Karen Anson - Senior Editor
Mike Hancock’s mother says he was telling stories from the time he was three.
That creative talent has landed him his first book offer, a historical novel called “Fallen,” which will be available at the end of the month.
Hancock is the son of Sherry An-drews of Wewoka and the stepson of Roland Andrews of Wewoka and was visiting his parents in Wewoka this week.
“Mike went on a trip with my mother and dad when he was about eight,” Andrews said.
“I asked him to keep a journal. He wrote, ‘Saw the Grand Canyon today. It was boring.’”
“I might use a little more imagery now,” Hancock joked.
He grew up in Garland, Texas, and currently lives in South Padre Island, Texas.
On the way to his first novel, Han-cock had adventures that began with his broadcast journalism major and then a change to an English major.
“I dropped out of college for a job in commercial fishing,” Hancock said.
He worked for two seasons on a trawler in the Bering Sea at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
He then moved to Montana to be-come a wilderness guide.
“I guided hunters, fishermen and campers in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico,” Hancock said.
“I thought I’d do that for a couple of years to find myself; it lasted seven years.”
At 31 he went back to school and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern New Hampshire University.
At 35 he earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the same university.
For four years he taught at Townview Magnet Center in Dallas, a renowned secondary school, where he taught English and writing.
After taking a year off to write full time, he then accepted a position run-ning the Dual English program at Port Isabel High School.
“This book was my thesis in grad school but it wasn’t ready for publica-tion,” Hancock said.
He worked on it sporadically over the next six years with several editors, refining it, until one literary agent offered him a contract if he would flesh out the protagonist character.
“I added 40 pages and, just before it was done, the agent passed away,” Hancock said.
After queries to numerous publishing companies and literary agents, Hancock landed a contract with Black Rose Writing in San Antonio.
“Fallen” tells of a legend, shared among Montana locals, that if one hikes the path along Lion Creek and doesn’t make it back to the trailhead before nightfall, a distant chant can be heard coming from the forested ridges.
The chant is the voice of a long dead Piegan warrior named Grey Bear, lamenting the loss of his son, drowned in the icy Marias River to the east. But he only speaks to a heart he sees.
The book intertwines the lives of Grey Bear, in the aftermath of the Marias Massacre of 1870, and Calvin, the son of an alcoholic, abusive father, escaping to the wilderness of Northwest Montana in 1997.
Central to Grey Bear’s story is the relationship with his son, a strong-spirited, inquisitive boy of 10 named Running Dog.
After Grey Bear’s tribe is decimated by a ruthless Cavalry brigade, it is up to Grey Bear and Running Dog to lead what’s left of their people back to safety in the dead of winter.
Almost home, Running Dog’s death drives an agonized Grey Bear to the mountains, in search of his spirit animal.
Calvin’s tale begins with a lonely, tormented childhood riddled with abuses by his father, who ultimately abandons him.
After witnessing his father’s suicide on an ill fated attempted reunion with him at 13, Calvin takes solace in the only father he has known, his doting grandfather.
Upon his grandfather’s death, Calvin, spiraling out of control, leaves his home in Texas and winds up in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, guiding hunters along the remote woods of Lion Creek. It’s here where the fate of both protagonists meet, finding each other, and ultimately, redemption.
The book is available now for pre-order at http://www.blackrosewriting.com/historical-fiction/fallen.
It comes out July 24 and will be available from Amazon and other outlets at that time.
“Although the book is fiction, a lot of it is biographical,” said Hancock’s mother.
He was the son of an abusive alcoholic, which she divorced when Hancock was a baby.
Hancock is getting ready to write a screenplay for “Fallen” after which he plans to collaborate with a former naval officer on a screenplay about domestic terrorism.