PW: For a novel written by a lawyer about a lawyer, Man Out of Time seems to have nothing to do with law. Why?
Michael Hogan: I didn't want to go too heavily into the practice of law itself, other than the fact that it provided a good environment for the character to play out some of his issues. What I was really looking for, more than the detailed practice of law, was a white-collar environment, where whatever the difficulties or conflicts are, they're usually played out very quietly, behind the scenes, more by implications and inferences than outright statements.
PW: Why the no-name narrator?
MH: That was less planned than a function of how I wrote the book. I got to about 220 pages and realized I'd never given this guy a name. As I was writing the first draft I continued it out all the way through, and when I was finished I thought, y'know, I'll leave him without a name.
PW: You make a point of your protagonist having perhaps too much money to indulge his vices, yet he doesn't stray from alcohol despite having the money to do so. Plenty of other well-paid youngsters do far worse. Why did you stick with booze?
MH: Like any addict, he found the drug of his choosing, and for him, alcohol did what he wanted it to do. Of course, it also damaged, if not ruined, his young career. Some of that is related to his Irish background. There are hints—more than hints, statements—of alcohol being a problem in his family. Genetically, he was predisposed to it, and he stuck with what worked for him—with the substance that ultimately didn't work for him.
PW:Man Out of Time satirizes the internecine workings of the white-shoe law firm, yet stops short of being funny about it. Did you intend for the book to be a comedy?
MH: At first I did. I thought, what I'll attempt here is for the characters' powers of observation and wit to be sufficient to the job of providing some humor. As I wrote the book, particularly as I delved into some of the scenes regarding his childhood, I realized, if it was going to be funny, it would be the humor of a man falling off a cliff. I think this guy was ultimately too damaged to be fully and completely humorous. The humor he offers is more of a defense, perhaps even an anesthetic against pain.
PW: Your bio credits you with having written screenplays. What are they?
MH: The one screenplay I wrote that got produced, I titled Eighteen Shades of Dust, and when it was finally released on video, they'd changed the name to Hitman's Journal. It was a movie starring Danny Aiello.
PW: Will you continue writing fiction?
MH: I certainly will continue writing fiction. I'm actually in the middle of two novels right now. One is very close to completion, and I'd say I'm about halfway through the other one.