|Image Courtesy: Michael Mclellan|
Michael Mclellan's new book In The Shadow of the Hanging Tree is slated for release towards the end of January, 2017. While his previous books After and Again and American Flowers were in the adventure/reality genre, this is the first time he has dabbled in historical fiction. Let us get straight to the interview.
Q1. Hello and welcome, Michael. Let me start by asking what the book is about?
Thank you for having me, Chitra.
The story is a fictional account chronicling the early life of a slave who is freed at the beginning of the American Civil War. Finding himself on the run from Confederate militiamen, he flees west where he befriends a tribe of Native Americans. He eventually attempts to interfere with a plot by the U.S. Government to eliminate the natives as an obstacle to the westward expansion.
Q2. What were the challenges you faced while writing this book?
Making sure that the book was as historically accurate as possible was the biggest challenge. This is my first historical fiction piece and I wanted the parts where actual historical figures and events were used to feel real to the reader. I did a lot of research. Hopefully my diligence shows in the work.
Q3. What led you to write such a book?
Your first question was What is the story about, and I told you the basics, but what it's ultimately about is racism and inequality. As far as we've come as human beings, this is something that we still haven't eliminated. I felt compelled to consider the topic in a novel, and having some Native American lineage prompted me to write in that particular time and place. Sadly, I could have written a similar piece, in any time period, at any location on Earth, and it still would have had the same impact.
Q4. How did you begin writing?
I started out as a folk musician and songwriter years ago. I also dabbled in poetry. Deep inside, though, I always wanted to write books. I had a few false starts over the years. Finally, by 2013, I'd developed enough discipline to actually do it. I made a lot of mistakes, and learned from them. Now I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Q5. Who are your favorite authors?
Cormac McCarthy, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, Stephen King, and Beverly Cleary.
Q6. Will your next book be in the same genre? When can we expect it?
No. Not the next one. The next one is a contemporary novel about a teenager who ends up on the streets after his parents are both killed in tragic accidents. I'm hoping to have it ready for release this summer. I am certainly interested in writing another book set in 19th century America. Maybe for next year.
Thank you Michael and we all wish you all the very best for your new book!
Read my review of the book here.