Michael Nava

Ep:002 Michael Nava released Carved in Bone, which is his first Henry Rios novel in 20 years. We discuss the novel and Rios' past books. Justene reviews C.S. Poe's latest novel, Mystery of the Bones - the final novel in the Snow & Winter series. She also brings up ReQueered Tales latest re-release, The Unfinished by Jay B. Laws.

Michael Nava is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Henry Rios, a gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer. The original seven novels were published between 1986 and 2000. Nava is reissuing a revised edition of the novels through his own publishing company, Persigo Press, and adding new books to the series. The first new novel, Carved in Bone, is set in San Francisco in 1984 and is currently available.  The Rios novels have been awarded 6 Lambda Literary awards and Nava was awarded the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Contributions to LGBT literature.

How to Reach Michael

Links: http://Michaelnavawriter.com
Facebook Page: Michael Nava Writer
Instagram: @micnavawriter

Carved in Bone

Was Bill Ryan’s death an accident? Henry Rios has his doubts.
The first new Henry Rios novel in 20 years from six-time Lambda Literary award winner Michael Nava is a brilliantly plotted mystery that weaves together the gripping story of two gay men against the backdrop of 1980s San Francisco as the tsunami of AIDS bears down upon the city.
Kirkus Review says: “Delivering an unusual subject and structure, this tale offers refreshing emotional depth and a gay narrative seldom seen in thrillers.”

Other Links

Mystery of the Bones by C.S. Poe
The Cricketer’s Arms by Garrick Jones
The Unfinished by Jay B. Laws
Steam by Jay B. Laws

Transcript

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Announcer 0:00 
Welcome to gay mystery authors with Brad Shreve featuring interviews with some of the most renowned authors and up and coming talent and LGBTQ mysteries, suspense and thrillers. Plus Justene Adamec is here with her weekly recommendation.

Brad Shreve 0:014
Justene, before we get to your review, I’ve got a question for you. Do you do you listen to the Big Gay fiction podcast?

Justene 0:020
Oh, yeah, I’ve been listening to it for a while and I couldn’t believe they were just named 121 of the best book podcasts by Oprah.

Brad 0:30
And I gotta say it’s well deserved. They’re fun to listen to. I want to give a big thank you to Jeff and will over the Big Gay fiction podcast. On their show Monday they gave a special shout out to us and welcomed us to the world of public And the world of gay pause, podcasting, actually to be specific, which is growing, which is good news.

Justene 0:45
Wonderful news. And it’s really great for them to, to welcome us to the world. They’ve really laid a lot of the pathway as pioneers.

Brad 1:00 
Yeah, I’ve got to tell you, I have learned through this experience that podcasters are a friendly bunch of people, and Jeff and well are no exception. I appreciate some hand holding they did for me when I worked to help get this baby off the ground. For listeners, if you enjoy great witty banter about current events, and much more, and enjoy romance fiction, I highly suggest you go to biggayfiction.com. So thank you again, Jeff. And well.

Brad Shreve 0:40
Last week, Justene was trying to describe to us what a cricket stump was and and she wasn’t too sure self and she wanted me to edit out and I didn’t do it, and I’m hoping you forgive me.

Justene 0:52
I forgive you and gives me a chance to redeem myself although when I read about the cricket stump, I found even more things that I didn’t know cricket, like the bowler and wicked man. I’m just going to stick to stump food for today’s corrections.

Brad Shreve 1:12
But you’ve become a cricket master now.

Justene 1:14
We’re waiting for that to happen.

Brad Shreve 1:18
So what’s a cricket stump?

Justene 1:20
cricket stump is the there’s a wicket, which is composed of three stumps. And then they’re are little pieces on top called bales. And sometimes the bales get knocked loose and that’s an automatic out. But the stump is one of those pieces it’s rather wide and remarkably long. Interestingly, the word for getting out by them hitting the stump is called getting stumped. And one wonders whether or not the expression getting something originally come in.

Brad Shreve 1:56
And if anybody’s wondering why in the hell we’re talking about a cricket stump last week Justene recommended Garrick Jones’s The Cricketers Arms. And in that story, the the person that’s killed, had a cricket stump stuck up his ass. So just in case you’re curious as to why we brought that up. Justene, you were looking for some books from folk that you can review? How’s that coming?

Justene 2:19
coming along fine. But most of the books we get are from people who are scheduled to be on the show for interviews. I would really like it if people out there who are listeners to send in their books so we have a broader selection. And maybe our listeners can get to know even more authors than the ones we’re interviewing.

Brad Shreve 2:41
I would like that myself. Yeah. So if they want to send you a book and we hope you writers out there do, where do they send the book

Justene 2:50
Send it to gaymysteryauthors. com.

Brad Shreve 2:53
Okay, so just send them in there, Justene, you’ll get the book and hopefully, you’ll get the recommendations, you’re not gonna be able to do them all.

Justene 3:02
One can always hope.

Brad Shreve 3:04
It’s certainly worth trying. Yes. Who are you talking about? Today?

Justene 3:09
I am talking about CS Poe. And her latest book Mystery of the Bones. She has a four book series and this is the last one. I’m remarkably disappointed. It’s the last one. And I can only hope that someday she changes her mind.

Brad Shreve 3:31
Well, I gotta tell you, I read the first one. And because she’s a guest coming up, I skipped the other two and went to the fourth one. So I’m starting that one and I agree with you. I hope this isn’t the end and I do have to go back and read the other two. So I’d like to hear more about what you have to say about it.

Justene 3:48
well, Poe’s characters are Snow and Winter. So Sebastian Snow owns a little store he calls Snow’s Antique Emporium. And he focused is on antiques and curiosities from the Victorian era. Calvin Winter, who’s now his fiance is a New York police detective. In previous books, and also in this book, Calvin gets involved in mysteries that Winter is investigating. You know how those amateur sleuths are? There’s dead bodies everywhere they go.

Brad Shreve 4:26
I love those. Because we all stumble on dead bodies.

Justene 4:29
Yes, of course. I just don’t tell you about them. So Snow gets involved in the cases. But in the previous books, his involvement has been dangerous either for him or Winter or both together. So he has sworn off cases. Unfortunately, this time, he gets a severed head delivered to him at his shop.

Brad Shreve 4:54
But that is unfortunate.

Justene 4:55
Yes, it is. And body parts just keep coming after that. His Victorian knowledge is a key to solving the case. So the police eventually break down and ask him to be involved and help solve this case. And the nice part about CS Poe is that she picks a event history that one doesn’t really know much about. And this time, it’s the bone wars.

Brad Shreve 5:27
What are the bone wars?

Justene 5:30
At some point fossil hunting for dinosaur bones was all the rage. And there were two paleontologists and Edwin Cope and Charles Marsh who were competing with each other to find the newest, the most the biggest the best. And as a result, there was a fair amount of lying, cheating and backstabbing. which culminated or maybe didn’t culminate in Marsh made a play a dino replica, and ended up putting the skull on the wrong end, Cope pointed it out. And Marsh was invited and was embarrassed. And he ended up buying up all the journals in which she had published the picture. So this, this event performs the basis of her mystery. She gives you enough of the historical background to get intrigued, but then she doesn’t get you bogged down in things like who else was searching and what kind of dinosaurs they discovered. And what you get is a very tightly crafted mystery. Against the backdrop of some historical information. Of course, all it was all about the bone wars, as well as all about the various neighborhoods in New York City where clues appear. I warn you, this book has a lot of red herrings, a lot of red herrings. And so you’ll see clues upon clues. And the challenge is going to be to pick out which clues are the important ones and which ones are red herrings. And then once you figure out which are the important ones, then you’ve got to figure out how the mystery falls together and who actually did it.

Brad Shreve 7:22
I love lots of red herrings that makes it a lot of fun to me.

Justene 7:27
And it’s it’s to the writers credit or any writers credit to be able to put in a red herring that doesn’t scream red herring, put in a red herring that looks like it’s a real clue, and is leading you down to this solution.

Brad Shreve 7:41
And doesn’t just go nowhere.

Justene 7:44
That doesn’t just go nowhere. And the other thing I like about her books is the banter between the characters. If you ever read books, in which characters are kind of talking back and forth, and then the author says, Wow, they had such great banter together and you thinking that was banter? Really? Have you ever read a book like that?

Brad Shreve 8:08
Well, probably the same thing that people think about us.

But yes, I have read books like that.

Justene 8:16
But they have really good banter, he bantered with his ex boyfriend, Neely and banters with Calvin, and occasionally banters with the other minor characters. One of the things that I don’t like about the book is that his father is only 64 years old. And Poe treats him as if he’s truly ancient. And at some point, Sebastian doesn’t want to tell him what’s going on for fear of inducing a stroke and his aged father, who doesn’t seem to have any other health issues. But it’s solely because he’s 64. And I’m approaching that age and you’re approaching that age, and we really don’t think we’re all doing

Brad Shreve 8:57
No, actually, I don’t. But my guess is the rest of the book makes up for that.

Justene 9:02
The rest of the book certainly does make up for that. And really, the portrayal of the father is also a youthful 64. He does get involved in protecting or protecting Sebastian and by proxy protecting Calvin and he is concerned and has visited his son in the hospital and all the previous books without getting worked up. So the description of him is perfectly age appropriate, I think.

Brad Shreve 9:32
So you are recommending this book,

Justene 9:34
I am recommending this book, and I am giving it a flaming recommendation. Why because there’s a fair amount of sex, and it’s very hot. If you don’t like any sex in your mysteries, keep on walking, but very few people will object to a hot sex scene.

Brad Shreve 9:54
So flaming is a good one.

Justene 9:56
Yeah, this gets a flaming recommendation.

Brad Shreve 10:00
Okay, well, that sounds good. I’m glad I’m in the beginning of reading that I look forward to finishing it off. So while we have time, ReQueered Tales, you are one of the partners. Give us a brief description for those that still don’t know and what’s coming up.

Justene 10:16
ReQueered tales is a company that is republishing classic gay fiction, and with a particular emphasis on mysteries, so we are looking to acquire rights and have acquired rights to books that were originally published in the post Stonewall pre turn of the century error. And we’re bringing those back. They’re not available in ebook, the out of print versions are being sold on the second hand market. And we’re bringing all those books back in ebook format. What we’ve released now is The Unfinished it’s a fine Halloween read Jay B Laws wrote The Unfinished. We have previously published his other horror horror novel, Steam. And this one is a ghost story. a gay man who was deaf moves into a house shortly after his parents are killed in a car accident with the money that they left him. Sadly, or fortunately for the reader. The house is haunted. And there’s a series of ghost stories, most of which are very frightening. So I urge you to pick that up for Halloween.

Brad Shreve 11:33
And the name again?

Justene 11:35
The Unfinished by Jay B. Laws

Brad Shreve 11:38
Steam is in my Kindle. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. And that sounds just as fun.

Justene 11:43
Yes. Steam is also a very good Halloween night read while you’re sitting around with the lights off waiting to trick or treaters.

Brad Shreve 11:51
So great. Sounds like a good recommendation for both ReQueered Tales and certainly first CS Poe’s newest book.

Justene 12:00
We’re looking forward to next week. And my next recommendation and please listeners send your books in

Brad Shreve 12:08
info@gaymysteryauthors com. Get those books in so Justene can read them and do some recommendations. Thank you, Justene.

Justene 12:17
Thank you, Brad. Looking forward to hearing your interview now.

Brad Shreve 12:21
It’s with Michael Nava, so should be good.

Justene 12:24
Excellent.

Announcer 12:28
interact with other crime fiction fans and authors in our game mystery thriller suspense fiction group on Facebook. Links are on our website. gaymysteryauthors.com

Brad Shreve 12:46
Hello, my guest today is Michael Nava, who I’m not only happy to have here as a guest, I’m actually honored to have him here today. How you doing today, Michael?

Michael Nava 12:55
I’m great Brad. Good to be here.

Brad Shreve 12:57
Welcome. Now Michael is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Henry Rios, a gay Latino criminal defense lawyer. The original seven novels were published between 1986 and 2000. novels were reissuing a revised edition of the novels to his own publishing company, Persigo press, and you’re adding new books to the series. Now the first new novel carved in bone is set in San Francisco in 1984, and is currently available. The real novels have been awarded six lambda literary awards, and Nava was awarded the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime contributions to LGBT literature. Now, Michael, we’re going to talk about you, but first, Henry.

Michael Nava 13:47
Henry more interesting than I am.

Brad Shreve 13:49
Oh, I doubt that and tell us who Henry is.

Michael Nava 13:53
Sure, um, as you said, in your introduction, Rios is a gay Mexican American

from a working class family in California, who

put himself through college and law school and became a criminal defense lawyer and practices in the novels primarily in Los Angeles, although there are some a couple of other locations and is someone who is you know, very much a defender of outsiders like himself

Brad Shreve 14:36
without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit more about his background.

Michael Nava 14:41
So yeah, he begins as a, as a public defender in a university town near San Francisco. And he ends up in Los Angeles, the novels are set originally, from the early 80s to about to the late 90s. So he gets, he gets caught up in the whole AIDS epidemic. And in the course of the novels, he meets and falls in love with a young man who is HIV positive. And part of the story of the novels is the unfolding of their relationship and how it impacts Rio, some of the cases that you have

Brad Shreve 15:27
now Carved in the Bone is the first Henry Rios novel in 20 years. Why did you wait too long.

Michael Nava 15:33
It took me that long before I had something new to say, frankly. And, like Rios, I’m also or I was also a lawyer, retired couple of years ago. So I had that career to attend to also, for much of the last year, the last book, before Carved in Bone is published in 2000. From today, and until 2015, I was really focused on my legal career and what I was doing, both in the law and in terms of some efforts I was involved in to diversify the legal profession in California.

Because that took up quite a lot of my time.

Brad Shreve 16:21
So you were busy,

Michael Nava 16:22
I was very busy.

Brad Shreve 16:24
Now, your bio you gave me says that in addition to releasing previous books that you are adding new books to the series, plural, right? Can you tell me what we can expect?

Michael Nava 16:36
So Carved in Bone is the first new book. And then there will be a sequel to Carved in Bone, which I hope to release next year, called Lies with Man. And then I want to write a book that’s actually set in the present, as opposed to Carved in Bone set in 1984. Lies with Man with man will be setting around 1986 because I’m trying to fill some chronological holes that I didn’t get around to when I was writing the, the original series. And then I want to bring it up today. Because obviously, a lot happened since 2001. The last the last book was published.

Brad Shreve 17:23
Okay, so you answered the question for me, because I was curious as to why? Well, I, my first expectation was that Carved in Bone was gonna be a contemporary novel, kind of surprised when it wasn’t. But not, not unpleasantly surprised.

Michael Nava 17:39
Right. So you know, the way that as you know, I mean, you’re a writer yourself. And so, the way that books get written is, it takes a while. So it takes a year, a year and a half to write a book. And during that year and a half, you’re writing one book, other things are happening in the world that you don’t necessarily address. So all of my books, all the various books to some degree, they, they omitted events that were occurring at the time, I was writing them. So when I went back, I looked, I saw there were a couple of there a couple of big holes in the chronology of the books, I needed to go back and fill in.

Brad Shreve 18:25
Now my first introduction to your stories wasn’t through your books, actually was to your podcast series of your first Henry Rios novel, The little death,

which I give a glowing five star review. And it is still available. What possessed you to do the show?

Michael Nava 18:43
So I actually, as part of this, as part of my going back and revisiting the series, I rewrote The Little Death, which was the first novel it was recently published in 1986. I just meant to do a little revising, and, you know, correct some errors. But I ended up rewriting the entire book. So much so that I gave it a different title, because it was such a different book. So it was republished in 2015, as Lay Your Sleeping Head. I was just talking to someone about podcasts, I really didn’t know much about them. And he said, You know, this would make a great podcast. And so I started listening to podcasts, like S Town. And I was very excited about the idea of presenting the real stories in a different kind of medium than books. So I thought, well, I’ll try it. And I adapted the book into an 18 episode podcast series, I hired actors I hired, you know, composer, original music and sound effects. And I turned it into an audio drama like, you know, old time radio, I wanted to bring him to life in a different way than just on the page. And since it seems quite unlikely he’s ever going to be appear as a movie or a TV series, I thought, this is a, this is a way to do that to present him in a different medium.

Brad Shreve 20:20
You did an excellent job of bringing them to life, I hope he is does show up in some other medium because it’s well deserved. on your behalf. Can we expect more podcasts dramas in the future?

Michael Nava 20:34
You know, the first I didn’t know what I was getting into. And there are lots of moving parts. And the first the first season cost around 30 grand. And that came mostly out of my pocket. So I’d like to do for this season, but I’ve got to find a way to raise the money to do it because I can’t continue to subsidize. And I’d like to do Carved in Bone. But that would be even more ambitious. So if I can raise the money, then yes, definitely. I want to do additional seasons. Yeah, cuz

Brad Shreve 21:12
it’s quite a few characters in Carved in Bone.

Michael Nava 21:14
Yeah, they are. And so you know, I mean, lately been had had, I ended up with about a dozen actors.

Of course, hiring a studio to record it, and then a sound engineer to help me with the editing process was all very expensive. So yeah, I really need to find a way to raise money if I’m going to proceed with the podcast.

Brad Shreve 21:45
Yeah, as a single host simple podcaster that $30,000?. I understand? That’s certainly more than I have to pay for my little speaker. Now, what would Henry Rios tell us about Michael Nava?

Michael Nava 22:02
I really don’t know what every would say about me. We had very, we have very different careers, I don’t even know that we would have intersected. He is a trial lawyer and has been a trial lawyer his entire career. But I, first of all, I wasn’t a criminal defense lawyer, I was actually a prosecutor. So he might feel some hostility toward me because I was on the wrong side of the law, from his perspective. But most of my career, I worked behind the scenes in the court system, writing opinions for judges. So I doubt that he and I would have actually had much to do with each other.

Brad Shreve 22:51
It seems some people have an antagonism towards prosecutors, which I don’t understand, because obviously, some people deserve to be prosecuted. How does that make you feel?

Michael Nava 23:02
Well, I think actually, most lay people think that prosecutors are the good guys in the criminal justice system. And I think that most of the hostility is toward lawyers in the criminal justice system is reserved for defense lawyers like Rios, because people have the idea that criminal defense lawyers are basically getting guilty people off. And that perception is really been furthered by shows like, you know, Law and Order in which the criminal defense attorneys are almost always portrayed as sort of sleazy characters who will do anything to get their guilty clients acquitted of crimes that they committed. You know, what, in my, my experience as an attorney, the really, that’s really a very profound misunderstanding of what criminal defense lawyers do. They’re really indispensable to the system.

Brad Shreve 24:12
Well, the last time we spoke, you told me that Michael Nava’s life isn’t interesting, which I find laughable. You have an impressive law background, as you just stated, you’ve been an activist, I want to know, other than writing, what is your real passion?

Michael Nava 24:32
Well, you know, I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t really know how to answer that question. I mean, my, basically, my entire life is either then writing novels or practicing law. And what motivates me in both cases is, you know, as a gay man from an ethnic minority, as you know, my family’s Mexican, I’ve just really been dedicated to try to, to increase the visibility of those communities, and in any way I could to make this society a little less bigoted toward us, whether it’s toward gay people or Latinos.

That’s, that’s pretty much consumed my life and chosen new writing.

Brad Shreve 25:37
How is your background in law helped you with writing the Henry Rios stories?

Michael Nava 25:43
Well, you know, a lot of the various books involve, actually have courtroom scenes, or they involve fairly complicated legal maneuvers. And so being on the inside, and having a an understanding how the law actually works, has been indispensable. I recently read a mystery, which has gotten quite a bit of acclaim, which is a courtroom drama. And I just, I couldn’t read it, because the courtroom stuff was so inaccurate. I understand why the author did that. Because most trials are actually not that they’re kind of boring. But the, the, the job of a writer is to take material that’s boring in the real world. And to make it interesting to dramatize it, but without, but still, you know, remaining somewhat realistic. So my, my, my background in the law, I think, was really helpful in allowing me to dramatize the law without making a complete while still remaining fairly true to how it actually works.

Brad Shreve 27:07
Yeah, I think a good example of what you’re talking about, not necessarily law, but I know in television and movies, and even in books, it seems like forensics gets their evidence back overnight, to the law enforcement, which we know is absolutely not true.

Michael Nava 27:23
Yeah, it’s not true. And also, if you look at a show like CSI occasionally, when they do have courtroom scenes, you know, the the forensic scientist that is asked a few questions and make some dramatic revelation. But if you actually read the transcript of someone testifying about DNA that goes on for hours, and most of it is unbelievably technical and boring. So it’s the stuff we see on TV, there is a very little relationship to what actually goes on in courtrooms.

Brad Shreve 28:05
A friend of mine was on jury, I think was last week. And she said that she knows more about the spinal column than she ever wanted to in her lifetime.

Michael Nava 28:18
Right. And the other thing about trials is, you know, they’re not straightforward. When you present your cases of prosecutor, you’re presenting that often not in a chronological fashion, because, you know, sometimes witnesses are unavailable on a particular day. And so you, you have to, you have to go with who you have that day, and sometimes you have to take witnesses out of order. And it’s it’s much more like putting together a mosaic, then just put it in a strict chronological narrative of how something happened.

Brad Shreve 28:56
As far as I know, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, you’re only other fiction work is a standalone novel City of Palaces. Did you become especially partial to Henry or to just writing this series in general?

Michael Nava 29:10
You mean, why did I write mysteries and not other novels?

Brad Shreve 29:13
Well, you only did it. Did you just do the Henry Rios mysteries and then the City of Palaces.

Michael Nava 29:20
Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s my entire output of fiction so far. Why did I write the real mysteries? Well, I didn’t set out to be a mystery writer, actually, I actually studied and thought I was going to be a poet. But when I started law school, I sort of lost interest in writing poetry, or maybe the Lord drove that out of my head. But I still wanted to write, and I thought, I’ll write a novel. And I wanted to write the kind of novel that would actually teach me how to write fiction how to construct plots and develop characters and, and learn how to write dialogue. And so I’d always loved reading mysteries. And I thought, well, mysteries are very, from a point of view of the writers craft, they’re very demanding. And so if I write a mystery, I’ll have to look I have to construct a plot, you know, have to learn how to write, create characters know, and they’ll have to have snappy dialogue. So really, I wrote the first Rios book as an exercise and teaching myself how to write fiction. I didn’t write it because I tend to write a mystery series. It just happened that the first two books kind of took off. And then I was asked to write other books in the series. And that’s really how the series came about.

Brad Shreve 30:57
Yeah, as an exercise. I’d say you did a pretty damn good job.

Michael Nava 31:03
Thanks.

Brad Shreve 31:05
So you kind of touched on it with the poetry. What’s your background in writing? What was your journey?

Michael Nava 31:11
So I started writing probably seriously when I was around 12. And from the time I was 12, until I was in my early 20s, I’m particularly in college, I was really only interested in writing poetry. So I, I studied under a number of poets. I, you know, in college, I, I took a lot of English Lit classes, although I was a history major. And I only wrote poetry. And I was really convinced I was going to this is going to be my, this is going to be my vocation, I was going to be a great poet. So it wasn’t until I got into law school. Once I graduated from college, I realized, yeah, there’s no real, real job for poets, I’m here to do something else, if you’re going to be a poet. I’d always also sort of been interested in politics and the law. So I went to law school. And once I got into law school, yeah, the poetry destroyed up. And so as I said, it was at that point that I sort of switch my, my writing goals from writing poetry to writing fiction. But I think writing poetry is really good training for writing fiction, because it teaches you how to use language economically. And it teaches you a kind of precision when you have to write poetry, because in poetry, you don’t get that many words to say something. So every word has to carry it quite a bit of meaning. And that’s some that’s a really good thing to know, you’re writing fiction.

Brad Shreve 32:58
I’ve never heard it put that way. But that’s an excellent point. Henry Rios has been extremely popular, and you’ve won six Lammy awards. So few would argue your success. But what does literary success mean to you?

Michael Nava 33:15
You know, it’s, I have an ego. And you know, it’s gratifying to, to read good reviews, or positive reviews of the books. And I’m grateful that, that I was that I won those awards. It, it tells me that people are paying attention to what I’m doing, basically. And that more than anything else is important to me, because I don’t, I don’t write these mysteries just to entertain people, although I hope they entertain people, that they are compelling books that people, you know, get very deeply involved in the characters in the story. But I also have kind of mission and writing the books, and my mission is to talk about the experience of being a gay man. Because we live in a society where being a gay person is still, you know, quite challenging, more now than ever, I think, given what’s going on, in you know, in the, in the political sphere. So, yeah, for me, for me, success means reaching people who would ordinarily read about someone like Henry Rios, to read those books and to identify with him, even though they themselves are not gay or Latino.

Brad Shreve 34:46
Well, I’ll tell you, one of the successes you’ve had, for me, I was closeted till I was in my 30s. So the the AIDS crisis and, and that type of thing I was, I was in the south, and I was removed from all of the, so you really gave me an understanding of what was going on. And I’m quite impressed with, with how you’ve done that.

Michael Nava 35:09
You know, that’s the kind of success I want, which is to, to bring people into my world, to help them learn something, and also to have them emphasize with the characters I write about.

Brad Shreve 35:24
What according to you is the hardest thing about writing? What’s your writing kryptonite?

Michael Nava 35:31
I think first drafts are hard, really, because it’s just you and the blank screen. And no matter how well you prepared yourself, just like squeezing those words out. The first time around, is, it’s always very challenging. It’s always very exhausting. Once I have a draft, the revision process, I, I like that, because once I have a draft, it’s like, you know, it’s like making a map. It’s like Louis, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, trying to get from the Mississippi to the Oregon coast, you know, you’re cutting that trail for the first time. Once you’ve done it, then you you do have a map of how you got there. And you can go back and you can improve on it. But it’s that it’s been in the bushes that first time it’s did I find particularly exhausting, and challenging?

Brad Shreve 36:36
Well, as a writer, it’s comforting for me to know that you had the same challenges that I deal with.

Michael Nava 36:42
It doesn’t get easier. I don’t think it gets easier. Every book is as difficult as the last book.

Brad Shreve 36:49
Well, thanks a lot.

So it’s to reach you or to purchase your books, what are the best ways for our readers to follow you?

Michael Nava 37:00
So my website is michaelnavawriter.com, although Actually, I tend to post more on my Facebook page, which is also called Michael Nava Writer. And that’s really where I communicate with people more frequently. And, you know, my books are available usual online places, but they’re also available in print editions. And I encourage people to go to their favorite bookseller, and ask them to order. Because my books are, you know, they’re, they’re accessible in print editions. And if your bookstore doesn’t carry them, it’s easy enough for them to order them.

Brad Shreve 37:41
Yeah, I don’t know in your area. You’re in San Francisco. Here in LA, we’re seeing a resurgence of indie bookstores. And I’m hoping that’s something that is happening nationwide.

Michael Nava 37:54
Well, I think the predictions that ebooks would replace print books, that those predictions have proved to be not true. And I think generally, there’s a resurgence in print books. And I think that that’s probably fueling some of the resurgence of independent bookstores. And I think independent bookstores, people who are starting them, or people who are still around, they’ve they’ve learned some tough lessons. And they’re probably running their stores much more efficiently and much more intelligently than they were 15 years ago, when they were completely unprepared for the onslaught of Amazon. Hmm. So I think there are a lot, I think there are a lot, the bookstores that survived I think are being run a lot smarter than they were previously.

Brad Shreve 38:46
And as a writer, you don’t hear it very often. But I have heard it told to me and some other writers. When someone says I loved your ebook so much, I had to go by the print edition.

Michael Nava 38:59
Yeah, yeah. I personally read most of my books as print books. I mean I appreciate the convenience of ebooks. But I like to flip back and forth when I’m reading and I find that much easier to do. And I’m just, I mean, I, I’m an old guy, I just turned 65. I’m really habituated to reading print books, and I liked them. Although I wrote on space for them.

Brad Shreve 39:26
Well, before I let you go, I asked every guest a question that authors hate to hear.

Michael Nava 39:36
Okay

Brad Shreve 39:39
I’m gonna spin the wheel here and see what we come up for you.

Michael Nava 39:42
All right.

Brad Shreve 39:47
Okay, here we go. Are your books any good?

Michael Nava 39:53
Uh, yeah, they are actually. Because, you know, I, when I got the rights back to when I started this process of revising and republishing them. I had to read them for the first time in 20 years. And I was really surprised at how well they how they hold up. So, yeah, I’m a good writer.

Brad Shreve 40:17
I would agree with you, 100%.

Michael Nava 40:20
Thanks, Brad. Glad to know it.

Brad Shreve 40:24
Well, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you

Michael Nava 40:26
thank you so much.

Thanks so much for having me on.

Brad Shreve 40:30
I hope we have you on again, sometime soon in the future.

Michael Nava 40:33
And best of luck with this podcast. It’s really a great idea. I hope you get some traction. And I certainly will, will be putting it all over my social media.

Brad Shreve 40:43
Well, that’s excellent to hear. My goal is that more people become aware of the genre that you and I are in and make it both good for the writers as well as the general public that that needs to know that we’re here.

Michael Nava 40:58
Right. I agree totally.

Brad Shreve 41:07
Hey, you know that book you’re reading. When you’re done, please don’t forget to leave a comment. Not only does it help the author feel better spiritually, but it is financially rewarding as well to help them keep more books coming.

Announcer 41:22
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