Monday 22 February 2021

#HistoricalFiction author, Michael L. Ross, is talking about the inspiration behind his fabulous book - The Search (Across the Great Divide Book 2) #American @MichaelLRoss7


Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Publisher: HistoricalNovelsRUS
Page Length: 217 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Where do you go when home is no longer an option?

The guns of the Civil War have ceased firing, and the shots are but an echo... yet the war rages on, deep inside Will Crump's soul. His "soldier's heart" is searching for peace, and in that quest Will joins the westward movement, setting his path on a collision course with adventure, loss, and love.

The Westward Expansion floods the sacred, untouched lands with immigrants, bringing conflict to the Shoshone, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Amidst the chaos Will finds safety in the shadow of the US Army, but the army brings battle-hardened troops into Red Cloud's War, pulling Will into a tornado of conflict. Broken treaties and promises leave both sides searching for answers. Will's search leads him to a battle for survival, and there he finds a love that could change him forever.

Dove, a young Shoshone woman, is a survivor of the Bear Creek Massacre. After being kidnapped and escaping from the Cheyenne, she joins Will's search, seeking where she belongs. Dove longs for more than the restricted role placed on women in her tribe. If she can learn to trust a white man, he just might help her find home... and hope.

Together, Will and Dove must search for understanding, and reach Across the Great Divide.

The Across the Great Divide series is inspired by looking at the middle and late nineteenth century in America and seeing many modern parallels. For the first book, The Clouds of War, I saw a deeply divided nation in 1859, with families splitting and taking opposite sides. As foreigners flooded through portals like New York, there were immigration issues, and enslaved persons attempted to flee to the free states. Racial prejudice was everywhere. There were riots in the streets like the Pratt Street riots in Baltimore when  Massachusetts troops came through town; There were tariff issues. The country was in a massive state of chaos and change.  I wanted to explore these problems and expose possibilities for better solutions.

On a personal level, I was born in Lubbock, Texas. One of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater was William Dorsey Crump. I knew his granddaughter, a friend of my grandmother when I was a small child. I heard a few stories about Will back then, and as an adult, I grew curious. As I began to research his life and times, I found it fascinating, with a story that resonates today. 

Many of the people that appear in my books were real persons, though not all. For my present novel, Book 2 The Search, I had to be inventive – after the Civil War, when Will leaves a Union hospital in Virginia, he disappears from the historical record for five years. There are family indications that he went west. The period following the Civil War was the time of the great wars with Native Americans. I also was fascinated with recent scholarship on PTSD in Civil War veterans, called “soldier’s heart.” As I talked to people, even history buffs and professors, I discovered how little of these two topics, the Native American genocide, and post-Civil War PTSD, was written down. The Native Americans’ written history is mostly from a white point of view. I was sure there was a story there, and I thought Will could tell it.

Dove, the young Shoshone woman that Will falls in love with, is fictional but represents so many Native American women, then and now. 

I learned a great deal during the research for the novel, particularly unwritten Native American history, by talking to members of the tribes. I was fortunate to have the assistance of Darren Parry, Chairman (“Chief”) of the Northwestern Shoshone band, to learn some Shoshone language and culture, to get a feel for the heart of Native Americans, past and present. 

Darren Parry, Chairman (“Chief”) of the Northwestern Shoshone band
Image used with permission.

Our government still fails to keep the legal treaties ratified by our Senate and promotes the theft and desecration of Native American land. Racial problems with the African American community dominate the headlines, but equally severe issues with Native Americans receive little notice. 

The Search aims to show the effect of war, treachery, and avarice on individuals and Native Americans in a way that will humanize the stories of the past and point to better solutions today – as we reach Across the Great Divide between people.

Best-selling 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 forty 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, now an Amazon bestseller.
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.  

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Mary Anne xxx