Congratulations, Michael Michaud, on the release of your newest book November 26th. I’ve only just begun to read it, but find it quite interesting. To give our viewers a little more information on this book, I posted the blurb I found online below.
A vacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.
Amazon Buy Link: To Book and Kindle
Linda: Tell us, what inspired you to write The Introvert?
Michael: I had just finished reading two fairly dark books before I wrote The Introvert. First was Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, and the second was The Stranger (L’Etranger) by Camus. I was fascinated by the protagonists in those stories, so much so that I wanted to write my own story as homage to those wonderfully off-beat characters. I was taken by the stranger’s dead-pan, simplistic approach to life, and by Raskolnikov’s erratic, absurdist approach to dealing with society, and specifically law enforcement. Anyone who has read those two novels will likely draw parallels. The difference in The Introvert was that I injected a large dose of humor into my story. And it was a surprisingly easy story to write. Whereas, my earlier book, Billy Tabbs, took me the better part of two years to complete. I wrote the first draft of this novella in just under two weeks. It came pouring out very stream of consciousness and very easily (some of my readers have remarked, with a nervous glance, that perhaps it poured out a little too easily). I do tend to write darker, sometimes twisted stories. Stories that may challenge the comfort of the reader. Just as Dostoyevsky and Camus succeeded with me, I hope that The Introvert will accomplish that with others.
Linda: I have to admit when I first picked up the book, I was thrown off when I got to the dedication page and found, “For the Weirdos.” I wondered what I might be getting myself into until I started reading the book. I’m still curious, though. Why did you choose this dedication?
Michael: I see a growing trend toward introversion these days. We are under such scrutiny given the proliferation of social media, and I see more and more people shrinking from the spotlight, content to quietly to do their own thing. I’m very much an introvert myself, but have been coaxed into the social media world as a result of the necessity that is book promotion and marketing. But at heart I am very much a loner – a solitary scrivener, as I call myself on my author page. Loners, introverts, the quiet ones, we sometimes take it on the chin for being different, as if our satisfaction with our solitude is a jarring, even threatening condition to some. We can be eccentric. We can enjoy our own company. We can enjoy living life off the beaten path. We can be fiercely loyal to the creative or the esoteric. Many people are likely nodding, sitting quietly behind their monitors, as they read this. My protagonist in The Introvert faces similar scrutiny along these lines. In one scene, he describes how he was teased by some boys for behaving differently:
“I also remember how I’d brought it up to my parents later that night and how they just told me that in a world where most fifth graders bought licorice or gum or chocolate that if another kid bought honey they might think that’s “a little off” because most people are only comfortable when everyone is eating and wearing and talking and acting the same as everyone else, but that I should never change who I was just because most people changed the way they were to fit into a pattern.”
So my dedication, far from being pejorative, is actually a salute to those who may identify as being different. I have been called a weirdo myself – usually in jest, but you know what they say about jokes being half-truths. Frankly, I wear the moniker like a badge of honor, and I hope others do, as well.
Linda: Interesting book cover. It grabbed me right away. It seems simple and, at the same time, complicated. Tells us more.
Michael: I subscribe to the theory that less is often more. Also, as much skill as I (may) have with the written word, I am conversely unskilled as an artist, so when it came time to design a concept cover, I was limited as to what I could create. This was prior to publication, but I wanted the book to have some sort of concept art that would accompany the manuscript when sent to beta-readers, editors, publishers, etc. Something that would clearly embody the spirit and tone of the story. So I sat down, and about 30 minutes later I’d created the cover image that you see today. Originally it was just intended to be the concept cover, but I posted it online, and several commented on it favorably, including my cousin, Myra, who basically challenged me to go with it as the official cover. I thought about it, suggested it, and my publisher agreed. They just inverted the colors and we were done. I’m thankful that this ended up as the cover because people have been going wild for it. I posted it on Instagram where it garnered nearly 30,000 likes. It seems to have really struck a chord. People relate to it. There have been requests for the introvert and Molly symbol on shirts, hats etc. I couldn’t be prouder of the response. But far from the result of any diabolical marketing masterstroke, it was simply the result of my love for simplicity and my limitations as an artist.
Linda: Would you tell us what this genre is and the type of readers it would appeal to?
Michael: It is black humor crime fiction, which is a bit of a genre unto its own. If you could take Crime and Punishment, The Stranger, American Psycho, and The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-time and put them all in a blender, you’d pour out something very close to The Introvert. Some people love it. Others have been shocked by it, because it can move from brutal to hilarity and back again all within the same page. I believe they blend rather nicely, but it may be jarring to some.
Linda: In closing, do you have another project you’re working on? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Michael: I am currently putting the final touches on my third book – a coming of age novel titled “Relics.” Relics is a family drama/thriller/mystery. It initially tells the story of nine-year old Sarah Edson and the trials and tribulations of fourth grade life in Portland, Maine (where I grew up), later picking up when Sarah is an adult, working as a journalist at a fictional Boston area newspaper. It speaks to regret, nostalgia, family dysfunction, and how small, seemingly innocuous events from one’s past can return later in life to greater, even nefarious consequence. It is probably my first crack at mainstream fiction. Some will applaud, others may groan. I do believe it is an interesting story to tell, it has just taken some time to spit it out (nearly four years). This is also my first crack at writing a book centered around a female protagonist. I hope that I do her justice. I’m sure my readers will let me know one way or the other.
I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to take part in this Q&A, as well as all those who took the time to read it. If you enjoyed what you read or have any questions, be sure to stop by http://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud– I’d love to hear from you.
Linda: Thank you Michael for stopping by. I wish I’d gotten to know you in time to have finished reading your book before your visit. I’m well into it now and I’ll post a review on Amazon and Goodreads when I’m finished. This was a very interesting interview and I haven’t heard anyone mention reading Crime and Punishment since my college days, which I have to say was a very long time ago.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An America-Canadian citizen, Michael holds a B.A. in English, Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude), and a J.D. in Law. He is employed as a Crown Prosecutor in the Greater Toronto Area. THE INTROVERT is his second release. His debut novel – BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) – was published in 2014 from Bitingduckpress.
Follow Michael at: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud.