As you know from my 4/29/12 review of Michael David Lukas' Oracle of Stamboul, I loved this book. Like so many other local authors, I found Michael at Barnes & Noble in The Pruneyard (REMINDER: closing December 31!). It was a Tuesday afternoon, which is always my day for going into the store to see what new books have come out (they actually do come out on Tuesdays). And Michael was sitting at that same table near the front door that Jasmine Haynes, Adina Senft, Hannah Jayne, and A.R. Silverberry (with Mrs. Silverberry) sat at on earlier occasions. As was my custom, I read and blogged about the book and was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. Something well-written enough for me to quote passages is usually the kiss of death for my enjoyment quotient. I'm not looking for poorly written books, but I'm not normally crazy for books that are literary (the word "literature" gives me the shakes). Well, this was and I was.
Since Michael is just a lad (early '30's maybe?), you wouldn't think that he would have much of a story to tell. But you would be wrong. Michael took an advanced writing class in college in which he worked on everything from poetry to fiction. This is what got him started. He got a Master of Fine Arts and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. He matriculated to Tunisia (the country, not a small school in the midwest) for additional schooling. While there, he came up with the idea of writing a book. But what was he going to write about?
Serendipity plays a big part in everybody's life. So too for Michael. He found himself stranded in Istanbul without a passport. While there, he walked into an antique store and found a picture of a little girl leaning against a pedestal. Seeing that picture gave him the idea for Oracle of Stamboul. I, for one, am very glad he saw that picture and, ultimately, wrote this book.
You know how it seems that everything happens so quickly? Well, not in Michael's case. It took him 7 years to write Oracle! When it was finally ready to shop, he put out a query letter to 25-30 agents. As luck (and skill) would have it, he was accepted by the agent that was his first choice. Things happen for a reason, right? His agent contacted a number of publishers and got so much interest that there was actually an auction to see which publisher would get the rights to publish the book. And it took less than a week for that to happen (okay, this part happened quickly). How cool is that! His book was bought by HarperCollins in February of 2010 and was published in February of 2011.
What's next? Michael is working on his 2nd novel now. If he goes through the same process as the 1st one, then it will be awhile before it hits the stores. I know I will be one of the 1st to buy it (maybe the author will even sign it for me, if I ask him nicely). Stay tuned for an update.