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MICHAEL MORRIS USES ORAL HISTORY TO SHAPE LATEST NOVEL

Acclaimed Southern writer provides riveting portrait of turn-of-the-century Florida in Man in the Blue Moon

 

BIRMINGHAM, AL – April 2012 Truth really is stranger than fiction, Michael Morris learned when hearing the stories from his grandfather that shaped his latest novel Man in the Blue Moon (September 2012 release, Tyndale House Publishers). The highly praised Southern author returns with a new book that will vividly bring readers back to a time of hard-fought survival during the First World War.

 

In Man in the Blue Moon, Ella Wallace’s husband has left her and her three sons saddled with debt, desperately working to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. A mysterious man who arrives at Ella’s door in an unconventional way convinces her he can help, but when the battle for her land intensifies, the man’s troubled past comes to haunt Ella’s future. Hypocrisy and murder shake the coastal town of Apalachicola as Morris weaves an unforgettable drama of love and loyalty, betrayal and redemption – based on an unbelievable-yet-true story from his grandfather.

 

“When my grandfather was around 10, he and his brother were sent to pick up a big crate they thought would hold a grandfather clock,” Morris explained. “When their daddy popped the lid, a man (a distant cousin) climbed out. Charged for killing his wife and her lover, the man had been exonerated in court but the wife’s family set out to kill him. He had worked out a plan with my great-grandfather to be shipped to his country store as cargo. The man stayed for about three months and then one day mysteriously disappeared.”

 

Morris sees his novel as a way to give back to his grandfather and to keep the Southern tradition of oral history alive. “In my life, storytelling has been the key to understanding or at least making sense of human frailty, suffering and triumph,” the author said. And writing about people of the South, he claims that as his “reason for being.”

 

Having been compared to Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor and Mark Twain by The Washington Post, Morris has received much early praise for Man in the Blue Moon.

 

Author Pat Conroy calls Morris one of his “favorite southern writers” and says his new book is “reason for great celebration … a beautifully wrought portrayal of small town southern life where poverty, tragedy and human love engage in a ritualistic dance.” St. Petersburg Times raves Morris has “a wonderful ear for the vernacular of the South,” and That Bookstore in Blytheville owner Mary Gay Shipley said Morris “is such a visual writer that I could see the story unfold in my mind like a movie as I read it.”

 

Morris is author of the acclaimed novels A Place Called Wiregrass, a Christy Award winner, and Slow Way Home, named one of the best novels of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Birmingham News. His novella based on the Grammy-nominated song “Live Like You Were Dying” became a finalist for the esteemed Southern Book Critics Circle Award. A fifth-generation Florida native, he now lives with his wife in Alabama.