Detroit Stories Episode 48: 'T.M. Doran's Catholic Imagination' (PODCAST)

Plymouth author's mysterious worlds capture truth, goodness and beauty of God in the mold of Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings'

(0:01) Tom Doran, known to his fans and readers as mystery novelist T.M. Doran, reads a passage from his most popular fantasy novel, “Toward the Gleam.” Doran is a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, and a modern-day J.R.R. Tolkien — or at least an author in the same mold.

(2:08) The narrator describes the plot of “Toward the Gleam,” a mystery novel that takes place between the two world wars. Professor John Hill discovers an ancient manuscript while taking refuge in a cave during a storm. Hill begins a quest to decipher the manuscript.

(3:23) Doran describes his passion for writing, as well as his inspiration for “Toward the Gleam,” one of a trilogy. Doran talks about authors whom he admires, starting with Tolkien and his “Lord of the Rings” masterpiece.

(5:49) Doran talks about “Toward the Gleam,” which he describes as a “mysterious story about truth and beauty and the consequences of rejecting truth and beauty.” He discusses how his novels are a way of revealing something about God.

(9:08) While his novels are set in far-off lands and his plots carried out by fictional characters, Doran says the lessons contained in his books are relatable to everyone, from moral and ethical dilemmas to the mundane.

(10:30) Doran reads another passage from “Toward the Gleam.” The author discusses his creative process, exploring the story from the vantage point of the main characters.

(12:49) Doran talks about how his novels are a form of “pre-evangelization.” While his works aren’t overtly religious, they lead readers to discover basic truths about God, humanity and creation.

(16:02) The narrator discusses other Catholic “pre-evangelist” authors such as Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, and Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Doran talks about challenge the pervasive ideas of the culture, battling relativism with a focus on the good, the true and the beautiful.

(19:12) Like “The Lord of the Rings,” Doran hopes his books can help people see that life presents countless opportunities to choose good and to avoid evil. God is the ultimate author, but he leaves each of us to fashion our own stories, Doran says.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; script by Casey McCorry; narration and production by Ron Pangborn

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