Today, we are blessed to have Michael K. Reynolds, author of the Heirs of Ireland Series. He’s going to tell us a little about his journey to writing these books.
My mother likes to take much of the credit for my writing career and for the most part this is perfectly appropriate behavior. We were on a tight budget growing up but there was always spare change when it came to buying books. She fed the classics to me as heartily as she did chicken soup.
Oh, yummy! And good for you, too.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
Since I was of the age fifteen I was thoroughly convinced I was going to be a bestselling author. It would take many years before I realized I should have chosen a more practical dream…like being an astronaut. I did manage to write three books by the time I was 22 and the concept of the Heirs of Ireland Series was born during my college years. Little did I realize it would be another twenty years before I would compose the opening line.
As they say, good things come to those who wait.
When did you first begin writing, and why do you write still?
Once I starting writing as a child I never stopped. I wrote books, both fiction and non-fiction. After college I slung stories at a newspaper in Lake Tahoe for a few years. Then I got into marketing and began to tell the tales of business owners. During this time I also produced documentaries and the filmmaking process provided an excellent venue for honing my writing craft. So although it’s true I took a 20-year detour from authoring novels, I never did stop writing.
Wow! What a rich education.
What is your favorite genre to read?
My readers often comment on the depth of research that goes into my novels so it won’t surprise them to learn I enjoy reading history books most of all. There is such tremendous pleasure for me in reading about the human experience through these raw pages of time. Journals, history books, old leather-bound tomes. I find them exhilarating and always full of treasure.
I must confess, I’m on the other end of that spectrum. I like to learn history through a well-researched novel that takes the raw pages and turns them into lives impacted by the time. Thank you for being one of those authors.
About five years ago I had a friend in a Bible study I was leading (Shawn Grady, author of Through the Fire) announce he had just signed a three-book contract with a publisher. While everybody else was congratulating him on this great news I was writhing with unrighteous envy! He was living the dream I had always wanted for myself. Fortunately, Shawn was gracious enough to forgive my jealous spirit and he invited me to a writer’s conference. Within a short period of time I was blessed with acquiring the best agent in the business and a three-book publishing contract of my own. After a 20 year delay, I guess it was just God’s timing because everything came together. I’ll always be grateful to Shawn for the role he played.
Oh yes! God’s timing.
What are you working on right now?
Having just concluded my Heirs of Ireland trilogy with Songs of the Shenandoah, I am hard at work on researching and developing the next series, another historical which I can hardly wait to share with my readers.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
I’ll decide on a particular time period and geographic location in history and then I’ll dive into heavy research. It’s during this time when I begin to formulate ideas about characters and plots. After this, I spend many, many hours daydreaming with a notebook to bring it all together.
I can almost see the visual bubbles dancing over your head as you sit with pen and notebook.
Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I am absolutely a plotter. This discovery was a result of being on a tight three-novel deadline with my publishing contract. I didn’t have time to get lost in the writing process so I thoroughly planned out characters and plots to the finest of details. What I discovered is I actually had more freedom with the writing when I approached it this way. It allowed me to take side roads and to stray off the beaten path, because with a strong outline you always know where and when you’re going to arrive.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
My faith is both the purpose and power behind my writing. I believe everybody shares what is important to them in their novels. They are expressing their faith…whatever it may be. Mine comes from a Christian worldview. Ultimately, I want people to be more than entertained. I want them to experience the presence of God in my novels.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Make sure you learn to enjoy the writing process. Every aspect of it. So much so that if it never got published or never got read by another human being you would still be thrilled. That is one of the secrets to genuine, transcendent writing.
So true, Mike. Thank you for joining us today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael K. Reynolds’s debut novel, Flight of the Earls, about the Great Irish Potato Famine was recently nominated for RT Book Reviews 2013 novel of the year award in the category of Inspirational Romance. In Golden Splendor, set during the San Francisco Gold Rush, received similar high acclaim and Songs of the Shenandoah, the Civil War-era conclusion to the trilogy was just chosen as a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews.
Michael is the author of a popular Christian Blog called Real Life. Real God. and he has been rated as one of the top 50 Christians on Twitter. He lives in Reno with his wife and three children. You can learn more at http://www.MichaelKReynolds.com.