Since earning his B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, San Diego, Michael K. Reynolds has spent more than two decades crafting fiction and non-fiction, journalism, and copywriting. He is also a notable speaker and film producer. The Emmy and Telly award-wining documentary series, Crystal Darkness, was produced by Global Studio, a social marketing agency Michael founded in 1998.
Michael, his wife, and their three children reside in Reno, Nevada.
You’re a social networking multi-tasker—a speaker, a blogger, and a video producer, among other things. How do you corral all of that energy in order to focus on something as introspective as writing?
Everything you mentioned is some form of writing, be it composing tweets, blog posts, documentaries or novels. Being able to find the eye in the storm while cows, Kansas, and Dorothy are flying around you is perhaps the most critical skill set an author must master. Because, as you aptly implied, writing is as much about listening as it is anything else. When we are at our best, we are merely hard-tapping transcribers of the music in our head. So developing strategies and disciplines toward the goal of consistent and productive quiet time is essential. For me it’s about a steady schedule, establishing life boundaries and creating a work environment that allows for still water moments.
How does your faith play into your work?
My still water moments usually begin with opening my Bible. When you begin with the perspective of Heaven looking downward, all of the other earthly tasks in our day seem so much more manageable in contrast. The Hebrew word for “work” is essentially the same as the word for “worship” and I try to treat both of those in the same light.
We sometimes learn—and/or contribute—more in the detours of life than on the “straight path.” Has God ever provided an unexpected detour in your life that turned out to be positive?
(Me laughing.) The title and concept for the first novel in my Heirs of Ireland series (Flight of the Earls) came to me during my college years. It would be twenty years before I would write the opening line of the book! If you had told me at that time two decades would pass before I would get back to my love of writing fiction I would have sought out the closest bridge. In retrospect, it would have been embarrassing to think of what I would have written back then. I never stopped writing during this time period, but God knew I had much traveling to do before He would put me to work writing novels again for Him.
Let’s talk about Songs of the Shenandoah (B&H Publishing, January 2014), the third book in your Heirs of Ireland series. Please tell us about it.
The novel concludes the story of the Hanley family who emigrated from Ireland to the United States in the 1840’s as a result of the Great Irish Potato Famine. Flight of the Earls covers the epic story of their arrival to America, while In Golden Splendor, the second book in the series, takes them through the Old West and the San Francisco Gold Rush. We begin Songs of the Shenandoah at the onset of the Civil War where the bright future of our nation and the Hanleys (who end up on either side of the battle) is very much in doubt.
What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book series?
Songs of the Shenandoah, amidst the stories of romance, adventure, and suspense, is ultimately about being able to hear God’s ever-present message of hope during even the darkest battles of your life. Little did I know that God would have me experience this first hand as I wrote this novel! Our family faced some real challenges last year and . . . as always . . . God came through in a big way. So I literally lived within the pages of the novel alongside my characters wondering what would happen next. We’ve become dear friends as a result.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
My “Scooby Snacks” are Cry Baby Sour Gumballs. They’re sour enough to make most people cry and curl up on the floor, but I love them. I have a huge glass jar full of them and I reward myself appropriately.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I am a songwriter, guitarist and mediocre vocalist as well. Whenever I get my hands fully around the task of being a novelist, be that one year or twenty, I plan on reengaging my long-shelved career as a composer. The first creative contract I was offered (when I was 22) was for three songs I wrote. I’ve written dozens of songs, although most are dusty and in dire need of lyrical overhauls.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
An unfinished symphony. God has much work left to do with this one!
In the story that is your life, are you the tall, dark stranger; the romantic lead; the mythical warrior; the mad scientist; or the child in an adult’s body?
Definitely the tall, fair skinned, red headed guy. They just don’t do enough movies where the hero/protagonist has freckles!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Sophie the white lab was oftentimes my sole companion while the family was asleep and I was writing by candlelight in my office into the wee hours. She is the only one who has seen me cry while I was writing some of those touching scenes. But . . . she promised to keep my secret. Why? She hasn’t said anything to you, has she?
Thank you, Michael! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
~ ~ ~
For more information about Michael, visit his website.
To purchase Songs of the Shenandoah, logon to:
I love your series, Michael and I’m excited to read Songs of the Shenandoah! How did it feel to write the last book in the series? What’s next? Enjoyed the interview!