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DJ: Hi Michael! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Michael Zimecki: I’m an attorney by day and a writer at night. Death Sentences was my first published novel. My novella, The History of My Final Illness, about the last five days in the life of Joseph Stalin, was previously published in Eclectica Magazine. I’ve also published articles and short fiction in Harper’s Magazine, The National Law Journal, Cold Creek Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper, among other publications. Earlier this year, I won a Golden Fedora Award for Poetry from Noir Nation, an international crime fiction journal. My award-winning poems are slated to appear in the next issue of the magazine, to be out soon. I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my wife, Susan, and a black cat named Mr. White.
DJ: What is Death Sentences about?
Michael: Death Sentences tells the story of Peter “Pop” Popovich, an unemployed 24-year-old. He’s a high school drop-out who enlists in the Marines and washes out, receiving a psych discharge. For a while, he finds work as a glazier, fitting glass into windows and doors, a strange vocation for someone so breakable, but he can’t get along with his co-workers and is soon fired. Pop, in short, is a loser. He’s also an anti-Semite, a white supremacist, a misogynist, and a gun nut. After he has a falling out with his girlfriend, Pop ends up living with his alcoholic mother. When his dog defecates on the rug in her living room, Pop’s mother calls the cops and asks them to remove her son from her residence. All hell breaks loose when police knock on the door and find Pop waiting for them with an AK-47.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Death Sentences?
Michael: Death Sentences is loosely based on an incident that occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2009, when a gunman, convinced that the government was coming to take away his guns, engaged in a four-hour standoff with police. Continue reading