Sunday, March 9, 2014

Featured Author Interview: Bodie & Brock Thoene

 
Bodie & Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are the authors of more than 65 works of historical fiction. Eight of their books have won Gold Medallion Awards, affirming what millions of readers have already discovered—the Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers’ minds and hearts. Over 35 million copies of their books have been sold in more than 20 languages.

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Bodie began her writing career as a teen journalist for her local newspaper. Eventually her byline appeared in prestigious periodicals such as U.S. News and World Report, The American West, and The Saturday Evening Post. She also worked for John Wayne’s Batjac Productions (she’s best known as author of The Fall Guy) and ABC Circle Films as a writer and researcher. John Wayne described her as “a writer with talent that captures the people and the times!” She has degrees in journalism and communications.

The following is a March 2014 interview with Bodie.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of
Take This Cup
by Bodie & Brock Thoene


5 copies to be won

Contest open to USA addresses only.

Contest runs from 7-21 March NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself. 

The joy of my life is my family! Brock and I have been married 43 years. We have four children and 8 grandchildren, and they are all unique, wonderful individuals who love the Lord!


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

I have always been a writer. I started writing a weekly newspaper column for the Bakersfield Californian when I was in my teens. From there I moved into writing magazine articles for Saturday Evening Post and Western Horseman, among others. My big break came when I co-authored the autobiography of Chuck Roberson, John Wayne’s stunt-double. Duke wrote the foreword for the The Fall Guy. He liked the book so much he hired me as a screenwriter. After a number of years with Duke (and the Wayne family after he passed away) I turned to writing novels. With the encouragement and prayers of my mother, Bettie Turner, I started writing Christian historical fiction. Gates of Zion (book 1 of the Zion Chronicles) was the first.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?    

Well written Christian fiction deals with the whole person. Most secular novels consider the physical, mental and emotional needs and choices of the characters, but fail to address their spiritual issues. That’s precisely what Christian fiction endeavors to do, but let me add, it must never be ‘gloppy’ or heavy-handed. Duke taught me this: ‘You can tell people what they need to hear, but only if you put it in a good story.’

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

Readers should first of all experience events they never knew about, or learn things either about history or themselves that they never understood before. It is not unusual to hear readers report that they were ‘praying for’ a fictional character. That’s good, because it means they are so connected with the lives of the characters that the experience is very real.


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

We have heard from many Holocaust survivors and this is the most wrenching message: ‘Until I read your book, I thought no one knew my story and I thought no one ever would.’


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?    

Living vicariously through the lives of real people who lived in past eras has caused me to constantly reexamine my life and my faith. I see the world has changed, but people have not. Their struggles, their needs and their dreams were the same in 30AD as in 1942, and remain so in 2014. I want to be worthy to stand alongside some really courageous folks in heaven when we all get to share our stories, and hear Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’

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Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?    

Movies! After 70 novels I am going back to my roots, writing scripts. We have five different projects underway right now, including adaptations of our novels and original screenplays.


What do you like to do in your spare time?  

What spare time? No, seriously, when not writing I love spending time with my grandkids and riding horses and taking walks.


What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

When Jesus Wept is the most recent release before the very newest one, Take this Cup (April, 2014). Both are first-person stories about folks who had personal encounters with Jesus of Nazareth. We love writing about people who get the barest mention in scripture, because we can envision what their lives were like both before and after the moment when their lives and the life of Jesus intersected….and they were changed forever. We always learn so much about what it was like to live in Judea in the First Century and we love sharing that experience with readers. We think once you begin to see that time period as being as real as the world today, you will never study scripture in the same way ever again.

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?  

More about the life of Christ. Behold the Man, our current project, will carry readers through the events they have been asking us for 15 years to tackle: the hinge of history…the Passion Week.


What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

First of all, I want to say Thank You. It is a marvelous grace and always surprising how the books go places where I’ve never been. When you know my writing, in some ways you know me; you know my heart. Since that’s true, I have millions of friends in New Zealand and elsewhere around the world. It’s just that we haven’t met in person….yet!


Do you have any parting words?

Please keep us in your prayers! And there is this: Some time ago, one of our characters said that in scripture, Everything means Something. We think those are really true words. We think if you study scripture with that attitude very firmly in mind---why did the writer say it this way?….what am I, personally, supposed to gain from this?....then your time in the Word will be richer and deeper than ever.

Oh, and once more thing: If you’d like to see where the events of the Zion Covenant novels took place, join us in touring Europe this year. Check it out on www.inspirationcruises.com Let’s live it together! ™


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Beyond the Farthest Star

When a nativity display on public property is torched by a former US Senator, the media spotlight falls on the forgotten small town of Leonard, Texas, and the new pastor of its only church—Adam Wells.

Emboldened by the prospect of leading his tiny congregation in a nationally-televised, first amendment debate that he considers to be a 'fight for the heart and soul of America,' Pastor Wells determines not to let anything or anyone, including his wife and his rebellious sixteen-year old daughter, stand in his way. But when an old high school friend unexpectedly shows up in their small town and a past secret is revealed, Pastor Wells' constitutional crusade collides with an even greater fight—the fight for the heart and soul of his marriage, his daughter, and, even his own life.

In this modern-day story of betrayal, forgiveness, and finally redemption, Adam Wells discovers, for the first time, the meaning of the story he's been preaching all his life...and his desperate daughter understands what really is beyond the farthest star.

Award-winning authors, Bodie and Brock Thoene, have written an emotional and authentic drama based on a screenplay by Andrew Librizzi and now a major motion picture.


Purchase Beyond the Farthest Star
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]


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When Jesus Wept

LAZARUS—the man Jesus raised from the dead in one of the most extraordinary encounters with The Living Savior in all of Scripture. But the life of Lazarus holds interest well beyond this miraculous event. Living in Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus witnessed many of the most important events of Jesus's life and ministry.

Lazarus owned a vineyard and devoted his life to caring for its vines and fruit. But he encountered another man—Jesus—whose vineyard was the world, its fruit the eternal souls of men. When Lazarus's story and the story of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection touch in When Jesus Wept, we are offered a unique vision into the power and comfort of Christ's love.

Brock and Bodie Thoene's most powerful and climactic writing project to date, When Jesus Wept, captures the power and the passion of the men and women who lived through the most important days in the history of the world.


Purchase When Jesus Wept (The Jerusalem Chronicles #1)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]


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Take This Cup

Nehemiah, the young son of a Jewish woman, a weaver from Jerusalem, is born and raised among the Jews who didn't return to Jerusalem from the Exile. Educated by Rabbi Kagba, one of the magi present at Jesus' birth thirty years earlier, Nehemiah grows up with the expectation of a soon-coming Messiah. Could the Yeshua of Nazareth, who is walking the earth, reportedly doing miracles, be that Messiah?

When young Nehemiah must travel the long caravan road to Jerusalem, he is charged with an unusual mission—to carry a mysterious object back to the holy city of Jerusalem . . . an object whose reappearance heralds the Messiah's arrival.

Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem just as the final events of Jesus' earthly ministry are coming to a climax: the Feast of Dedication, the Triumphal Entry, the last cleansing of the Temple, and culminating at the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Only Nehemiah understands the true sacrifice that is to come as he makes the cup worthy of his Savior.


Purchase Take This Cup (The Jerusalem Chronicles #2)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]



Buy Bodie & Brock'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
Take This Cup
by Bodie & Brock Thoene


5 copies to be won
Contest open to USA addresses only.
Contest runs from 7-21 March NZDT

Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Bodie & Brock Thoene 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. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn.


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