Monday, October 28, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Dan Walsh

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of several books, including The Discovery and The Reunion. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years.
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Dan writes contemporary and historical novels, mostly love stories and family-life dramas. He's been called “the Nicholas Sparks of Christian Fiction,” and often compared to Richard Paul Evans. His goal, whether writing historical or contemporary novels, is to create an entertaining and inspirational experience for his readers. He wants them to thoroughly enjoy themselves, while exploring together some of the themes in life that matter most.

Dan lives with his wife Cindi in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

The following is an October 2013 interview with Dan.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of 
The Dance or The Promise
by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

Three print copies to be won


Contest open to entrants in the USA, Canada, Australia and NZ only.

Contest runs from 25 October - 7 November NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m 56 years old. I’ve been married for 37 years to the only woman I’ve ever loved. We have two grown children, both married, one grandson. Before starting to write full-time in 2010, I was a pastor for 25 years. My wife, Cindi, is a certified dog trainer and the Animal Behavior Manager at our local Humane Society. We are empty-nesters except for our three dogs: 2 mini-Aussies and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

It’s probably more accurate to say I’m a writer who became a pastor than a pastor who became a writer. I’ve wanted to write novels since the 11th grade and thought that’s what I’d be doing with my life. I experienced a clear call to ministry at 19, which redirected my life completely. But I never lost my love of reading fiction and imagined one day that God would let me write again. He did, a little sooner than I had expected. I finished my first novel, The Unfinished Gift, in 2007 and, surprisingly, it was immediately picked up by a major literary agent. She had a contract with Revell 2 months later.


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What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

In a word―Hope. The Christian fiction writers I know all work very hard to provide great stories with characters readers care about, lots of suspense and drama, and relevant themes that speak to the issues and challenges we face every day. But throughout our stories you’ll find a significant thread of hope and, while our endings may not be all rainbows and unicorns, you’ll typically find something redemptive and encouraging. That often seems in stark contrast to our secular counterparts. I find many of the stories in our culture, while exciting and often well told, are far too dark and leave readers wondering what’s the point.


How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?
Either with a contented sigh or reaching for a box of tissues. In either case, I want them feeling very satisfied having spent their time and money on my book and to immediately begin thinking of friends they know who have to read it.

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What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

I’ve received so many encouraging emails and messages from readers with all my books. These bless be far more than book sales numbers. Two specific ones come to mind. I received one email from a 94 year-old woman who had gone blind in her old age, so her 70 year-old daughter had to read my book to her. She absolutely loved it and had to tell me. Her 45 year-old granddaughter was writing the email because neither of the other two women used computers. I received so many encouraging emails from military veterans or their loved ones after my novel, The Reunion, came out last year. One woman said her husband was a Vietnam vet who hadn’t shared his war experiences with her for 40 years. After reading my book, they stayed up all night and, through many tears, he shared all the things he had been holding in.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

I’m not sure it has impacted my walk with the Lord in any unique way. Since I was a pastor for so many years, I had become fairly used to the amazing experience of God using you to minister to others, watching Him work in wonderful ways in people’s lives, all the while allowing you to play a part. I did, however, experience some significant challenges learning how to trust Him to lead me, day to day, on a totally different life path than my time as a pastor.

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Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?
My other goals have to do with my family, mostly. I want to learn how to be the best Dad I can be to my adult children and their spouses and become the kind of grandpa my grandkids can’t wait to see. I want to continue to grow in my love and friendship with my wife. She’s my favorite person in the world. I can be happy doing anything when I’m with her.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

We take walks a lot, love to go to the beach (it’s only 10 minutes away). We swim in our pool in the warmer months (about half the year in Florida). Thankfully, we enjoy the same TV shows and movies.


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What can you tell us about your latest novels?

The second novel in the Restoration series, co-authored with Gary Smalley, just came out last month, called The Promise. The series follows the challenges of one Christian family who have, unfortunately, spent the last twenty-five years building a foundation on sand. The first book, The Dance, is about the unraveling and the beginnings of a restoration for Jim and Marilyn Anderson, the father and mother. Each of the other three novels will feature one of their adult children, as they try to unlearn some unhealthy lessons and discover what God really has in mind for marriage. But these books aren’t thinly-veiled counseling manuals. We’ve worked hard to keep them from sounding preachy and to create exciting, suspenseful stories.


What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?
I have a standalone novel coming out in April, called What Follows After. It’s set in 1962. Here’s a taste: Colt Harrison and his little brother, Timmy, hatched a plan. They would run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt’s house in Savannah, Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents got back together. But things go terribly, terribly wrong. Readers can get a sneak peek about the story and see the cover at http://danwalshbooks.com/books/what-follows-after/

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What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
It’s an amazing thing to me to think I have fans that far away, but I’m so glad you’re there. Thanks so much for buying my books and telling others about them. I only wish I could travel to all the places my books have gone and meet some of the readers myself.


Do you have any parting words?

Just want to thank you for the privilege of getting with your readers any spending a little time telling my story. For the fiction fans reading this, thanks for making it possible for authors like me to reach others with hope of Christ, told through the power of story.



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The Dance
(with Gary Smalley)

 Love's recovery starts with a single step . . .

After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn Anderson is tired of playing the role of perfect wife. Her husband Jim is a successful businessman who gives her everything she needs—a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, the financial freedom to be a stay-at-home mom, an enviable collection of stuff. Everything, that is, except what really matters: love.

After years of trying to connect with Jim, Marilyn has had enough. She longs to experience some measure of happiness before she's too old to enjoy it. Needing some time to herself to sort things out, Marilyn leaves to start a new job and take dancing lessons—something she has wanted to do for as long as she can remember.

Shocked to find his wife gone, Jim Anderson must sort through the past to save his marriage. With a little help from an unexpected ally, he begins a campaign to win Marilyn back. What he doesn't anticipate is how his actions will affect everyone around him—starting with himself.

Purchase: 
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]



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The Promise
(with Gary Smalley)

One home, two hearts, and the power of a promise kept . . .
For the last five months, Tom Anderson has been without a job, a fact he's been hiding from his wife Jean—and everyone else. He leaves each morning, pretending nothing has changed, and spends his disheartening day rotating through coffee shops and the library, using their wifi to search job listings online. The stress of keeping this secret is beginning to put serious strain on his marriage.

But Tom's not the only one hiding something. Jean Anderson has a secret of her own—one that will seriously complicate their situation. Will the promises they made on their wedding day hold firm?

Purchase: 
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]



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What Follows After

In October 1962, Colt Harrison and his little brother, Timmy, hatched a plan. They would run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt's house in Savannah, Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents got back together. But things go terribly, terribly wrong. Colt's mother and father must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their broken marriage.

In this emotional story, Dan Walsh takes readers on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life—love, truth, and family.

Pre-Order: 
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]


Sneak Peek: @Dan Walsh Books




Buy Dan's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of 
The Dance or The Promise
by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

Three print copies to be won


Contest open to entrants in the USA, Canada, Australia and NZ only.

Contest runs from 25 October - 7 November NZDT



Please comment about the interview or leave a message for Dan when making a blog post comment - simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 
All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing.


Read Previous Featured Author Interviews


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