What inspired The Dancing Boy?
The book grew out of the scattering of multiple seeds. I wanted to write a mystery in which locations played a significant part. To me this meant British Columbia, Canada, and Western Washington, specifically the islands of the San Juans, areas where I’ve spent a great deal of time and for which I have an enduring fondness.
In addition, I wanted to base the mystery on a social issue that would resonate with the mystery-reading public. Human trafficking is a huge world-wide problem, involving the horrifying exploitation of women, children and males forced into slave-like situations. I decided to use that as the device to propel the story. But which segment of the trafficking would I use? That was decided by the decade-long war in Afghanistan and that country’s abominable practice of using young males for sex.
One aspect of this practice dates back to ancient Greece and perhaps even before that. Pre-pubescent boys were trained as dancers to entertain men and were valued as sexual objects. Although the practice has been reported on and condemned by western countries, it still continues as a cultural anomaly in Afghanistan.
A final inspiration grew from a conversation I once had with an old-time Washington resident about the whiskey smuggling that took place between Canada and the US during the prohibition years. As I said, multiple seeds.
Michael Matson was born in Helena, Montana, and was immediately issued a 10-gallon Stetson and a pair of snakeskin boots. After formative years spent in New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, California, Hawaii and Japan, Michael earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. Following a brief military stint in Oklahoma, where he first encountered red, sticky mud, heavy rain and tarantulas, he returned to Seattle and worked as an advertising agency copywriter, creative director and video producer.
In 2007 he (regretfully) left Seattle for Mexico to have time to write and has since published The Diamond Tree, a fairytale for all ages; Bareback Rider, an inspirational adventure for children; and Takeshi’s Choice, a mystery novel. His short story “Gato” was selected for inclusion in Short Story America’s 2014 anthology. His second mystery novel: The Dancing Boy, was released by Dark Oak Mysteries, a division of Oak Tree Press in April 2014 and is available at Amazon.com
He lives with his wife María Guadalupe (Tai), in Morelia, the colonial capital city of Michoacán, where, despite all the bad publicity given the area by U.S. news media, he has never seen a narcotraficante. His website is: www.findmichaelmatson.com