New York Times bestselling and award-winning novelist Michael Lister is a native Floridian best known for his John Jordan "Blood" series. As our Author of the Day, Lister tells us all about his book, Bloodshed.
Please give us a short introduction to what Bloodshed is about.
It's a mystery involving a school shooting. I wanted to write a novel that was a mystery and a thriller -- so the school shooter wears a mask and this later discards it and walks out of the school with the other students, and John Jordan has to figure out who was responsible before he does it again.
What inspired you to write about a school shooting?
It's just such a heartbreaking and surreal event that I had to write about it so I could understand it better. I did a ton of research and it's in the book.
Tell us more about John Jordan. What makes him tick?
He's a detective and a man of faith. He really is trying to be the best man he possibly can no matter the situation, and though he often fails he never stops trying. He's a family man and cares very deeply about his family, his friends, and his community. He tries to help people deal with the tragedy and trauma of murder and crime and not just solve the mystery.
How has your background in theology influenced your writing?
My emphasis was always on story -- theology, religion, spirituality, mythology -- they're all just stories that help us live deeper, more meaningful lives.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I also do a lot of inspirational and motivational speaking and teaching, counseling, singing, and music. And I play a pretty mean game of basketball for a middle-aged man. :-)
How did you conceive of the unique way the story is told?
Through research into the phenomenon of school shootings. I've included a lot of actual evidence and experience of those who have been involved in them -- from all sides students, teachers, law enforcement, even the shooters themselves.
Readers report that this is a book that made them think and stayed with them in a haunting manner. Was that your intention?
Absolutely. That's something I attempt every time, but I feel like this book does that as well as any I've written.
In this book you’re dealing with so many difficult themes – as a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility? If so, how do you deal with this?
I feel a tremendous responsibility, and I hope that comes through in every book.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Start first thing and write throughout the day and night, weaving in life, family, and friends, so I can keep the momentum going -- stay inside the fictive dream until the story is told.
What are you working on right now?
A new mystery thriller inspired by the Madeleine McCann case.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website: www.MichaelLister.com and by signing up for my Readers' Group. I sent out a weekly email with recommendations and inspirations.