Posted on 06/08/2015 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
When he decided to become an author, Mike Jastrzebski literally set sail: The mystery/thriller author and his wife live on the sailboat Rough Draft, splitting their time between traveling and docking so that Mike can write.
Among his published works is the “Blues” mystery series, whose star, Wes Darling, owns a boat of the same name as his creator.
We caught up with Mike to learn what the life aquatic does for his career.
SADYE: What prompted you to move onto a boat?
MIKE: I have always been plagued by a desire to live an alternative lifestyle. Throughout my life I have worked in retail management, owned several businesses including a used-book store, lived in a log cabin in Maine that I built from logs harvested from the property I owned, and lived in a 100-year-old farmhouse in Minnesota. Although I often dreamed of building a sailboat, I did not learn to sail until I was in my mid-40s and met my wife, Mary, who taught me to sail.
Mary not only taught me to sail but it was her idea to buy a sailboat; her idea for me to quit my job, write in the winters and work on a major overhaul in the summers; and her idea to go cruising on the boat so that I could continue to write.
SADYE: Was there anyone who thought you were crazy (and did you care)?
MIKE: My parents and many friends thought we were crazy, and many thought we were talking the talk but would never walk the walk (or sail the boat, if you will).
SADYE: Beyond the setting for your works, how do you think boat life has affected your writing?
MIKE: Living on a boat had given me the time to write, and the lifestyle has introduced me to a variety of characters that I could only have imagined in my nonboating life.
SADYE: Beyond the literal storms you’ve weathered, what challenges does living on a boat present in terms of writing?
MIKE: The biggest challenge to my writing has been the sailing life itself. I've found that I have trouble keeping up on the writing while we are traveling on the boat.
This is not only because of the weather — the constant pounding of the waves against the hull, the salt water environment and the intensity of the tropical sun tends to wreak havoc on a boat. Boat maintenance takes up a lot of my time when we are cruising. All of my books have been written while sitting at anchor or at a dock, although I like the fact that it's always a different anchorage or dock.
“Key Lime Blues” is set in Key West, where we lived on the boat for three months and where the first draft of the book was written. “Dog River Blues” was written during the two years we lived on the boat docked on the Dog River in Mobile, Ala. My newest book — “Stranded Naked Blues,” which is now available for pre-order and will be live June 14 — was written on our second trip by sailboat to the Bahamas.
SADYE: Which of your books would you tell a reader to pick up first? Which is your favorite? Which is the best, in your eyes?
MIKE: The book I would recommend first is my favorite book and, I believe, my best book — “The Storm Killer.” I may feel that way because it was the most difficult to write. Because it's a historical work the research was an intense experience, while the research for my Wes Darling books was life experience.
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Categories: Author Interview