Michaud, Stephen G. 1948- (Stephen Gage, Stephen Gage Michaud)

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Michaud, Stephen G. 1948- (Stephen Gage, Stephen Gage Michaud)

PERSONAL:

Born March 7, 1948, in Burlington, VT; son of Clayton Napoleon and Marion Michaud; married Susan Denise Harper, June 11, 1983; children: Spencer, Alexandra. Education: Menlo College, A.A., 1968; Stanford University, A.B., 1970.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Dallas, TX. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Journalist and writer. Newsweek, New York, NY, writer and reporter; reporter in New York, NY, 1970-77, and Houston, TX, 1973; Business Week, New York, NY, research editor, 1977-79; freelance writer, 1979—.

MEMBER:

National Association of Science Writers, Authors League, Authors Guild.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION; WITH HUGH AYNESWORTH

The Only Living Witness, Linden Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983, revised edition, Authorlink Press (Irving, TX), 1999.

Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, New American Library (New York, NY), 1989, revised edition, Authorlink Press (Irving, TX), 2000.

If You Love Me, You Will Do My Will, Norton (New York, NY), 1990.

Wanted for Murder, Penguin (New York, NY), 1990.

Murderers among Us: Unsolved Homicides, Mysterious Deaths, and Killers at Large, Signet (New York, NY), 1991.

JFK: Breaking the News, International Focus Press (Richardson, TX), 2003.

NONFICTION

(With Roy Hazelwood) The Evil That Men Do: FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood's Journey into the Minds of Sexual Predators, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Beck Weathers) Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest, Villard (New York, NY), 2000.

(As Stephen Gage; with Pat Stowers) The Miracle of Island Girl (first book of "True Life Animal Tales for Children" series), Authorlink Press (Irving, TX), 2000.

(With Roy Hazelwood) Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide, and the Criminal Mind, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Lethal Shadow: The Chilling True-Crime Story of a Sadistic Sex Slayer, Authorlink Press (Irving, TX), 2003.

(With Debbie M. Price) The Devil's Right-hand Man: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert Charles Browne, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2007.

(With Rhonda B. Saunders) Whisper of Fear: The True Story of the Prosecutor Who Stalks the Stalkers, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Also author, with Charles Clements, of Witness to War, and, with Jose-Luis Llovio-Menendez, of Insider.

Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Smithsonian, Esquire, and Venture.

SIDELIGHTS:

Many of Stephen G. Michaud's works document real-life crimes and legal cases. His nonfiction work includes The Only Living Witness, a book about serial killer Ted Bundy; If You Love Me, You Will Do My Will, an account of a wealthy widow's relationship with a mysterious monk and the battles over her estate; and two collections of true crime stories, Wanted for Murder and Murderers among Us: Unsolved Homicides, Mysterious Deaths, and Killers at Large. Each of these works was written with collaborator Hugh Aynesworth, Michaud's former colleague at Newsweek.

The Only Living Witness is the result of lengthy interviews with Bundy, a convicted serial killer who is estimated to have killed more than 150 people between Seattle, Washington, and Miami, Florida over the course of several years. Michaud interviewed Bundy on death row, while collaborator Aynesworth reviewed the factual evidence against him. Since Bundy would not admit to his guilt, Michaud decided to frame the interview around a scheme that would cause the killer to reveal much of himself: propose that Bundy discuss the crimes from an objective, third-person viewpoint, and theorize about the reasons for the killings. Bundy "jumped at the suggestion," Michaud wrote for his home page. "It wasn't long before we were deep into his macabre world, exploring regions of the criminal psyche I hadn't guessed existed." First published in 1983, The Only Living Witness became very popular in the true-crime genre, and a revised edition was published in 1999. In 1989, the year Bundy was executed, Michaud and Aynesworth published the edited transcript of their interview with the murderer as Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer.

Michaud joined with retired U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Roy Hazelwood to write The Evil That Men Do: FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood's Journey into the Minds of Sexual Predators. Hazelwood worked in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and pioneered the concept of psychologically profiling perpetrators of sex crimes. Hazelwood has investigated cases both famous—the Atlanta child murders of the late 1970s, and the alleged sexual assault of Tawana Brawley in 1987—and obscure, and these are "equally, if grimly, absorbing," reported a Publishers Weekly contributor. The same contributor commented that "Michaud is most interesting when he ably summarizes Hazelwood's groundbreaking work and least interesting when he slips into simple hagiography." In 2000, Michaud and Hazelwood paired up again for Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide, and the Criminal Mind.

Michaud tells a different type of true story in his collaboration with Beck Weathers, Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest. Weathers, a pathologist from Texas, was on the disastrous Mount Everest climb in 1996 in which several participants died; Jon Krakauer chronicled the overall story in the best-seller Into Thin Air. Weathers's individual story is of a man whose fellow climbers thought he was dead; he lay exposed to the elements for eighteen hours, developing severe frostbite before he regained his senses enough to return to the climbers' camp. It is also the story of a man so obsessed with mountain climbing that his family life became an afterthought; his wife had been planning to divorce him when he came back from Everest. Left for Dead follows Weathers as he deals with his injuries—he lost both hands as a result of frostbite, and had to have much reconstructive surgery on his face—and reconciles with his wife. "Is conducting one's marriage counseling in public apt to interest the avid aficionado of Alpine adventure?" queried Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor. However, a Publishers Weekly commentator found that "this engrossing tale depicts the difficulty of a man's struggle to reform his life." Maclean's reviewer W. Hodding Carter called Left for Dead "a harrowing tale buoyed by Weathers's folksy, gentle humor," while Ron Fimrite dubbed the work "psychologically complex" in a review for Sports Illustrated.

With Debbie M. Price, a former staffer at the Washington Post, Michaud wrote The Devil's Right-hand Man: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert Charles Browne. The authors recount the story of how Charlie Hess, an ex-FBI and ex-U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, teamed up with former police detective Lou Smit and newspaper publisher Scott Fisher to investigate a group of cold cases that Smit thought might be associated with Browne. Hess began a conversation with Browne in the Colorado State Penitentiary, serving time for the murder of a thirteen-year-old girl. The conversation lasted five years, beginning with correspondence and then progressing to face-to-face discussions. Browne, who had once cryptically sent a message to law enforcement that he was winning forty-eight to one, eventually revealed much about his murderous past. Writing in Booklist, Mike Tribby called Browne's hideous tale a "stand out amid recent true-crime titles." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "this unsettling account … is a must-read for true-crime fans." Michaud, with Rhonda B. Saunders, also wrote Whisper of Fear: The True Story of the Prosecutor Who Stalks the Stalkers. The book recounts Saunders's career as a criminal prosecutor who founded the Stalking and Threat Assessment Team (S.T.A.T.) for the Los Angeles District Attorney Office.

Michaud once told CA: "The writer's life would be wonderful if one didn't have to write. Unfortunately, I cannot earn a living doing anything else. For the nonfiction writer, there is no adequate compensation for the endless hours of interviewing and research, or the long, lonely days at the typewriter. The only reliable sustenance comes from the heat of obsessive devotion to the craft. On the other hand, I do recommend a career in letters to anyone with a large and fragile ego, the obsessive and compulsive, gossips, snoops, misan- thropes, loners, and those of independent means. Just don't ever call yourself a writer without blushing."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, November 5, 1983, Nick DiSpoldo, review of The Only Living Witness, p. 276.

Barron's, March 25, 1991, review of If You Love Me, You Will Do My Will, p. 43.

Booklist, April 1, 2000, Gilbert Taylor, review of Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest, p. 1425; September 15, 2007, Mike Tribby, review of The Devil's Right-hand Man: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert Charles Browne, p. 7.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, January, 2001, A. Spero, review of Left for Dead, p. 944.

Library Journal, February 15, 1990, review of If You Love Me, You Will Do My Will, p. 202; November 1, 1999, p. 130, Michael Rogers, review of The Only Living Witness, p. 130; April 15, 2000, Michael Rogers, review of Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, p. 129.

Maclean's, July 17, 2000, W. Hodding Carter, review of Left for Dead, p. 52.

Publishers Weekly, January 12, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of If You Love Me, You Will Do My Will, p. 55; December 14, 1998, review of The Evil That Men Do: FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood's Journey into the Minds of Sexual Predators, p. 66; March 20, 2000, review of Left for Dead, p. 83; August 6, 2007, review of The Devil's Right-hand Man, p. 182.

Sports Illustrated, July 10, 2000, Ron Fimrite, review of Left for Dead, p. R4.

ONLINE

Stephen G. Michaud Home Page,http://www.stephenmichaud.com (August 11, 2008), author biography.