Episode 204: Bringing Sound to Life on the Page — Interview with Michael Zadoorian

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have Michael Zadoorian on the show!

Michael is an author and recipient of numerous awards such as the Michigan Notable Book award, and the Kresge Artist Fellowship. His writing has appeared in several prestigious journals including The Literary Review and American Short Fiction, as well as in multiple anthologies including Detroit Noir.

He is the author of The Leisure Seeker—which was recently made into a film starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherlandas well as the novel Second Hand and the story collection The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit.

His latest novel, Beautiful Music, is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of his hometown of Detroit in the 1970’s and is available now.

Listen in as we talk about this amazing book, and how to enrich your story with sensory writing.

In this episode Michael and I discuss:

  • How to determine the genre label for your story by finding your audience.
  • Conveying sound through your characters’ emotions.
  • Engaging all five senses of your reader.
  • The role of parents in a literary coming of age story.
  • Creating a strong sense of place in your writing.

Plus, Michael’s #1 tip for writers.

About Michael Zadoorian

Michael Zadoorian is a recipient of a Kresge Artist Fellowship in the Literary Arts, the Columbia University Anahid Literary Award, the Michigan Notable Book award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award and was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

His work has appeared in The Literary Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, American Short Fiction, Witness, Great Lakes Review, North American Review and the anthologies Bob Seger’s House, On The Clock, and Detroit Noir.

He has worked as a copywriter, journalist, voice over talent, shipping room clerk, and a plant guard for Chrysler. A lifetime resident of the Detroit area, he lives with his wife in a 1937 bungalow filled with cats and objects that used to be in the houses of other people.

Michael is the author of The Leisure Seeker; a motion picture of which was released in March 2018 starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.  He is also the author of the novel Second Hand, and the story collection The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit.

His latest novel, Beautiful Music, is now available from Akashic Books.

To connect with Michael check out his website at www.michaelzadoorian.com.

Beautiful Music

Set in early 1970s Detroit, a divided city still reeling from its violent race riot of 1967, Beautiful Music is the story of one young man’s transformation through music.

Danny Yzemski is a husky, pop radio–loving loner balancing a dysfunctional home life with the sudden harsh realities of freshman year at a high school marked by racial turbulence.

But after tragedy strikes the family, Danny’s mother becomes increasingly erratic and angry about the seismic cultural shifts unfolding in her city and the world. As she tries to hold it together with the help of Librium, highballs, and breakfast cereal, Danny finds his own reason to carry on: rock and roll. In particular, the drum and guitar–heavy songs of local legends like the MC5 and Iggy Pop.

In the vein of Nick Hornby and Tobias Wolff, yet with a style very much Zadoorian’s own, Beautiful Music is a touching story about the power of music and its ability to save one’s soul.


If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!


Link to Episode 204

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