Mike Larson has self-published his first novel

Photo Credit: STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Writing under the penname M. Louis, Lake Oswego accountant Mike Larson has published 'Angel's Devil.'

Writing a novel was never a goal Mike Larson had for himself. It just kind of evolved.

The Lake Oswego accountant recently self-published “Angel’s Devil,” under the pen name M. Louis. Larson said he started out tweeting the novel just as a joke.

“It began two years ago almost to the day,” Larson said. “It was just for fun. Can you say anything of value in 142 words?” An avid reader, Larson found himself spending more time critiquing the works of some well-known authors than he did getting lost in their prose.

A friend suggested Larson used Twitter to promote his accounting firm, The Michael L. Larson Co., P.C.

“I tried and decided I could get more followers by tweeting a book,” he said. “After two weeks of trying this, I found myself trapped in the plot. I began creating characters, etc. I decided that if I was going to put that much effort into the process I might as well try to write a book.”

An early riser, Larson began spending 30-45 minutes each morning writing. He became so engrossed in writing that he started dreaming of words and phrases at night, and he would capture them on paper the next morning.

“I found I loved the process,” he said. “My original goal was just to have fun with my own mind. But my goals keep changing as I reach milestones.”

He shared his manuscript with a few friends; they felt his writing had possibilities. He engaged an editor to sharpen characters, improve language and grammar, and then, Larson published the book.

“Angel’s Devil” centers on a private detective, Jake Brand, who lives and works in the Portland area. In the story, Jake is dealing with the end of his marriage, the death of close friend Tony and his reunion with Heather, the first love of his life. Everything accelerates when Jake discovers Tony was murdered and the killers may be after Heather next.

Larson said he originally fashioned Brand after American author Mickey Spillane’s fictional character, Mike Hammer, but discovered that Hammer was not a likeable guy.

“He was a creature of his time,” Larson said. “He was brutal and a sexist. He slept with every woman he met, and she ended up dead by the end of the book. I just wasn’t inspired by him anymore.”

Larson recast Brand after the characters James Rockford of “The Rockford Files” and Thomas Magnum in “Magnum, P.I.,” into a more self-effacing, softer character who cares about people.

His biggest challenge was creating different personalities for the characters.

Larson said his wife recognizes him in some way in each character.

Another big challenge is limiting the amount of time he spends writing each day.

“I love doing it,” he said. “You read about how authors who do it for a living have different writing patterns, but they all agree that to be successful you have to write every day. I find it creative, I love turning a phrase; but I have to remember it’s not my real job. I have to limit myself.”

Especially important for an accountant during tax season.

As for Twitter, “I abandoned Twitter after I began writing books,” Larson said. “Never picked it back up.”

“Angel’s Devil” is Larson’s first published novel, but it is the fourth book he has written. The first book, much shorter in length will be published this summer; the second and third books are not yet complete.

“Angel’s Devil” is available in paperback and in electronic form on

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

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