For our Writers On Writing Series, James L. May, author of The Body Outside Theย Kremlin joins us with what Publisher’s Weekly calls a “richly evocative first novel…gripping…thriller deserves high marks…for historical detail about a prison that served as a key link in the gulag chain.”

We discuss the history of the White Sea Solovetsky Islands and Russia’s renowned concentration camp. How and why this sparked the location and set the scene for his murder mystery. His favorite scenes to write. Most surprising research. What James knows now, that he wish he’d understood when he began writing his book. Does his work as a reviewer inform or hinder his own creativity? And is it worth doing an MFA in Creative Writing?

James L. May’s short fiction has appeared in Tigertail, and he reviews fiction for The Florida Book Review, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, and New Orleans Review.