Interview & Giveaway: Across the Great Divide by Michael L. Ross

Hey everyone! Today I have an interview with Michael L. Ross, who is on Blog Tour for Across the Great Divide! Hope you enjoy it. Don't forget to enter our giveaway!

Hello Michael and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Across the Great Divide!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m a retired software engineer turned author. I love history – history is just people’s stories. I live in Newton, Kansas USA with my wife, and a nearby daughter with four grandkids. I’ve been writing since high school, but only seriously for the last couple of years. The Clouds of War is my first published novel, and the first in the Across the Great Divide series.

What inspired you to write Across the Great Divide?

I saw tremendous parallels between the time of the Civil War in our country, and present day. A nation deeply divided, a president that didn’t win the popular vote, sanctuary cities, controversy over tariffs, laws preventing people from immigrating – so many problems the same. In 1861, it resulted in a shooting war. I hope to help people see that there are commonalities that can prevent the deep divisions.

Also, I was born in Lubbock, Texas, and knew my main character’s granddaughter when I was a kid. I thought his life was varied and fascinating, a story that needs to be told.

What research did you undertake when writing Across the Great Divide?

I read over two hundred slave diaries and accounts, eyewitness accounts of Morgan’s raids, speeches by William Garrison, sermons of Breckenridge, and traveled to Lexington, Kentucky and Shiloh Battlefield to walk the steps of my characters. I also interviewed the curator of Ashland Plantation, Eric Brooks.

What would you like readers to take away from reading Across the Great Divide?

Hopefully, they will enjoy the story and the characters, but also hopefully they will see that we have more in common than we have different, if we look for it.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s like choosing among children – but probably the romantic scene with David and Albinia that is interrupted by the farmer.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Definitely the slave torture scene. It is based upon a real event, that happened much the way it was written. A slave was strung up, choked a little at a time, burned, and abused until the person broke. There was so much cruelty.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Probably when I was fourteen, and sold some short stories to Random House.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I write usually on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, from three to eight in the morning, when my wife is asleep.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Managing marketing of a book while continuing to write has been a huge challenge. I write more slowly, and sleep less.

Who are your writing inspirations? 

Tom Clancy, Anne Perry, Diana Gabaldon, John Jakes.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Wow, hard to remember – it would have been more than fifty years ago. Probably an account of Davy Crockett.

What is the last historical novel you read? 

Cold Mountain

What are three things people may not know about you?

I’m a violinist, an equestrian, and used to write software for military aircraft.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

People of the past were very similar to people of today. Researching their stories is like hunting for treasure. They inspire and teach.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading? 

World War two and medieval.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

My current avocation is woodworking. I make bowls, toys, and furniture.

Lastly, what are you working on next? 

I’m hard at work on Book 2 of Across the Great Divide. Check my newsletter for a sneak peak – you can sign up at . I’m also working on a novel about a middle aged Civil War nurse.

That sounds intriguing! I look forward to hearing more about both novels! Thanks for spending time with us today!

Across the Great Divide by Michael L. Ross

Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Elm Hill
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Series: The Clouds of War, Book One
Genre: Historical/Christian/Military

Lexington, Kentucky, 1859. After saving John Hunt Morgan from a puma attack, fifteen-year-old farm boy Will Crump joins Hunt’s militia, the Lexington Rifles. Morgan mentors Will and enrolls him in the local university, where he hopes to study law. As tensions rise between the North and South, Will is torn between his loyalty to Morgan and his love for his family. Will’s father, sisters, and sweetheart follow the Union, while Morgan and Will commit to the South. As part of Morgan’s band, Will participates in ambushes and unconventional warfare until his first real battle at Shiloh. He fights bravely, but increasingly questions what the war is accomplishing, and whether his devotion to honor has led him astray. And where is God in all this killing?

Will’s sister Albinia, friend of the Clay family, becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the slaves. When she finds Luther, a slave she knows, trying to escape, she must decide between her conscience, and her friends. She becomes involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves to freedom – but will it cost her love and her freedom?

Will’s other sister, Julia, is approaching spinster status and despairs of ever meeting a man who can give her more than life on a farm until she meets Hiram Johannsen, a son of immigrants who owns a steamship company. They marry and she makes a new life in the North. When Hiram answers the call to fight for the North, Julia runs the steamboat company in her husband’s absence and uses her boats to help Albinia ferry escaped slaves to freedom. Her business relations put her in the perfect position to spy for the North. When the Confederates capture her, will she survive?

Luther is one of the first slaves Albinia helps flee the South after his master cruelly abuses his mother and sister. He escapes with his family, and when war breaks out, he fights for the North as an auxiliary of the Third Ohio Cavalry, alongside Julia’s husband, Hiram, and against Morgan and Will. Luther has to confront the demons of his past, an abusive master, and a slave catcher that kills his little sister. Will the desire for revenge destroy him?

Throughout the war, Will is forced to examine and question everything he believes in—his faith in God, his love for his family, his loyalty to Morgan, and his worth as a human being.

Will and his family must somehow mend the torn fabric of relationships to find peace, and reach Across the Great Divide.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

"Ross’s gripping story follows a Kentucky family of modest means and the enslaved people they helped toward freedom. The depictions of slavery ring true, and the use of both historical and fictional characters fills out the probable feelings of people attaining liberty in the bloodiest of all our wars." -Daniel C. Snell, Ph.D., emeritus professor, University of Oklahoma, and scholar of the history of slavery

"Like a great roller coaster, Michael Ross’ debut novel goes up and down with personal crises and national conflict, but it also twists about unexpectedly from character to memorable character in a sprawling story of the Civil War. Will, an earnest young man whose faith and honor sometimes put him at odds with those he loves, is caught up in the struggles of a country grappling with its own destiny. The issues that compel and separate people in ‘neutral’ Kentucky as the war breaks out echo our own era. We, too, are caught in a great divide. If you love a good story pulled from history, and if you are person of faith, you will find it hard to put down “The Great Divide” until the last page." -Daniel A. Brown, PhD, Author of “Embracing Grace,” Pastor, International Speaker

About the Author

Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He's a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of thirty-eight years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of "Across the Great Divide", William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will's granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series.

Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old.

He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession - all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 7
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 8
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Friday, October 11
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Saturday, October 12
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 14
Review at Al-Alhambra

Wednesday, October 16
Review at Stories Can Make Us Fly

Friday, October 18
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, October 20
Review at Locks, Hooks, and Books

Wednesday, October 23
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Friday, October 25
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Monday, October 28
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 29
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, October 31
Review at Older & Smarter?

Friday, November 1
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 4
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, November 6
Review at Just Another Reader

Thursday, November 7
Feature at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Across the Great Divide! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Across the Great Divide

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique