Mike Orenduff Q&A
Today we welcome to the stage author Mike Orenduff, who has recently published the 8th(!) novel in his mystery series about a man who finds and sells Native American Pottery in New Mexico, and who is repeatedly winding up in sticky situations. As for Mike, well . . . let’s get into the interview questions :)
1. In this latest installment of the Pot Thief Mysteries, you have the main character, Hubie Schuze returning to his alma mater, which is also, coincidentally, yours, what inspired you to choose this setting?
I chose New Mexico as the setting for the Pot Thief Mysteries for three reasons: 1) its large Native American and Hispanic populations and it’s unique geography of mountains and deserts make it exotic, a place people would like to visit even if they do so only via a book, 2) It has more pot hunting sites than any other state, and 3) I know the state well, and the advice to writers is always ‘write what you know’.
I set the latest book in my alma mater, The University of New Mexico, because universities have become so weird in recent years that I they are now a rich source for humor.
2. What made you choose pottery as Hubie's area of expertise ?
A protagonist needs a flaw to make him or her human. Hubie’s flaw is he can’t resist digging up Anasazi pots even though it is now illegal to do so. He rationalizes his pot stealing by saying it was legal when he first started doing it and by his belief that the women who made those post would like them to be seen and enjoyed, not left buried forever in the earth. So I figured if he likes pots that much, he would probably have learned to make some himself. Incidentally, I am frequently asked is I am a potter. I am not.
3. What made you want to write mystery?
Sherlock Holmes. I read those books as a kid and was hooked.
4. How do you think your background in teaching math and philosophy have helped give your mystery its own unique angle or voice?
I think they may have made plotting easier since both math and philosophy involve abstract reasoning. And when you are teaching math and philosophy, it helps to throw in a bit of humor since most students are nervous about those classes. Of course in this newest book, I don’t think I could have written it had I not had the experience of being a professor.
6. What are the best and the hardest parts of being the author of the Pot Thief Mysteries?
The best part is spending time in bookstores all over the country and meeting people who are readers. There are no hard parts; I love writing.
Interested to hear more from Mike? Come visit the store this Saturday from 2-4 pm when he’ll signing copies of THE POT THIEF WHO STUDIED EDWARD ABBEY! Even sooner than that, Mike has a radio show based out of Valdosta, GA on 92.1 FM on Tuesdays from 6-7 called Book Talk! You can also stream it via http://talk921.com/. And its possible you’ll hear a little Bookshelf shout-out tonight!