Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I always loved reading and telling stories to others, even as a young child. For years, as I lay awake at night, I played out in my mind new chapters of an ongoing serialized supernatural story that I wish I’d written down at the time, because I no longer recall any specifics. But I did write short stories in elementary school and continued through high school and beyond, so I guess writing was always in my blood.
What inspired you to write your book?
I kept returning to this idea of a character who somehow knew when others would die. In some of my iterations, the character used the power for evil, but ultimately I decided that readers, especially teens, should see a character who doesn’t want this ability, but who will never abuse it. That old line from Spiderman infused my thinking while crafting the story: “With great power comes great responsibility.” I think my main character learns this truth during the course of the story.
What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I’d say there are several themes. 1. Nothing’s written in stone – the choices we make guide our destiny. 2. People are not always what they appear to be on the outside, so don’t be so quick to judge or label them. 3. Doing the right thing can often be complicated.
What drew you into this particular genre?
I’ve spent my life working with children and teens as a teacher and volunteer, so it’s only natural I’d gravitate towards stories about and for that demographic. I’ve also always loved mysteries and thriller/horror tales, so melding the two was a no-brainer for me.
If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I would ask Leo this question: As you go through life, how often do you think you’ll be tempted to look into the eyes of people you care about to either warn them of the day and time or help them elude death like you did with J.C.?
What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I don’t have as large a readership as I’d like, but I’d say Instagram and Twitter have gotten me the most attention. I’ve found Facebook mostly useless in marketing books for teens.
What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
I used to say “write what makes you happy,” but based on the nature of publishing today, I’d suggest writing a book that’s in a similar vein to titles that have proven themselves to be popular in the marketplace because you’re going to have to produce “comp” titles anyway when you apply to an agent or publisher.
What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I have two finished and edited books for the teen/young adult market (one is action adventure and the other mystery/sci-fi), as well as an adventure tale aimed at middle grade readers. I’m not certain what will happen with them, but they will hopefully be released one day.
About the Author
Michael J. Bowler is a former teacher, adoptive parent, lifelong child advocate, author of The Lance Chronicles series—books with multi-racial and LGBT characters that deal with significant issues facing American youth today, and Spinner, a horror thriller featuring teens with disabilities as the heroes.
I Know When You’re Going To Die