Pump Up Your Book Chats with Michael Bigham, Author of ‘Harkness’

Michael Bigham photo

Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

Visit Michael at http://michaelbigham.com/


Thank you for this interview, Michael! Can you tell us why you wrote Harkness: A High Desert Mystery?

As with most authors, writing is an integral part of my life. I must write to be complete. Even during my career as a cop, I knew that I wanted to write full time someday. Police work was rewarding, but the stress sapped my creativity. When I retired, I went back to school and got an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. From that point, it seemed that writing a novel was a given for me.

Because I had been a cop, the mystery genre was a natural choice. I’d grown up in a small timber town on the Central Oregon high desert. The landscape there is so amazing and diverse, I knew that would be my setting.

Which part of the book was the hardest to write?

For me, the hardest part of any story is the middle. I wish I was one of those writers that outline their plot extensively, but I’m not. I stumble along, holding only a vague idea of where I’m going in my mind. I usually have a couple of upcoming scenes on tap, but that’s it. So I slow down in the middle, trying to find my way. Once I get to the climax, the narrative starts to zip along.

Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know about?

I don’t have any particular ideological ax to grind. Harkness is a story of loss and redemption. I realize now, that my protagonist’s story is just beginning, so I’m hard at work on the next book in the series.

Do you have a writing tip you’d like to share? Harkness cover

This is one of those, ‘do as I say, not as I do’ things. Keep writing. Don’t get bogged down by your internal editor. Turn that little rascal off and write your brains out. You can go back and fix things when your rough draft is down on paper.

Would you like to tell us about your home life?

I live with my lovely wife and daughter in Portland, Oregon. Much of my time is filled with volunteer work. Right now, I’m on the Citizen Review Committee. That’s the official community watchdog for the Portland Police Bureau. We hear appeals from citizens on police behavior and make recommendations on police policy. Other than that, I spend a lot of time with my daughter and our peppy little Bichon named Pumpkin. We love to travel, hike and take pictures.

What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?

I signed up for twitter and started gathering followers. I also promoted my book on Facebook.

What is the most frustrating part of being an author?

Right now, it has to be promoting my novel. I’m not an outgoing person, so promotion and readings are a stretch, but it’s also good for me to move out of my comfort zone.

What is the most rewarding part of being an author?

Looking back on something I wrote, seeing the words flowing across the page and saying to myself, “God, I wrote that? It’s good.” 

I’d like to thank Pump Up Your Book for taking the time to interview me. It’s been a treat and your service is a great way for authors to gain exposure for their books.