Just about everybody on the Catholic Internet knows Michael H. Brown and his website SpiritDaily. His website is the first stop for thousands of Catholics for links to news and commentary. Michael Brown turned from being a Pulitzer prize nominated journalist for his work in uncovering the Love Canal scandal to writing many books with Catholic themes. His latest book, “The Seven”, is his foray into fiction writing.
Brown describes his new novel as “prophetic fiction” about which he comments on his website.
“It’s to be kept separate from my other work,” says Brown, who has published twenty non-fiction books. “It is what it says: fiction. Are there elements relevant to the current prophetic pulse? That’s up for readers to determine. It does state certain concerns and ideas that I have about the future, and it is certainly the account of good against something very, very evil. I hope it demonstrates the power of Mass and the Eucharist.”
CMR took the occasion of the release of Michael Brown’s new book to ask him a few questions.
CMR: SpiritDaily is one of the most visited sites in the Catholic Internet. Why did you originally start the web site? Did you think it would grow to be so large?
MB: I started the website in 2000 when during prayer I felt the Blessed Mother “ask” if I would take on one more mission. I wasn’t sure at the time what it was, but immediately after saying “yes,” a secular project fell through and I was looking for a way for my wife to work at home in the realm of Catholicism. Plus, I’m an old newspaper reporter; it just came naturally. The first day of full operation — coincidentally — was the day the Vatican released the third secret of Fatima. It was our first full headline as sole operators of the website.
CMR: How has working on “Spirit Daily” affected your own spiritual development?
MB: Yes, I feel that when I write “spiritual” advice, I take that advice myself! The Holy Spirit has been generous with ideas.
CMR: Some people may not know about your past as a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist who uncovered the LoveCanal scandal. How do you compare the types of investigations you do now as opposed to then? Is there more satisfaction now?
MB: I don’t investigate much any more, in the sense of an investigaive reporter — but rather function as a headline writer and editor and columnist and occasional reporter. When I worked in the newspaper business, I also had a column, as I did too on the campus newspaper at Fordham University.
CMR: While you are always clear about the need for discernment, do you ever worry that some Catholics who are not well formed in their faith might be confused by some of your links or stories?
MB: That’s always a concern, although less so than I originally feared.
CMR: In all your work do you sense there’s an ebbing to the tide of secularism in this country or do you think it’s still on the march?
MB: I believe there is a steady subtle oppression of Catholicism building.
CMR: As a writer of many non-fiction books, is writing fiction very different for you? Why now?
MB: That’s a novel I first started in the 1980s, before I began writing Catholic books. The Holy Spirit stopped it from being finalized until it was properly and totally Catholic! It had started as a secular suspense novel.
CMR: What do you think about the state of modern day Catholic/Christian literature?
MB: It’s very hard finding interesting Catholic books. Most are stuffed with theology, which no one wants to read.
CMR: What should people expect from your newest book “The Seven?”
MB: I hope to see how evil something can be but that no matter how evil, the Eucharist dispels any darkness. I hope it also shows the power of priests. It’s truly a fictional location, with some imagery borrowed from one part of the country, including a shrine that is the “hero” of the story. All the characters and companies are totally imagined, but the shrine does exist, in a manner of speaking (albeit greatly fictionalized), and I hope this novel makes people aware of its power.
You can find out more about Michael H. Brown’s new novel “The Seven” here.