True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: Michael J. Bowler

Michael J. Bowler
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in San Rafael, California. He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University and earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount and another master's in Special Education from Cal State Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films. A few of these masterpieces (LOL) are “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead” and “Things II.” These films are often unintentionally funny, but the reviews are intentionally snarky and hilarious. Checking out the reviews is much more fun than watching the movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for a number of years, both general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from qualified areas like English and Strength Training to he-doesn’t-know-what-he’s-doing-but-was-forced-to-teach-these-subjects-anyway areas like Algebra and Biology. (Oh, well, he and the students had fun, anyway.)

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a long-time volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state. Sadly, he knows far too many youth in prison. While some people tour the California Mission system on their summer vacations, he often tours the California prison system visiting these throwaway kids, reminding them they are not and never will be forgotten.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

Connect with Michael J. Bowler on Twitter @BradleyWallaceM or visit his website:

Q&A with Author Michael J. Bowler:

  1. Tell us about your cover design for Children of the Knight. Is there any symbolism from the story reflected in the cover?

    The graffiti-covered wall represents the gang members. The “A” symbol over their tagging is showing up all over LA, making the gangs angry enough to go after the tagger who did it. The boy is Lance, the homeless youth Arthur recruits to be his First Knight and second-in-command. Lance is a skater who becomes a knight; hence he’s clutching Excalibur close to his heart. His legs are pulled in because he’s a very tightly coiled kid who’s never felt worthy of love and has never let anyone into his heart before Arthur. He also harbors secret fears he doesn’t want the other kids to find out about.

  2. Which of your characters is most like you?

    There are parts of me in most of the main characters––Arthur, Jack, Lance, even Jenny, but mostly Lance. I was much like him as a kid, without the horrible childhood, thankfully. But I always felt on the outside looking in, always unworthy of being loved and wanted, always something of a loner, never quite fitting in with any group. That’s probably why I always gravitated to other kids like that as a teen and why, as an adult, I tended to work with the lost and disenfranchised and marginalized kids, like those with learning disabilities or those who were gay or emo or something else not quite “mainstream.” I’ve been hearing impaired my whole life and from grade school all the way through college I never met anyone even close to my age who was hard of hearing. I got made fun of and picked on by other kids as a child, and was often told by my parents that, “you can hear when you want to.” So when kids tell me their parents say they could choose not to be gay if they wanted to, I can relate to that kind of ignorant foolishness. In a sense, my so-called disability made me feel isolated, yes, but also made me more empathetic to others who society isolates for other reasons. I try to bring these feelings and emotions to life in my characters, even the gang members who often feel the same way, but are too “hard” to openly admit it.

  3. Do you need music or noise when writing or does it have to be completely quiet?

    I always use music when I write, but it’s instrumental film score music (I’m a huge collector and have been ever since I was a kid––another thing that made me “weird”.) Depending upon which scenes I’m on, I’ll pick some background music that fits the mood of the scene and it really helps me create that mood on paper. Sometimes the music generates dialogue and character interactions in my mind that I can put into the story. Some of the music I used for Children of the Knight would surprise you if I told you which films they came from because there is no obvious connection. It’s not the movie, you see, but the music that matters.

  4. Are there any LGBT charities or resources that are near and dear to you that you would like to give a shout out to?

    I think The Trevor Project is amazing and I fully support their work. We’ve lost way too many great kids due to bullying and it’s a problem that doesn’t have to be a problem, not if enough people care and pay attention to the world around them. And by people, I mean adults first and foremost because they set the example for kids.

  5. What message would you like to relay with Children of the Knight?

    I have worked with every kind of kid over the years, from the rich to the nerdy to the criminally inclined to the emotionally disturbed to the gang affiliated, with gay kids and straight kids and everything in between. The main message of Children of the Knight and its sequels is that all kids are basically the same. They’re just kids and none of them should be marginalized or discriminated against for any reason, but only encouraged and loved so they can become good adults. My books celebrate the sameness of kids, not their differences, which is why the gay boys are portrayed the same way as the straight boys. They fall in love, they’re heroic, they’re happy or sad, they fight, they make friends, they have hopes, and they have dreams. I would love for these books to reach a broad spectrum of the reading public, especially people who might not ever read anything about gay kids or who don’t personally know any gay kids and might just come to realize that these boys are the same as any other boys and not something to be feared or hated. So the message is––our differences don’t matter because at the end of the day we’re all just human.

  6. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    In our society today, young people are inundated with “self-centered” media messages, and even witness in their daily lives far too many examples of adults who celebrate the “If it feels good, do it” and “It’s all about me” philosophies. In my books, especially my King Arthur series, of which Children of the Knight is the first, the message is that the way to make this world and this society better is to do what’s right, rather than what’s easy. There are a lot of other themes, as well, about the dangers of adultifying kids and how we need to spend more time really communicating with each other as human beings, rather than as computers or text messages, but that is the main one. Thus, my characters often face difficult moral challenges and have to make hard choices.

Now Available from Michael J. Bowler:

Children of the Knight According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles?

This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.

With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army—the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Can right truly overcome might? Arthur’s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.

A Boy and His Dragon Bradley Wallace Murphy just turned thirteen, and he's not happy about it. His life is lousy, with no relief in sight. He doesn't fit in at school, he's no good at sports, a bully torments him, he's a disappointment to his parents, and his only "friends" are fictional characters on a TV show called "Dark Shadows." He's on the verge of manhood - and wants no part of that, either. Then he finds the egg. And everything changes. From this egg hatches Whilly, a supposedly mythological dragon that bonds with him physically, emotionally and spiritually. The sudden responsibility of hiding and feeding and caring for a rapidly growing dragon in a small California city in 1970 forces Bradley Wallace to grow up whether he wants to or not. Through their adventures together, boy and dragon learn the true nature of their symbiosis, and Bradley Wallace comes to understand that he is not just a misfit kid who happened to find a misfit creature from some other time. He is something far more dangerous. More dangerous than anyone in history. So dangerous that he'll be killed if the truth comes out. The boy who doesn't want to grow up comes to realize that it might actually be better if he didn't.

A Matter of Time What is your destiny? This question haunts 20-year-old Jamie Collins. A junior at Santa Clara University in 1986, Jamie has lots of friends, a professor whom he regards as a mentor, and a promising future as a writer. Then the dreams begin - nightmares leading him to a destiny beyond belief. These visions transport him to a time and place fifty-five years before he was born: Titanic's maiden voyage in 1912! With less than a week to go before the 75th anniversary of its sinking, Jamie learns that his fate is inexplicably linked to that of the famous vessel. Somehow, the two timelines are overlapping, and when Titanic dies, Jamie will die along with her. Those dreams reveal something evil stalking the ill-fated ship, something that expedites the collision which sinks the great liner. Jamie comes to realize that because of his connection, he may be able to prevent the world's greatest maritime disaster, and save his own life in the process. But how? How can he stop a ship from sinking in 1912 when he hadn't even been born yet? And even if he can stop it - should he? What will be the effect on history if he succeeds? Jamie's quest to fulfill his destiny ties friends and family together in ways he could never have imagined. A Matter of Time is an emotionally charged voyage into the value of friendship, the power of love, the impact of evil, and the vagaries of Fate.

Children of the Knight Giveaway!

Michael J. Bowler has generously donated a free copy of Children of the Knight for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be selected on July 8, 2013.


  1. Sign me up for this drawing please - I love that cover, and am interested in what sounds like a new approach to an old favorite.

    (And I like this: "the message is that the way to make this world and this society better is to do what’s right, rather than what’s easy" - we as adults urgently need to teach this one by example.)

  2. I'd love to enter the drawing. I'll be out of internet access that week though.

  3. The book sounds great! Please include me in the drawing.

  4. Cool, this sounds like a fairytale. Count me in please :)


  5. Thanks for the giveaway. I'd love to read the book. Please count me in.


  6. oh, sounds so nice. Please count me in too. :D

    Judi P

  7. very interesting! Please count me in.


  8. Hello there, would love to win, so count me in the drawing :)!

  9. Beautiful cover! To use a bit of vernacular: "everybody ain't able!" The only purpose of King Arthur myths is modernizing and messing with it. Thank you!

  10. Oops: sorry I forgot my email!

  11. Wow, Michael, what amazing things you've done with your life. I love what you're trying to do with your series (and what a great premise, too!), and I hope it does read a broad audience because that's a mighty powerful message. Thank you so much for sharing with us and for giving us the chance to win you book.

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

    1. Thank you, Carolyn, for your amazingly kind words and best wishes. They are both humbling and much appreciated. :)

  12. Posting an entry on behalf of Leslie Bradner, due to technical difficulties. :-)

  13. Thank you all for entering. Congrats Urb! You are the winner of a free copy of Children of the Knight.

    Thanks all,