Please join us in welcoming Michael Niemann to the blog today!
Tell us about your new book!
The Last Straw is the sixth book in the Valentin Vermeulen thriller series. Expecting a little down time, Vermeulen joins his partner Tessa Bishonga on a research trip to the US/Mexican border in Arizona. Instead he is drawn into the investigation of a murdered skeleton found in the Sonoran desert. As Bishonga and Vermeulen delve into the complicated and dangerous world of refugees and migrants, dark forces take notice. A killer, who evaded justice seven years earlier, sees an opportunity for revenge. Cartels aim to eliminate the interlopers. A right-wing militia wants to teach Bishonga a lesson. Set against the tragic border policies of the United States, Vermeulen and Bishonga face their biggest challenges yet, and the threats aren’t only coming from the criminals.
Tell us about yourself!
Michael Niemann grew up in a small town in Germany, ten kilometers from the Dutch border. Crossing that border often at a young age sparked in him a curiosity about the larger world. He studied political science at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität in Bonn and international studies at the University of Denver. After a long career in academia he now satisfies his curiosity by writing thrillers.
Did you do any unusual research while writing this book?
I had to learn a lot about forensic anthropology since the novel begins with the discovery of a skeleton. How can one learn specific aspects of a person’s live only by looking at the bones and the artifacts found by the skeleton. I discovered interesting ways to make washed out papers reveal what once was written on them.
Do you have any must-do writing habits?
I aim to be in my chair at 8:30 am every weekday. I believe that consistency is important and find that when, for one reason or another, I’m not writing, something feels off. I guess I could say that writing has become an integral part of my life. I can’t really imagine not writing. As I write this, I’m between books and it feels very odd not to have a project to dig into.
What’s your favorite book that you’ve read in the past year?
This is a hard question. On the one hand I’ve thoroughly enjoyed rereading old David Goodis novels, the quintessential noir novels of the 1950s. THE BURGLAR is one example of a great but bleak story. But I’ve also enjoyed Bernadine Evaristo’s GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I received came from my good friend, colleague and award-winning author, the late Fred Pfeil who advised me to write a little bit every day rather than set aside large blocks of time on a specific day. That way, if the writing didn’t go well, I hadn’t lost a whole day.
How can people learn more about your book and follow you online?
You can learn more about Michael on his website: https://michael-niemann.com. He’s also on Facebook as @MichaelNiemannAuthor and on Twitter as @m_e_niemann.