Michael Ringering’s full-time job is the administrator of several specialty physicians’ offices on the Alton Memorial Hospital campus, but he keeps himself quite busy away from the office, too.
Writing is his other game, and Ringering recently released his third novel, Where Butterflies Go to Die, as well as his fifth short story, The Boy Who Ate Dirt.
Ringering is the administrator over three BJC Medical Group of Illinois offices — Neurology and Sleep Medicine, Alton Surgery, and Diabetes and Endocrine Care in Medical Office Building B, Suite 230, 4 Memorial Drive in Alton.
A 1984 graduate of East Alton-Wood River High School, he earned a Business Administration degree from Murray State University in Kentucky in 1989.
He’s been involved in health care since 2005, but his interest in writing goes back to third grade at Eastwood Elementary School in East Alton.
“I had to do a book report (Broomtail by Miriam Mason), and it’s when I saw the author’s name embossed on the book that I knew I wanted to be an author,” Ringering said. “I’ve been writing in some fashion ever since.”
Where Butterflies Go to Die is a work of fiction inspired by World War II veteran Douglas C. McDonald, who Ringering befriended in 2010 while working in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The story details the struggles of Bobby Lee Darrow, who, having spent the first 21 years of his life consumed with self and finding the easy way out, is thrust into a life-changing journey after earning court-mandated community service as an orderly at an assisted living facility.
Darrow befriends a lonely World War II veteran battling dementia, who’s concealing a wartime secret and claims of a long-lost love. Captivated by the man’s story and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his life, Bobby embarks on a cross-country quest in search of the truth. Along the way, he discovers new friends, a love of his own, and a newfound purpose for his life.
The Boy Who Ate Dirt, a fictional short, relays the story of Major League Baseball star Jack Rose, who visits his hometown prior to the start of a new season.
After running into an old high school buddy who recounts a disturbing childhood event, Jack’s perspective on life and the man he’s become changes forever.
Making a baseball star the main character is no accident. Ringering spent more than a decade in communications/media relations with the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds – after serving a marketing internship with the Cardinals in 1987. That team lost the World Series to the Minnesota Twins, as did the 1991 Braves when Ringering worked in Atlanta. He was part of a third World Series in 1992 when the Braves lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. He then became the youngest public relations director in baseball (29) when he moved to Cincinnati in 1995, working for the Reds’ notorious owner, Marge Schott.
He left baseball in 2002 and worked in other marketing positions before moving into health care. But the writing bug has never left him.
“It took me seven years to complete my first novel (Six Bits) and eight years to write my second (A Debt of War),” Ringering said. “Writing the short stories grew out of sometimes getting bored in the middle of working on the novels. Now I’m working on two more novels and another short story. This just happens to be the first time I have released two books at once. I have an excellent editor (Rob Grindstaff), and I feel like I’m getting better with each book.
“Some people ask me why I don’t write full time, but it’s my daily interaction with people in this job that often gives me ideas for the books. It’s fiction, so you can pick up on one little thing from something in real life and take it in any direction from there. But I also like to weave fact into fiction, so a lot of research is involved, like my book A Debt of War. I want to make sure when I’m writing on historical events that I get the facts correct.”
Ringering is represented by Evolved Publishing, LLC. Where Butterflies Go to Die and The Boy Who Ate Dirt are available now in both eBook and paperback on Amazon Kindle (US, UK, AU, CA, IN), Apple Books, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords.