Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Who Me?

Apparently, and this must be gospel because it was on the internet, there are 184 people in the UK going by the name of Michael Malone. In the U.S. there are 1134. Go me.

There are also a few of us who write. Most notably the American, Michael Malone who wrote First Lady, Uncivil Seasons and Time’s Witness (to name but three). Thing is, I like my name. It’s quite a cool name for a writer, innit? As far as the poetry is concerned I’m happy to publish under this name, but when I publish my novels I may need to consider a pseudonym. (See, that’s me thinking positively)
I first came across Michael (U.S) Malone in the eighties with Dingley Falls. Kinda forgot about him until about four/ five years ago when I picked up First Lady in a bookshop. I saw the author’s name and picked it up. Well you would, wouldn’t you? Seeing your name on the spine of a novel is a moment to cherish. Even if the moment is vicarious. I can pretend, can't I?
Now for a little piece of backstory.
At this point I was writing the first of my crime novels. I was at the stage where I had established my main character and I now had to consider how my victims were going to die. (I know, gruesome eh?) Just what would my killer’s M.O. be? The book has religious undertones, set partly in a Catholic orphanage – me and my past, we have issues – so I thought that the killer should have a religious theme. This of course has been done in the past, so I wanted something a little different. The idea that came to me was that the killer should stage the dead bodies and in doing so replicate the death of a different saint each time.

Researching this was problematic. Any books or websites I came across were happy to mention the saints and their lives, but their deaths were glossed over or totally ignored.
Anywho, at this point I picked up the Michael U.S. Malone’s First Lady. His picture was on the inside cover. Not only do we share a name and a writing genre but we share a hairstyle (bald) and a beard (goatee). He was an older me!
I read the first page. Well-written, atmospheric, characters I wanted to know more about. I buy the book. Take it home. Curl up on the settee while my son watches cartoons. For the next six hours. Don’t worry, he’s used to it. And he has the American accent to prove it.
Forget the other coincidences I mentioned earlier, I find something that is truly spooky. Michael U.S. Malone has a religious theme in this novel. His killer stages the dead bodies. He replicates the death of a different saint each time.
Cue spooky music.
A week later (more spooky music) I receive an email from a bookshop in Wisconsin. Never been. Wouldn’t know how to get there. The bookshop manager loves my books; especially the latest, First Lady and she would love it if I would attend the shop and give a reading. My expenses would be met of course. For a moment, dear reader I was tempted. My solitary visit to the States so far is a weekend in New York. How cool would that be? We even kinda looked alike, give or take a decade. Return flights from Glasgow to Wisconsin; a few days/ a week even in a quality hotel? It would have been rude to refuse, yes? Then my conscience pitched in... at what point would you tell her you were not the Michael Malone she thought you were, the grovelling little shit asked. Before, during, after the reading or on the way back to the airport?
Back to the name. When my agent contracts THAT deal, what will I go with? Any ideas?
ps. Michael Malone (U.S.) if you haven't read him is excellent. Well done, Mikey boy. Keeping the standards going.


  1. Michael, some things are just too spooky not to have an explanation. I think the other MM IS you. You are either having an out-of-body experience, (like I do when I'm on the gym treadmill), or there is a warp in the space-time continuum.

  2. Actually, I hereby copyright that idea for a book...

  3. You could be on to something, Gillian. You never see me and the other MM in the same room at the same time. mmmmm

  4. What's the baby on the right celebrating? Your latest book? That is too freaky...

    How about MikeL Malone, or Mick Malone, Mystery writer.

  5. Eureka! If anyone has trouble posting it's because they don't have third party cookies turned on. I've never had that problem before but thankfully that fixed it. And I meant the author thing not the cute little one.

  6. i like mick malone. sounds very crime-ish. or just use your full name and middle initial. honestly, i know two u.s. mike malones so it's going to be impossible to be the only one.

  7. Able to! Something about me must have been switched Off.
    Gillian is entirely right and we all live many parallel lives.