1) How did you go from Pastor to author? What inspired you to start writing?
First thank you, Melinda, for allowing me to spend some time with you and your readers. I haven’t actually gone from Pastor to author. I’m still a pastor, still at the same church for the last 25 years. But things have worked out where I can write now on Mondays and Tuesdays. I seem to be able to keep up with things so far, and my church is very excited and supportive about the success of my books.
As for the second part of the question…I’ve wanted to write novels long before I felt the call to become a pastor. It started back in 11th grade, in a composition class. The desire never left, even when life went another direction. I had a false start 13 years ago, started then to write the novel published last year, called The Unfinished Gift. But it soon became clear, it wasn’t the right time, so I set it aside. Three years ago, with our children now grown, my wife urged me to pick it up again (she loved the story). So I did. It all came back to me, and I finished in a few months. To my surprise, two of the first three agents I contacted wanted to read the entire book. Shortly after, I signed with Karen Solem of Spencerhill Associates. She had a contract with Revell a few months later. It’s been quite an adventure.
2) What was the inspiration behind Major Shawn Collin's character? He was a man of character, and one not ashamed of his passion for his deceased wife and son. Is this character based on someone in your life?
I didn’t base Shawn on any specific person on purpose, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Jimmy Stewart isn’t mixed in there somewhere. I’m not referring to his looks or the interesting way he talks but, as you said, the character of the man. I’ve long admired Jimmy Stewart, his on-screen roles but even the man he was off-screen. He could be strong when life required it but also very tender and emotional, as well.
I’d like to think I am like Shawn in some ways and, in ways I fall short, would still aspire to be like him.
3) What led you down the road to writing Christian romantic fiction? It's not very often that you see men writing Christian Fiction, but I was highly impressed!
Thanks for the kind words. I’m not sure at this point, I’d categorize all my books as “romantic fiction.” The Homecoming certainly is. And my next book, The Deepest Waters, will be also. But even they don’t follow the typical format of most romantic fiction novels. I think that’s why some refer to them as “love stories.” I guess there’s a difference.
I suppose romance will be in all my books, either as part of the plot or at the center. I love watching romantic stories with my wife…Hallmark, Jane Austen movies, romantic comedies. To me, romance is one of the sweetest gifts from God.
4) Are any other books in the works for the near future?
As I mentioned, my third novel is called The Deepest Waters. It will be released by Revell next March or April. It begins a new storyline, set in 1857. It’s actually inspired by a true story, about a young couple separated by a shipwreck on their honeymoon voyage.
I’m finishing up my fourth novel now, another Christmas story, set in 1980. Revell has signed me on for a fifth book, but we haven’t firmed that one up yet.
Storyline: No sooner is Shawn Collins home from the fighting in Europe than he is called upon to serve his country in another way--as a speaker on the war bond tour. While other men might jump at the chance to travel around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets, Shawn just wants to stay home with his son Patrick and the aging father with whom he has finally reconciled. When Shawn taps Katherine Townsend to be Patrick's nanny while he's on the road, he has no idea that she will be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart. This heartwarming story of tender love and fresh starts will capture readers.
The Homecoming, by Dan Walsh, is one of those books that you just can't put down. I started reading it on a Saturday morning around 11am, took a lunch break around 1, and was done by 3:30pm. From the first chapter I was drawn into this story (and I didn't read the first novel, so it's not required to understand this story, but I would have LOVED to read the unfinished gift first as Dan has a gift for writing). Although I do not have any direct family members in the service, I was still touched by the main character's, struggle between his duty to his country and his duty to his family with an ailing father and young son, and a parallel struggle of loyalty to his deceased wife versus a growing loyalty to a new woman in his life. I can only imagine what the men and women in the service deal with when they have to leave home and serve, and also what people go through when they lose a loved one. I would imagine it is a roller coaster of emotion, which was captured perfectly in this novel. This story was very touching, and I loved the characters. I always enjoy a good "love story."
For more information, please visit Dan's site: http://www.danwalshbooks.com/
Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book as part of a blog book tour