Where Readers & Writers Connect
It’s been said that writers must first be readers. Do you enjoy reading?
You mean I have the option of not enjoying reading? That’s like telling a fish not to breathe underwater. No, Seriously I do more than enjoy reading. Enjoyment makes it sounds like something I do purely for entertainment. I read because I must read. I am one of those guys who have an insatiable curiosity, so for me reading is a must. I have to know. If the title or the back cover makes me wonder something I must know the answer.
What genres do you read most?
I have always answered I will read anything but romance. However, lately I have been asked to beta read a couple of romance books and really like them. So, I guess if you don’t tell everyone and blow my macho Pastoral image, I pretty much read every genre equally.
Who are your favorite authors, and what makes them special to you?
My number one most favorite author is…. ME. That’s right I am my favorite none other can hold a candle to me in my own mind. No really I have a growing list of favorites.
Tommie Lynn is a new favorite because no one traditional or Indie can kill more people in a single book. Samantha Fury is another because her characters are real and very interesting. My newest two are Sophie Dawson and Kathryn Lang. I absolutely love the way they make their characters come to life. What makes a writer a favorite of mine is when I forget that these characters don’t exist. To be honest, all the authors who are contributing here at the Readers Realm are quickly becoming my favorites
When did you decide you wanted to write?
I don’t think I did decide I wanted to write. I think since I read my first “Dick and Jane” book I have wanted to do that. I am a true West Virginian, so stories and tall tales have been a part of my culture all my life. I love to tell a good story, so writing one seems to just come naturally.
Can you tell us what you believe has had the greatest influence on your writing?
There were two great influences on my writing. The first as I said is my love of a good story. I think that is what influenced me to try my hand at writing fiction. The second, and the strongest, influence has been the people. People hear me preach or teach and ask for my notes. My notes never make sense to anyone but me, mostly because they are statistics and scriptures. People kept asking though, so one day I sat down and just started writing the things I taught. That became my first book, Prayer Walking for Spiritual Breakthrough.
How do you prepare to write a book? Did you do any special research?
Oh dear you want me to reveal the secret mojo don’t you? Since it’s just us, I’ll do it, but don’t share this with everyone. Here is how I prepare to write a book. First, I go to the kitchen and get a huge glass of ice and fill it with Pepsi Throwback. Then I sneak into the candy drawer and pull out a bag of Jolly Ranchers. After that I pick up a large economy bag of Salt and Vinegar Lays potato chips.
I walk to the living room and pick up my laptop, sit all the fuel beside my Lazy Boy, seat myself, and recline. Then I open up a blank page and start typing.
As for research I do for my fiction stuff. I use this wonderful research assistant called Google. She hasn’t let me down yet. But for my nonfiction, it truthfully comes from the things God has revealed to me over twenty years in ministry. That’s why they are full of personal stories and testimonies of the topic.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Prayer Walking for Spiritual Breakthrough is my only published book at present. It’s the things I have learned, taught and used in my ministry over the last twenty years. It will take someone who has never prayer walked and teach them how to start. It will also take someone who knows how to prayer walk and lead them to new levels of prayer walking, enabling them to use it as a tool to see spiritual breakthrough in all areas of life.
Now, as for fiction, I am currently working on a western set in the late 1800’s. It is the story of a young minister who heads to the New Mexico territory to help with a preaching circuit. On the way he gets a reputation for being a fast gun and ends up accidently becoming town marshal for the town of Redemption, as well as their pastor. This book is about how he has to reconcile his two jobs: one saving sinners from hell; the other, sending them there personally.
How do you get an idea for a book?
There are a few ways I get an idea for fiction books and stories. One book I am working on came as a dream. My western came from some family history. I had a relative who had at one time been a circuit ridding preacher and, at another time, a law man in the old west. It made me wonder what would happen if you had to be both at once. (I told you I was curious)
As for my nonfiction, the ideas come mainly from sermons I have preached or topics people keep asking me about–things that I know I have something the average Christian needs to know in their walk with Christ. So I sit down a have a conversation on paper with an imaginary church member.
Are you a plotter or a panster? Explain your writing process.
What kind of a question is that to ask a Pastor? I never plot against anyone and I always wear pants unless I am wearing shorts, and there was that one time at church camp when I wore a dress, but let’s not open that can of worms. Seriously, I am a punster when it comes to fiction. I just grab the ole laptop, climb into my recliner and say to my MC, tell me your story. I, the story teller, chronicle the tale until it is finished. Sometimes like a newspaper reporter I have to ask the relevant question to get the tale to flow but mostly I just buckle up and hang on.
However, in my nonfiction it is the exact opposite I plan my chapters. I pick my personal experiences to share and the testimonies given to me by others. I look up the scriptures and put it in an outline. Then I sit down and pretend I am preaching it to a congregation or sharing it with a single Christian who wants to know the things I do. So I guess I am a bit of both.
What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning writer?
How ’bout three pieces of advice? First, keep writing. No matter what anyone says. No mater how many rejections you get if you go the traditional publishing route or negative reviews if you go the Indie publishing route. Just keep writing. As long as you have a story to tell or something to say, JUST DO IT (as the old Nike ads tell us)!
Second, never, ever ever throw away a bad story, even if you are convinced it isn’t working and you’re going to start over, keep it. The reason for this is in every turkey there’s some good eatin’. So never throw anything out. Don’t hit delete! Just put it in a file marked “Rejected Writings” and put it on a flash drive.
Finally, never give up. Things may get tough, you may get writer’s block or get discouraged, but quitting is not an option. There is one thing all published authors have in common–they kept writing and trying until they got published.
Do you have any favorite inspirational quotes?
One of my favorites is from St Francis of Assi “Preach constantly. Use words if necessary.” It reminds me that my whole life is all the Jesus some people will know.
Another one is from a ministry mentor of mine. “Never let the dogs of doubt stand in the doorway of your breakthrough.” In other words, there are always those who say “you can’t,”” we’ve never,”” you’ll regret it,” etc. But if you listen to them, you will never breakout of where you are to be where you ought to be.
And, finally, in the words of that master of inspiration, Spock of Vulcan, “Live long and prosper.”
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