Friday, January 25, 2019

Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge

Book Details:

Book Title: Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge

Category: Adult Fiction, 371 pages

Genre: Literary fiction, Mystery, Coming of age

Publisher: Michael E. Burge Publishing

Release date: June 2017

Tour dates: Jan 14 to 31, 2019

Content Rating: PG-13 (The book alludes to criminal acts and deviant behavior, but does not provide graphic description.)

Book Description:

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

To read reviews, please visit Micheal E. Burge's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Read the first few chapters...

My Review:
This is my first book by Michael E. Burge, and if this book is any indication of his other and future writing it will not be my last book by him. Melding Spirits begins by following the life of Evan Mason starting at the age of 12. His father has passed away and his mother works all the time trying to make ends meet for the 2 of them. It is the summer of 1958. His mother puts him on a Greyhound bus headed to his Grand Mothers for the summer. Once there he hooks up with old friends from prior visits to Grandmas and he meets her new neighbor Katie Dobbins. Now is where the story really beings. This book is multi genre. It has romance, mystery, history and so much more. It is one of those books that will also intrigue readers of most ages from YA to adult. There is no strong language or sex. I found myself with every second I could spare with the book in my hand. The mystery of this book is a true surprise as well. I found a few times while reading trying to hurry through a page just to get to the next one to see where the story line went. 

Meet the Author:

Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

Connect with the Author: Twitter ~ Facebook

Interview with Michael E. Burge
What was the inspiration for Melding Spirits?
Many of the places and characters in the book are based upon my recollections of a town where my family lived during the fifties. It was a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois, one of the oldest in the state. As a young boy, I encountered a middle-aged man zipping along Main Street on a bicycle. He was perched on the handlebars, facing backward, looking over his shoulder to see where he was going as he pedaled nonchalantly along. To me, there was something a bit strange about the man.  I only saw him that one time, but that image stayed in my mind. It later inspired me to write my coming of age story. I built a crucial part of Melding Spirits around my encounter with the mystery man.

In your book, you refer to the Ghost Hill Indian Mound. Is there such a place?
In fact, there is. It’s not referred to by that name, but there is indeed an “Indian mound” on the outskirts of that little river town. As a boy, my friends and I would ride our bikes to the mound and search for beads and arrowheads. To me, it was an enthralling experience,  a place where your imagination could run wild. I knew from the outset, that the mound had to be part of my story.

I see you have a subtitle on your cover “Innocence on a Collision Course With Evil.” What are we to gather from that?
The clash between good and evil has been a theme for stories dating back to cave drawings. It’s certainly nothing new. That’s why I decided to take a somewhat different approach in Melding Spirits. The idea was to keep the two forces separate through much of plot, running in parallel. The reader senses that they will ultimately converge, but doesn’t know how or when. Isn’t that the way things truly are?  Evil is lurking everywhere in the world, but we don’t know when it’s going to rear its ugly head.

Did you ever have another profession besides writing?
Actually, for most of my life, I was about as far from the literary scene as one could get. Decades ago, I decided to venture into the computer industry. It was pretty much out of necessity. That’s where the jobs were, and I wanted to eat. I had received electronics training in the Navy, so I started in the technical area, programming computers. That was back in the day when computers relied on those paper cards with the little holes punched into them. I soon had my fill of the technical aspects of the business and transitioned to marketing and product management for the remainder of my professional career. One of my goals in life had always been to write. When I retired, I decided to make it happen.

Did you have any formal training in writing?
I had an excellent high school English teacher.

It seems there would be a little more to it than that. How did you learn what you needed to know to move forward with your writing?
Seriously, I did consider taking a workshop or two, but after realizing where I was in my life, I decided to jump in headfirst. I had done a little writing in my youth, poetry, short stories . . . I guess one might call it dabbling. Then, one day, I simply sat down and started writing a chapter of my book. When I completed my manuscript, I began looking for an editor. Fortunately, I found one of the best in a gentleman by the name of Michael Garrett. He’s an author and has the distinction of being Stephen King’s first editor, one of the best in the business when it comes to knowledge of the publishing industry. Let’s just say I couldn’t have had a better mentor. He told me I had “condensed years of hard study into this one editorial experience.” Sometimes, if you just start moving down the path, things will fall into place.

Both of your novels are set in the past, Bryant’s Gap, 1947 and Melding Spirits in 1958.  Why those settings?
A good question, one I’ve been asked before. No doubt, both stories could have played out in a contemporary setting, but I decided to take the reader back to a simpler time, before the advent of cell phones, computers, video games, and the like. As I said earlier, I embraced technology throughout my life. I research my novels on the internet, write my manuscripts on a PC, engage with social media, and conduct my business on a smartphone.  But technology alters the way people interact and can certainly influence the telling of a story. I wanted to get away from technology and present the stories in their purest form.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?
Know Your Poisonous Insects
100 Different Ways to Serve a Coconut
Boat Building for Beginners

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