Sunday 20 February 2011


I must apologise if I've become a little too wrapped up in my own projects recently to keep abreast of develpments elsewhere.

Take this as an example:

It's an excellent review of Richard Godwin's Apostle Rising that passed me by. I've rectified the situation and placed my order. If it's as good as the review, and I suspect it will be, I can't wait.

I'm also fortunate today to have a story of mine, 'Snow Angel' over at Not From Here Are You , which is an amazing coincidence given that Michael J Solender is here with me today.

Right here, in fact:

Solender Does Solender: WTF Was I Thinking??
Michael J. Solender Plays With Himself

Me: You just got back from Kerala, Southern India. What type of nefarious shit did that conjure up for your crime writing?

MJS: There were some fabulous scenes I found to develop. I stayed at a place in Cochin called Malabar House. The name alone gave me some fabulous imagery. I have a story title that I’m riffing on right now called, Murder at Malabar House. It will feature some shady characters, scents of jasmine and musky incense and just have an aura of the mystery that is India overlaid up the plot which I am still crafting.

Me: What is it about travel, particularly third world travel you find so intriguing?

MJS: I love third world travel in spite, or perhaps because, of the hardships. Let’s face it lack of running water and facilities is not always desirable but invariably I’m put in such proximity to real living, real people and real culture that truly characterizes and defines this grand journey called life. I am always amazed at how I may see a situation, like substandard living conditions of nomad sheep herders in Mongolia, sleeping under the stars in Yurts and initially think...Whoaa, look how difficult this life is and how much they don’t have. Then after spending time with these people I come to see how rich they feel their lives are and how much they believe they do have, it really changes your perspective rather quickly.

Me: What are some of the third world places you have been and what stories have you written that reflect your travels there?

MJS: My wife Harriet and I rode the Tran Siberian Express from Khabarovsk Russia through Siberia into Mongolia. Running With The Iron Rooster is a story I wrote for a competition that had scenes taken form that trip. We traveled to the tiny Indonesian Island of Sulawesi. Bug Lady is an audio cast I wrote that reflected some scenes I developed from our experience there. Other out of the way spots we have been include Bhutan where I cooked up one of my favorite writes ever called Their Next, and the Ecuadorian jungle, where I dreamt up Tourist.

Me: Where to next?

MJS: We are going to go to Hungary and Romania next fall. I want to see where my grandparents are from. I want to wallow in all that great eastern European soul food and walk in the footsteps of my ancestors.

Me: You are an impatient writer and get bored easily - What impact does that have upon your work?

MJS: I don’t know if it is as much impatience rather than just lazy but when I am done with something in my mind, I’m done with it. I want to move on. As I have tried to improve and strengthen my work, I’m finding I need to come back to it and work it long after I felt I was done. I guess this means I’m maturing, I have always been in too much of a hurry to put shit out and then when I spot mistakes or areas where I could have strengthened my work I get pissed at myself for being so lazy. Editing chapbooks has helped me learn to fight the tendency to be sloppy. I don’t want to EVER futz up someone else’s work.

Me: Is it true you just got your first cell phone two months ago? What the hell took you so long?

MJS: I work out of the house and never felt I could justify the expense. Maybe I’m cheap, OK I AM cheap. I also never felt I needed to be that connected. Now I’m swinging the other way and finding new aps I HAVE to have. It is annoying to people, especially my wife.

Me: What is your favorite meal of the day?

MJS: I was hoping you would get to the food questions. I absolutely live for breakfast, I love it. No matter where in the world I am I go all in on breakfast, usually have a late lunch and skip dinner all together. While I love full American breakfasts, especially buckwheat pancakes, I also dig the whole Japanese Miso soup, fish and pickles deal. Indonesian noodle breakfasts are great and the breakfasts in Mexico are legendary.

Me: What would most of your virtual writer buddies be surprised to learn about you?

MJS: What a good chef I am and how much I love to be in the kitchen. I really love to cook and share my creations. I love to cook for people.

Me: What is a perfect meal for you?

MJS: I make an Osso Bucco Risotto where I prepare Osso Bucco and retain all the cooking liquid which I use to make my Risotto, then I take the Veal Shanks, and debone them incorporating the meat into the rice. It is over the top. A nice Caesar Salad, some Claret and that is all I need.

And for the final question I turn the tables and ask myself the concluding inquiry:

MJS: Where are you going with your work? Where will we be seeing Michael J. Solender’s work in the future?

Me: Folks may have noticed already that I am writing more nonfiction than I did say two years ago. This reflects the success I’m having selling my work to journals and magazines. I also love writing essays and love to write about things I’m interested in like Theater, Urban Life and The visual and performing arts. I want to get more national publications and have developed a “professional” writer site where I house many of my clips and such. is a place I can send editor to check out my work. I’ll never stop writing fiction completely, it is too much fun for me and noir is the most fun of all.

Me: Thank you sir.

MJS: No, thank YOU.

editor: no, MJS thanks to you both. And enjoy Hungary - I've loved it there on my visits.

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  1. I enjoyed this interview, Michael.

    My thoughts on traveling are simpatico. Best of luck with both fiction and non-fiction.

  2. Mike is without doubt one of the nicest guys within our fantasic writing community.

    I love his work, and have had the pleasure of publishing some of his shorts over at TKnC (no editing required BTW).

    Great to find out more about you, fella.


  3. Great interview! Now I'm hungry. And I want to go to cool places.

    Michael's one of the best writers around and displays crazy range--from gritty crime fiction to lyrical poetry to a growing portfolio of non-fiction. And he runs a great blog!

  4. Cracking interview with a cracking man. Arborio rice.

  5. I am jotting down that recipe--for my husband.

  6. Ta to Nigel for hosting me and thx mates for all the kind words..

  7. Two words are all I need to know I'm in good hands with any story wearing them: Michael Solender. Cool.

  8. All interviews should lead into food, and of course, Michael. He is a top-notch writer, with a cool life- thanks for sharing.

  9. That was great, Michael. Your writing speaks for itself and by the sounds of it, so does your cooking! Good luck with everything!

  10. Love what you said about the "substandard living conditions of nomad sheep herders in Mongolia" and how when you actually get out there and really look at how they live and see how happy they are, you realize that our perceptions of rich and satisfied are so different. ;-) Great interview, Mike. Your vacation for the fall of this year sounds great (I can't wait to see what noir comes from that).