Michael Stephan Oates
A restaurateur by day and passionate writer by night, Michael Stephan Oates's debut novel Wade In The Water received high praise as a fascinating work of historical fiction. The Stones in the Field, Oates's second novel. follows a Mexican family through the horror of a kidnapping for ransom.
Born in Dallas, Texas, and moved to California in 1973, Oates graduated from the California State University in Fullerton in 1992 with a Masters degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Music. Over the past nineteen years, he has grown his southwestern style restaurant into a thriving fixture in his home town of Fullerton, and has been recognized for his achievements in the industry by California State Senator Mimi Walters and U.S. Congressman Ed Royce. While operating one of the most popular downtown eateries, he continually taps into the creative side of his brain by exploring his passion for writing, both in music and the printed word. An accomplished pianist and guitarist, he has performed at venues up and down the pacific coast and written theme music for both television and the live stage.
On writing compelling literature, Oates draws from E.B. White’s advice - don’t write a story about man, write a story about a man. “Great stories are about great characters,” says Oates. “And I’ve been fortunate in business and travel to come across all sorts, from the boring and mundane, to the fascinating, the wild, and the borderline insane.” During the process of writing Wade In The Water, Oates spent an extensive amount of time touring Johnstown. “Immersion in the physical location makes it real to me. To walk the same paths, breathe the same air, touch the same ground as my characters might have done, it’s a mental connection that cannot be achieved any other way.” When asked what pulls him into the stories he reads, Oates replies, “When I find myself in the characters, I find myself in the story.”
When his restaurant and his writing don’t keep him busy enough, he fills time reading Steinbeck, Hemingway, and his favorite contemporary author Cormac McCarthy, playing his grand piano, teaching martial arts, and traveling the world with his wife Liza, and his sons, Jameson and Riley.