‘Reincarnation Blues’ Author Michael Poore on His Audiobook

Author Michael Poore talks about his new novel, Reincarnation Blues, and what it’s like listening to it as an audiobook.

What inspired you to write Reincarnation Blues?
Reincarnation Blues came about because I’ve had friends and relatives who died younger than they should have, after years of fast living. I originally had in mind a book about two alcoholic lovebirds whose response to failing health was to find a fun, dramatic way to die together. Some time back, I had written a story about a Native American chief whose death came looking for him, and looked exactly like him. I wanted to put those two ideas together, and it morphed into a story about a single man facing death…literally. Like, having conversations with her. And what if they hit it off.

Did you have a favorite life of Milo’s to write?
Two of the lives really stood out as thrilling writing experiences. Most of all, I loved writing the chapter called “The Family Stone,” which takes place in the future, on Jupiter’s moon Europa. It was challenging to work out how Europa would have been terraformed, and how it would have gone wrong. It was so dramatic, with the giant tsunamis and Jupiter looming over much of the sky, eclipsing the sun. The toxic storms, and, of course, the prisoners there forming tribes and going naked all the time. A wonderful and terrible experience.

My other favorite was one of the shortest segments, one of Milo’s lives in which he becomes a mystical Jewish scholar. He discovers the ultimate secret of the universe in ancient scriptures, and I won’t say what happened next, but it was so much fun to sketch that out and imagine what he might have read, the terror and wonder of the discovery.

What is it like listening to your book rather than reading it? Does it change the way you think of certain characters or scenes?
I don’t know what it’s usually like, listening to your book read aloud, but listening to Mark Bramhall read this was like drinking whiskey at the symphony. What a treat! And yes, hearing Mark read certain characters made them real to the point that I felt awful, in some cases, about the things I had done to them.

Would you ever narrate an audiobook?
I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, I’m a pretty good oral storyteller. I think I could bring a book to life. Yes. On the other hand, Mark’s example is intimidating. He has voices within voices. When he reads a word, it’s like there are little musical things happening. I just said something aloud to my dog, and I didn’t hear anything like that in my own voice.

Reincarnation Blues

A wildly imaginative novel about a man who is reincarnated over ten thousand lifetimes to be with his one true love: Death herself.

“Tales of gods and men akin to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as penned by a kindred spirit of Douglas Adams.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

First we live. Then we die. And then . . . we get another try? 

Listen to an excerpt Reincarnation Blues