When he committed to writing “Ghost Thief” (Oak Moon Press), his debut novel, Michael Malik went all in. “I gave up almost all other forms of entertainment while I was writing the book,” he said. “I avoided movies and watching TV shows. I didn’t want my creative process to be corrupted and led astray by the ideas of others.”
He also adhered to a strict timetable. “I made sure to write at least one page a day. If I kept to my schedule I would have 365 pages at the end of a year’s work. That is almost exactly the number of pages I had when the book was completed.”
A blend of mystery and fantasy, “Ghost Thief” follows Scotland Yard detective Benjamin Crisp as he gets caught up in the machinations of a secret society of Alchemists.
“Most of my favorite literary characters are English,” Malik said, citing Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Harry Potter. “So I guess it’s no surprise I set my story in England and gave my main character features of them all.
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“My wife once asked me why I put so much effort into writing the book. When this idea popped into my head, I found I was able to keep building on it until it became something real.”
He said he also hoped to leave a legacy. “I thought that someday my great-grandkid might pick it up and even though he never met me he still would have a way of knowing me.”
When he is not writing, Malik is a surgeon in practice with his wife. The couple lives in Raleigh with their two children.
“The Guidebook Experiment: Discovering Exploration in a Hyper-Connected World” (Travelers’ Tales) is a history and travel book by Durham resident David Bockino. The book “details an experiment I launched in an effort to understand how the recent proliferation of guidebook-related material … has changed the way we see the world,” explains Bockino, a professor at Elon University.
“Breathing in Technicolor” (Kelsay Press) is the second collection by local poet Thomas Feeny. Feeny has been a professor of foreign languages at N.C. State University since 1970.
James A. Joseph shares insights from his years of service in the public and private sectors in “Saved for a Purpose” (Duke University Press). During his distinguished career, he worked with Nelson Mandela and four U.S. presidents, also serving as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 1996 to 2000. He is Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Public Policy at Duke University.
Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference. The conference will be held Nov. 20-22 in Asheville. This year marks the 30th anniversary of NCWN. Go to http://ncwriters.org for information.
Julian Pleasants discusses “The Political Career of W. Kerr Scott: The Squire from Haw River” (University Press of Kentucky) on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch at noon Sunday. Scott, a dairy farmer from Alamance County, won the gubernatorial election in 1948 and is remembered for his progressive politics.
Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.