What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
* The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
* Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
* When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.
What are you going to tell us about today?
* My literary, mystery, thriller, suspense story, The Vineyard and ten things most people don't know about me.
1. My father left our family when I was two. My mother had only a high school education, but she loved to write and taught herself to type. She would edit and type the stories I wrote as a child. We were not poor, but we didn’t have much money. When I sold my first magazine article at seventeen and received a check for $45 in the mail, she kept the money to pay our electric bill.
2. Hank Bauer, the ex-Yankee and manager of the 1966 World Champion Baltimore Orioles, was my next door neighbor. After the O’s won the World Series, I got him to sign a baseball for me. My friends and I promptly went to the sandlot and played a game with it. I have no idea what happened to the ball.
3. I was a student of classical piano at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore before I was expelled for refusing to play anything but jazz and blues. I later formed “The Hurley Trio” with a stand up base player and drummer, playing standards and jazz in college at cocktail parties and in a bar.
4. I was a midfielder on the 1977 NCAA Division III Championship Lacrosse Team, Mid-Atlantic Conference, the year Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) was undefeated.
5. For eight years between 1995 and 2003, I wrote and published a quarterly literary journal on wilderness canoeing named Hurley’s Journal. It started as something for friends and family, but I started selling subscriptions when a friend sent me $10 in the mail and asked me to keep sending him copies. By the time the last issue appeared eight years later, I had more than 10,000 subscribers in 48 states. The essays I wrote for each issue were collected into my first book, Letters from the Woods, which was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine.
6. I qualified for my Coast Guard license as a sailboat charter captain in 1992 and moved to New Bern, North Carolina. There I became friends with a pharmaceutical sales rep named Nick Sparks and his wife Cathy, who went sailing with me. After Nick wrote The Notebook and became instantly world famous, he called me one day. His editor wanted to change a sailing scene in one of his books, because he didn’t think the hero could leave the helm of the sailboat to go below and make love to the woman. I explained to Nick the procedure to “heave to” the helm so that the boat sails itself while the skipper does other things. He got to keep the scene.
7. I am the youngest by ten years of four children and was absolutely spoiled rotten by two older sisters. My mother worked two jobs, and because my sisters were so busy getting me ready for school and out the door every morning, they never had time to wait for me to do anything. I don’t think I learned how to dress myself or tie my shoes until I was eight.
8. I sailed a 32-foot boat 2,200 miles solo from Annapolis, Maryland to the Dominican Republic over the course of two years, starting in 2009. While I was sailing alone in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012, my boat was knocked down and disabled by a rogue wave. I had to abandon the boat after I was rescued by a U. S. Coast Guard cutter that took me to Guantanamo Bay. I have no idea what happened to my boat.
9. To get my undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education at the University of Maryland in College Park in 1981, I had to complete a semester of student teaching at a local high school. My supervising teacher passed me on the one condition that I promised never to teach English to anyone. I went to law school the following fall.
10. U. S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist was one of three mock judges in the final championship round of oral arguments in the moot court competition at my law school. When Justice Rehnquist challenged one of my arguments, I panicked and insulted his reasoning in one of the actual cases he had written for the Supreme Court. I tried to move on, but he stopped me and said that he “resented” my comment. Everyone laughed, including Rehnquist, but I was dying. We won the competition in a split decision, but I never knew which way Rehnquist voted.
A look into the story
* It was a question that would never have occurred to her mother or to any of her mother’s friends. Of course she would marry Tripp Wallace, they would say—or wouldn’t say, rather, because the subject would never come up. But if they were asked, they would be pained to explain what was self-evident. He met all the necessary criteria. He was from a well-respected family. He had gone to the right schools, as had his father and grandfather and great-grandfather before him. He had the right friends who had gone to the same schools and traveled in the same small circles. He was accomplished at the right sports—sailing in summer and skiing in winter—and he knew how to say and do the right things at the right moment in a way that bore testament, along with his good looks, to an obvious breeding. He was tall and well-formed and not overly bright or bookish or moody or sensitive. He would love Dory with fraternal affection and a benign indifference that would immunize him from the terrible angst that afflicts the lovelorn. There would be affairs, perhaps, but he could be relied upon to keep them discreet and meaningless, and there would be no brooding or melancholy or naval gazing in the wake of their discovery. New love would falter and stumble as it invariably does, but the business of marriage would march on. There would be no mid-life forays into the wild unknown, because he was not a curious man. His life had followed a well-worn path thus far, and he would stick to that path without the danger of navigational error that comes from needless reflection. He would lead a good life, not a well-examined life, and thereby make it possible for Dory to do the same. He and Dory would produce tall, lithe, gorgeous, tow-headed children and grandchildren who, on their way to fulfilling their central role as heirs to the family’s fortune and curators of its legacy, would by their laughter and playfulness banish the awful silence that would otherwise creep into their marriage, like a pestilence.
© 2014 by M. C. Hurley. All rights reserved.
Buy The Vineyard here...
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Find Michael Hurley here...
Website | Facebook | Goodreads
Thank you for joining us here today, Michael Hurley! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your story.
ANNOUNCEMENT! One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon or BN.com gift card! So be sure to use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Also, visit the other tour stops (find them here: goddessfishpromotions-vbt-vineyard-by-michael-hurley) for a greater chance of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway