Author Interview: Michael L. Ross / The Clouds of War
Welcome readers to today's author interview. We are delighted to have with us author Michael L. Ross to talk about history and his books.
JMR-Welcome, Michael, to the Books Delight. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?
MLR- I live in Newton, Kansas, farm country, with my wife and two cats. We never get bored with four grandchildren nearby. I love to spend time with them, go fishing, and do woodworking, play my violin. A perfect day for me is getting up at 4AM when it’s dark and quiet – do coffee, social media, and get at least four good pages written before my wife wakes up. Bible time, breakfast, and household chores, followed by more writing or board business for the Historical Novel Society, where I am treasurer.
JMR- Michael you are a retired software engineer, what prompted you to pick up the pen and start writing or has writing always been in your blood?
MLR- It’s always been there, just not as certain a way of supporting a family. I sold my first story at fourteen. I had the idea for Across the Great Divide for about ten years, but didn’t make much progress on it until 2016. I’ve written songs, plays, short stories, poems, and now novels.
JMR-What is your favorite historical era? Why?
MLR- I love all of history, but especially the nineteenth century. Prior to the nineteenth, the pace of innovation was slow. In the nineteenth you see industry and technology blossoming at a rapid pace. Social change accelerates as well, as women and minorities gain rights, and slavery is abolished. There are sad chapters in labor and the genocide of Native Americans. There are some very positive elements as well, as telegraph, steam boat, and railroad revolutionize communication and transportation.
JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
MLR- Abraham Lincoln. He was a self-made man of considerable intelligence, wit, sagacity, and leadership. Few men have accomplished so much, and impacted so many as he did in his fifty-six years. His faith in God guided him. He knew when to make a deal, and when to stand firm. He knew when to work through the governmental system, and when to go around it.
JMR-Your book is set during the American Civil War, a perennial favorite with writers and readers. Why do you think this war/era is so popular?
MLR- The first book of the Across the Great Divide series, The Clouds of War, begins just before the Civil War, and follows two families through it. The second book, The Search, picks up just after the war, and follows the main character, Will Crump, through the Indian Wars, in particular Red Cloud’s War.
The Civil War period in many respects resembles our country today – a deeply divided country, with rifts that run through families, issues of race, tariffs, sanctuary cities, and after the war, a large unemployed population in the middle of great social change. At the beginning of the war, there were twelve million slaves. In Lexington, Ky, the setting for Clouds of War, twenty percent of the population were enslaved. It was not unusual for families to split over the issues of the day – even Mary Todd Lincoln, a native of Lexington, had half brothers who fought for the Confederacy.
Many couples were split as the men went off to war, and so many never returned. The tales of love and loss are rich material for novels, as are the stories of heroism in battle. Many readers will have had ancestors who fought in the war.
I wanted to show how a typical farm family could get drawn into the war, and end up on opposite sides. I think the story of the Crumps could easily play out all over again today.
JMR- Thank you Michael for taking time to talk with us today! We wish you luck. Michael's books are available on Amazon. Click the button for more information.