Mike Blaylock was the kid who wrote 10-pages papers when the assignment called for five. He fell in love with writing in high school and now creates stories with the intent of helping people experience great art and scandalous grace in order to better know the fulfilling God.
He’s a book lover, film geek, anime otaku, console gamer, and all around nerd who lives in Idaho with his equally-nerdy wife and their nerd-in-training.
- Tell us a little about yourself?
I am an analytical art geek. That means I don’t just read books, I also study and critique them. Same with movies, anime, and video games. Same with many art types, actually.
I don’t just want to experience great art, I want to break it down and peek into the nitty-gritty of what makes it, its medium, and all art great.
Oh, and I live in Idaho with my wife and toddler boy.
2. What are your biggest literary influences? Favorite authors and why?
I owe everything to Frank E. Peretti. Not only did he get me into reading at all, not only did he get me hooked on speculative fiction, but he showed me that Christian fiction could be amazing, so that when I found out how terrible a lot of Christian fiction is, I could hold on to hope that it could still be great.
Other than him, C.S. Lewis for Christian genius, Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks for fantasy genius, J.K. Rowling for making me feel like a kid every time, and Harper Lee/Kathryn Stockett for drawing me into their worlds.
3. Do you think people have misconceptions about the speculative fiction? Why do you think it is a worthwhile genre?
This is an interesting question to me because I’m a Christian, and many mainstream Christians don’t go for spec fic at all, unless it’s strictly allegorical. Many think it’s Biblically wrong to do so.
That’s sad to me. Spec fic can tell Godly stories in some spectacular ways. What better way to chart the spiritual world than by delving into horror or fantasy? What better way to discuss humanity than sci-fi?
And how delightful when an author can take us someplace far, far away and make us fall in love with characters and settings that couldn’t possibly exist!
4. Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?
Ferryman is a novella that I published specifically so I could give it away for cheap or free and let readers see my style.
It follows Charlie Ferris, a man given the worst superpower ever: the ability to kill people. How on earth do you use that without turning into a villain? That’s the question he wants to answer.
It’s a superhero character piece, focusing more on what makes a person good or bad, rather than just action spectacle.
5. Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
I keep going back to a character whose book I keep editing and editing but never publishing: Matt Owen, hero of my story Rise. He’s the most simplistic everyman and thus very human and relatable. He’s a likable guy pushed to extremes. He also has a love-hate relationship with being the hero. Matt wants to do good, but psychological scars keep him from standing up for what is right.
I think that’s what makes him relatable. We’ve all been broken some way or another, and once we’re healed, we can do what we were made to do.
6. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
Not too sound cynical, but just creating a book isn’t enough. You need to get away from your writing and find readers. This is radical for a task-oriented introvert like me, but that’s the truth of writing. [Jamie’s note: This was my biggest surprise as well. I thought all I had to do was write a good book.]
You have to engage with real, live people (or at least online) and make them care about you and your writing before you’ll ever sell a single copy.
But don’t worry. If you do it right, it’s a LOT more fun than it sounds.
7. Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Do you have any other books in the works?
Oh heavens, yes. “Hypocrite” is a Christian contemporary about a perfect church girl with a crush on other church girls. What does she choose? God? Instinct? Or is there more to this argument than we’re lead to believe?
“Dodecon” is a fantasy pilgrimage about twelve different races, each based on a different Zodiac sign, travelling together for a year. No evil emperor, no magic training ground, just twelve radically different people trying to embrace their differences.
Where can we find you online?
Some people can fly. Some can see impossible distances. Others can change their shape, shatter steel, or run at incredible speed.
Charlie Ferris can kill with a touch.
Contrary to what the superhuman government fears, Charlie has no dreams of world destruction. He aches for a way to use his powers for good. But as the immortal years pass, Charlie begins to fear that villainy is his only possible outcome.
But when an undying army appears out of nowhere, the superhuman world has no choice but to call in a professional killer. Charlie thinks he’s finally found his chance to make a good name for himself, but constant harassment and prejudice threaten to drive Charlie into a bloodless fury. After all, it would be so easy…and when the superheroes back him into a corner, Charlie is forced to ask what’s more important: a good reputation…or goodness?
I am on my way to kill a man, but I am not murdering him. That distinction is what keeps me from being the villain everyone already thinks I am—or at least, the villain they wait for me to become.
I am a killer, not a murderer. A murderer kills because he hates. I kill because I can. It’s the gift I was given. I didn’t choose it and I can’t return it. I’m not a killer because I kill. I kill because I am a killer, and if I’m to be accepted, I must have actions to back up my words. I must reinforce that just because I take a life, it does not make me evil.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to not cross that blurred line, especially with criminals. It’s hard not to hate a man who has murdered, corrupted, raped, or otherwise broken the law so frequently or so exquisitely that the state has decided to end their life. Thus, when the state calls me, I don’t ask what crimes the condemned has committed. I just ask for proper, public documentation to make sure nobody is trying to trick me into offing a political enemy.
People think I’m shady as it stands—at least, those who recognize me. Thankfully, I’m innocuous enough to the naked eye—just another thirty-ish white male in a country full of them. My hair is a bit wavy, but that doesn’t signal me as a killer. Its inky color might, though. And I suppose my dark, button-up shirt, black slacks, raven gloves, and shiny shoes make me look rather . . . well, grim. But this job and this life require professionalism and appropriate somberness. Glib mockery only enhances suspicion.
My shoes clap lightly on tiled floors. These back hallways are well lit, clean, and a lovely way to bypass the inmates of this maximum-security prison. I’m not scared of them. I just don’t want to run the risk of hating them.
The security guard who escorts me is armed to the throat and thankfully, silent. Some escorts like to chat me up, ask a lot of questions about what I do, or worst of all, tell me how the inmate has it coming. I prefer to remain as silent about my talents as I can, not glorify them unnecessarily. I don’t like this job per se, but I like getting paid, you know?
He opens a door with a security key and lets me inside. The room is sparsely furnished with a few cabinets, a sink, and a scrawny black man strapped to a reclining chair. He can still move his head, so he turns and looks me in the eye.
“You’re the guy?” he asks.
I nod. “I’m the guy.”
I always feel I should introduce myself, but what am I supposed to say? Hi, I’m Charlie. I’m here to kill you.
So few people here. True, we have two doctors, a state official, a chaplain, and the spectacled warden whom I have met before—this is Texas, after all—but no family or friends are here to comfort the condemned. I’ve been to plenty of executions and there’s always somebody who loves the prisoner and stays with them until the end.
The warden shakes my hand first, as if to show the others it’s okay. The doctor and state official are more hesitant to touch me, even with the gloves.
I give them each a firm shake, as if to say, “I’m not here for you.”
If Michael has intrigued you, you can find his book here: