My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Author Interview + Giveaway: David-Michael Harding @DMichaelHarding

How did you come up with the title?
The first story in the collection, The Cats of Savone, chronicles the appearance of cats within a maximum security prison. The cover photograph was taken at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The cat is a sculpture by Linda Brenner and is a part of her installation, Ghost Cats.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The messages are as varied as the eight stories. As with most good stories, conflict and love – love of an animal, a person, a town – is reflected in the lines. In The Cats of Savone, an abandoned feline conquers the hearts of a thousand hardened criminals. In The History of West Texas, a young man is enamored with respect for an old story teller. Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea pitches love of country and duty versus morality and humanity.

Tell us about a favorite character from The Cats of Savone.
The character of Mr. Christian in St. Alden’s has marvelous depth. He is elderly but vibrant due to a mystical dual life. As the Guardian of St. Alden’s University he manages the treasury. This requires battling forces bent on destroying the university and its unique mandate. Within this context, Mr. Christian begins to train his grandson as his replacement, but circumstances interfere and take the old man to the limit.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Several stories required comprehensive research in order to correctly represent the historical setting. Black Men in Bright Blue is set in South Carolina during the latter stages of the Civil War. The story chronicles ten-year-old Rachel Justice as she grows in the shadows of war, slavery, and her secret knowledge of the underground railroad. Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea follows the World War I German submarine the U-20, as it patrols the cold water of the coast of Ireland and encounters the luxury passenger liner, the Lusitania.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writers should learn with each exercise and compiling this collection was no exception. The myriad of topics – from baseball (My Boo Radley) to war (Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea) to music (The Jazz Bridge) – and genres – fantasy (St. Alden’s), contemporary (My Boo Radley and The Junket), and historical (Black Men in Bright Blue and The History of West Texas) – compels the writer to employ an assortment of skill sets and writing techniques. The comingling of topics and genres also proves highly entertaining for the reader as they weave through the ever further flung reaches of stories.

Tell us your latest news.
The next scheduled release will be the much anticipated sequel to Cherokee Talisman (2012), Losing St. Christopher. The novel continues the saga of the Cherokee Indian Nation through the lives of the shaman Totsuhwa and his son Chancellor. The impact of the murder of their wife and mother is reflected in their choices as the infamous Trail of Tears approaches. Losing St. Christopher is in its final stages of editing and is scheduled for release in the spring of 2014.

What book are you reading now?
Thomas Steinbeck’s short story collection, Down to a Soundless Sea.

What are you passionate about these days?
My next release, Losing St. Christopher, consumes my time and energy. The research, crafting, creating, and editing, editing, editing is that marvelously painful process we call writing. The passion is in figuratively holding the pen as I eavesdrop on my characters and jot down what they say and do. I love the surprises that come from the creative process.

What do you do to unwind and relax? 
Sail (and think of the next scene…). If a person is truly destined to be a writer – COMPELLED to be a writer – they quickly discover it to be both blessing and curse. The nature of the process is such that it seldom leaves you. Mr. Hemmingway wrote of always leaving something in the well, stopping when you knew what would come next, so as to never face ‘writer’s block’. Because there was always something “left in the well”, the story was forever with him, but he also wrote of the danger in not being able to turn off the switch that attempts to control the unwieldy process of creativity.

“Most novels begin their lives as short stories. Writing, much like any gift, skill, habit, or hope, is strengthened through practice, training, and exercise. The short story is the stretching and dedication to a running regime long before the marathon. It is the repetition of scales on the piano, years before the recital.” – David-Michael Harding

The Cats of Savone is an exemplary collection of stories from the pen of historical fiction author David-Michael Harding. Eight short stories and novellas make up his first installment in The Completely Abridged Series – Short Novels for Busy People. The title story is the PEN International Winner, The Cats of Savone, which follows a pregnant cat beneath a mammoth steel gate into the exercise yard of the Savone Correctional Facility. The hardened convicts in the maximum security prison adopt the cat as much as she adopts them. But an accident in the prison leads to murder and a host of tough choices for tough men – inmates and guards.

Black Men in Bright Blue traces the steps of ten-year-old Rachel Justice in 1864 while she explores her father’s plantation in South Carolina. As she learns of slavery beneath the shadow of the Civil War, her secret knowledge of the underground railroad pushes her family and her young mind into decisions none are ready for. Eavesdrop on the captain and crew in Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea as the story follows in the cold wake of the World War I German submarine the U-20, and its deadly encounter with the luxury passenger liner Lusitania in 1917.

The History of West Texas According to Henry Brass sits beside the bed of a of a old soldier, trapper, and patriot who is dying from consumption. He hasn’t lost his sense of humor however as he relates story after story to a young man who cares for him in his last days. Henry lived under most of the six different flags that flew over Texas and weaves wonderful tales for his caretaker whose own agenda is taken up by the old man. Then move from West Texas in the 19th Century to another continent and another time in St. Alden’s where a classic fight between good and evil comes to life on a university campus. An aged Guardian of the campus needs to pass down the secrets of a mysterious silver and the power of goodness to his grandson before night demons put an end to a magical spring and its unique life giving water.

Additional stories provide glimpses into the life of a man who has gone through a lifetime of labels – retarded in the 50’s, handicapped in the 70’s, and now with special needs – Jonny Archer finds himself on an unlikely trip in The Junket. The Jazz Bridge chronicles the history and anniversary of an ordinary bridge in an ordinary town as something extraordinary happens. The collection is rounded out by My Boo Radley and the high school baseball pitcher who learns lessons from an old fan who the world viewed as a monster.

For fans of the author, these shorts and novellas are glimpses into the stories, talents, and passion his characters are layered in. Readers care about the people in a Harding story. You’ll cheer, jeer, laugh, cry, and then VOTE for the one that becomes the next full length NOVEL!

Read, enjoy, and VOTE at 




Mary Preston said...

I do love the sound of this.