About Michael Lister
A native Floridian, award-winning novelist, Michael Lister, grew up in North Florida near the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River, beneath slash pines and Spanish moss draped oak limbs, in a small town world famous for tupelo honey.
Truly a regional writer, his canvas is not a central, major city (there are none in North Florida), but a region—small towns (THUNDER BEACH), river swamps (DOUBLE EXPOSURE), massive prisons in rural areas (THE BODY AND THE BLOOD).
Captivated by story since childhood, Michael has a love for language and narrative inspired by the Southern storytelling tradition that captured his imagination and became such a source of meaning and inspiration, he pursued and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology with an emphasis on myth and narrative within religion.
In the early 90s, Lister became the youngest chaplain within the Florida Department of Corrections. For nearly a decade, he served as a contract, staff, then senior chaplain at three different facilities in the Panhandle of Florida—a unique experience that led to his first novel, 1997’s critically acclaimed, POWER IN THE BLOOD. It was the first in a series of popular and celebrated novels featuring ex-cop turned prison chaplain, John Jordan. Subsequent books in the series include BLOOD OF THE LAMB, FLESH AND BLOOD, and THE BODY AND THE BLOOD, and each takes readers through the electronically locked gates of the chain-link fences, beneath the looping razor wire glinting in the sun, and into the strange world of Potter Correctional Institution, Florida’s toughest maximum security prison.
Michael Lister won a Florida Book Award for his first literary novel, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, a book, according to the Panama City News Herald, that “is lyrical and literary, written in a sparse but evocative prose reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy.” It is a contemplation of life and death, art and meaning, set deep in the swamps of the Apalachicola River, a thriller about a wildlife photographer whose camera traps capture a crime, that shows the beauty and danger of the Panhandle paradise.
A committed environmentalist, Michael works to protect the area he so loves, setting up the Mother Earth Fund (named after a character from DOUBLE EXPOSURE) for environmental conservation and education and serving on the board of directors of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper.
For the past seven years, Lister has written for, edited, and operated the oldest newspaper in Gulf County, The Gulf County Breeze. One of the last independent paper in the region, it began in 1925.
His love of story and drama led him to write and produce plays and to begin The Tupelo, a community theater that features his original work.
A screenwriter and filmmaker, Michael worked for three years as the senior staff writer for Triple Horse Entertainment, one of the South’s largest production companies, and continues to write scripts for the company today. But his first love and greatest passion is the novel—what he refers to as the center of his creative universe.
Michael also writes a popular and highly praised weekly column on art and meaning and life titled Of Font and Film (www.OfFontandFilm.com), which includes reviews of film and fiction.
In addition to writing suspenseful literary crime novels, Lister writes historical thrillers, such as THE BIG GOODBYE, featuring Jimmy "Soldier" Riley, a PI in Panama City during World War II (www.FloridaNoir.com), and short stories, which have appeared in such collections as DELTA BLUES, NORTH FLORIDA NOIR, and now FLORIDA HEAT WAVE, which he edited.
Lister’s latest standalone literary thrillers include THUNDER BEACH, BURNT OFFERINGS, and SEPARATION ANXIETY.