A couple of days ago my sixth novel, “Extra Wives” was released. I know that’s not big news because I tend to write at least a book a year whether I want to or not. But this one is personal and kind of special to me.
If you get a chance to order a copy, I appreciate it. My dog Sparky would like to move up from eating that disgusting Purina mix to premium Kal-Kan. If you get a chance to review it, it would be wonderful. If you get a chance to recommend it to friends, I will come over and mow your grass and make sure your recyclables are properly separated. (I guess this last point is problematical in Ukraine)
For Immediate Release
Orlando Resident Releases New Novel: “Extra Wives”
J. Michael Willard, of Orlando, Fl., who last year moved to the United States after two decades in Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, has released his sixth novel, “Extra Wives”, a tale set in Central Florida about a freelance journalist who, unbeknown to him, wins the Florida Powerball lottery and finds himself in the crosshairs of multiple hitmen.
“Extra Wives” is, in essence, a romantic comedy that delves into the uncommon existence of this writer/journalist who doesn’t cope well with real life. The hero, Napoleon Jones, rolls through his days like one of those silver cylinders in a pinball machine. Occasionally, he lights up the board.
Toss in that $200 million lottery ticket, two ex-wives intent on mayhem, an amateur hitman, a goofball Disney executive, a Sancho Panza-style sidekick and a beautiful country music singer and you have a combustive mixture of thrills and chills, complications and contradictions and a measure of old-fashion romance.
Parts of the book stem from Willard’s reporting on the Santo Trafficante crime family of Tampa years ago and his run-in with various characters, including a “Deep Throat”-style source close to the family. He also draws on his background as a songwriter and one-time country music columnist in Nashville.
“But don’t buy ‘Extra Wives’ for its salacious title,” said Willard. “It’s not a bedroom romp. It’s an old-fashion love story with a giant gulp of action, mystery and laughs. Think ’Sleepless in Seattle’ on steroids, or maybe Elmore Leonard’s ‘Get Shorty’ meets Nora Ephron’s ‘When Harry Met Sally’."
Willard, who began this latest novel while at his Turkey home on the Mediterranean coast a year ago, is an international marketing and public relations executive who has written seven other non-fiction books on crisis management, career advice for older professionals, public speaking and two autobiographical accounts of surviving professionally in risky markets.
Willard is a former senior aide to the late Senate Democratic Leader Robert Byrd and campaign communications director for former Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, and is a partner, along with his wife Olga, in Willard Strategies. He is a former managing director of the worldwide PR firm Burson-Marsteller in Russia and Ukraine. He also served for two years as CEO of the Kyiv Post. Willard started his journalism career working city desk at the Orlando Sentinel while still in school.
Last year, Willard released “A Mean Old Man”, a novel about a journalist and a Central Florida newspaper, and this year, Willard and his wife released a book on public speaking called “Conquer Your Fears, The Little Book on Public Speaking”.