In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree // American Flowers – Michael McLellan / #Interview #BlogTour @RRBookTours1 @McLellanBooks



In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history



American Flowers

Nineteen-year-old Chris Shafer and seventeen-year-old Allie Laughton came from similar backgrounds of neglect and indifference. Chris spent his childhood desperately trying to gain his alcoholic parents’ love. Allie was dragged through an ugly divorce before narrowly escaping being molested by her mother’s new boyfriend.

A chance meeting draws the two together and Allie is quickly caught up in Chris’ new-found lifestyle. Plagued by poor choices, Chris sets into motion a chain of events that drags them deeper into the murky world of meth. Ultimately pursued by both the police and Chris’ volatile tempered drug dealer, Chris and Allie are forced to confront their only real enemy: themselves.




Q: Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?

The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary are by far the most memorable books of my childhood. Where the Red Fern Grows, Sounder, and the Encyclopedia Brown series are other I remember reading and rereading. As an adult I have a pretty diverse taste in books. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Notes Of A Native Son, The Stand, Woe to Live On, The Voice of the Whirlwind, and The Name of the Wind are some of my favorites. Recently Donna Everhart’s The Forgiving Kind, Isaac Thorne’s The Gordon Place, and Doc by Mary Doria Russell are standouts.

Q: Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

John Steinbeck. He knew how to tell a great story with rich and compelling characters, and he could do it in a straightforward way that was still engaging to the reader. Rod Serling is another. I have great respect for him and his insights into social issues and what it is to be human.

Q: If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else ‘s) would you like to invite for tea and why?

Well, since I already know my own characters intimately, I have to say Bilbo Baggins. Why? Well, who wouldn’t?

Q: Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?

Not so much. I have to have complete silence. I know some writer’s listen to music while they write. It’s too distracting for me. Also, I rarely write more than two thousand words a day. I find the quality seems to drop if I do much more than that.

Q: Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉

I write about social issues, mostly. I find when I write about topics that I’m passionate about, it shows in the finished story. They comes across as genuine because in a way they are, I suppose. Q: Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?

I’ve never written an outline of any kind—ever. I go through a (very)basic storyline in my head for awhile, usually as I’m getting ready to drop off to sleep at night, then I just sit down and write. I like to let the story go where it wants to.

Q: Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?

Yes. Don’t listen to advice from other writer’s:)

Seriously, I don’t know…write what moves you, not what you think you should write to get a book deal or become famous. And make sure your book is truly ready before you release it. This last goes double for authors who are self-publishing.

Q: What are your future plans as an author?

I just want to keep writing the best novels I can. I have two works-in-progress right now. One, tentatively titled, Return Addresses, is nearly complete. I’m hoping to release it later this year or early in 2020.

Thank you, Michael McLellan and R&R Book Tours


About the author

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.


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