I’d like to welcome Mike Torreano to Layered Pages to talk about is upcoming book, The Renewal, a story that takes place in western America.
Hello, Mike! Thank you for chatting with me and congrats on your latest book, The Renewal. Please tell me a little about your story.
The Renewal is the sequel to The Reckoning, and is set in South Park, Colorado, in 1872.
Ike McAlister has finally put the ghosts of his past to rest. He’s found new joy with a spirited wife, a young daughter, and a mountain valley ranch where a man can make something of himself. But a coming railroad through the South Park valley threatens to take his land and tear his hard-won peace apart.
Describe the setting for your story.
South Park is a high mountain basin with rolling grasslands and flowing rivers, and is surrounded by 14,000-foot snowcapped peaks. Wide-open spaces perfect for cattle ranching. There’s a little town of Cottonwood near Ike and Lorraine’s ranch and a railroad is planned to come from Denver through the Park soon.
What are Ike’s strengths?
Ike’s character has been shaped by a hard life. He’s seen plenty of sorrow but hasn’t let it get in the way of what he wants-a wife and children, and enough land for a working cattle ranch. He’s a bit stoic, but very loyal. Sometimes his temper gets in the way of his better judgment, but that’s usually when Lorraine, his wife, sets him straight again. He’s the guy you’d want your daughter to marry. Solid, stable.
What is your personal opinion of him?
I like Ike, he knows what he wants and just goes about his business. He keeps his focus and pushes through whatever obstacles with no complaint. He’s an embodiment of The Code Of The West. Would that there were more Ikes, men and women, in our country today.
Did he ever do anything that surprises you?
Ike can be a blustery sort, but I was surprised when he backed off at a critical point in The Renewal and relied on friendship instead of being a bull in a china shop to convince a friend he needed to stay behind. Apparently, he’s not always full speed ahead.
What was your writing process for this story?
I’m a pantser but this is a sequel so I had some idea of where it might be going before I started. I’m also an undisciplined pantser, though, so I usually spend time percolating in between scenes and in between writing. I have a daughter who does research for me so she saves me a lot of time that I’d otherwise spend looking things up.
Tell me about how you started writing Westerners and what you think the importance of writing in this genre is?
I was originally inspired by Zane Grey’s works way back in the fifth grade and that simmered over time. When I retired from business, I took the opportunity to see if I could write a novel, and westerns were where I wanted to start. It also seems like westerns are making a comeback lately.
As for the importance, I’d point out The Code Of The West, which embodies timeless values that our country would do well to re-embrace. All westerns reflect The Code Of The West in some form or fashion and that’s why they’ll never die.
Is there a message in your story you want your readers to grasp?
A message? It would be that there are timeless values embodied by the Old West that still ring true in our ever-shifting culture today. The Old West was a no whining zone where you played the hand you were dealt and made the best of things as they were.
What is up next for you?
Next? I’m working on a new western set on a cattle drive going north out of New Mexico. My hero is being chased by bad guys but doesn’t even know it. There’s a backstory that draws the story forward into surprising twists and turns.
Where can readers purchase your book?
The Renewal is available, along with the first book, The Reckoning, on Amazon and other e-outlets, in print, Kindle and will be available in audio soon. Readers can also visit The Wild Rose Press website. And come visit me on miketorreano.com.
About the Author:
Mike Torreano has a military background and is a student of history and the American West.
His western mystery, The Reckoning, was released September 2016 by The Wild Rose Press and the sequel, The Renewal, is due to be released soon. He’s working on the next western now and he also has a coming-of-age Civil War novel looking for a publisher.
Mike’s written for magazines and newspapers. An experienced editor, he’s taught University English and Journalism. He’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Western Writers of America and several other western writing groups. He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates life in 19th century America.
The Renewal is available on Amazon for Pre-Order.