Sunday, December 15, 2013

Featured Debut Novelist: Michael K. Reynolds

Michael K. Reynolds is the author of a series of Irish historical novels, and has more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. 
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Michael is the writer and producer of an Emmy and Telly award-winning series of documentaries, and has extensive experience in all levels of branding, web development, social media, public relations and advertising. He also has wide experience as a speaker and on-air personality and has been interviewed on a variety of newspapers, radio stations and television networks throughout the nation. He is active in marketplace, marriage, small group and men’s ministries as a leader and speaker. 

Michael earned his B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, San Diego and lives in Reno with his wife and three children.

The following is a December 2013 interview with Michael.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of 
Flight of the Earls, In Golden Splendor, or Songs of the Shenandoah
by Michael K. Reynolds


Two copies to be won - winner's choice - 1 USA winner, 1 international
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 13-26 December NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a real ladies man. My Mom inspired me to write, I am husband to a wonderful woman, proud papa of three beautiful daughters and the owner of a delightfully tempered lady yellow lab. Fortunately our cat is a boy or I’d feel completely overrun. Seriously, I’ve learned all I know about composing female characters and understanding a woman’s perspective from my sweet family.


What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
Since I was 15 I knew I was going to be a novelist. I had written three books by the time I was 22. It was in college when I came up with the concept for Flight of the Earls, the first novel in the Heirs of Ireland series. What I didn’t know was that God would take me on a twenty year detour before I would begin to write it and in retrospect I am eternally grateful for the delay. I had a great deal of maturing as a Christian and as a writer before I was ready to dive into this series.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

The term “Christian fiction” is used to define the reading audience, but I sometimes wish it wasn’t that way. I wrote my novels to be embraced by a Christian audience, but I wanted my readers to be comfortable sharing these books with their non-believing friends as well. I would love for my novels to make it to the mainstream bookshelves and hope someday that will be the case. Because in some ways it seems as if books written from a Christian worldview are quarantined with warning stickers in traditional bookstores. That being said, I love the “internal” benefits of Christian fiction. I am thrilled that my editors, agents and publishers pray for me and my writing and hold me accountable to communicating His message with excellence.

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

My writing style is more classical in nature in that there is a great deal of attention put toward prose, description, characterization and thematic layers. So my favorite reviews are ones of those who say they curled up on the couch with a cup of tea in front of the fire and savored the writing. I love those who describe how they were carried away to a different time and place and that the characters came to life. Of course you want people to say the plot was riveting and that the books kept them up late into the night. But most important and exciting is when you learn that people were moved by the story and felt inspired or encouraged. Ultimately, the complete hope and purpose of the writing is to draw people closer to God.


What has been the most surprising aspect to becoming a published novelist?

Getting that first agent and securing your first publishing contract is similar in odds to winning the lottery. It’s amazing and exhilarating. But the big surprise is that it’s merely an open door with an arrow pointing in a direction. A writing career is a lifelong pursuit. Joyful, but exhausting.

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How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

Even with it being Christian fiction, becoming a published author can take you in two directions: To the wilderness or the Promised Land. It’s easy to get absorbed in the trappings of fame, addicted to the attention and to get lost in the weeds. In this way it’s never enough. But with your eyes on Christ, it’s an unbelievable opportunity to serve Him. I wish I could say I didn’t get some briar thorns in my socks during this process, but it’s brought me closer to Him and much deeper in my faith.


Other than being a novelist, what other goals do you have for your life?

I am passionate about someday hearing, “Well done my faithful servant” at the throne. I strive to be a better husband, and to be a good Dad. I have my hands full with those three.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? What spare time? I love being a Soccer Dad and watching my kids in sports and band. Precious time with my wife. Family Bible study. I also play in soccer leagues myself and enjoy playing and writing music.

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What can you tell us about your debut novel?

Flight of the Earls, which came out January 2013, features the story of Irish immigration to America at the onset of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. In Golden Splendor, launched over the summer, continues the story of the Hanley family during the Gold Rush of 1849. Songs of the Shenandoah, the concluding novel of the series coming out January 2014 covers the American Civil War.


What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

I am already hard at work on my next trilogy, working on research, plots and characters. It’s all pure pleasure as I love the planning portion of the writing process.


What would you like to say to your upcoming fans in New Zealand and around the world?
When I travelled through Europe years ago the Kiwis were among the most fascinating, fun and friendly people I met. It’s definitely on my bucket list to make it out there some day and it’s an extraordinary honor and quite humbling to have readers from around the world.


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Flight of the Earls

It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America. Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. 


But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes.

Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.


Purchase Flight of the Earls (Heirs of Ireland #1)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


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In Golden Splendor

Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage -- a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush. 


Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.

Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.



Purchase In Golden Splendor 
(Heirs of Ireland #2)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


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Songs of the Shenandoah

At the onset of the Civil War, Seamus heeds his wife’s wishes to return to her beloved family farm in the South, where he takes a post as chaplain for General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. As Seamus ministers to the troops, his sister Clare ministers in a different way—by being a powerful voice in the Northern cause toward freeing the slaves. All this while their youngest brother Davin, who became wealthy during the Gold Rush, struggles to find love and identity in a fallen world. 


It’s a clash of loyalties and beliefs that threaten the entire family, each of them trying to hear God’s encouragement in the midst of the tragedy of war. 


The dramatic conclusion to the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland Series.


Pre-Order Songs of the Shenandoah (Heirs of Ireland #3)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]



Buy Michael's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of 
Flight of the Earls, In Golden Splendor, or Songs of the Shenandoah
by Michael K. Reynolds

Two copies to be won - winner's choice - 1 USA winner, 1 international

Contest open to entrants worldwide.

Contest runs from 13-26 December NZDT


Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Michael when making a blog post comment. Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 

All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn. 


Read Previous Featured Author Interviews


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