Michael K. Reynolds answered five questions about the new addition to his Heirs of Ireland novels,
In Golden Splendor.
Q: Your new book In Golden Splendor tells the
story of a man on a journey across the American Frontier during 1849.
What is it about that setting that suits this story?
You have the
difficulty of the mountainous terrain, the despairing emptiness of the deserts, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. These all parallel Seamus’s own personal
challenges, and I think as well it's the romance of discovery, the alluring
thought of something greater waiting down the trail, which carries him through
the beautiful and rugged country. That, and of course, the pursuit of a
mysterious woman! You know, the American West has always appealed to the
dreamer within each of us, and I believe this is why it’s such a popular theater
Q: This book is part of your Heirs of Ireland series.
What is a common theme throughout the series?
I would say it’s the
preeminence of hope in all circumstances. The characters in all three novels face
extraordinary challenges, as many of us do at some level in our own lives. This
was a difficult time in Irish-American history when you factor in the Great
Potato Famine, their persecution as unwanted immigrants and then the brutality
and division of the Civil War. Yet, God never abandoned people back then and He
doesn’t today. I want my readers to vicariously experience God’s triumph over
tribulation. Although the books take readers on a wild journey, I want them ultimately
to feel encouraged and renewed.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
Having lived in the
Reno/Lake Tahoe area for more than two decades I’ve spent many a day among the
granite spires of the Sierra Mountain Range in hiking boots with a
backpack. Inspiration comes easy when you peer down from a peak to see a
crystal lake below draped with a fresh mountain flower bloom. So too with San
Francisco. It has always been one of my favorite cities in America because it
has such a superb European feel to it. It’s distinguished, eclectic and full of
intrigue. You throw in the fascinating era of the Gold Rush and the book is
Q: Can you tell us about your favorite character from In Golden Splendor?
I’m not sure I can
answer that! Just as a father should never have a favorite child, so too is the
case with our characters. They are quite sensitive about this, you should know.
But if you lean in closely I’ll admit to being a fan of the runts of the
litters, the outcasts, the unique characters you would never want your
daughters or sons to marry but who prove to be quite entertaining. I have
several of those in this novel.
Q: What is your writing process?
My books all are conceptualized with a joyful period of
brainstorming and prayer which allows me to begin rough initial sketches. Brushstrokes
of the time period, general setting, lead characters and overall themes. This provides
me with the direction on where to focus my research which is one of my favorite
parts of the process. It’s during this discovery period where many of the ideas
solidify and hidden historical gems are uncovered. This is followed by a
detailed outline of characters and a chapter-by-chapter plot. If I’ve been
patient and done this part well, then the writing (of at least the first draft)
is fast, fluid and pleasurable. After that, it’s a rather arduous peeling of the
layers of prose until it’s ready to rest in the hands of a reader.