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Ireland History in Fiction

Heirs of Ireland Series large

Happy New Year to you, my friends!

Michael Reynolds, Author of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy

Michael Reynolds, Author of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy

 

The first Wednesday of every month, I feature an author and giveaway a copy of their latest book. It worked out that today, the start of our new year, is a  Book Birth Day for our guest author. It’s my pleasure to welcome my friend, Michael Reynolds, author of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy.

 

  • I first met Michael at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference were we’ve both served on the faculty.
  • We’re both clients of the Books and Such Literary Agency.
  • He writes stories set in the 1800s like moi.
  • His debut series spans the Potato Famine in Ireland and the American Civil War.
  • Flight of the Earls, Michael’s debut novel, came out just a year ago and recently was nominated as 2013 novel of the year by RT Book Reviews in the category of Inspirational Romance.

And there’s more! Take a look at this review . . .

SongsoftheShenandoah.lr“Michael Reynolds’s Songs of the Shenandoah is destined to become a classic. Third in a series of brilliant historical novels, the last is by no means the least. From the coast of Newfoundland through Manhattan and onto the battlefields of the Civil War and beyond, Reynolds has penned a sweeping epic that will leave the reader breathless. Do not miss this masterpiece!”
Bestselling Author Kathleen Y’Barbo

 

  • FlightoftheEarls_CVRlr

Available today, Songs of the Shenandoah is the third and final book of the Heirs of Ireland TrilogySongs of the Shenandoah concludes the story of the Hanleys, a family of Irish immigrants who came to America as a result of the Great Potato Famine. This third novel is set during the Civil War era and is primarily staged in historic New York City and the Shenandoah Valley. It’s meant to be a standalone, so you could safely begin the Hanleys’ journey at this book if you haven’t read the first two, Flight of the Earls and In Golden Splendor.    

InGoldenSplendorCVRlr[1]

I’m excited to share a conversation with Michael and introduce you to his captivating stories.

Mona: Is there a particular Bible verse especially significant to you right now?

Michael: Absolutely, Micah 6:7,8. And it’s in question and answer form just like this interview.

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

God provides such a satisfying answer to this question:

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I struggle with being in “performance mode” with God all of the time, trying to impress Him somehow. This is when all of the while He simply wants me to walk humbly with Him. It’s a wonderful grounding verse for me and a great relief to learn I don’t need to come up with 10,000 rivers of olive oil.

Mona: Thanks for the reminder, Michael. How does it feel to have completed a full historical series?

Michael: Honestly it brings up a mixture of emotions. Obviously, it’s a thrill to have completed the series and to be able to share what is hopefully a dramatic conclusion with my readers. But, there is also a touch of sadness in the fact that my daily time with these characters is over.

Mona: Yes. I understand those feelings. You titled the series, Heirs of Ireland. Besides your obvious sprouting of red hair, what made you decide to give the trilogy an Irish theme?

Michael: Well, I do have family in Ireland, all wonderful people who I have visited with on a couple of occasions. I was fascinated with the Great Irish Potato Famine and its impact on 19th century immigration in the United States. However, once I dove into the research, I discovered this to be one of the richest times in American history. These books are as much about our country as they are about the Irish people. This time period of a burgeoning New York City, the Gold Rush, and the Civil War was so vibrant the plots and characters almost came to life on their own.

Mona: I share your fascination with the 1800s, Michael. Each of your novels in the series feature strong female characters. Was that difficult for you as a male writer?

Michael: It would have been a tremendous challenge for me when I first came up with the title and the concept for Flight of the Earls some twenty years ago while in college when I was a big lug. Now I am only a medium lug. Fortunately, God provided me with a twenty year detour before I started writing these books. By then I had long been married to a wonderful woman and experienced many blessed years as father to three delightful young ladies. I was pleased when one of my Romantic Times reviews said, “Michael can write romance with the best of female writers” as I considered myself in great company!

Mona: So would you classify your novels as Historical Romance?

Michael: Actually no. My books are historical novels…with romance. I believe love and marriage is a central part of the human experience and should be included in just about any work of fiction. But although romance is laced throughout, these books are served up with equal parts of historical discovery, strong themes, rich description and complicated characters.

Mona: Tell us about your experience in writing Songs of the Shenandoah. Was your third book in the series much easier to compose than the first?

Michael: Yes and no. I worked with one of the world’s best fiction editors in Julee Schwarzburg, who was not only a huge talent but a patient and encouraging coach. So I learned so much about the craft and in many ways the process was much simpler. Yet, the third book provided its own challenges as it was set in the Civil War era. Since there were so many excellent novels already employing that setting I was intent on finding unique historical elements, plot twists and characters that would hopefully allow the novel to claim its own space in the genre. I am looking forward to hearing whether my readers thought I was successful.

Mona: Michael, thanks so much for spending time with us here. And, again, congratulations on the completion of your first series of novels.

Click here to check out Michael’s Website & Blog

Follow Michael on Twitter

Connect with Michael on Facebook

Find Michael on Google+

Watch a video of Michael talking about Ireland and its people 

 

Book Giveaway

In 

Congratulations to Vera Godley who won a signed copy of an Heirs of Ireland book by Michael Reynolds!

What did you find most interesting in the interview with Michael Reynolds? 

 

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43 responses to “Ireland History in Fiction”

  1. Denise Forbes says:

    I am looking forward to reading about the land that my family came from so many years ago. I typically read novels based in the US and it is time to expand.
    The part I loved best in this interview is how God took him on a 20 year detour before he wrote the books.
    A good lesson about waiting on the Lord and proof positive that God’s timing is perfect.
    I can’t wait to read this series.

  2. Melanie Backus says:

    What a great accomplishment to have a trilogy completed, Michael. Thank you for a wonderful interview, Mona and thank you for the giveaway. I found it interesting when asked if the third book was the easiest to write that the answer was yes and No. I would have thought without a doubt, the answer would have been yes. I suppose in writing, each completion of the written word has its own challenges. I love the title of this book, that alone draws me to it . Happy New Year!

    melback @cebridge.net

  3. Mona Hodgson says:

    Happy New Year, Melanie. Good to see you here. We’re glad you enjoyed the interview. Yes, it’s a great title. Happy Reading!.

  4. “Since there were so many excellent novels already employing that setting [civil war era] I was intent on finding unique historical elements, plot twists and characters that would hopefully allow the novel to claim its own space in the genre.”

    I am looking forward to reading this third book. And this Scripture is so important to remember in this first day of our new year ~ Micah 6:7-8, vs 8b To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

    Blessings to you both and congratulations of THE book day for you today, Michael.

    An heir of Ireland ~ half-Irish Kathleen
    Lane Hill House

  5. Susan Fletcher says:

    Most interesting to me – The setting of his stories is in the 1800’s. That’s a time period I like to read about.

  6. Angie Carroll says:

    I am not familiar with your books but I am interested in getting to read them!

  7. Thank you Mona for introducing Michael to us and thank you Michael for sharing. I am so looking forward to reading your books, I cannot say I have read many male authors in the Christian Fiction Genre, but the few I have I truely love…smile Love the verse you chose to share, great reminder for this new year, not go get to hung up on more then is required of us.
    Can’t wait !
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com

    • Most Interesting…. I guess I have to say that male authors write such wonderfully strong characters in women in their books and are so good at the romance part ! If I win I want to read the first book !!!!!
      but I may get the third and then buy the first two..smile Have to read all of them don’t you know !

    • Mona Hodgson says:

      Good to see you here, Linda. It’s always fun to introduce readers to my author friends. I know you’ll enjoy Michael’s books. Happy Reading!

  8. Katrina says:

    Mona, these look wonderful. I love all things about Ireland. Visiting there is on my bucket list.
    Happy New Year.
    Blessings

  9. Bonnie Traher says:

    momtr3@yahoo.com Would be happy with any of the three books. Is there a first one that starts the story?If so,that would be a good one to start with.

  10. Patty says:

    I received a B & N gift card for Christmas and promptly went to my wish list and ordered the first 2 books in this series just a few days ago! I would love to have a copy of book 3.

  11. Jackie Mcnutt says:

    Mona, Thank you for featuring Michael. I come from Irish ancestry and these books look wonderful. I was very impressed by Michaels statement about walking humbly before the Lord. Not always an easy thing for me. I have not read any of these books so first one would be great
    thank you

    • Mona Hodgson says:

      Good to see you here, Jackie. I love introducing reader-friends to other authors I know they’d enjoy. And him sharing Micah 6 with us today was a great way to start off the new year. Blessings!

  12. Would love to win one of your books. I am also Irish .

  13. Claudia Thompson says:

    I found most interesting that his books are historical fiction with romance!!! Can’t go wrong with that combination. Thanks for giveaway.

  14. I’ve been friends with Michael for a few years now, but I have yet to be able to sit down with his books. My New Year’s resolution is to dig into the Heirs of Ireland series, being half Irish meself.

  15. What a blessing to share a Happy New Years and the day of my book launch with all of your. Thank you all for the kind words.

  16. I have not read any of Michael’s books yet. I would love too. Enjoyed your interview.
    Blessings
    Diana

  17. Savanna says:

    I love reading about the Civil War and would love to see how he spun a fresh story of a different piece of our history. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Rhonda Lovell says:

    Looking forward to reading these books. Love reading books set back in another era of time. Especially of Ireland, since I have ancestors from there.

  19. Vera Godley says:

    What a nice interview. Love the Micah 6 verses. So appropriate and we so need to latch onto them for ourselves. Your books sound wonderful, Michael and I have never read any of your works. I’d simply love to have all 3 of them. 🙂 ( A bit selfish I know)

    godleyv [at] yahoo {dot}com

  20. Amyc says:

    Hi Mona and Michael! I’m not entering because I already have this whole series. I love it! Thanks for the video. I now want to visit my cousins in Ireland even more!
    Happy New Year!

  21. Barbara Thompson says:

    Though I have yet to read Michael’s books, I do follow him on Facebook and Twitter. I am always impressed with his humility and his gift for explaining what he sees in life. What interests me most in this interview is that this trilogy is historical fiction WITH some romance. I don’t usually read straight romance novels and I love learning about history. So, these books sound like a great fit for me.

  22. Happy New Year, Mona! Thank you so much for sharing this interesting interview. I have not read Michael Reynolds books, but am adding them to my TBR list. The Heirs of Ireland Trilogy sounds wonderful!!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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