Thursday, February 07, 2013

Flight of the Earls


I finished Flight of the Earls last week, and I can't stop thinking about the characters I met. Fortunately, it's the first book in a series.

Here's the blurb: When famine strikes in 1846, Clare Hanley leaves Ireland for the promise of America. But the journey isn't what scares her the most, it's the fact that her older sister and uncle emigrated five years earlier---and vanished! Arriving in New York, can she overcome her fears and a terrible secret that could destroy her family?

I so enjoyed the fast pace of this story, and I'm looking forward to reading the entire Heirs of Ireland series. It feels like one of those epic series--like Winds of War or North and South. You just want to keep reading.

I'm delighted to know the author (we're represented by the same literary agency), and Michael agreed to visit my blog.

   Michael, what is your favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie? 
What I miss most from the classic black and white movies is the importance of dialog. We’ve gotten so distracted by special effects, violence and loud noises that we’ve lost our appreciation for brilliant character interaction. My favorite movies are Humphrey Bogart’s because of how well the dialog was written and executed. If you look at a film like Casablanca, there are so many all-time classic lines written into that one script.

But in literature, for me Hart Crane’s poem The Bridge offers the quintessence of stunning word pictures. “How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest, The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him, Shedding white rings of tumult, building high, Over the chained bay waters Liberty.” Crane brings the Brooklyn Bridge to life by describing its abstract qualities…and to great effect. As a writer, we know each word has to have a unique purpose and carry so much weight or we lose our readers. Word pictures are so critical to our success and you’ll see them on pretty much every page of Flight of the Earls.

   Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why? 
One of the wonderful things in releasing Flight of the Earls has been hearing how much people have appreciated the descriptive qualities of the novel. Many people share how they could vividly experience the plot and characters and settings as if they were actually in the book themselves. I was concerned people might find the writing too heavy, or too classically based in nature, but so far it has seemed to resonate, and in fact, there seems to be a real hunger for this type of prose.

BUT…there is no question that it’s the change a reader experiences after finishing a novel that is the greatest complement to the author. I mean, why just entertain, when you have the unique opportunity to inspire? Several readers have shared how they have related to the journeys of the characters in Flight of the Earls and it brought encouragement to their own personal challenges. Ultimately, if people aren’t being brought closer to God, and feeling a renewed sense of hope, then I’ve wasted quite a few words. About 105,000, in fact. 

   How much of yourself do you write into your characters? 
The competition to get a book published is so intense. There is so much talent out there. The struggle to have a reader discover you in this over-saturated world of media bombardment is so difficult. So, you as the author can’t afford to hold anything back. You can’t hide parts of your being and personality in the attic. You’ve got to drag that all down and blow the dust off of it. How much of me are in the books? All of me in one shape or form.

   What would you like to tell us about Flight of the Earls? 
The novels of the Heirs of Ireland Series are unapologetically built on the spiritual foundation of my Christian beliefs. But I wanted them written in a way that everyone could enjoy them without feeling pummeled by dogma. I specifically wanted a believing woman to feel comfortable sharing the book with her non-believing husband. I’ve been incredibly encouraged to see Flight of the Earls being embraced by people in secular society and by those of many varied faith backgrounds. That was my hope and prayer for the novels.

   How can readers find your book on the Internet?
You can go to my website at to find some links to online retailers or you can go directly to your preferred vendor (be it, Barnes & Noble,, etc.). But, I would encourage you as well to make a visit to your local bookstore and bless them with your purchase.

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