Michael Scott Curnes is an award-winning Cascadian fiction novelist living in Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA. He is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada.
To Pay Paul (July 1, 2022) marks the 10th fiction novel written by this author and his fifth to be published. Considered a sequel to his Green Book Award-winning novel, For the Love of Mother (2011), this latest work marks a return to the eco-thriller genre and a reoccurring character: the mightily dammed Columbia River. Written as an ode to the many cancer victims and survivors who worked at, lived near or got contaminated downwind from the Hanford Nuclear Site in East-Central Washington State–among whom, Curnes considers himself a cancer-surviving Downwinder. Critics are hailing To Pay Paul as an eco-thriller 17 Million years in the making. Download a short sheet here.
Wicked Ninnish (2020) his fourth published novel was loosely derived from the author’s experiences living in Clayoquot Sound from the mid-Nineties to the mid-Oughts—when and where he designed and built an off-the-grid cabin on Wickaninnish Island while managing an oceanfront resort, helming the local chamber of commerce, and running two Bed-and-Breakfasts.
Coping with Ash (2017) his third published novel was based on the author’s own scheme for the eventual distribution of his human cremains (ashes).
For the Love of Mother (2011) his 2nd published novel was the author’s first eco-thriller and the winner of the 2011 Green Book Awards Fiction prize in 2011. (Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood was the previous year’s winner of this prize).
VAL (1996) his debut fiction novel, published by Brownell & Carroll, is based on the short life of Silent Film legend, Rudolph Valentino.
Born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 1962 and raised in north-central Idaho and western Montana, Curnes grew up listening to, interpreting and telling stories. After high school, he toured the U.S. and Europe for a year performing as a singer and dancer in the Up with People Show before settling into more formal studies at the universities of Idaho and New Mexico.
After university, Michael managed hotels for Holiday Inns in New Mexico and Colorado, and the Westin Hotel in New Orleans. He switched careers during the AIDS Crisis and worked as the Director of Volunteers for the Colorado AIDS Project in Denver and the Community AIDS Services Unit for the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health in Seattle. He returned to hospitality in the late ’90s to manage an ocean-front resort in Tofino, British Columbia, and during this career stint, made the decision to immigrate to Canada, later becoming a Canadian Citizen on Valentine’s Day in the Year 2000.
Also by Michael Scott Curnes
In addition to his published work, Curnes has five complete works of unedited fiction that, so far, have not been published. These include his debut novel: A Change in Face (1987); Whitewash (1989); A Dare to Weep (1995); He with the Most Toys (1996); and La Misa Saltando (2002); the latter, an ambitious work set in Venezuela and written in both English and Spanish.
His essays have been published in two anthologies: Writing the West Coast: In Love With Place (2008) and Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast (2012) and printed in the Facts and Arguments section of Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail (1996).
Curnes has also written two unproduced musicals: WEB, the Musical (1998) and Eik, a Musical Revue (2004). He has also written two screenplays for film, Sweepstake (2002) and Coping with Ash (2003) the latter, he converted to a successfully published fiction novel by the same title. In addition, Curnes penned a three-act stage play (workshopped but unproduced) titled Embracing the Epilogue (1997).
He has also written for The Globe and Mail, The Victoria Times Columnist, The Westerly News and The Sound Magazine.