I am Michael Dunn, author of ANYWHERE BUT SCHUYLKILL, a historical novel about the Molly Maguires. It is set in the coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania in the early 1870s. I am currently working on the sequel, RED HOT SUMMER IN THE SMOKY CITY, which takes place during the The Great Upheaval of 1877.
As a lifelong union activist, I have always been drawn to stories of the past, particularly those of regular working people, struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families. Stories most of us do not know, or have forgotten, because history is written by the victors, the robber barons and plutocrats, not the workers and immigrants. Yet their stories are among the most compelling stories in America. They resonate today because they are the stories of our ancestors. Because their passions and desires, struggles and tragedies, were so similar to our own.
My goal as a writer is to find the most captivating of these stories and bring them to life for you. I love doing the research to make my stories as true to the times as I can. But I also love getting inside my characters’ heads, drawing out their feelings and voices, making those as realistic as possible, too.
When I am not writing fiction, I enjoy writing about labor history and culture. You can read some of my writing on these topics on my blog.
I also enjoy reading. Some of my favorite writers are: Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, John Dos Passos, Victor Serge, B. Traven and John Steinbeck. Lately I have been enjoying books by contemporary writers such as Jess Walter, Wiley Cash, Wu Ming, Emma Donoghue, Roberto Bolano, Arundhati Roy and Isabel Allende.