Michael J. Scott specializes in action/adventure thrillers and suspense. He is the author of no less than six series, which he is writing contemporaneously.
The “Jonathan Munro Adventures” follow the escapades of a reluctant hero, swept up into archaeological adventures–usually at the hand of his beguiling ex-fiance, Isabel Kaufman. Dr. Munro is a paleographer (a professor of ancient writings) at the University of Michigan, who’d rather stay in his office and study dusty tomes, but his commitment to Christ and his willingness to help those in need puts him into a world of danger where thieves, assassins, mercenaries, and unscrupulous collectors vie to obtain priceless treasures of antiquity.
Besides writing, Michael enjoys reading, discussing politics, philosophy and religion, teaching, singing, martial arts, “Freestyle Kendo,” acting, cooking, and shooting pool. Michael lives outside of Rochester, NY with his wife and three children.
The Elixir of Life Book Synopsis
It begins with the abduction of a Holocaust survivor from a New York City mission, but soon escalates as Dr. Jonathan Munro’s colleague, Dr. Harry Bryce, an expert in the Middle Ages, is also kidnapped. Jon soon finds himself teamed with his ex-fiancée and artifact-thief, Isabel Kaufman and her new partner: the Irish mercenary Sean MacNeil. Together, they work to rescue Harry from an ancient order of alchemists bent on finding The Elixir of Life, a substance thought to cure any disease and prolong life indefinitely.
Are they chasing a myth, or is it based on something far more powerful?
From Medieval cathedrals to ancient Christian burial sites, pursued by ambitious men who will stop at nothing to possess the prize, Jon must weave back together the diverse threads of Middle Age myths and secret clues to discover the startling tapestry of truth behind them all. Can Jonathan find Harry in time, or will they all be sacrificed to the ambitions of men who would live forever?
How did your book come to life?
The story began with the publication of The Lost Scrolls, the first Jonathan Munro Adventure. I realized I had some “leftover” material that I’d researched which didn’t make it into the first book, as well as an interest in seeing the interactions between Jon and Isabel again. Things didn’t end so well last time, and they needed another “chance.” That, and I really enjoyed the character of Sean MacNeil and wanted to see more of him. I sat down and attempted to outline the story, but quickly got hung up on what happens, especially in Bruges. It took me months to figure out exactly what the puzzle was that they were attempting to solve. But once I did, the rest of the story sorta fell into place.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
I began with a real interest in seeing Sean MacNeil again, and he remains one of my favorites. But I think one of the new characters in the second book I really liked is Nicky. He’s a streetwise punk who’s reformed his life, but quickly finds himself out of his depth with only his character to guide him. We’ll get to see more of him in the third book.
How do you start writing a new book? What comes first? The characters? The story?
It actually depends on the book. Sometimes, a character is compelling, and that leads me into a story that unfolds around the character and his or her choices. For others, the story is the essential, driving force, sweeping both me as an author and the characters up in it like a tidal wave.
How do you research your books?
Mostly through the internet. I rely heavily on Google Earth, YouTube videos, Panaromio, 360cities, and Sacred-Destinations. Sometimes, I’m fortunate enough to interview missionaries or travelers who’ve been to various foreign locations so I can get a better “feel” of a place.
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do?
Writing is a passion, for me. I love words, and I love creating worlds and the characters that populate them. I especially enjoy the experience of causing someone to have an emotional reaction or to “see in their heads” what I’ve pictured in mine.
What is your writing process?
Depending on the novel, I may or may not have an outline. Sometimes the outline is very sketchy – just a rough idea and a generic sense of where the story is going. I don’t glue myself to an outline, if I use one. There are times when the story takes on a life of its own and goes in unexpected directions.
Once I begin writing, I start at the beginning and pretty much write straight through till it’s finished. There are a few times when I may go back and rewrite a scene or insert something I’ve realized is needed, but not often.
I aim to produce upwards of 2,000 words a day. I don’t always achieve this goal, but I tend to write more when this is my expectation.
If you could visit a place for research, where would it be?
Must I be limited to one place? I would love to travel the world, exploring ancient ruins in South America, see the development of Christianity in Europe, explore the exotic far east, or follow the footsteps of the saints in the Holy Land.
Where do you want to go with your writing career? Where do you see your writing career in five years?
I currently have eleven novels finished. In five years, I expect to have thirty novels finished, and I hope to be living solely from the proceeds of my work. I’d write full time now if I could afford it.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I have six works in progress, actually. I’m writing the second novel in the New World Order series (the first is Turning. The second is Anarchy). I’m about halfway through the second book of The Dragon’s Eye Cycle (the first is called Eye of Darkness) – a fantasy series. I’m working on the fifth book of the Jefferson’s Road series -dystopic political fiction. I also have two stand alone novels I hope to finish soon: Nicholas – based on the life and the legends of the famous saint, as well as Descent – a novel about alien abduction. And of course, I’m working on the next Jonathan Munro Adventure – tentatively titled, The Music of the Spheres.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I see strengths and weaknesses to both. I have nine books self-published, so I’m well versed in the process. I like the control and speed it affords me, but the downside is that the effort to get my works into hands of readers who don’t know they’re looking for my books because they’ve never heard of me is trying. The same problem exists with traditional publishing, but I have more people I can rely on. The downside, of course, is that it takes considerably longer to release a new book.
If you were told your stories were unbelievable and no written very well, would you continue to write? What would your response be?
Oh, I’m not immune to criticism. Anyone who writes is going to have some people who just don’t like it for this reason or that. But my attitude is, “buy someone else’s book, then.” There are plenty enough people who like what I’ve written and want more of it to keep me satisfied and writing for years to come.
Would you ever consider converting one of you stories/published books into a screenplay? And if you could corroborate with someone, who would it be?
I’d love to see several of my novels on the big screen – or even the little screen, for that matter. I think The Lost Scrolls would make a terrific action-adventure flick. The Coppersmith would be a marvelous horror-thriller. And the Jefferson’s Road series could easily be produced as a television series on a network like AMC.
State 5 random facts about yourself.
I do Shotokan karate. I love cats. I am addicted to coffee. I have taught my youngest daughter how to sword fight. I play way too much computer solitaire when I should be writing.
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