Friday, September 5, 2014

J. M. Hayes

J. M. “Mike” Hayes was born and raised on the flat earth of Central Kansas. He studied anthropology at Wichita State University and the University of Arizona and lives in Tucson with his wife and a small herd of German Shepherds.

His new novel is The Spirit and the Skull.

Last month I asked Hayes about what he was reading. His reply:
As I answer this, it's August 2014. So it seemed appropriate to reread Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August and remind myself of how humans can turn tiny blunders and misunderstandings into colossal catastrophes. I'm also in the middle of 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. It won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. It's nice to see that Robinson predicts the Human Race will survive another couple of centuries, though he seems to expect more molehill into mountain catastrophes.

I usually limit myself to two books at a time, one fiction and one non-fiction. Somehow, this month, I managed to add one more of each. I just finished J. Carson Black's new thriller, Hard Return. Black is a former critique group member who asked for an early read. She brings back Cyril Landry, a mercenary who dropped off the grid after the action in The Shop (2012). Black's spare writing and Landry's commitment to the few people he loves and trusts makes for a fine thriller.

I was a bit bored with Timothy Egan's Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher to begin with. That's probably part of the reason I ended up reading four books at once—the first time other than for school I can remember doing so. But by the end Egan had me captivated by Edward Curtis' magnificent obsession with preserving what he could of the culture of disappearing American Indians. Curtis rightly named himself—The Man Who Never Played—and died destitute in spite of working for J.P. Morgan and family. Fascinating story!
Visit The Words & Worlds of J.M. Hayes website.

The Page 69 Test: The Spirit and the Skull.

--Marshal Zeringue