By Don Helin
In his novel, NIGHT BLIND, Michael Sherer unleashes a story so thrilling that New York Times Best Selling author Allison Brennan says, “A tense, twisty thriller . . . Terrific.”
In the space of a few months, Blake Sanders lost his job, his only son to suicide, and his marriage. Mired in depression and grief, he can only face the world at night, washing dishes and delivering newspapers.
A year later, on a cold November night, Blake’s world is turned upside down again when an elderly woman on his newspaper route is brutally stabbed to death and Blake is charged with her murder. In a desperate attempt to find the real killer, he learns that his friend had stumbled onto secrets that have been buried beneath Seattle’s Capitol Hill for 150 years. Secrets that are now being disturbed by digging for the new light rail tunnel. Secrets that will shake the city’s government. Secrets that foreign agents will kill for.
On the run from the police and murderers, Blake finds a chance to heal his grief and reclaim his life. But only if he can stay alive long enough to unearth the truth.
After stints as a manual laborer, dishwasher, bartender, restaurant manager, commercial photographer, magazine editor and public relations executive, Mike Sherer decided life should imitate art. He’s now an author and freelance writer. Mike has published six novels in the Emerson Ward mystery series and ISLAND LIFE, a stand-alone suspense novel in addition to NIGHT BLIND. Visit him at his website.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about NIGHT BLIND?
NIGHT BLIND is the first novel in a Seattle-based thriller series featuring Blake Sanders. The next two in the series, NIGHT TIDE and NIGHT DROP, are finished, but no pub date has been set yet.
Did any particular event inspire the plot?
We have a wonderful independent bookstore where I live. While browsing the store one day, the owner said he’d always wondered about the guy who delivered his newspaper every day. Why would someone choose to deliver newspapers? What’s the job like? And what does a route driver see on the streets at that time of day? I’d been looking for ideas for a new series so his comments intrigued me. Since a lot of crime takes place at the time route drivers are on the streets, it made sense that someone who delivers papers might get caught up in a crime somehow, or choose to be a vigilante.
I did research, spending time with folks at THE SEATTLE TIMES distribution center to find out more about newspaper route drivers. Newspaper carriers, and their reasons for taking the job, are as diverse as the city’s population, ranging from people with limited skills and/or proficiency with English to professionals earning extra money for their children’s college education. Carriers typically show up at the warehouse around 12:30 or 1:00 am. to assemble the papers they need for their customers. The paper guarantees delivery by 5:30 am. on weekdays, so they have about an hour or so to assemble papers and three to four to deliver them.
Blake, I decided, had been a high school basketball star back in Illinois, good enough to earn a scholarship. A bone infection, however, ended his college career and resulted in an artificial hip and a bad knee. He married his college sweetheart, had one son soon after, and worked in the communications department at UW to put his wife through law school. Eventually, he landed a job at a public affairs consulting company and did well.
So, what would prompt a man like Blake to stoop to a job delivering newspapers? Losing everything. In the space of a few months, Blake loses his job in a scandal at this firm, his now grown son commits suicide, and as a result of the emotional upheaval, his marriage ends in divorce. A year later, when NIGHT BLIND starts, Blake still can face the world only at night, working menial jobs like washing dishes in a restaurant and his paper route.
What are you doing to promote your books?
Advanced reader copies have been sent out to reviewers, and feedback from other thriller authors who read the book has been incredibly positive. To promote the book I’m spending a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter trying to build personal awareness and connections with potential fans who can spread the word once the book is out. I plan to do some guest blogs on thriller-oriented sites as well, and, of course, take advantage of opportunities like this one with THE BIG THRILL.
I’m working with Thomas & Mercer on a couple of promotional ideas now, including a contest for readers that I hope will launch in late October or early November. T&M, of course, plans its own campaign, announcing and promoting the book in its e-mails, newsletters and reader recommendations on Amazon.com.
I plan on attending Left Coast Crime in March in Colorado Springs and hope to be on a panel there. And I’ll try to arrange bookstore signings where and when I can.
I’m looking forward to seeing the next two Blake Sanders thrillers slated for publication. In the meantime, I’ve finished, BLIND RAGE, the first book in a young adult thriller series featuring high school student Tess Barrett, and am presently working on the second book in that series.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc.)?
I still get regular assignments to write features for trade magazines specializing in the food service industry. I play tennis five or six days a week and read as much as I can (too many books, too little time). Only the youngest of our four kids is still at home. She’s now a senior in high school, a varsity cheerleader (who still hasn’t let me read the copy of Megan Abbott’s DARE ME that I had Megan inscribe for her), and a National Honor Society member. She’s getting her own car in the next few days, so I don’t expect to see much of her the rest of the year. I love to cook, but often end up fending for myself at mealtime now since my beautiful wife, Valarie, plays even more tennis than I do.
A Few Blurbs:
“…the type of story I crave—an impossible to put down thriller. Loved every page of it.”
—Brett Battles, author of SICK and the Jonathan Quinn Thrillers
“Pay attention. You won’t want to miss a word.”
—J.T. Ellison, bestselling author of A DEEPER DARKNESS
“…a story in which the layers have layers, rich, complex, and deeply satisfying.”
—Bill Cameron, author of COUNTY LINE
After stints as a manual laborer, dishwasher, bartender, restaurant manager, commercial photographer, magazine editor and public relations executive, Mike decided life should imitate art. He’s now an author and freelance writer. Mike has published six novels in the Emerson Ward mystery series and ISLAND LIFE a stand-alone suspense novel in addition to NIGHT BLIND. He’s now working on the fourth book in the Blake Sanders series as well as BLIND RAGE, a thriller for young adults.
To learn more about Michael, please visit his website.