- Dark Canyon (1997)
- Coyote Returns (1996)
- The Shadow Catcher (1996)
- Legend of the Dead : A Sheriff Lansing Mystery (1995)
by Jessica Sansing (SHS)
Micah S. Hackler was born in November 23,1950, in the farming community of Hosington, Kansas. He traces his ancestry back to the Cherokee survivors from the trail of tears (Brown). His father, raised on the Cherokee Reservation in Oklahoma (Hackler), became a geologist in the oil industry (Brown). Micah Hackler’s father’s job became very important in shaping Hackler’s life because it forced the family to move an average of once every two years (Hackler). Micah Hackler fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and became interested in the Anasazi and Pueblo cultures during his many moves (Brown). He had already lived in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska (twice), and Colorado by the time he was four. He lived just outside of Denver for about six years, and by that time he had two sisters and a brother. He and his family would go up to wherever his father’s company was drilling a well and spend four to six weeks. He also got to visit places like Wyoming and Mexico, which would later help him in his writing. Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan were waiting for the Hackler family after Denver. In December of 1966, the family moved to New Orleans (Hackler).
Micah Hackler began college in 1968 at Northeast Louisiana State University in Monroe and spent his last three years at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and a triple major: English, theater, and history (Brown). During his college career, Hackler spent a lot of time writing plays. He thought that was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, but he fell in love with Suzanne Chappuis Cutierrez, who was also a theatre major. He married Suzanne in 1971. He had planned on going to graduate school after graduating, but his wife became pregnant before he graduated. Since graduate students do not usually make a lot of money, he enlisted in the Air Force. He already had his degree, so he started out as a Second Lieutenant instead of a basic Airman (Hackler). He, Suzanne, and their new daughter, Sabyn, moved to Sacramento, California, after he got his commission. Hackler got his navigator wings and then went to B-52 training.
In July of 1975, the Hackler family moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where their son, Stuart, was born.He spent seven years at the Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base. He had upgraded from navigator to radar navigator to instructor and then promoted to Captain. They moved back to California, and Hackler taught at the B-52 Combat Crew Training School. In 1983 he got on a travel team and went around to different B-52 bases to teach crews how to use a new system being put in the airplanes. In 1985, Hackler’s office was asked to write an operations manual, and since he wanted to be a writer, he volunteered for the job. The Headquarters Strategic Air Command liked what he did and in late 1986 they transferred him to the Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska (Hackler). Micah Hackler retired in 1993 as a major and master navigator (Brown). From 1974 until 1993, his career pretty much centered around the B-52. After retiring, he lived in Saudi Arabia and worked for British Aerospace, teaching for the Saudi government, for two years. He has also worked as a courier, tax preparer for H&R Block, night auditor at a beach front motel in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Hackler’s writing career actually began in the mid-1980s when Hackler and two friends, who both lived in Shreveport, began writing and producing screenplays. They would get together three or four times a year to review what each had written. They probably had ten to twenty scripts in one form or another over a six or seven year period. When Hackler’s mother died just six months from his Air Force retirement, he began to do some serious thinking about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Hackler and his wife, Suzanne, had saved their money. He told her he could write and sell a novel in a year if she would give him the chance. Suzanne agreed. From September 1993 to September 1994, Hackler had written three novels and sold two of them (Hackler).
In May of 1995 Hackler, Suzanne, Sabyn, and Stuart sold their house and moved to south Mississippi, away from the harsh Nebraska winters. They found a reasonable place in Ocean Springs right on a bayou. His first novel, Legend of the Dead, was finally published in October of 1995. Coyote Returns came out in June. He also wrote three more novels while in Ocean Springs, Mississippi: The Shadow Catcher, The Dark Canyon, and Montezuma’s Fire. The Shadow Catcher was the best-selling mystery in the nation for one week.
Micah Hackler does a lot of research for his books. He researched The Dark Canyon for three months before beginning to write. He then wrote eighty-three pages from December until the end of January. The last 320 pages in were written in twenty-eight days (Baughn n.pag.). Since Hackler did not exactly sell as many copies of his books as his publisher would have liked him to, he decided to “hang it up for a while” (Hackler).
In April of 1998 Hackler began working at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana, as an instructor at the Flight Training Unit. He has also gotten involved in Shreveport as a host for the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention for 2002. In an interview with him, Hackler said, “ Once the convention is over, I think I’ll be able to start writing again. It’s something I’ve always done and enjoyed and will continue to do for the rest of my life.”
Hackler is not the typical storybook writer most people imagine. He does not believe in sitting at a typewriter to figure out what to write. He believes writing is just the formality of getting it down on paper. “I would say ninety percent of my writing is sitting on a sofa, drinking a cup of coffee and staring at a blank television; then, I go into my office and write for about three hours,” he stated in an interview with a newspaper reporter. Today he lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, after having lived in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, until recently.
A Review of The Shadow Catcher
by Jessica Sansing (SHS)
The Shadow Catcher by Micah S. Hackler is an interesting book. Hackler does a great job of entwining mystery and Indian legends. The main character, Sheriff Cliff Lansing, is a divorced father and the county’s sheriff. Lansing barely has time to be a good father, run his ranch, and be the best sheriff, when a deranged serial killer decides to go on a killing spree. Time is running out for Lansing as the killer begins to kill more and more to get revenge. Not only is this guy a maniac, he has taught himself to be a great “medicine man” and has slipped through Lansing’s fingers many times. The only clue they have linking every murder together is an owl’s feather left at each crime scene.
While trying to find the killer before he kills any more people, Lansing is faced with another oddity. A young boy comes to him confessing that he has seen each of these murders in his dreams. Lansing does not want to accept this fact, but there is something about the boy he cannot ignore. The sheriff is drawn into a world he never knew really existed outside of books and dreams, a world where the line between magic, illusion, and reality blurs, and finally for some, disappears.
Lansing captivates his audience with his Indian tales. He gives enough detail to let his readers know what is going on, but keeps enough secret to keep them interested until the very last page.
by Jessica Sansing (SHS)
What made you want to begin writing?
In ninth and tenth grade teachers really influenced me . I began to read Edgar Rice Bourroughs and fell in love with the books and wanted to be just like him.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Every one is based on ideas from newspapers or magazines. One is actually based on a true story from Oklahoma.
What is your favorite book you have written?
Each one is a little special but probablyCoyote Returns . I like the involvement of mythological creatures and humans.
Do you read any other writers?
I used to, now strictly nonfiction or back to the classics. I just got finished reading Moby Dick because I never had.
Do you consider books an important part of our culture or just sources of entertainment?
I think they are the foundation of our culture. Books have been around forever, and you can always go back and look at them.
Do you have anything about living in Mississippi you would like to share?
I loved the people and how laid back it is. After twenty years of hustle and bustle of the Air Force, it was nice to be in the South.
Is there any advice you would like to give to the young people of today?
Believe you can be anything you want to be. Be proud of who you are and read everything you can get your hands on.
- Baughn, Alice Jackson. “Author finds time to write between jobs.” Starkville Daily News 12 Dec. 1997.
- Brown, Bonny. “Did You Know That Micah S. Hackler:” Stop, You’re Killing Me. 1998-2000. March 9, 2002. <http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/Bio/bio-Micah-S-Hackler.html>.
- Hackler, Micah. “Biography.” May, 2002.
- Hackler, Micah. Telephone interview. 11 May 2002.