Interview & Giveaway: Paths to Freedom by Paul Bennett

Please welcome Author Paul Bennett to the blog today! Paul is on blog tour for Paths to Freedom, the second book in his Mallory Saga series, and he sat down to talk to us about it!

You can enter to win a set of the series in paperback by entering the giveaway at the end of this post. Hope you enjoy the interview!

Hello Paul and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Paths to Freedom, the second book in your Mallory Saga!

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

I am a retired (recently) data center professional. Not that I started out thinking I would spend nearly 50 years working in mainframe computer environments. My major interests, scholastically, in high school and college were history and anthropology. The Cuban missile crisis, Bay of Pigs, assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate, etc., were some of the events that shaped me, forming the basis for my cynical view of government. One of the results of this “hippie attitude” was that I quit school and my job, taking a year and a half off to travel a bit, and enjoy life. During that period I began composing the odd poem or song lyric, but I knew in my heart, and from experience writing school term papers, final exams and the like, that I was a prose writer. My favorite fantasy for my future at the time was to become a forest ranger sitting in some fire watch tower writing the great American novel. Life intervened, however, and I put that dream aside to marry, and raise a family, which meant I needed to be employed, thus decades of staring at computer screens ensued. As time went on, I began writing about the golf trips I took with my buddies. At first they were humor laced travelogues, but now they are fictional tales of my friends; the golf becoming a vehicle for creating a story. Then in 2013, I started writing book reviews, and communicating with authors about the process of writing a novel. My dream to write the great American novel returned.

What inspired you to write the Mallory Saga?

The inspiration to write was, in the beginning, merely to see if I could do it. I had written short pieces over the years but to tackle a full blown novel was a daunting prospect. Once the seed was planted I came up with a rough idea of telling the story of three siblings living somewhere in colonial America. Choosing that general locale was a natural fit for me as I’ve been a lifelong student of American history and I felt that if I was going to write a historical fiction novel, it might be prudent to choose a subject I knew a little about. I picked The French and Indian War as the starting point for what was now becoming a possible series of books that would follow the Mallory clan through the years. That war intrigued me and I saw a chance to tell the story through the eyes of the Mallory family. It also provided me with the opportunity to tell the plight of the Native Americans caught up in this conflict. The French and Indian War paved the way for the colonies to push further west into the Ohio River area. It also set the stage for the events of the 1770’s. Britain incurred a huge debt winning that war and looked to the colonies for reimbursement in the form of new taxes and tariffs. Well, we all know how those ungrateful colonists responded.

As to the name Mallory – I have a photo hanging on my living room wall of my great grandfather, Harry Mallory. I got to know him when I was a young boy and was always glad when we visited him. He lived a good portion of his life in western Pennsylvania which is where much of Clash of Empires takes place. So, as a gesture to my forebears, Mallory became the name of the family.

What research did you undertake when writing the Mallory Saga?

I live in an area rich in early American history, so I do not have to travel too far to visit some of the important sites where the Revolution started (Bunker Hill, Minuteman National Park). Now that I am working on book 3 (Paths to Freedom ends with the battle of Lexington and Concord), the action is more spread out requiring longer treks to such sites as Saratoga, NY…Cowpens, SC…Yorktown, VA to name a few. Those visits along with reading books about the subject matter, and a frequent use of Wikipedia form the basis for the historical content; the rest is up to me and my Muse.

What would you like readers to take away from reading the Mallory Saga?

Although I write fiction tales, the historical aspect of the saga provides the backdrop. History is often overlooked, much to the detriment of humankind, so I hope that what I write might help broaden the reader’s horizon a bit to include history in their repertoire of knowledge and wisdom so that they can look at the world as it is today and exclaim, “wait a minute, I’ve seen this before.”

What was your favorite scene to write?

The buffalo hunt… that was a rush to write, so much going on...the majestic/spiritual nature of the event... I don’t want to say more – names and location are spoilers.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The deaths of two of my characters in Paths to Freedom, one of which was sort of inevitable given the age of the character… the other is a of those situations where I would be screaming at the author for doing it…. don’t want to say who.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing shorter, humorous stories, mostly about my travels with my golf buddies, for many years, but writing a full length novel was just a fantasy. Then I hooked up with (via the internet) some authors who encouraged me to give it a go. Once the idea of a family saga took hold, I entered the realm of the written word.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Hah, daily routine? I don’t have a daily routine…it’s more of a write when able scenario. Though there are patterns to my writing “day”…most of my writing happens in the early morning (or middle of the night). My career in computers was often a 12 hour shift working overnight; consequently my body is attuned to that part of the day. Plus in a house that has two of my grandchildren living in it, the quiet of the morning is perfect for writing.

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

Just setting down in front of my computer and putting words together. Procrastination – the bane of my writing career.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I’m going to name three, though they are not the only ones. Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Guy Gavriel Kay…if I can come close to emulating their humor, insight, or the sheer beauty of language…yeah, that’s a big ‘if’.

What was the first historical novel you read?

While it isn’t technically historical, The King Must Die by Mary Renault.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I’m going to mention the last two I reviewed, Oathbreaker by Adam Lofthouse, and Cry of the Heart by Martin Lake…both are good reads.

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. I was an avid baseball player when younger…actually, I was quite good.
2. I drive a gray 2005 Toyota Corolla S – currently has 244,000 miles on it. I call it Gray Wolf.
3. I have a surgically reattached left index finger – an unfortunate occurrence involving a table saw. The strange thing is I have worked with people for years and years, and they never noticed the odd angle at which that finger permanently sits.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love history…I love making stuff up…historical-fiction.

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

For the longest time, I read mostly ancient historical-fiction, but as my review blog has gotten some attention and authors are requesting that I read & review their books, the time periods run the gamut from ancient to modern.

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

I have 6 grandchildren (will be 7 soon) so, spending time with them and watching them grow.

When younger I participated in a lot of sports, now that I am older and less agile, I play golf to fill the athletic void. And I read a lot.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am working on book 3 of The Mallory Saga, The Crucible of Rebellion. It continues the telling of the American Revolution, taking off from where Paths to Freedom ends. I’m not sure yet where I will end book 3…might carry over into book 4.

I am also toying with the idea of combining my other stories into an anthology of my work.

Paths to Freedom by Paul Bennett

Publication Date: November 22, 2019
Hoover Books
eBook & Paperback; 233 Pages

Series: Mallory Saga, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction/Military

The French and Indian War is over, but the aftermath widens the gulf between the colonies and King George III. A hard handed approach by the King and Parliament fuels the flames of resistance; flames that soon engulf the Mallory clan, consuming the frontier, shattering their hopes for Mallory Town, and changing their lives forever. Revolution is nigh.

"Paths to Freedom (The Mallory Saga #2) exceeded anything that I expected. It is, without a doubt, one of the most moving and most compelling historical fiction books that I have ever read." - Author MaryAnne Yarde

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Paul’s education was of the public variety and when he reached Junior High he discovered that his future did not include the fields of mathematics or science. This was generally the case throughout his years in school as he focused more on his interest in history; not just the rote version of names and dates but the causes. Paul studied Classical Civilization at Wayne State University with a smattering of Physical Anthropology thrown in for good measure. Logically, of course, Paul spent the next four decades drawing upon that vast store of knowledge working in large, multi-platform data centers, and is considered in the industry as a bona fide IBM Mainframe dinosaur heading for extinction. Paul currently resides in the quaint New England town of Salem, Massachusetts with his wife, Daryl. The three children have all grown, in the process turning Paul’s beard gray, and have now provided four grandchildren; the author is now going bald.

For more information, please visit the Mallory Saga Facebook page. You can also find Paul on his Blog, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 28
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 29
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, January 30
Review at YA, It's Lit
Feature at Broken Teepee
Feature at I'm All About Books

Friday, January 31
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, February 2
Review at Historical Graffiti

Monday, February 3
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, February 4
Guest Post at Nurse Bookie


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away paperback copies of Clash of Empires and Paths to Freedom! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– 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.

Paths to Freedom


  1. Thank you Amy for the thought provoking questions. I did not know I had a most difficult scene to write or a favorite one...though the answers popped into my head immediately upon reading the apparently I did know. 😁

  2. Great interview Paul, a lot of interesting facts. Didn't know about the finger. Lol Keep writing!


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