Sussex County resident and fantasy author Michael E. Dellert is coming to Black Dog Books in Newton, NJ on July 15, for a book signing, reading, and discussion of his heroic Medieval Celtic fantasy books, “The Matter of Manred Saga.”
Book Signing, Reading, and Discussion
Michael E. Dellert will be appearing at Black Dog Books in Newton, NJ to read from Hedge King in Winter, A Merchant’s Tale, The Romance of Eowain, and his newest book, The Wedding of Eithne, as well as take questions and discuss influences, inspirations, and process, and sign patron’s copies.
As an added treat, his younger daughter will be there! She’s a budding actress herself, and they’ll be doing a dramatic reading from A Merchant’s Tale! It’s Mr. Dellert’s own personal, “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.”
Black Dog Books
188 Spring Street
Newton, NJ 07860
About the Author
Michael E. Dellert grew up in Sussex County, New Jersey on adventure films like “Tarzan,” the stories of King Arthur and his knights, fantasy literature such as “The Lord of Rings,” and the bedtime tales that the Irish-American side of his family told of Old Country heroes like Finn MacCool and Cormac MacArt.
“My great-grandparents were tenant-farmers in the west of Ireland before they emigrated to America early in the 20th Century. They brought the myths and legends of Ireland with them, and passed them down through the generations,” noted Dellert.
Those stories of myth, legend, and adventure helped Dellert craft his debut novella, published by his own Skylander Press and released in 2016. “Hedge King in Winter,” is a fictional fantasy tale about a young lord forced to choose between his country, a war-torn tribal realm inspired by Irish history and culture, and his brother, a local hedge-king being forced to abdicate. He has since gone on to write three more books in the series, collectively known as “The Matter of Manred.” The most recent is his second full-length novel, The Wedding of Eithne, published in April.
“Once upon a time, there were Irish ways and Irish laws. I wanted to craft stories that took place on the threshold of that time when Irish legend became overshadowed by English history, but that had all the flavor of the old ways, as well as the elements of medieval fantasy that I grew up reading.”
Dellert will be doing a book signing, reading, and discussion of his work at Black Dog Books on Spring Street, Newton NJ on Saturday, July 15, from 6:30-9:00 p.m.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Dellert, who grew up in nearby Vernon Valley, and lived in Sparta for many years.
“I’m really looking forward to doing the presentation and seeing some people I know and meeting new people I don’t know,” Dellert said. “I’ve been a lot of places and seen pictures of the rest, but the landscape and people of Sussex County have had—by far—the greatest influence on my work.”
Dellert, who now resides again in Vernon Valley after recently returning from Los Angeles, said he started the books about 20 years ago.
“Ancient Irish myth and Medieval Irish history are such an incredibly rich tapestry of intrigue and war and wonder that very few people are familiar with,” Dellert said. “But I wanted to do this story as a fantasy, to use some imaginative fancy, yet stay with the history too. I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people. The family at the center of the stories is ‘the Donnghaile family,’ who were the ancestors of the Donnelly side of my own family. I thought this was a story that had not been told in this way before.”
But he says with a laugh that he took so long to finish and publish these stories because, “Well, I was kind of busy.”
Dellert first studied writing at Vernon Township High School, where he took advanced placement English courses, studied Drama under the late William Donald, and was three times a student of Donna Spector’s Literary Journal Production class.
He then went on to study English Literature, pursuing his studies for a time at Sussex County Community College in Newton, before earning his Bachelors of English (Writing Concentration).
He studied Celtic History at New York University for a time, and later went on to earn a Masters of English Language and Literature. He also worked twenty years in the New York City and Los Angeles publishing industry, and amidst all that, still found time to become father to two daughters, now in their teens.
“But I also just didn’t know how to write a novel. I had to really study how the form is structured, and how it’s written, and what the elements are. That’s the reason it took some time,” Dellert said. “College writing courses focus on the short story, because it’s feasible to write and critique a complete story in a semester. This teaches the writer to keep the story lean and pointed, but for the would-be novelist, it’s like training for a marathon by doing nothing but wind-sprints.”
When asked if the books are suitable for young adults, Dellert replies, “I write the story that wants to be written, but my books are definitely PG-13. As Madeleine L’Engle once said, ‘If it’s too difficult for adults, then you write it for children.'”
I purchased this book for a 12-year-old who is an avid reader. The following is a review written by him: “5 stars, it really showed how much responsibility it takes to be a king. It also showed lots [of] religious beliefs, witchcraft and superstitions. It was a very well thought out plot and I can’t wait to read the sequel.” — Anonymous Reader of “Hedge King in Winter,” Amazon Review.
Dellert said finishing the books has been, “indescribable,” then went on to say, “I’m pleased to have done it. It’s been gratifying to see these stories resonate with readers right here at home, as well as those from England, Australia, especially Ireland, and even India and the Philippines. One reader has even taken to writing fan-fiction. She’s recently finished a middle-grade novel set in the world of my stories, and is already working on a second book. It’s really just… wonderful, that’s the only word for it. I’m filled with wonder.”
About Black Dog Books
Black Dog Books is an independent general bookstore, with plenty of history books, a good selection of biographies, literary fiction, children’s books, mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy, and non-fiction, located in Newton, New Jersey, next to the Between the Bread restaurant. They sponsor book signing, reading, and discussion events.
Catherine Cassidy opened Black Dog Books and brought her lifelong love affair with books to Spring Street in Newton on July 9, 2016. It’s the fulfillment of a dream that its owner, a retired nurse, has had since she was 18 years old, when she worked in a bookstore. The name comes from Cassidy’s own pup, Yeava, whom she adopted after the dog was brought back from the Middle East by military personnel. Yeava sometimes accompanies Cassidy to the store.
While the store has an extensive selection of books, Black Dog Books can also order books for patrons and have them arrive within two days.
Black Dog Books is located at 188 Spring St. in Newton. It is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday. The store is ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible.