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Longboat writer awarded for ‘The Company of Demons’

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The fictional world of thriller and suspense novels is a crowded field, but Longboat Key author Michael Jordan has emerged with a critically acclaimed first novel that just received a prestigious award.

Last week, the Florida Writers Association awarded Jordan the Royal Palm Literary Award for ‘The Company of Demons.’

The book was inspired by the true story of the Torso Murderer, who killed at least a dozen people decades ago and then disappeared without a trace. Jordan’s book brings the killer back for a final act of vengeance.

The book emerged among 513 qualified submissions and also was awarded the gold medal in the Florida Book Awards as well as winning the National Indie Excellence Award in Crime Fiction.

But Jordan on one hand took a circuitous path to completing this first novel and yet at the same time there was a thread of continuity in his love of language throughout his life and career.

Jordan told Longboat Key News that as a child he was mesmerized by the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs who created ‘Tarzan’ and numerous science fiction works.

His parents were both school teachers in the small town outside of Saginaw, Michigan where he grew up. He said there was a push on education in his home as a child and that push materialized in his earning a degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a subsequent law degree from George Washington University where he wrote for The Law Review.

“A lot of people going to college do not know what they want to do, but I was clear that becoming a lawyer made sense. The chance to write, and speak, and help people out was appealing. My parents were Sunday School teachers and it was important to help others,” said Jordan.

Jordan went into trial law and worked as a civil litigator with a specialty in health care law.

But all through his career as a lawyer, Jordan had a book gestating. Early in his career, he wrote a book and had an agent, but before it was completed he shelved the project.

“I thought I would work on it in a year and then one year turned to five years and pretty soon I was in my 50s,” said Jordan.

It is his wife, Linda Gross Brown, whom Jordan credits for both supporting and encouraging the completion of his first novel as well as discovering Longboat Key.

Linda spent a lot of time on Siesta Key and loved the island. Conversely, Jordan had no interest in retiring to Florida. He had spent time on the east coast and was just not a place he saw himself retiring. But his wife prevailed, and the couple spent one night in the Longboat Key Club and Jordan told her, “I am sold.”

The two looked at property on both Siesta Key and Longboat Key, and ended up buying at Islands West on Longboat Key about 15 years ago.

Like many Longboaters, Jordan would fly back and forth for about a decade until he decided to stop practicing law and started arbitrating cases and spending more and more time on Longboat Key.

“I don’t know how to find a better place to live than Longboat Key. I write every morning and take a walk and enjoy the morning paper,” said Jordan.

Jordan says the act of writing has rekindled his energy.

“I am not the kind of guy to stare off into retirement. Now with writing I am charged up. I try not to turn it into a real job, it’s only a few hours every day,” said Jordan.

Jordan is already nearly finished with his second book, which is set during World War II. He said the research was very detailed for the second book, but that the act of writing has definitely grown easier.

Jordan also said he feels very blessed in that he is able to have a family life because he met his wife who was widowed and raised two boys on her own, and he met her after she was a single mom for 14 years. He said he now enjoys a grandchild.

Part of what works in his creative endeavor is the fact that Linda is a recognized and accomplished pastel artist who stays busy in the studio as Jordan writes.

One of the other passions other than art for the couple is travel. Jordan has climbed Mt. Fuji and has swam in the Devil’s Pool on the cusp of Victoria Falls.

But it is when he gets back to Longboat Key that Jordan finds his true inspiration that is now successfully finding its way onto the written page.

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