Michael Hartigan is the winner of the 2015 Outstanding Writer Award from Merrimack Media. Hartigan’s journalistic work and travel writing has been featured in numerous national and regional publications, including USA Today, The Arizona Republic, Destinations Travel Magazine and the MetroWest Daily News. He also writes a monthly travel column for a group of Massachusetts newspapers.
Hartigan studied English and Psychology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, which is also where much of the Stone Angels story takes place. Hartigan also earned a graduate degree at Boston University before entering the world of politics and public relations.
A native of the Boston suburb of Saugus, Hartigan currently lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.
Q & A with the Author
When did you start writing Stone Angels?
This book started more than 10 years ago, when I was still in college in Providence. I began writing down stories and little vignettes that included traits from people I knew or situations that happened at college. Eventually they sort of wove together naturally into a fictional narrative. It went through numerous iterations over the years but the summer of 2014 I polished it up. March 2015 a colleague told me about Merrimack Media's competition, which prompted me to polish it even further and submit. Man, I'm glad I did. Now, here we are with Stone Angels.
Why Stone Angels for the title?
Actual angel statues appear at several points throughout the story, and you'll have to read it to see how and why they play a role! But mostly, angels are viewed by many as guides - spiritual, emotional, whatever. But for the main character, Augustine, he's finding no guidance at a time he really needs it. In his eyes, the angels in his life are cold, stoic and not really very helpful.
What was your inspiration for the book?
The book takes some inspiration from classic literature - James Joyce; lots of Shakespeare, especially MacBeth undertones; and even some Flannery O'Connor. But personally, I was inspired to finish Stone Angels because of my daughter. I had been writing picture books for her as Christmas gifts for the first two years of her life. When I got the second one in my hands, held the hard copy I had made at a website, it made me want to have that feeling with my novel - to hold a hard copy of something I labored at. So I got down to it and finalized Stone Angels.
Who are your favorite authors?
My taste runs the gamut. I'm a sucker for the classics: Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Heller. But I also love action, like Crichton or crime from Michael Connelly. One of my favorites is Christopher Moore, who has such a creative take and his writing is deeply witty, with plenty of belly laughs. Read Fool and you'll understand.