In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan and Meet the Author

A real jewel. And that title. Wow.

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan released in April in the Historical Fiction genre.

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.

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.

Hi Michael, and thank you for being here.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Regarding In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, I’ve always been interested in history and I’ve always had a deep desire to understand hatred and the atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on one another. A great deal of what happened during the founding of the United States and the subsequent hundred years or so is nothing short of shameful. I wanted to write about this time period in the most honest way. I think James Baldwin said it best:  “The past is what makes the present coherent, and the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly.”

 If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?

I’ve daydreamed about this a lot and the cast changes from time to time. I think John Boyega as Henry, Hailee Steinfeld as Clara, and Tom Holland as John would be a great cast.

What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

That there will always be good to be found in the world, and hope, even in the face of great and overwhelming evil. Especially then.

What does your writing space look like?

I have a small antique desk facing a window overlooking national forest land. I have some pictures of it posted on Twitter. The view never fails to inspire me.

The biggest surprise you had after becoming a writer?

That success requires a great deal more than writing a good book.

What are your top three favorite books of all time?

To Kill a Mockingbird, The Long Walk, All Quiet on the Western Front.

Best song ever written.

Tough one, and it may change for me day to day. Today it’s One Tin Soldier.

Favorite actor and actress.

Paul Newman, Debra Winger

A Round of This or That

Dog or Cat?


Netflix or YouTube?


Phone Call or Text?

Phone call

Toast or Eggs?


Facebook or Twitter?

Currently Twitter. Subject to change without notice;)

Ice Cream Cone or Snow Cone?

Ice Cream

Mobile Games or Console Games?


While walking: Music or Podcasts?


iOS or Android?


Pop or Indie?


Cake or Pie?


Big Party or Small Gathering?

Small Gathering

Rich Friend or Loyal Friend?

Loyal any day.

What’s worse: Laundry or Dishes?


Bath or Shower?


Sneakers or Sandals?


Hamburger or Taco?


Receive: Email or Letter?


Passenger or Driver?

Definitely Driver

Tablet or Computer?


Car or Truck?


Money or Free Time?

Free time

At a movie: Candy or Popcorn?


Toilet paper: Over or Under?


Cups in the cupboard: Right Side Up or Up Side Down?

Up Side Down

Train or Plane?


Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee?


Honesty or Other’s Feelings?


Coffee or Tea?


Ocean or Mountains?


Horror Movie or Comedy Movie?


City or Countryside?


Beer or Wine?


Motorcycle or Bicycle?


Book or eBook?


Author Links:


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In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan and Meet the #Author @MclellanBooks @RRBookTours1 #IReadRomance #books #booklover #bookworm #booknerd #bookclub #bookaddict #historical

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  1. I really enjoyed this book, and loved getting to know the author more. I cant agree with his toilet paper choices, as the roll is clearly best placed OVER the roll! 😉 However, I love his writing. Great interview, Viviana.

    Liked by 2 people

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