
Published 2015-01-26.
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