Michael Collins is Extreme!

Irish-born, Bellingham-dwelling author Michael Collins is driven by stuff that most of us wouldn’t even dream of attempting. And by that, I don’t mean novels, I mean his penchant for marathons in far-flung places. He tells the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s John Marshall about his upcoming plans:

In the space of six weeks, this prize-winning novelist is dedicated to

competing in two marathon events in diabolically different climes.

First off, in late February, was the Sahara Sub-Marathon in the desert

country of Algeria, which Collins won against world-class competition.

Then, on April 8, he is scheduled to compete in the North Pole

marathon, where an expected 70 racers will be delivered by helicopters

to ice floes where the marathon course often will be less than 12 feet

from the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean.

“I like the competitiveness,” he says, “but also having my mind and

body totally focused on winning. It provides the one true feeling I

have of well-being.”

It should come as no surprise that he sees parallels between writing and running. “The intensity of training for a race is very similar to the intensity

in writing a novel,” he says. “With a novel, I give it four to five

months. With running, I couldn’t run 90 miles a week for an entire

year, so I make a four-month commitment to that. I have that way of

compartmentalizing my life: now I’m a writer, now I’m an athlete.”

His next book is going to be published in the UK as THE SECRET LIFE OF ROBERT E. PENDLETON, but in the US as the more mundane DEATH OF A WRITER — switching from Viking (which published his last book, LOST SOULS) to Bloomsbury. And let’s just put a “here we go again” stamp on his next statement:

“I got trapped in the crime genre for a couple of novels, although I

never wanted to master that genre,” Collins relates. “I had to fight to

do the book I want to write and had to go to a new publisher,

Bloomsbury, which has been much more supportive. The new novel reads

better. It is less of a procedural and more of a philosophical

commentary on the human condition, which is what I am really interested


Funny, the write-up on Amazon UK sure makes this out to be a crime novel….