Jon Michaelsen is a writer of Gay Mystery, Thriller & Suspense fiction and Speculative fiction within the sub-genres of Mystery, Suspense & Thriller.
He born in southwest Georgia, his family moved to Atlanta, where he remains today. Retired after twenty-five years in corporate travel management, he now spends his time writing. His first novel in the Kendall Parker Mystery series, Pretty Boy Dead, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Gay Mystery and his novella, Prince of the Sea, earned the 2017 Best Gay Men’s Fiction Award for Gay Fiction by a Goodreads Reading Group. He has published several short stories, many of which appear in anthologies.
Michaelsen’s second book in the Kendall Parker Mystery series, The Deadwood Murders, will be published in December 15, 2019.
Link to purchase The Deadwood Murders
He lives with his husband of 33 years, and two monstrous terriers.
Contact him at Michaelsen.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deadwood Murders (Kendall Parker Mystery)
Homicide Detective Kendall Parker is recruited by the FBI to go undercover as bait to catch a savage killer targeting Atlanta’s gay community. A mutilated conventioneer. A trail of bodies with the same grim signature. Gay men brutally tortured before their deaths. Homicide Detective Kendall Parker isn’t sure he wants to return to the police force. His last case ended with the arrest of an innocent man for murder, and his long-time homicide partner was killed in the process. Still on leave from APD, Sgt. Parker has gotten sober, smoke-free, and is rebuilding a life alone. However, the arrival of a brazen killer cuts short Parker’s sabbatical. His new homicide commander summons him to police headquarters with a direct plea from the mayor: go undercover with the FBI to flush out the predator. With the gay community under siege, Parker must prowl Atlanta’s gay bars and late-night dance clubs as bait in hopes of luring the killer. Award-winning Investigative reporter Calvin Slade is also on the trail. Aided by a hotshot young reporter, Slade soon uncovers a horrifying clue law enforcement has kept from the public. But, will chasing the hottest story of his career put him directly in the path of the savage beast.
Brad Shreve 0:00
This episode Jon Michaelsen talks about a group you’ll definitely want to join. And Justene offers another thrilling recommendation.
Welcome to Gay Mystery Authors with Brad Shreve featuring interviews with some of the most renowned authors and up and coming talent in LGBTQ mysteries, suspense and thrillers. Plus, Justene is here with her weekly recommendation.
Come on, Brad. We should get going. It’s got to be just quick and easy to start.
Brad Shreve 0:42
Okay. Yes, you are. I’m putting putting this off too long. So let’s just get right down to business. You said today that you’re going to be talking about Meg Perry.
I really liked her Jamie Brodie, Mr. This is a 19 book series, which you know, compared to Frank Butterfield’s 36 book series is not so long. But if you can drop in at any point, but you might want to start at the beginning. They are now on sale. The early ones are now on sale for $2.99 unlike when I bought all of them at 6 or 7.99 the most recent one which I’m going to talk about today is called Deserted to Death. A Jamie Brodie mystery and it’s 19 Jamie and his husband Pete are it’s not a romance. They get together some point in the early books. But the relationship is a is a layered onto the story and it’s not a meet fall in love, conflict kind of thing and the books and with them getting around about daily life. In this one they have bought a set And home in the desert, which they’re trying to make self sustainable. And they’re out building a greenhouse. And like, Jamie is a librarian at UCLA, and he’s inherited some money, but he’s trying not to spend it. As you know, as you know, people who win the lottery, they were out there and they spend everything and all sudden they’re out of money a year later. I don’t know if I do that. You think you do that?
Brad Shreve 2:26
Based on what I’ve learned from people that have done it, I think I would hire people to control my money right away.
And that’s and that’s what he did. And but this, so he’s still working as a librarian uses his research skills to solve many of these cases. But this one, they’re out there and they’re setting up their new second home where they plan to retire. They’re building greenhouses. They’re taking one minute showers and using the buckets of show water to water, the cactus. outside, and they’re trying to settle into this newly built solar power house. And one morning he goes out to run with the dog and finds a dead body in the middle of the street. naked, broken bones and bloodied feet.
Brad Shreve 3:19
Oh, that’s, that’s not good.
Not good at all.
Maybe or maybe not connected with that they’re getting harassed because their game starts with a note in their mailbox mailbox, which is misspelled, you know, Queers go home and queers misspelled q-u-er, and then people plant crosses on their lawn, and it starts to escalate from there. So, in this book, the relationship was a little more pronounced because they’re trying to settle into their new home and people are coming to visit them with the mystery is so good. That grips you, brings you into the book. And at the end, there’s a thrilling and there’s a thrilling solution to the mystery. And I can’t tell you more than that. Although Jamie is the one that solves. And as a result of that, that thrilling solution which which may involve some violence. In this one gets my thrilling recommendation,
Brad Shreve 4:29
thrilling recommendation. The second one, I think, our second
Thrilling recommendation. And if you want to start with one of the earlier books, but you don’t want to, you want to drop it in the middle or you want to start a few books before this one, Haunted to Death, which is book 17 where they go off to a Scottish cancel, which is haunted. That’s a trope I really like you know, traveling to another country, the Scottish country. side of thing and a Catholic stumbling upon a murder. One of my favorite tropes and Haunted to Death really does it well.
Brad Shreve 5:09
Okay, now to put things in perspective, you said that she currently has a sale going that all her books are $2.99
all book a $2.99 or $3.99. Do you know when that goes till I have no idea they may actually be permanently discounted to that. But I was surprised when I went to look at them that they were cheaper than when I had started buying them.
Brad Shreve 5:30
Okay, just for those that may listen down the road. This is Thanksgiving week in the United States in 2019. So as of right now, their books are running to $2.99 and 3.99. And you can check and maybe they’re still running that way.
Yeah, considering it’s 19 books. That’s a significant, significantly lower cost. So I really urge you to get them now or at least get the the first one or maybe start with the most recent one. You’ll enjoy them. You’ll enjoy Brad I think the puzzles there, a lot of them are puzzle mysteries, the guy who drops out of the sky into the nuclear lab.
Brad Shreve 6:12
So now you’re giving me another one to read.
No, giving another 19 to read Brad.
Brad Shreve 6:19
I know Meg from the game mystery thriller suspense group on Facebook. So I’ve been wanting to read her books. So this may be a good way to start.
By the way Haunted to Death is on sale for 99 cents.
Brad Shreve 6:32
Oh, okay. That might be the place to start.
That might be the place to start.
Brad Shreve 6:38
Well, any any news from Requeered Tales?
Requeers this week is putting out a literary book. It’s not a mystery, but it’s very enjoyable. It’s makes for great Thanksgiving reading. There are some holidays a young boy comes of age in the 1960s during the Vietnam War, and he has a wide group of eccentric relatives where he goes to stay the summer spends holidays there, and there’s religious icon agree people with war memorabilia from the Second World War. He’s got a couple of cousins that give him a hard time and along the way he discovers he’s gay. I did that’s, you know, some people have a some people have a moment where they realize, you know, where they suddenly know. That’s what it is. They see somebody across the room ago, oh, I’m gay, and then try to spend time figuring out what to do with that he slowly becomes aware of it.
Brad Shreve 7:36
So just before we wrap up, let’s get the name of Meg Perry’s book that you’re reviewing.
Deserted to Death, a Jamie Brody mystery book 19. And then the Requeered Tales book is The Genius of Desire by by Brian Bouldary.
Brad Shreve 7:54
Okay, well, I am off. I am interviewing Jon Michaelsen today Yeah. And who Great talk that we’ve had about Gay-Mystery-Thriller-Suspense group on Facebook that he created, as well as a book series. So, so good interview.
Talk to you later Brad.
Brad Shreve 8:11
Okay, see you next week.
interact with other crime fiction fans and authors in our Gay-Mystery-Thriller Suspense Fictiongroup on Facebook. Links are on our website, gaymysteryauthors.com.
Brad Shreve 8:34
My guest in this episode is Jon Michaelsen Jon, it’s good to have you here today.
Jon Michaelsen 8:38
It’s great to be here with you.
Brad Shreve 8:41
Now, for those who are not familiar with Jon, he writes the popular Kendall Parker mystery series of which the first novel, Pretty Boy Dead was selected as a Lambda Literary Award finalist for gay mystery. The second novel in the series, The Deadwood Mysteries, will be released in December 2019. Next month. I met Jon through the Gay-Mystery-Thriller-Supsense Facebook group, which Jon created six years ago. Correct?
Jon Michaelsen 9:09
Absolutely began that September in 2013.
Brad Shreve 9:14
Well, the group is great, I found through the group, a lot of rich diversity, pervasive number of books more than I thought were out there. And it was also the inspiration for this podcast. So I want to thank you for that.
Jon Michaelsen 9:28
Thank you. I’m just I’m very pleased with the success of the group. When I started, it was just a few other folks that all had the same interest, particularly in the gay history. suspense genre has grown significantly since then, to where we opened it up to more than just the gay sexuality, but include all groups, but focusing continually on mystery thriller and suspense.
Brad Shreve 9:55
Yes, yeah. If you want to go a little bit further describe for our listeners, what the group is.
Jon Michaelsen 10:00
What we mainly focus on is the three sub genres as I mentioned, the reason I started the group long ago is as a writer in having my first book out, a didn’t find many groups, particularly on Facebook, which is where most of my marketing and your social activity at the time was in. just felt there wasn’t enough geared toward the genre I love so much. I almost exclusively read mysteries and thrillers suspense novels, both traditional mainstream and gay as well. I have since discovered some pretty awesome lesbian writers, and transsexual writers too. So I like the whole genre and the sub genre. I prefer more geared toward the mystery part of it than focusing on romance and all I was finding in 2013 were a lot of groups focused on more of the I guess, for lack of a better term male/male, mystery thriller suspense romance with heavy romance. And that just wasn’t quite hitting it for me, and wanting to be able to discuss more titles than the ones that I could find on my own since starting the group. Like you said, there are so many more than I realized existed at the time. A lot of writers out there floundering, also looking for Where is a place that we can concentrate on the area that we write for the most part, and here we are.
Brad Shreve 11:29
And it was very helpful for me, as I said, When did you develop your interest in mysteries?
Jon Michaelsen 11:36
Going back to when I was a child, very much into the Hardy Boys Nancy Drew, were the ones that drew me in very early on even cartoons that would get my attention such as Jonny Quest, as well, Scooby Doo, because they had the edge of mystery to them or thriller, and that was just something that that drew me in When you’re that young and of course, that is what’s influencing you. You don’t have too much exposure to deeper mystery and so forth. So I I looked for it. I went for the looking for the Agatha Christie’s and Stephen King. Ray Bradbury, you know was one of my favorites. And of course, unbeknown, or often not liked by my parents was speaking, staying up to watch Alfred Hitchcock. So a lot of influence there. I love the regular TV shows in the evenings, Mannix anything that had to do with mystery. Can’t even think of his name now the most popular one in the evening. Perry Mason. Absolutely. So all of these really were a draw to me and at around 10 years old, I began wanting to write my own stories, because I used to read them quite often. My grandmother was a lover of fiction love to read always wanted to be a writer herself, but through having to raise two girls alone at age 15, you know, with the first child and 18 with the second child still alone, that was very hard back in those days in the 50s excuse me the 40s with my mom, that was very difficult for her. So she gave up her dreams and raised a family and we used to sit in the evenings when she was ready for bed, discussing stories just telling stories off the top of her head. And that’s how I started.
Brad Shreve 13:33
Well, one thing I don’t know if you know about Perry Mason is the earliest Perry Mason novels. He was much more of a hard boiled. He was still a lawyer, but he acted like a hard boiled detective and he had no problem kicking ass.
Jon Michaelsen 13:48
Completely different from the TV series. Yes, I read a few of those as well.
Brad Shreve 13:53
Yeah, it’s very interesting. Well, eventually the books he did transition more into what the series is, but I When I first found those and start reading them, I was really surprised.
Jon Michaelsen 14:05
I would agree with you that that was that was a surprise to me as well. And I think that’s why I gravitated so much to uh… starts with H and I can’t think of his name that pretty much the pioneer of gay mysteries was pretty fantastic. Not hearing before him. So we’re a lot like Michael Nava and Greg Heron and say, in fact, a new company is now currently releasing his books. Hansen. Joseph Hansen. There you go. Yes, we releasing his books both in electronic ebook and excitingly audio book. So I have actually purchased a lot of the audio books to begin going back from the very beginning listening to those again, the audio because I enjoy that. Once I’ve read the book. I pick up So much more. And it’s completely different reading, you know, hearing experience, but it’s awesome to do that. It is not uncommon for me to purchase a book that’s also available via audio and go back and forth.
Brad Shreve 15:16
Oh, so your writers dream.
Jon Michaelsen 15:19
I love listening to the ones that are produced by Greg. Excuse me? Yes, Greg Heron, as well as Gregory Ashe, Michael Nava. I just I really enjoy going back to listen to those when I’ve read the books, especially like Heron or Nava when I read books years ago, and being able to enjoy them now that they’re coming out on audio is just a completely different experience.
Brad Shreve 15:45
Well, kind of touching on this. How do you feel about the state of game mysteries today?
Jon Michaelsen 15:52
To me, it feels that they’ve gained in popularity, and that’s one thing that I just felt wasn’t as great in the 90s I think they hit their peak, just my experience with some of the names that I’ve already mentioned their books during that time and they’re long series. During that time, I think Greg Heron had two particular you know, different series, Nava pretty much the one and other sprinkled throughout. And like the new books that are being rereleased for a new generation Grant Michaels books that Requeered Tales have been coming out with working with the need executor of the estate to return those to current readers, which is fantastic. And I understand they’re moving in that direction to get a lot more of those old series that have disappeared. And so after they began to lose some steam in the 90s, and in the early 2000s, I think we had a gap of lack of artists that were being published by the mainstream publishers, the big time publishers, you know, the big five And then you had the, you know, the legacy. Small publishers that were going out of business, like Allison books, had moved to publishing less of the gay and lesbian genre. And so they began disappearing. And I think a lot of us went back and rereading the old ones that we enjoyed so much, because we had them in paperback or hardback, like john Morgan Wilson. That’s another one that was just I thought was an excellent writer. But eventually his contract ran out and there was a new publisher, small publisher picked up the first four, but not the latter eight. And, you know, eventually ebooks hit and that just exploded with new readers, particularly of the younger generation, more of the next years and the millennials within that time range and it just exploded to a point I think that helps There’s been some foothold. And I’d like to think that the game mystery thriller, suspense group help direct people to a certain place that they could find, particularly those sub genres that they’d like to read.
Brad Shreve 18:14
So you see a positive outlook for the future of the genre?
Jon Michaelsen 18:18
I do I really do. I’ve seen so many more artists, become known, get recognized for that. And I’ve actually seen some move in that direction, as perhaps they were in a different direction based on where the market was of the day, whether it be science fiction or more of the romance, human male/male romance side so we’re seeing some strong mysteries that are being written and put out today from people like Josh Lanyon and Gregory Ashe, Marshall Thornton Mark McNease, you know, these are some people David Linden know all of these have been either awarded Lambda literary awards or have been recognized through finalists, mods and so forth. RE Redmond is one of the ones that comes to mind. One that I’ve read recently, Bradshaw
Is it RE Bradshaw?
Brad Shreve 19:14
RE Bradshaw, we had her on a couple of couple weeks ago.
Jon Michaelsen 19:17
I listened to the podcast and I thought it was just phenomenal. I think one of the things that caught me that stayed with me for a few days is I felt like she was inside my head listening to me, talking about how the characters live in her head. And she lives with them day in day in and day out, and she just has to get them down. And, you know, out of her head so that she could share this with people. And I have always thought that way. They’ve lived in my head for years before they ever made it to paper as it were.
Brad Shreve 19:50
Well, you know, you talked a lot about some of the old writers and I think Michael craft was on the show and he pointed out that gay novels in general, were becoming more popular with the big publishers towards the late 70s into the early 80s. And unfortunately, that seemed to just suddenly stop with the AIDS crisis.
Jon Michaelsen 20:13
I was about to suggest that I think just from my own, you know, non scientific view of growing up there in that timeframe, which was so horrible for many of us that were growing up through that period and losing so many friends on a daily basis, and regular basis, it really hit the arts significantly, and we lost a lot of very good writers early on in their careers. Michael craft, particularly his series with Stan Kraychick, remember
Kraychick primary check whether was lighter on the mystery sort of reminded me a little bit of the Murder She Wrote, but with a gay protagonist and those who are light airy and fun at a time that was so tough to live through. So books became an escape. I think a lot of the books during that timeframe that were gaining popularity were set in large, big locations, you know, like Hollywood or with the Los Angeles with the celebrities and popular people. And when they started moving out into other areas like Chicago, Greg Heron and New Orleans, that’s where they really grabbed my attention. And Michael Nava when he went into other places like West Hollywood and really show what it was like during that time frame, and a lot of those books are available again today. readers can go back and basically look, read them as almost historical to understand the times.
Brad Shreve 21:50
I know you touched on quite a few writers, but specifically who are some LGBT Mystery Writers that inspired you
Jon Michaelsen 22:01
Michael Nava definitely Greg Heron and and I was inspired as well by john Morgan Wilson those were probably the the biggest at the time when I was really focusing in on mystery there were other people more mainstream publishing that have since become more known to the gay and lesbian group such as Patricia…can’t think her name she’s one of the biggest thriller writers right now that’s got our line it’ll come to me in a minute was a you know she’s the profile are not profiler but she works with bones you know the bone graveyard Cornwell can think of her name pictures. These and of course much later in her career partition on Warren came out and all the as a lesbian and all those most of her books follow more of a traditional gay Kwazii romantic genre Some of her books are very thrilling and can be more of that Suspense Thriller certainly like the front runner in my opinion, and can easily cross the genre.
Brad Shreve 23:10
Well, when you became inspired to write mysteries of your own,
Jon Michaelsen 23:15
well, I can say that I’ve always been writing them. So it’s more like when did I become inspired to at least let someone else read what I wrote. A lot of that had to do with I had fully planned to be a writer in my early career. Once I finished high school straight into college. I skipped grade so I was only 17 in college and couldn’t run around with all of the 18 year old 18 year old folks and go to bars. So I spent my time writing. Fully anticipated doing this I wanted to be a journalist, so I went through college with a journalism minor I majored in English and life got in the way between my father was killed in an accident boating accident when I was my last year in college 22 And it disrupted everything in life, from family to that whole period where the immediate family just sort of crawls into themselves and protect everyone that’s around my mom, my sister, we were suddenly alone. And that was a very tough time, you know, straight out of college would right into just a regular nine to five or, at that time, it was mostly waiting tables, tending bar. So working late at nights, writing took a backseat and continued to take a backseat for a long time when on the side, I would work with freelance writing some short stories, articles, features for just local magazines or local newspapers. So I always kept my foot into the writing genre, but I needed to put food on the table. So I continued in the corporate realm, found myself and travel and for the last almost 20 years of my career within the corporate travel side was working And I’m retired from American Express did not feel that the time was right until I actually retired from American Express to begin reaching out, sending whatever it and also spent all that time reading a lot researching and just getting better.
Brad Shreve 25:18
Well considering your extensive knowledge of gay mystery in the history gay mysteries. First I want to tell you that you clearly were the right person to great a Facebook group dedicated to gay mysteries. But I want to ask you, what’s your favorite underappreciated novel?
Jon Michaelsen 25:37
Oh, wow, it would be actually it’d be a horror novel. And my favorite under appreciate a horror novel is Steam by Jay B laws. Jay B Laws lost his battle with AIDS. years ago. In the 90s. He had entered a contest a writing contest first novel writing contest. That was sponsored by lambda literary as well as a I think it was a light bookstore. I may be wrong about that. But I think it was at a California bookstore.
Brad Shreve 26:13
Yeah, I think we’re in San Francisco. I’m not sure the name
Jon Michaelsen 26:16
You’re correct and sponsored also by a publisher that would publish the winning entry and that was seen by Jay B laws. It is the most horrific horror novel that features gay protagonists in characters that I had ever read to the date and I read it on original release in 1991. While I was on the road, traveling to my wonderful corporate job, and got a hold of that book and started reading in the evenings and you wanted to hide it away. You wanted to keep it separate for you or was that scary to me at the time, so that I would say that’s the most under appreciated book an author that we lost far before his time, he’s so talented.
Brad Shreve 27:02
Yeah, I think it’s almost a running joke on the show. Because every week I’m like, Oh, I need to add this one to my list. And if that’s really true, but considering that it’s not a mystery novel, but another genre, it’s probably one I definitely should look into because I do need to expand my horizons a little bit.
Jon Michaelsen 27:20
It is not mystery, but it has mystery in it.
Brad Shreve 27:23
Your first mystery novel was Pretty Boy Dead. Is that correct?
Jon Michaelsen 27:27
That was my first published full length novel. Yes.
Brad Shreve 27:30
Okay. And that was the first Kendall Parker mystery. Correct. So tell us about Kendall Parker and his story.
Jon Michaelsen 27:37
Ironically, the character lived in my head for 20 plus years. I always knew that I wanted this character that I had been building, carrying with me for so long. At some point when I was ready to get it down on paper. I would say I began writing this 10 times easy over a period of 10 years. years just trying to get the character right and flushing them out in the right circumstances that I felt was appropriate. And I wanted someone that came up with not all the bells and whistles provided to them, certainly not a silver spoon, considered a throwaway. In a difficult single mother family situation I wanted to one broken without a direction and a loss for what to do with his life early on, but largely what was causing him to fail at everything that he tried was because he would not accept being gay. He had gone through such a hard time in his life. His mom was an alcoholic. He was raised have to take care of himself. yet he’s a big guy, he’s six feet 230 pounds. So it did not fit what he had always been shown in various media was told etc. He didn’t fit the stereotypical male, gay male. So that’s why I wanted to write I wanted someone damage to would go into it to, to try and learn and understand and eventually accept. So when the first book starts out, not only is he in the closet as a homicide detective with the Atlanta police department, 10 year veteran, he’s a sergeant. He’s had great career have a very storied career within the department. And one of the most successful homicide detectives in closing cases within the department and he catches a case of the game man murdered in Piedmont Park Atlanta, which is one of the most famous parks within our city has a history back in the 80s and 90s. And even today of the tree trails, and the park itself after dark and the men that would go in and seeking affection or just an opportunity to be with others like themselves. So he catches this case and grows increasingly frustrated that the police department, his superiors, do not give it the attention that he feels it should be given. And it becomes very personal to,
Brad Shreve 30:18
you know, I think all of us are have been broken in either small or big ways. And I think that’s why broken characters tend to be very popular.
Jon Michaelsen 30:28
I agree with you there very much. I think we identify quite often particularly as a gay person, a character that has experienced such a difficult life and then to watch them grow, fail, except and ultimately on the other side come out better in their growth process feeling better about themselves. That’s just a story I wanted to tell.
Brad Shreve 30:53
Well, on a side note, when I was younger and lived on the East Coast, I spent quite a bit of time in Atlanta and was familiar with Piedmont Park I’m unfortunately wasn’t familiar with it in the way that you mentioned. I guess I guess I missed out.
Jon Michaelsen 31:08
I would say to you that was sort of a local thing to know.
I will admit back in I think it was a 90s you remember before internet really became a thing? Yeah Those of us of that age knew and were aware of the the BBS is the bulletin boards that existed online as a way to touch base with people or dial up with a you know little modem that made all those noises before you connect them. And it became quite popular nationally at that point in even internationally that the tree trails were a place that you could go and meet people and very quickly enjoy yourself. So as you can imagine, the Atlanta Police Department began busting folks for solicitation or etc. You know, it became a big thing in the 90s. The other got to learn to read the boards. What’s amazing to me is when you think of Okay, let’s jump 20 years later Here we are in 2019, almost 2020. And you still find and see the stories in local media of people getting busted in the park, for just that very reason. When you realize it’s so much more open today, in acceptance, particularly in very large cities like Atlanta, Atlanta has been considered for quite some time as the gay Mecca in the southeast, along with Miami, but at the same time, you still have a certain segment that are just like we were at the time that we came out, experiencing, not wanting to accept yet or for whatever reason, feeling the need to hide and be secretive. And they still seek those places.
Brad Shreve 32:52
I think there will always be that segment. Despite the internet, pick somebody up in five minutes on the internet, we have Grinder and Growler, there’s always going to be a segment that just really enjoys that whole park atmosphere, as well as like the bath bath house atmosphere.
Jon Michaelsen 33:09
Absolutely. It’s the thrill to you know, it’s exactly real and the
the frightening aspect of it.
Brad Shreve 33:19
Well, in December, you’ll release the second Kendall Parker mystery, The Deadwood Murders. And can you can you give us some details,
Jon Michaelsen 33:27
and I am extremely excited for this book finally, to be available. I’ve got to thank my loyal fans that read the first book from the very beginning, pushing me proud of me always checking in, excited to read the next book. I tease them along the way with some shorts or an excerpt here and there and unfortunately, the book has been delayed so long, frankly, will be six years since the first book released almost sit same timeframe when while to the press first released pretty boy dead in late October 2013. And here we are 2019 Six years later and around December 6th, I say around because if the book is available prior to that, I will go ahead and release it is currently in the final read a proofing, I guess that’s what you call it. So the target date is December six, it will be released exclusively through Amazon initially, and then perhaps other places thereafter as well as in print. And so I had planned initially to have that release earlier this year in February but unfortunately suffered some life experiences some life challenges both with myself but more so with my husband from health standpoint. So that became my priority. And things just kept getting pushed forward. I also had found the need in late 2018 to find another publisher, the third publisher I was with, I needed to move on. And so that’s when I finally made the transition to self publish.
Brad Shreve 35:10
I know you put a lot of research in your Kendall Parker stories we we had talked about this before. Tell me about that process.
Jon Michaelsen 35:18
I do. Thank you for asking, probably at the drudge of my editor, and some of my beta readers, but I do a tremendous amount of research. And I think it’s because one I love research and one of the rare people who write fiction that enjoy the research as much as writing the story. And it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed all of history. I love looking back and researching. As I said, I wanted to be a journalist at one point which required quite a lot of research to be on to them formulate a story that you wanted to tell or frame it in a way that requires your knowledge.
Brad Shreve 36:00
Well, just so our listeners know, I know one of the folks that helped you with some of your research is a former Atlanta police officer.
Jon Michaelsen 36:09
And thanks for bringing that up actually wanted to mention that one of the ways that I felt I could get most real listed in sharing what really happens, particularly because I’ve had people come back to me who have read the first book or have beta, read the second book, saying that that’s not, you know, these are different times. Now, you know, sounds like you’re talking about something that happened in the 90s. When you talk about all of the bigotry and prejudices that go on within the department, and they’re shocked to realize and understand that is really true, continually to this day. We’re Southern. Even though we’re very large city, there are a lot of prejudices and bigotry that that cut very deep in the south, and particularly within the police department, the first responder department the kwazi traditional macho career fields, So I wanted to be as realistic as possible. I knew no one that was within that industry. I did become a friend of a writer that was a retired LA cop, who had 30 plus years through a writing group more than probably 10 – 15 years ago, about 15 years ago. We actually published with the same publisher at the time. I got a lot of information on the first book from David Sullivan is his name he retired police patrolling 30 plus years with LA and various other agencies. But for the second book, I wanted to get closer to home and be realistic with the Atlanta police department. So I reached out to the media relations folks at the Atlanta police department with with an idea I have the story I want to write. It does feature prominently the Atlanta police department within it, it’s fiction, but I want it to be realistic as possible. Are you open to me speaking Getting insight of the department from your gay lesbian media liaison. And that’s how I met the gentleman that has helped me quite a bit. He’s now retired was not at the time. His name is Brian King-Sharp. It used to be Brian Sharp but he married his husband, also a former Atlanta police department. patrolman, retired as well. And they met while they were both cops but not necessarily on the job.
Brad Shreve 38:31
And I don’t know if you know that we are going to have Brian on as a guest to talk about his history in the police department as well as helping writers with their research. Coming up to I think in a month or so.
Jon Michaelsen 38:44
That is superb. No, I did not know that. But I think excellent choice. Brian was terrific to work with, both with scenarios providing you with chapters of my novel as I was writing to help What I was assuming from a functional standpoint in whatever research I did the most realistic as possible I wanted to give the reader the realistic view of what could happen through bigotry and prejudices that existed and to to meet Brian as well as his husband now to meet both of them and become friends with a with become personal friends at this point.
Brad Shreve 39:26
Well, now is the time in our show that you’ve that I know you know what’s coming, where I asked the awkward questions writers get. And so what I’m gonna do is I’m going to spin the wheel here.
Okay, this question, I think to a reader will not seem like an awkward question. But to writer it frequently is, and the question for you is, Who do you base your character after?
Jon Michaelsen 40:00
You know, I’ve had that question quite a bit from people that read what I’ve written in the past, even from family members as they’re reading, I give them the opportunity to read the book before publication, and particularly my mother and my aunt, who are big fans and have been for years, even when I was not publishing, and they’ve asked me the same, you know, are you writing yourself into these stories or he wish you were or, you know, some, you know, lack of a better term, just blowing door in our hero that you want to be. And I can’t say it’s of me at all, no, but my life experiences are definitely within my characters. I am of a certain age. We’ve been through a lot You and I were very similar in each very close. And so I use a lot of those personal experiences. That I put within the characters and what they’re having to face and go through. But now Kendall Parker particularly is not me. He’s not an anti hero of myself and who I ever wanted to be. But I’ve always admired first responders, particularly policeman, FBI. Also in health, you know, the EMT emergency, I’ve just always admired them for being able to literally cut off their personal lives when they go to work, and always 100% 110% being there for the person that’s in trouble.
Brad Shreve 41:41
Now, when the Deadwood murders is released, what’s going to be the best way for the readers to find the novel?
Jon Michaelsen 41:48
Definitely the Amazon in the gay mystery genre, as notated, and they can find out information from my website as well which I believe You’ll make available but it’s just my name.com. So jonmichaelsen.com. If you accidentally hit dot net, it’ll go there as well. You’ll see any sale links there or perhaps even a pre order link. I’ll make sure it’s available there. They can certainly go to my group in on Facebook, which is you can search for it, the Gay-Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Facebook group. And while I’ve mentioned that I do want to mention as we were talking earlier, and the success and popularity of that group growing from just, you know, few 10 – 20 people to now like within one or two is hitting 900. So much happened within the group and its popularity I can keep up. I found that I just couldn’t get back to folks quickly enough because I think people were hungry for a place to find recommendations from books they liked and share their excitement of reading the same book, etc. And so along the way, one of the members I met from very early on was Matthew Moore. Now Matthew Lubbers-Moore because he got married. Congratulations, Matt. And he had been a constant from day one. A person I know that is very involved within the genre, and actually will be coming out with a nonfiction book next year. I’m real excited to see where he documents the bibliography. Do I say that right bibliography or Bibliography?
Brad Shreve 43:35
It’s a tough one, but yeah, you got it.
Jon Michaelsen 43:38
The gay mystery suspense thriller genre
Brad Shreve 43:42
Well, and what I want to say about the group is anybody can go on Facebook and do a search for the group also on our webpage for gaymysteryauthors. com. Any of the links to Facebook will take you to that group. So that’s another way they can Find your group as well. I highly recommend this group. It’s, it’s great because it’s not just for readers. And it’s not just for authors, authors and readers intermingle. They, they talk about books that they’ve read and recommend. And it’s, it’s, it’s a very active, exciting group.
Jon Michaelsen 44:18
and that’s good too, because I set out to be an accurate. Also a very good mix. I didn’t want the group to be overwhelmed with writers that were basically just marketing their wares didn’t want it to be spammy. And so early on limited to just promoting one’s written material published material on a weekly basis. And then like I said, Matt, was always with me from the get go. And so a couple of years ago, a few years ago made Matt moderator but last year, Matt has been proven to be so supportive of the group and his own contributions that he’s now an administrator with the group so we can catch Keep up with the, the momentum of the group and continue to grow.
Brad Shreve 45:06
And to add on to what you said, If anybody’s familiar with Facebook groups where just one book ad after another, just spam, spam spam, that is not this group at all. So I want to emphasize that because that is one thing I really enjoy about the group.
Jon Michaelsen 45:22
Thank you for saying that because it is difficult to keep very stringent with those rules. It’s caused a lot of challenges, I would say over the years, but at the same time, you know, Matt, and I believe that that’s why the group group is we don’t lose very many people at all. I mean, it’s below 10 on any given year, very few people we lose and I really believe it’s because we cut down spam. It’s a place everywhere can find out the new books that are going to be released even though even before they show up as a pre order on Amazon or various Other places, we get a lot of cover reveals. And on a weekly basis, which I believe you’re aware of, is we try to feature an excerpt and exclusive excerpt of a new book coming forward, or one that has been published but perhapses, languishing without attention and needs a little bit more attention.
Brad Shreve 46:21
Well, again, our guest today has been Jon Michaelsen, the author of Pretty Boy Dead, and also the upcoming second Kendall Parker mystery, The Deadwood Murders, and can find the upcoming novel on Amazon and join the group and you can see the announcement when it’s absolutely released. So thank you for being the guest on today, john.
Jon Michaelsen 46:42
Well, thank you. I can’t thank you enough. This has been very pleasurable and I need to say as well that I was so thrilled to learn that you are going to began this podcast, I think just as an extension of more popularity and exposure to the gay mystery thriller suspense genre, including the sub genres of the lesbian and bisexual and transsexual and just queer identity is fantastic, excuse me are so few places that are available where people can go as a one stop shop, and just get so many recommendations and get to hear from the authors themselves. And learn in and feel more of a connection so that you’re more willing to reach out on Facebook, to a writer that you’ve admired. Someone that you want to discover. I think the group has really been a stepping board for readers who, for the most part stayed quite quiet within the group, but there they open up and begin to start asking questions and talk to the writers when they join in. And I think that’s just a wonderful success and something I greatly enjoy.
Brad Shreve 47:52
Well, it’s it’s a fun group to interact but if if you’re a lurker and just want to find out what books are out there, it’s A great group for that as well.
Jon Michaelsen 48:02
I would say the overall membership is overwhelmingly lurker.
Brad Shreve 48:06
I believe I am in most groups except yours. So thank you again, Jon.
Jon Michaelsen 48:12
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Brad Shreve 48:15
Oh, The pleasure is mine.