Michael Kiefer has been a cab driver, a janitor, a haberdasher, a martial arts instructor, a college Spanish teacher, a magazine editor, a travel writer and a newspaper reporter. In search of good stories, he's driven the Alaska Highway, witnessed executions, dogsledded from Minnesota to Canada and back, been mugged in Peru and interrogated by the secret police in Chile, skied off-piste in the Alps and the Andes and interviewed Michael Jordan, Mike Ditka, Randy Johnson, Tamara McKinney, Martina Navratilova and countless others along the way.
That life and work experience salts and seasons his novels.
• His most recent work, Another Monk's Tale is the irreverent story of a reprobate college professor who finds himself haunted by St. Francis of Assisi and seeks redemption in religion but finds it instead in an unexpected place.
• The Lion Hunter follows a conflicted Arizona game warden who has to track down a renegade cowboy who once pulled him out of a forest fire.
• Speaking English is a humorous picaresque of an English-teacher-turned-magazine-writer who goes to work for a unscrupulous janitor as he recovers physically and emotionally from being kidnapped, shot and gravely wounded in the Amazon jungle.
• Michael's non-fiction book, Chasing the Panda, is a real-life Indiana Jones adventure from the 1930s that brought the first giant panda out of the Tibetan-Sichuan borderlands to a zoo in Chicago.
• His e-books, Into Umbria and Swiss Seasons, are collections of journals and travel stories from Europe.
In his day job, Michael reports on courts and crime and the death penalty for The Arizona Republic. He covered the legal proceedings for Jared Loughner, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and seriously injured former U.S Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He led coverage on the trial of celebrity killer Jodi Arias and was one of a handful of journalists to interview her. He broke the story that Arizona and other states were illegally buying drugs from Europe to carry out executions, followed the court battles over immigration law, and wrote an expose of prosecutorial misconduct in Arizona.
As a travel writer, Michael has reported extensively from Europe and North and South America. A former associate editor of Outside magazine and a regular contributor to TravelGirl, his features, essays and profiles have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including Playboy, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Self, The New York Times and USA Today.
Michael has taught Spanish, writing and journalism at The University of Michigan, Columbia College and Roosevelt University in Chicago, Grand Canyon University, and currently teaches journalism at Arizona State University. He speaks Spanish, Italian and French, is a lifelong skier and holds a 4th-degree black belt in Hapkido.