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Michael Farris Smith Books In Order

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Publication Order of Rivers Books

Rivers (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the beginning (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Beginning is a prequel novella.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Hands of Strangers (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Coming Home to Mississippi(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mississippi Noir(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Michael Farris Smith is a southern author that first garnered attention with his short stories before writing award-winning suspense novels following the exploits of characters whose mistakes lead them down roads filled with despair.


Michael Farris Smith is a child of Mississippi. He was born to a Baptist minister and the family was always on the move when he was young, though they rarely strayed far from Mississippi. The author went to Mississippi State University before doing a little bit of traveling.

Michael’s passion for writing fiction was molded while he was at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers.

Writing was not always in the cards for Michael. College should have availed him the opportunity to experiment with publishing. However, Michael never really cared about writing during those years.

In fact, he would describe himself at that point in his life as having been rather aimless. Eventually, an opportunity came for the author to go to Europe, and he jumped at it. The decision paid off immensely. The culture and the life was a perfect fit for Michael who quickly adapted to the new landscape and found that his environment prompted him to read.

So he did just that, taking up the habit for the first time ever. In a way, one might say that life conspired to drive the author towards publishing. He spent so much time in his apartment and at cafes that reading gave him the perfect avenue through which to fill the hours.

Though, it wasn’t like Michael was just lazing about in Europe. He stumbled his way through a couple of odd jobs, first acquiring a position with an NBA event company and then gambling his way through the job market from that point onward.

The author started small. He took to reading the big names that he had heard all his life, the likes of Dickens, Hemingway, and Faulkner. It was as good a starting point as any, igniting his passion for reading and giving him the impetus to begin searching out lesser known authors whose works more effectively appealed to his sensibilities.

The results were astounding. Michael Farris Smith’s time abroad ended with him knowing exactly what he was going to do once he got back to the United States. His aimlessness had finally come to an end. He was going to write stories.

This wasn’t exactly in line with the author’s initial pursuits. Michael’s first foray in college saw him set his sights on a degree in Communication. This was after playing baseball for two years at Southwest Community College. The author didn’t care about Communication. He didn’t really care about anything. Michael simply ran after the first degree he found that didn’t have any math in it.

Once the passion for writing was ignited in him, Michael knew, for the first time in his life, what he wanted to do. And if you ask him to describe himself, the author will probably tell you that he is a southern writer.

Michael’s love for Faulkner had a drastic impact on him. Even while living in Geneva, reading Faulkner always made Michael feel like home was just around the corner. Faulkner was that effective at using language to evoke Mississippi.

Michael will deny being influenced by Faulkner as a writer, though. While Faulkner was responsible for igniting his passion, it was Larry Brown that did the hard work of pushing him to that point where he knew for sure that writing was his calling.

For Michael, it was the characters that set Larry apart. The author felt like he knew the people of Larry’s books. They felt so real and so relatable and Michael realized that it was within his power to reproduce such stories.

It helped that Larry began writing when he was 29, which was the age bracket Michael was circling at the time. And if Larry could succeed after getting such a late start, there was nothing stopping Michael from pursuing his own publishing dreams. Michael is more than happy to be compared to Southern writers like Larry and Faulkner. He takes pride in the description.

Michael will tell you that, while Faulkner and Larry did a lot of the heavy lifting, he also had a part to play. The author’s time in places like France and Switzerland changed him. His daily life and his regular activities, from going to the bakery to buying a stamp altered Michael’s outlook on life. He met so many unique individuals and that informed his writing in the long run.

Despite the accolades he has won, this including taking home the Mississippi Author Award for Fiction, Michael still struggles to write. The hardest part of the author’s job isn’t generating ideas or organizing them into a story but actually sitting down to write. He tries to make it a habit, to write on a regular basis, but he doesn’t always succeed.

When he does get his novels written, Michael Farris Smith’s goal is to take his readers on an emotional journey.


Life on the Gulf Coast is changed forever when a new boundary is drawn ninety miles north of the coast line, this in light of the catastrophic hurricanes that have punished the region, leaving it depleted.

Below the line, there are no utility services or resources or rules. The loss of his family during the evacuation still haunts Cohen, which is why he stayed behind. When a ransacking loses Cohen all the supplies he had carefully stockpiled, Cohen is forced to leave his home.

When Cohen comes across a snake-handling preacher, he is forced to try his hand at shepherding the madman’s desperate captives.

+Desperation Road

Russell Gaines’ time in Parchman Penitentiary is coming to an end. He has watched the last eleven years pass with baited breath. He returns home certain that his debt has been paid only to find that a thirst for revenge still persists.

For Maben and her daughter, things are even more desperate. Maben’s decision to spend the last of their money on a room for the night ends terribly, with Maben armed and a dead deputy sprawled on the road.

Russell can either prioritize his life or that of a woman and her daughter.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Michael Farris Smith

3 Responses to “Michael Farris Smith”

  1. richard cline: 1 year ago

    I just finished reading “Rivers” –How I wish there was a sequel so I could follow Mariposa and her two brothers till they find home

  2. Janette Kennedy-Tibbetts: 3 years ago

    I’ m an 80-years old Mississippian. The mother of James Kennedy a librarian at Hines Community college and a reader of Southern fiction and writer of Southern essays. I know what desperation is and only just finished your Desperation Road.
    I’ve know these people, some are family members and am fascinated how they seem to alway make bad decisions.
    Trying to read The Fighter. I know and am related to some of these characters. All Best, Janette k. Tibbetts

  3. Wendy Wilkinson: 3 years ago

    I just finished “Nick” by Michael Farris Smith and LOVED IT. I need more of his books please


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