Monday, February 16, 2009

THE Leisure Seeker-Michael Zadoorian

Michael Zadoorian

*See Bingo's Review and Giveaway on Feb. 8th Post

Interview by K.H. (AKA "Bingo)

KH: What have you just finished reading?

MZ: I just finished HAM ON RYE by Charles Bukowski. I enjoyed it very much, a different kind of book for Bukowski, a chronicle of his childhood years, growing up in California.

KH: What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out?

MZ: Like a lot of writers who started in the Eighties, I was heavily influenced by the work of Raymond Carver, his short fiction and his poetry. His work touched me in so many ways, but also allowed me to understand the inner-workings of fiction in a way that I never had before. I don't know why, but he allowed me to think that maybe I could write fiction. His work is deceptive in that manner of extraordinarily talented people: he made it look easy. Once I started though, I found out differently. I certainly wound up writing my share of Carver stories. Still, it was a way to learn. And whatever helps you to find your personal style or voice or whatever you want to call it, is a good thing.

KH: What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or ....?

MZ: Often it is a particular character. Sometimes I'll just start writing in the person of a character and just see where it takes me. It's a chance to explore that character, get into his or her skin. If I continue to be interested, I just keep writing and see where it takes me. Sometimes it takes me no where, sometimes it's a story or a book.

KH: What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don't know?

MZ: I'm a big fan of my hometown of Detroit. I grew up on the Northwest side of the city. I now live just outside the Detroit city limits in a town not terribly unlike the one featured in my first novel, SECOND HAND. Where I grew up, where I live now, the fact that I still live in the Detroit area, truly informs my writing. It depresses some people to stay in the place where they grew up, but I find it very useful as a writer. You need to be from somewhere, get that sense of place. It's just something you absorb from being in a place for a long time.
People are always cutting down Detroit, but the city has a feeling, an attitude, an intensity that exists nowhere else. It's this sprawling urban center with all types of races and nationalities, yet still very midwestern in many ways. We're currently going through a rough period, but I think we're going to be okay. We're a hardy, rush-belt people, with a good sense of humor and a surprisingly hopeful attitude. We're also very creative: Lots of incredible music, art and writing comes from people from Detroit. You never know what you're going to see next.

KH: What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?

MZ: Write. That's the best advice I can give. Sit down and start writing. Study the writers you love, try to understand what makes their writing work, what makes it move you. Don't think too much at first, just get it down. Don't worry about it being perfect. You can do that later. Be strong, be tenacious, believe in yourself, because it probably isn't going to be easy. There will be rejection, but don't let it crush your spirit.

Thanks to Michael Zadoorian for consenting to the above interview. See him talk about his latest book, THE LEISURE SEEKER, and more, on this clip from YouTube recently.

Michael Zadoorian was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of two novels, THE LEISURE SEEKER (William Morrow, 2009) and SECOND HAND (W.W. Norton, 2000), which was an ABA Booksense 76 selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award Finalist, and the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. His story collection THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT (Wayne State University Press, May, 2009) features new work as well as short fiction that originally appeared in The Literary Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Ararat, American Short Fiction, The North American Review and Detroit Noir. He lives with his wife in Ferndale, Michigan. Website: You can also find MZ on Facebook, MySpace, Linkedln and Twitter.


Alyce said...

Great interview! I haven't ever been to Detroit, so it was interesting to read more about it.

Renee Giroux said...

You are a pro! Keep up the great work Karen!


Bingo said...

Alyce, then you will like THE LEISURE SEEKER as Michael writes a lot about the city he loves in his books as well!

Renee, you are way TOO kind but coming from you that is a major compliment! Thank you so much!

Ladytink_534 said...

Great interview questions!

Bingo said...

Michael is a very good author to interview. He answered my questions and took time from his busy schedule to do all this. I hope people feel they know him better now. Thanks, Ladytink!