Guest Chick: Howard Michael Gould

Ellen here and I am so happy to welcome Howard Michael Gould to the Chicks. Howard is a  fellow sitcom and writer/mystery novelist, author of the awesome Charlie Waldo mysteries. He just completed shooting on the film version of Last Looks, the first book in the series. It stars Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson, and I can’t wait to see it!

A Daughter Inspires a Dad

My daughter Amanda has no particular interest in crime novels. Yet it’s no stretch to say that if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be a crime novelist.

Amanda’s a born activist, engaged since early childhood with animal issues, later with African issues, and ultimately with a range of women’s and sexual assault issues, the area in which she’s made her career.

Eight or ten years ago, while still in high school, she discovered and sent me a link to The Story of Stuff, a trenchant yet highly entertaining video by Annie Leonard about how we’re tearing through the Earth’s resources in service of a planned consumerism which simultaneously makes us ever more unhappy.

I watched it over and over.

I was still a screenwriter at the time, and as it happened I was looking for an idea for a unique private eye to build a TV series around. With that video gnawing at me, I came up with Charlie Waldo, a tortured, pathologically environmentalist ex-cop. It’s a story for another day, but eventually that TV concept morphed into a movie script and later into my first novel, Last Looks. (Which is now, in turn, being made into a movie—a story for another another day).

True to the franchise’s roots, environmental and social issues are woven through the Waldo books. In the second, Below the Line (out August 13th), Waldo encounters the horrific world of sex trafficking. No accident there: I had learned a lot about the breadth of that under-discussed tragedy and its proximity to our lives in Los Angeles because Amanda had been working with a vital organization called Saving Innocence. Those sections of the book draw heavily from what I learned from her and from sources she steered me to.

HMG-Amanda photo

No doubt Waldo and his books will continue to be the better for all I keep learning from Amanda. I’m a lucky writer in many ways, not least because I’m a lucky–and extremely proud–dad.

Readers, is there a son, daughter, or sibling who inspired you?

Author photo

BIO: Before turning to a life of crime, Howard Michael Gould spent five years on Madison Avenue and twenty-five more writing, producing and directing comedies in Hollywood, along the way winning three Clios and a Golden Globe. The film version of his debut novel, LAST LOOKS, starring Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson, is in post-production. His second, BELOW THE LINE, also featuring the eco-maniacal detective Charlie Waldo, will be published by Dutton this month. Visit him at


25 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Howard Michael Gould

  1. Sweetest post of all time.(Also why do we treat the environment like a niche issue when it is THE issue?)

    Congratulations on the books and film!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I address societal issues in my Natalie McMasters Mysteries. This is always a dangerous thing for a writer to do – I got one review from a reader that accused me of being too “political”. Actually, it wasn’t me being politcal – it was a very politically active character stating her views. Some of the issues I’ve included are political correctness, the treatment of sex workers in society, illegal immigration, LGBTQ issues, the impact of religion on relationships, and the treatment of veterans and the homeless. Many of the views taken by the characters are not my views, but serve to add depth to the characters. Also, when I write about views I disagree with, it forces me into the character’s head, to consider why that character has the beliefs that they do. This is a good thing for me, because while it may not change my beliefs, it does give me insight about how people who disagree with me think, and that’s always good for me.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Thank you for visiting us today, Howard. Love this post so much–how wonderful that Amanda inspired your series! Sounds like you two are an amazing team.

    It was lovely to meet you at Left Coast Crime…and congrats on all of your success!

    To the question: my sons definitely inspire me in myriad ways. So grateful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Howard, thank you for introducing us to Amanda and the important work she’s doing! And thanks for visiting the Chicks, we’re so happy to have you here. I’m looking forward to the movie version of Last Looks, although I plan to read the book before I see it because as an author — I know the book is always better! (Although a movie with that cast has to be good!)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Howard, what an inspiring post! And the pic of you with your amazing daughter is adorable. I watched that Stuff clip and I have to admit, I’m ashamed that I previously had little idea of what mountains of the world’s exported trash actually look like overseas. Can’t wait to read your book AND see your movie. Please make a pre-Oscars return visit to Chicks, so we can properly celebrate!


  6. I’m back in town and late to comment, but wanted to say what an inspiring post this is! Wishing you every good thing for the latest release and the upcoming movie(!!). Very much looking forward to both!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s