Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a born-again Christian and write mainly to reach unbelievers with the saving good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, even my non-fiction book has the gospel message, and I prefer to think of my novels as being “Evangelistic fiction” rather than “Christian fiction.” I have written 4 main books (3 novels and a non-fiction self-help book), but this year the LORD led me to make more editions of two of them. “Of Such Is The Kingdom” is in 3 parts, and each part is published separately, but there is also the complete 3-part edition, thus giving buyers a choice. I also made a special Christmas Gift Edition of “The Christmas Victory.” with red ribbons at chapter heads and pictures scattered throughout, so now the total is 8 books
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book developed out of a sermon I preached based on a unique Biblical interpretation, plus a hymn history and an illustration which I used in the sermon.
Specifically, here’s how it happened” When I was in Seminary, circa 1974, The Lord began to give me insight into the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 from the use of language and context. I came up with a unique interpretation which I did not find anywhere else, but which I found to be extremely practical. Then, in the last week in November (2012), which was the first Sunday in Advent, I was given the opportunity to preach and decided to use my idea. I entitled the message “The Christmas Victory.” It was well received by many, but some thought it a bit esoteric, so in 2013 I got the idea to rework it and asked to preach it again. As an illustration, toward the end of the sermon, I used Paul Harvey’s bird story, of which he says he couldn’t trace the parentage. I had nothing but good comments this time.
For the choir anthem, I had the choir sing “I heard the bells on Christmas Day,” and I gave a brief history of the writing of the song, which I derived from the internet.
While I was working on my sermon and the hymn history, my friend, Carlos Vilches, with whom I was praying on the phone, asked me if I were writing another book. I told him “No”, and asked why he had asked. He said he felt the Lord telling him to pray for the book I was writing. I told him again, “I’m not writing any book and have no intention of writing another book.”
BUT, the more I thought both about my sermon (and the fact that it needed to reach a larger audience) and the history behind that hymn (the story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and the bird story, I felt that these elements perhaps did have the making of another novel. The clincher was when I saw an episode of the T.V. Show Touched by an Angel in which Mark Twain is affected by the Longfellow poem. I decided to try to tie all these elements together as a way of getting my sermon (which is found typed in block style in Chapter 6) a larger audience by wrapping it up in a novel.
Since the sermon was called “The Christmas Victory,” I titled the book by the same name. The subtitle took a little more thought, but since my original publisher came up with a cover with a bow on the front, I decided to make the subtitle” “A Gem of a Sermon, All Wrapped Up in a Historical Novel.”
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I just sit down at the computer and write. I may get ideas while eating breakfast and rush to the computer right afterward to put them down.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
C.S. Lewis influenced me by showing me the possibility combining imagination and faith, And T.H. White gave me an appreciation for Camelot, I developed my eclectic writing style (which I use especially in “Of Such Is The Kingdom”) from William Falkner and McKinley Kanter. I don’t recommend the later, due to the nature of the content, but his style is great.
What are you working on now?
Only promotion. The first six months of 2018 (Jan.-June) were spent editing, revising and expanding my books, editing them with pictures and different fonts, re-doing the covers and making additional editions of two of them. So, now I am doing and planning only promotion. I do a lot of posting on the internet, and am seeking to do worldwide presentations, and also to submit my books to make movies. Right now I am trying to set up a book signing event in Miramar, FL.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Bublishcom I have found Bublish to be a useful platform for getting noticed. I post excerpts, called “bookbubbles” on twitter, facebook, faithspace, and other social media sites, and see good results on my Bublish dashboard. I’m getting a lot of engagement with my post, and a lot of “conversions” (people going to the sales pages). It’s worth the reasonable price, and authors can try it for 90 days for free, so I don’t see why more authors don’t use this handy tool. I’m also on AuthorsDen (Authorsden.com), which also gives me quite a bit of exposure, So between the two of them, I expect this to be a good season, salese-wise,
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Follow your passion, pray for guidance, keep writing, don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
First: Believe in the LORD Jesus Christ. Trust him as your Saviour
Then: Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended on you.
What are you reading now?
I’m not, except perhaps the daily bread in the mornings. I’m very thankful that I was an avid reader in my teenage years and beyond. It has been of great benefit in my writing. But now, as I said, I’m concentrating on promotion–trying to use all the time I can. Free time is spent at the gym or watching T.V.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have no plans at the moment to write another book. Of course, I said that exact thing before I wrote my last one. With the LORD, one never knows. I hope the next thing will be the Miramar book signing event and then a few more might open. and hopefully a movie contract. I’m willing to travel. Also, I may decide to make an audiobook.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
#3-Twilight Zone for Christians: A Collection of Short Stories
#-C.S.Lewis’ Space Trilogy