Tuesday, May 3, 2011

with Henry McLaughlin

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Henry!
What started you on your writing journey?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write. Around 1995, I started my first novel and dabbled in it for the next several years. I would take it out every few months and re-write the first chapter. Didn’t have a clue.
In 2002, I had serious heart surgery and, during the recovery, felt a strong call to write, to be serious about it. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but in my heart I knew this was being stirred by God.
I subscribed to writers magazines, bought books on writing and finally moved past Chapter One.
In 2005, I began taking courses offered by the Christian Writers Guild and over the next four years completed their Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. I also attended conferences, joined on-line and in-person critique groups.
In 2007, I met DiAnn Mills who became my mentor, encourager, coach, and challenger.
Through all these relationships and activities, I learned the craft of writing, became a better writer and completed my first manuscript, Journey to Riverbend. The book won the 2009 Operation First Novel Award sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild and Tyndale House. Tyndale House published the book in January of this year.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Just about anything. I find I really need to exercise self-discipline to write. Otherwise, I’ll be playing card games, surfing the internet, watching the neighborhood from my writing room window.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy all types of books but I am generally drawn to mysteries and suspense by such authors as Elizabeth George, PD James and Jacqueline Winspear. Their books have richly complex characters and their stories are excellent examples of capturing the setting as a character.
Christian authors I frequently read are Brandilyn Collins and Steven James who both write outstanding suspense and thriller novels as well as DiAnn Mills and Stephen Bly.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
The character who most interested me was the female protagonist, Rachel, because she was so challenging to capture on paper. Her story arc, her core kept eluding me through re-write after re-write.
Finally, I sat her down in my grandmother’s rocking chair one morning and interviewed her. At one point I said, “Rachel, what do you want?” Her answer was, “Don’t you know? Haven’t you read the book?”
And she clicked into place in my mind and my heart and the story. Her answer showed me what I’d been missing: her feistiness, her drive to be independent, to be freed from the shackles of her past.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
A blend of classic baroque, folk, and Celtic with some smooth jazz on the side.

What is your strangest habit?
I tend to be obsessive-compulsive. I don’t think I have obsessive-compulsive disorder because, being so neat and precise, I would never be around anything disorderly. For example, we use Splenda packets at home and keep them in a holder like restaurants have. I make sure the packets all face the same way. I’ve been known to re-arrange the shelves in grocery stores. My filing system is so detailed and complex, even I can’t find things at times.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Interviews. :) House repairs and maintenance. I am not the most gifted of handymen. My hammer should have a label on it that reads “This End Up.”

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Probably my wife’s spaghetti and meatballs. But, actually, it doesn’t matter what the food is. It’s the being with family and friends that’s important. We’ve had great times over hot dogs and beans and great times over prime rib.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
The themes that seem to be strongest in my novels are reconciliation, redemption and self-forgiveness.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Matthew 19:29: And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
Twelve years ago, my wife and I moved from Rhode Island to Texas to work and serve in Kenneth Copeland Ministries. We left our adult children, our church family and our extended families behind to follow God’s plan.
Matthew 19:29 is our foundation scripture for all we do for Him.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My agent is working on two manuscripts for me. We don’t have a definite release date as yet.
One is called Riverbend Justice. It is the sequel to Journey to Riverbend. In it, the hero tries to clear the name of a young man who was hung for a crime he didn’t commit. The hero uncovers corruption and deceit and faces threats to his own life and the life of the woman he deeply cares about as the two of them strive to overcome their pasts and trust in love.
The second is called Mr. Latham’s Lincoln. It is the story of a wife who disappears and the devastating effect this has on her husband and her father-in-law. The reason she left could destroy not only her family, but her church.

Purchase at CBD

Purchase Journey to Riverbend at CBD.

Henry is giving away a copy of Journey to Riverbend. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Charlotte Kay said...

I would love to be considered for this giveaway.

Many Blessings and Smiles,
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

please add me name to this drawing thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

PriviesAndPrims said...

Would love to win this!

Westerns are one of my favorites.

priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i love this book's cover...thanks for the chance to read it :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to win this book!

Charity said...

Please enter me in this giveaway. It is on my wish list and I really like the plot.


amber said...

please enter me!!


Pam K. said...

"Journey to Riverbend" sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading. Please enter me in the drawing for the book. Thanks also for the interview.


lgm52 said...

Sounds great...would love to win, read, and share this book!

lgm52 said...

Sounds great...would love to win, read, and share this book!

Jackie S. said...

Great interview; and great sounding book. Please enter me!

Amy said...

This book sounds good. I really like the cover. Please enter me.


Anonymous said...

Would love this book, it sounds awesome!

Amanda said...

This sounds marvelous! Thank you for giving us this opportunity :)

amanda38401 at gmail dot com

Hope said...

Thanks for another chance to win :)

Charity U said...

Please enter me here! :)

Meredith said...

Love that he interviews his characters when he's stuck!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I hate to be so superficial, but I would pick up this book because the cover grabs me.

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Great interview! I agree with some of the commentors mentioning the beautiful book cover --it's lovely! Thanks for the chance to win!


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