Revenge on the FlyPlease welcome guest Michael Cavender, who will explain the story behind his new novel, Revenge on the Fly:

I wanted to kill off a number of relatives when I started my first novel that eventually became Revenge on the Fly. In notebooks and on scraps of paper, my lists of potential victims who had somehow wronged the upstanding, blameless protagonist grew. A compilation of character flaws bolstered their potential as murderers. Unfortunately, the lists became a futile exercise of life imitating life, my one-dimensional players resembling people I knew who had no remarkable role to play or plot to thrust them along in any provocative way.

After several false starts, I decided my homicidal literary aspirations weren’t sufficiently inspired enough to fuel a well-plotted novel. The notes languished for years in a dark file folder. But the novel’s germ prodded me through the years. I finally found a clear path for my story that didn’t involve murder, but homicide was an essential element to the final plot.

During years of turning over that germ of a story, I realized what really sparked my imagination was the mystery of a character’s journey of last chances. My protagonist, Ben Phelps, was once told a soul-damaging lie by his older brother Watt.

The lie propelled Ben into a dissolute life of missed chances saturated by alcohol, self pity and fear. When Ben learns of the lie, he has a chance for revenge. The nature of that revenge will determine how Ben’s remaining life unfolds. Will his character extract blood or will his better angels seek redemption less gory? The mystery of a character at a crossroads is one of the oldest forms of mystery around.

They say character is plot. Discovering my character was certainly a mystery to me because my novel was unplotted. Only at the beginning of each chapter did I have a notion how that chapter would end. The plot evolved chapter-by-chapter as I discovered how Ben’s character would contend with the obstacles I tossed in his path.

As character, action and plot converged into a novel, thestory evolved over far more years than I originally had anticipated. If I had known how many years would pass until publication, I’ve might never have started. And the rewriting, editing and then more rewriting took at least as long as creating the first draft. Many critical eyes improved Revenge on the Fly into something worthy of publication. A lot of readers call it a page-turner they couldn’t put down, sweet words to any writer.

My next novel better have a much shorter gestation period. It will be a story exploring the darker side of a mountain town in which the protagonist seeks the murderer of a man who dared challenge the community’s comfortable cloak of religious piety. I’m eager for a juicy crime novel and I can’t wait to see who done it, and why!

Author PhotoRevenge on the Fly is available on and at Barnes & Noble.

Local NC bookstores that also carry the book are: Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill; Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough; Park Road Books, Charlotte; City Lights Bookstore, Sylva.