Debut Author Interview: J. Michael Major, Author of the Thriller ONE MAN’S CASTLE

It’s time for another author interview with a writer celebrating the release of their first book. Today we meet J. Michael Major, author of the debut thriller ONE MAN’S CASTLE (Five Star, April 2013.)

J. Michael Major is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association. His stories have appeared in the anthologies DeathGrip 3: It Came From the Cinema and New Traditions in Terror, and such magazines as Hardboiled, Bare Bone, Pirate Writings, Into the Darkness, Outer Darkness, and The Sterling Web. He lives with his family outside of Chicago. One Man’s Castle is his first novel. Visit his website at

(Is it better to sign with a new literary agent or an experienced one?)


j-michael-major-writer-author           one-mans-castle-novel



What is the book’s genre?


(Find thriller agents.)

Please describe what the story/book is about.

After Walter Buczyno kills several burglars and his wife’s murderer who was returning to kill him, he leaves to tell his in-laws what he did. But the bodies of all the burglars are discovered in his home while he is away, and Walter becomes a wanted man on the run. The novel explores Walter’s definition of justice while detectives Riehle and Capparelli try to capture him and discover what really happened.

Where do you write?

At home, in the suburbs of Chicago, with lots of coffee.

Briefly what led up to this book?

I wanted to see how a man could appear to be a serial killer without actually being one. Many times the television news makes the rights of the criminals appear more important than those of the victims and their families, and I wanted the reader rooting for a victim who was striking back—while also hoping the detectives will catch him.

Also, I wanted to twist old clichés into something new. Thus, my medical examiner dresses like Elvis to mock death, and the younger detective is the senior partner. Exploring how these situations arose and the conflicts occurring between the characters because of them made the writing exciting and fun for me.

What was the time frame for writing this book?

About six years, mostly on my days off.

What were your 1-2 biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing process?

How professional everyone was, especially Tiffany Schofield and Gordon Aalborg at Five Star/Cengage. They really helped me make my book everything I’d hoped for.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

Without a doubt, it was getting to know other writers and attending writing conventions. Not only did they help me improve my writing, but they also introduced me to the acquiring editor of the publishing house that purchased my book.

(Learn how to start your novel strong.)

What would you have done differently?

Forced myself to adhere to a stricter writing schedule.

Do you have a platform in place?

Yes, my website is I am also at and

Favorite movies?

It’s A Wonderful Life, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Field of Dreams

What’s next?

The second thriller featuring my detectives Riehle and Capparelli.


How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir discusses
how to slowly release a novel online to generate
interest in your writing and work.


Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:


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Order the book from WD at a discount.



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