Michael Broadway may sound like a made-up, stage name, but the man to whom it belongs swears it’s authentic . . . and his alone. He is the author of numerous novels, all published under the nom de plume, Cornell De Ville (that, too, is another story, which I’ll let Michael tell). I have read several of his books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I think you’ll enjoy meeting this man of many talents.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend, author Michael Broadway.
Michael: Thank you, Joe. I appreciate you inviting me.
Michael: It is. I try to use any opportunity to make readers aware of my books. The great thing about social media is that it’s free and available any time I wish to share anything.
Joe: How long have you been writing seriously?
Michael: I started writing about 1975. I actually sold my first short story to a Christian magazine called Wee Wisdom.
Joe: Do you specialize in one particular genre?
Michael: Sort of. I write mainly for the Middle Grade age group, and I have a fondness for adventure stories.
Joe: How many novels have you published?
Michael: At this time, I have published five novels. I do have another one that’s ready to publish. I’m planning on releasing it this summer. It’s the second installment in the Treasure of Morro Bay series.
Joe: Great idea. I think most readers seem to really enjoy a good series. Do you use a professional editor?
Michael: No. I actually do my own editing, although I do employ beta readers who catch things I’ve missed.
Joe: Ah, yes, the old beta readers. What would we do without them. I must admit that I’m always drawn in by your cover designs. They employ some very powerful imagery. Who designs them?
Michael: Thanks for the kind words. I actually design all of my own covers. I spent a great deal of my career as a graphic designer, so that is a pretty natural area for me.
Joe: I know you publish your own books, but before you began self-publishing, did you try to sign on with a “traditional” publisher?
Michael: That’s a whole story in itself, Joe. Before the computer age, we typed everything out on our old faithful IBM Selectric typewriter. After the manuscript was perfect, we checked Writer’s Market to find the likely publishers who might have an interest in the type of story we’d created. We wrote a cover letter and mailed it off. Then we waited. And waited. Eventually we received a rejection letter. In fact, I had hundreds of them—even one signed by Jacqueline Onassis when she worked for Doubleday. At some point, literary agents became the gatekeepers, and we started submitting our work to them. It used to be much more time-consuming than it is today, and much less rewarding. Thank God for MS Word and ebooks.
Joe: I certainly agree. Michael, I’ve read several of your books, and I found them to be very original in their storylines. Where do you get the ideas for your books?
Michael: That’s a great question, Joe. I’m not sure how to answer it except to say that I believe the ideas for my books are drawn from the dark recesses of my memory. It might involve an event, or a character from my past. And then, somehow, my subconscious plays with it, mixes it up a bit, and puts it into a new story. For instance, when I was about 10 or 11 years old, my family took a vacation to New Orleans. That was the first time I’d ever seen Spanish moss. It was at night, there was a full moon, and it was pretty spooky seeing those old cypress trees rising out of the bayou with the moss hanging from their arms. That image remains with me yet today, and I think that memory was the inspiration for Lost in the Bayou.
Joe: Actually, that was the first of your books that I read. It had a kind of Stephen King feel to it. Is there any one particular writer who has influenced your writing?
Michael: I read a great deal when I was young, and I was particularly fond of Edgar Allen Poe’s writing. I also loved Jules Verne, and he probably influenced me more, although Poe might be responsible for any spooky twists you might find in my work.
Joe: That’s interesting. I, too, always liked Poe. Okay, here’s a toughie. If you could have lunch with just one person, living or dead, who would that be, and why?
Michael: Oh, wow! That’s another great question. My first instinct would be to say my father. But I think I would have to choose Walt Disney.
Joe: Really? Well, that’s a surprise. But I shouldn’t be surprised by anything you say. You always find a way to misdirect your readers—including me! Why Walt Disney?
Michael: Well, he was a huge influence in my growing up years. If you had asked me if I could have dinner with any three people, it would have to be my father, Walt Disney, and John Kennedy. I can only imagine the conversation at that table.
Joe: Besides writing, what other creative endeavors do you participate in?
Michael: I’m also a musician and a wildlife artist.
Joe: Now, that’s not a surprise. So what are you working on right now?
Michael: Recently I’ve been putting my wildlife art website together at www.wildhearteditions.com
Joe: Well, that’s certainly something different. Any chance that you’ll try your luck with traditional publishing again, or are you committed to self-publishing?
Michael: I haven’t really given traditional publishing much though lately. It’s possible that I might go down that road again at some point, but with the ease and simplicity of self-publishing, and the control it allows the writer, I’ll probably keep doing what I’m doing for the foreseeable future.
Joe: Is there a particular type of writing, or a special book that has been haunting you, that needs—make that demands—to be written?
Michael: Nothing in particular at this point, although that darned muse is a persistent nagging distraction in the back of my head every day or so.
Joe: I know that you use a couple of different names on Facebook. But which is your real name (if you deign to tell us), and why the assortment?
Michael: My real name is Michael Broadway, but I use the pen name Cornell DeVille. It’s not that I don’t like my real name. It’s just that when you do a Google search for it, you come up with a bodybuilder, a concert pianist, and a baseball player—none of whom are me. I experimented with a few pen names to see what results I would get. My middle name is Cornell, so I started with that. After a few attempts with various last names that I liked, I typed in Cornell DeVille. Nothing. No hits. I decided at that moment I would claim that moniker. If you Google it today, you’ll get fifty pages of hits that all belong to yours truly. It was a marketing thing, so to speak.
Joe: And a darned good one. So, what’s a typical day like in your life? Do you keep a strict writing schedule:
Michael: I really don’t have a strict schedule. I do some freelance writing for various clients, but I really don’t have a schedule when I’m not working on anything. If I do have a book I’m engaged in writing, my schedule goes out the window anyway, because once the characters start talking to me, I just keep typing, and it’s not unusual to look at my watch and learn that it’s 4:00 a.m. I think I sort of slip into an altered state of consciousness or something.
Joe: I know the feeling. What other things interest you? Hobbies? Likes? Dislikes?
Michael: Probably at the top of my list would be cars. I think I fell in love with cars at an early age, about the same time I read Street Rod by Henry Gregor Felsen. I grew up during the “Muscle Car” era of the ’60s, so my love affair with cars, especially fast cars, goes back a long way. Maybe that’s why Uncle Conrad from Lost in the Bayou shows up at the Sherwood Estate driving a Corvette. Probably. One other hobby that I used to spend a lot of time with was fishing. My dad and I used to go fishing almost every weekend, from early spring until late fall. I haven’t been in a long time, and I need to make a point of heading out to the lake and remembering those good times.
Joe: I know you have a terrific voice, from some of your little videos I’ve seen and listened to on YouTube. Do you also make videos for others?
Michael: No. I haven’t explored that area yet. Also, I haven’t had any requests.
Joe: Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you got one or two. Are any of your books available as audiobooks? It seems to me that they would be a natural for that medium.
Michael: Yes. Lost in the Bayou is available in audiobook form at Audible.com.
Joe: Where can readers find you on social media? And do you have a website? What about Twitter?
Michael: I do have a website at www.cornelldeville.com for my writing. Then, I have the new website I mentioned earlier that I just created for my wildlife art. Again, that’s www.wildhearteditions.com. My Facebook page is Author Cornell DeVille, and my Twitter handle is @Sixtiesguy.
Joe: Thanks, Michael. And, most important of all, where can readers buy your books?
Michael: My books are available on Amazon.com, as well as through Barnes and Noble.
Joe: Well, I think we’ve learned about all we can about Michael Broadway. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the followers of my blog?
Michael: Well, only one thing. If you’ve read Cannibal Island, you probably remember that Angus Callahan (played by Sean Connery, in my head) had a little monkey named Nugget. You might be interested to know that my wife and I actually had a monkey for several years, and there are some stories I could tell you about him. But those will have to be for another time.
Joe: That’s a good reason to have you back sometime. Michael, it’s certainly been a pleasure getting to know even more about you than I already knew. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, and maybe you’ll tell us some “monkey stories” sometime in the future.
Michael: I’d love that. Thanks for having me as your guest.
Joe: The pleasure was all mine.
NOTE: Don’t forget, next week, I’ll be posting Part Two of MEMORIES: The Big Move.