Interview with Michael Lamendola

Michael Lamendola

Interview Date: 5/29/2012


MICHAEL LAMENDOLA, when not moonlighting as a writer, is a cruise ship singer... really. He currently resides in San Diego, although many sea days go into creating his novels. To get on the mailing list for Michael's next book, or to learn about life on the high seas, visit his website at: You can also follow him on Twitter @MichaelDola.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

It was a combination of two things. When I started working as a singer on cruise ships (really), I would often write emails home to friends and family to tell them about the amazing places I was seeing. That soon gave way to blogging, and somewhere along the way I developed a writing style that has lent itself to my Red Fox series. My other inspiration occurred during a sea day back in 2007. For cruise ship passengers, a sea day is a moment to relax. For me, however, a sea day is just that… another day at sea. At the time, I was working on the now retired Norwegian Dream. She had a passenger library that was largely made up of orphaned books (plus, for some reason, a slew of cook books). So I scanned the shelves for something to read, and I ended up selecting a book entitled “Dirty Work” by Stuart Woods. At the time, the only books I actually read cover to cover were the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series. Well, I tore through “Dirty Work” in about twenty-four hours. After I found and read the only other Stuart Woods book on the entire ship, I started buying paperbacks three at a time when we were in our home port of Port Aransas, Texas. Basically, I tore through Woods’ entire Stone Barrington series, at first living vicariously through the main character, then getting tired of the same formula time and time again. After thinking I could do better, and with no idea of how to write a novel, I cranked out the first chapter of (my) “Dirty Work.”

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

Flying, of course. Think of the taxes and fees I’d save… wait, maybe invisibility would be better. Either way, I’d fly for free.

Kev's response: You know, I've had a few people mention each of the above. Only today did I think of this, however. There have been several movies where the character gains invisibility, and it often affects only their body (e.g. no clothing). Imagine if flight worked that way (only without clothing)! o.O I can here the talk now, "Full moon's out tonight!"

Where do you get your inspiration for writing the Red Fox Series?

Like I mentioned earlier, I had just read one too many Stuart Woods books and decided I could do better. I think the defining moment came after I finished “Hot Mahogany.” In this novel, Woods’ lead character, Stone Barrington, was chasing the bad guys in the Hamptons, trying to uncover a counterfeit armoire. Really? How did we go from rooting through the muck of New York City, confronting bad guys and mob bosses while bedding down hot young socialites, to antique furniture hunting? Screw that… So I started writing a book that I would want to read. Bad guys who know how to be bad, car chases, explosions, and a ton of humor... which is very important to me. I’ve lost count of the dust jackets I’ve read trumpeting guys like Woods as a thriller writer with a terrific sense of humor. Bull shit. I guarantee my books are as funny as they are thrilling, something that I think sets me apart from other thriller writers.

Kev's response: Nice! I think there's a market out there for it.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

I shoot from the hip. All three of my Red Fox thrillers were written on the fly, with no outlining or planning. I am sure there are many convincing arguments for the other, but I enjoy figuring out what’s going to happen to my two unlucky protagonists as the events occur. It gives me a greater sense of immediacy while writing, and I think that feeling carries over to the novels.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I could call it a schedule… maybe a rut. Typically I spend three to four hours a day writing. If I am on land, there are a few favorite coffee shops I frequent, like Twiggs in San Diego. However, I am often working on cruise ships, so my office tends to be mobile. I wrote the second half of “Dirty Work” while floating between Boston and Bermuda over the course of two months. It was edited while cruising around Japan. Parts of my newest thriller, “All Night Long Shot,” were edited between Florida and South America!

Kev's response: Now, that makes for a much more interesting editing story than "I sat in my recliner at home and went through the novel...."

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I like the thriller genre, both to write and to read… although I’ll admit I am not very well read when it comes to many different authors. While I like writing The Red Fox series, I really want to write a cruise ship tell all. I’ve already written half of it by blogging over the past seven years, but I left out all the scandalous stuff! Yep, I’ll be naming names, and probably changing mine!

Kev's response: Interesting, and it's an angle that could attract quite a bit of attention.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I most enjoy the creative process. As an entertainer, I am often limited to what I do on stage by the director or choreographer. Many times I am singing what is known as a “track,” meaning everything I do onstage is predetermined. It was performed the same way by the person I replaced, as it will by the person that replaces me. While writing, however, I get complete say in what my characters say and do. It’s an awesome feeling to know that when someone reads one of my books, that they are getting a hundred percent of my effort and imagination.

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Well, editing is a necessary evil, and I don’t think anyone actually enjoys it. And until all of you start telling a hundred of your friends, and their friends, about me, I’ll still be the one catching all the hippos typos in my manuscripts.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

No… I just met you, and I don’t want to scare you off.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

Only one at a time. I’ve thought about writing two projects at once, but I like to have the story fresh in my head when I sit down to write, and I feel that I would not be giving all my concentration to each project. Besides, you know how jealous manuscripts can get. I mention just one character from one manuscript in another, and suddenly I am a terrible person, and how could I do such a thing, and now I need to go get tested… what a mess that was.

Kev's response: OMG, a character plot jumped on you?!

In my evil plot to take over the world, what one animal type do you advise I use and why?

A cow. That way it will be easy to stop you, and afterward enjoy you with some garlic mashed potatoes and a glass of wine.

Kev's response: Err, I never said I intended to become said animal! (Didn't The Tick cartoon have a giant cow for a villain in it?)

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

Welp, I am a huge fan of technology, and of course eBooks have allowed me to get my novels out to the masses. All the Kindles and Nooks of the world are great for reading and shopping for books, especially while travelling. But I don’t think they will necessarily replace their physical counterpart. Many people still like to have a library at home, or like the “feel of a book” (which honestly I feel is stupid). And textbooks will never go away since it is way easier to annotate and dog ear a physical page than an electronic one. We’re getting closer on magazines and comic books, but the physical versions are still superior. Books aren’t going away, that’s for sure, but the marketplace is definitely changing.

Kev's response: You must not have seen some of the news on Apple lately. They are making a strong push to get textbooks on iPads....

What are your current projects?

Right now I am taking a break from writing and focusing on marketing my trilogy of thrillers… which is to say I am not taking a break at all, and instead running towards a brick wall while looking at my shoes.

Kev's response: Hey, I've been there! I'd warn you about the wall, but it never helps.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Self publishing is not a daunting task, and don’t let the idea stop you from telling your story. I didn’t know a thing about any of this a couple years ago, but I knew I wanted to write. So I put my ideas down on (electronic) paper and didn’t pay any attention to the rules. Once I had my first rough draft, then I began to concentrate on tightening the bolts, but never did I worry about correct form while creating “Dirty Work.” Let the story come first, then worry about the technical stuff later. I’ve written a small guide for proper eBook formatting as well. You can find that on my Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages, listed just below.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Damn right I do. If you want to learn about me, my books, and my other life as a cruise ship singer, visit my website at: Want to skip all that and just buy one of my kick ass, funnier than hell crime thrillers? I don’t blame you. I’d do the same thing. For Amazon, click
Barnes & Noble, click
Check out the Red Fox video trailer here:

Kev's response: Michael, thanks for joining me, and good fortune with the Red Fox series!

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