Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Craig von Buseck

As I see snow falling in the mountains...on TV, and I witness Christmas decorations popping up all around me, I'm reminded of how much I live in the south. Eighty-six degrees today for a high. Nov. 8. But alas, a cold front in on the way. Break out the parkas. It will drop all the way to 79 by Friday. Brrr...or is it Grrr? 

Nevertheless, we are going to plug ahead with life and welcome a special guest to our big Florida front porch. Pull up a chair and help me welcome author, screenplay writer, radio personality, and speaker, Dr. Craig von Buseck!

Craig, it is a pleasure having you here on our Author Behind the Story Series! Could you tell us a little about yourself? Something to get us kickstarted? 

Dr. Craig von Buseck is a published author and a writer for Inspiration.org, the website of Inspiration Ministries. He is a contributing writer for CBN.com, MTL Magazine, and Generals.org. He is a regular guest on Susie Larson’s “Live the Promise” program on Faith Radio Network. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Religious Journalism from Regent University, and a BA in Speech
Communication from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Craig’s most recent book is “Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story”. Craig is also the author of "Praying the News: Your Prayers Are More Powerful Than You Know", co-written by 700 Club co-host Wendy Griffith; “NetCasters: Using the Internet to Make Fishers of Men”; “Seven Keys to Hearing God’s Voice”; along with other ghost-written books. He has just completed a biography examining the Zionist Movement and the life of President Harry S. Truman to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th Anniversary of the birth of Israel. This new book, “I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel”, will be released soon.

That is so cool. Very intriguing title for your latest, soon-to-be-released book. Now, before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

During my high school years I attended a church where the youth group sat together in the balcony. During many of the sermons I could “see” what the pastor was describing in my imagination as though I was watching a movie. I determined then and there that I would spend my life as a storyteller. Over the years I have told these stories through the written word in articles and books, through songs, and also through TV and film. 

I know you mentioned some of this above, but what educational background do you have?

I did a joint degree between journalism and divinity for my Master’s program at Regent University. I was attracted to Regent University because of its reputation for academic and artistic excellence and also its commitment to biblical orthodoxy.

A decade later I returned to Regent to complete a Doctor of Ministry.

I attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania because it was affordable and it had a strong communication program. I attended Strong Vincent High School because it was a block away from my home.

Nothing like close proximity to help further an education. Are you married? Single? Have kids?

Single with three kids in their 20s.

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Steak, loaded baked potato, and salad with extra blue cheese dressing.
Favorite Drink: Sparkling Ice Tangerine
Favorite Song: Be Thou My Vision
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
Favorite Bible Verse: The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Ps. 37:23, NLT)
Favorite Movie: Seabiscuit
Favorite Actor or Actress: Jeff Bridges
Favorite Novel (other than your own): “Rhett Butler’s People” by Donald McCraig
Favorite Novelist/Narrative Biographer (other than you): Laura Hillenbrand
Favorite Sport: Baseball
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Pittsburgh Pirates
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: History
Favorite Subject Now: History
Favorite Teacher in School: Dr. Bob Slosser
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn
Favorite Place to Vacation: Hawaii

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

Abraham Lincoln – one of the wisest and one of the most compassionate presidents we have ever had, I would love to spend time talking with Lincoln to learn of his worldview, his core beliefs, his method of coming to a decision, and why he chose to do some of the things he did in life and as president.

“Nobody Knows:
The Harry T. Burleigh Story”
I agree. He would be an interesting person to talk to. If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

Barnabas – one of the most important of the early disciples, and one of the most overlooked. Barnabas embraced Saul (Paul) when the apostles were afraid of him; When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles in Antioch, Barnabas remembered the call Saul received on the road to Damascus to minister to the Gentiles. Barnabas traveled to the desert to find Saul and bring him to minister with him in Antioch; Later the Holy Spirit separated Barnabas and Saul for their first missionary journey. In the midst of that ministry trip Barnabas stepped back and allowed Saul to step fully into his ministry to the Gentiles. Luke begins the 13th chapter of Acts by identifying “Barnabas and Saul”, then he ends that same chapter identifying “Paul and Barnabas” – highlighting the changed that had occurred in Paul’s life and ministry, which came in large measure due to the love and maturity of Barnabas; Later Paul and Barnabas have a falling out over the immature actions of John Mark. Barnabas chose to go after John Mark and disciple him further, while Paul cut them both off and chose Silas as a new ministry partner. Later John Mark re-emerges as the ministry partner of Peter and pens the Gospel that bears his name, which was dictated by the apostle. In an amazing twist, at the end of his life Paul calls for John Mark to come and visit him and expresses his admiration for him. All these things occurred because of this giant of the faith, Barnabas.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

I started at Regent in the Divinity School, but I knew writing would be a part of my ministry. Someone recommended the class “The Craft of Good Writing” as an elective. The course was taught by Dr. Bob Slosser, who had been an editor with the New York Times before moving to Virginia to help build Regent University. Throughout the semester Bob continued to drive home the idea, “make writing your ministry, not just your career.” This message resonated with me and I spoke to Dr. Slosser about my idea of pursuing a joint degree. I’ll never forget his response: “There are a lot of ‘right-thinking’ pastors, missionaries, and Bible school professors out there, but there are not a lot of ‘right-thinking’ writers and communicators. If you feel God calling you to this I want to support you in that decision.” I graduated with a joint-degree and my Master’s thesis would later be published by Baker books as “Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story.”

"Right-thinking" writers are definitely something of which the world needs more. I heard someone say that we have been great at being salt and light, but unfortunately, the salt has lived in the mine and the light has remained in the light bulb factory. So, besides becoming an author, what’s the craziest thing you have ever done?     

During my freshman year of college I jumped off a 3-story cliff into an abandoned quarry without first checking to see how deep the water was. Dumb. Fun at the time, but dumb.

Why do you live where you live?

I recently moved to the Charlotte, North Carolina area to work for Inspiration.org, the website of Inspiration Ministries. My Family used to take vacations in the Charlotte area and so I’ve loved this region since I was a kid. I was thrilled when God opened the door for me to do media ministry in one of my favorite places in America. Inspiration Ministries, the parent company of Inspiration TV and the INSP cable network, is located just a few miles south of Charlotte across the line in South Carolina. I chose to live on the South Carolina side, which is a both urban and rural. It is a beautiful area with rolling hills, pine forests, a river and lakes.

We have some good friends who live in Rock Hill, which must be a hop, skip, and a jump away from you. They pastor a church there. Small world, huh? 

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

In the groundbreaking book, “Discipling Nations”, Darrow Miller comments on Romans 8:19-22, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Miller gives this optimistic interpretation. “Here we learn several critical facts: (1) creation’s fate and ours are inextricably bound together; (2) God’s work of restoring all things to Himself is a process, a story, that will one day be consummated; (3) man has been commissioned to be a part of that process; and, by extension (4) science and technology are tools in this process.” He doesn’t think it is getting darker and darker in the world and that the Devil is alive and well on planet Earth. He agrees with Larry Tomczak’s observation, “The Devil may be alive, but he’s not doing well. In fact he knows his time is short.”

Now is the time for the Church to rise up into its proper place of dominion and creativity – believing God for strategies to reach the nations with the Gospel so that all may know of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus said, “…the Kingdom of God suffers violence and those who take it, take it by force.” It is time for the Church to take possession of all that has been promised to us and like Caleb said to Joshua, declare that, “I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day” (Jos 14:11-12 NKJV).  In Christ and for the Church and the world, relying on the leading and creativity of the Holy Spirit, and using the dynamic tools on the Internet and through digital technology, I believe the best is yet to come.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

Near water, surrounded by woods, comfortable, with its own movie theater, and a fully equipped kitchen. I like a combination of wood and stone both on the interior and exterior.

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

My next vehicle is going to be a pickup truck. Since I live relatively close to some beautiful lakes I plan to  purchase a pontoon boat and I need a truck with enough power to haul it. I’d like a truck with four-doors to seat 4 or 5 people so I have room when my kids come to visit, or during vacations.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

Like most things that I buy or consume, I do a decent amount of research before I buy a book. I want to know what both the critics and readers are saying. I look to see what kind of leaders have endorsed the book, both within the covers and in the press. I am not usually a person who will spontaneously pick up a book based on its cover. I have way too many books that I want to read in my own library. I don’t need to be adding books that I’m not sure are worth the time and expense.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

In John 16:13, Jesus tells His disciples “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” I often say, “I’m an amateur at life – this is the first time I’ve ever lived, so I need all the help I can get. From the time I was in high school I’ve relied on the leading of the Holy Spirit to “guide me into the truth.” So in high school, college, and graduate school I prayed before every test and before beginning any major paper or project, asking that the Holy Spirit would guide me into the truth. Throughout my career, when I begin a new book, movie script, article, or some other project I always ask for the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit – because apart from Him, I know I can do nothing of eternal significance.

I like that: "I'm an amateur at life-this is the first time I've ever lived..." Great line. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

The world celebrates three remarkable anniversaries this year: the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration; the 70th Anniversary of the U.N.’s vote on the partition of western Palestine; and the 70th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel. In this momentous year, watch for my new book I Am Cyrus – the remarkable story of Harry S. Truman and his part in the rebirth of Israel. I have also recently completed a screenplay based on the true story of a young woman who survived the Holocaust. Watch for announcements on the progress of these two projects on my website, www.vonbuseck.com
  
The days are numbered. The world is in labor. That's for sure.

Craig, it has been wonderful having you as a guest in our Author Behind the Story Series. Your non-fiction prowess has helped to bring balance to this heavily-laden fiction blog series. :-)

Readers, want to find out more about Craig's ministry? You can find him at the following sites:



May God Bless You, and May You Bless God!

Until next time, 



Kevin





You can find Kevin's books at his website: www.ckevinthompson.com







Friday, October 27, 2017

Group Therapy (A Seriously Write Blog)


Would you visit a doctor who doesn’t keep up with the noteworthy medical journals in his or her specialized field? Or never attends conferences about the latest, greatest breakthroughs in medicine? Would you call 911 and trust a law enforcement officer who doesn’t recertify regularly on the gun range? Or never attends trainings that teach him or her what to do in an emergency?

Why are those things so important? Why is it a good idea for the pilot of an airplane to have logged significant hours behind the controls of the aircraft he or she is flying? Is it because you want them to be competent? Even confident? Your safety and the lives of you and others are at stake, right?

Of course. But there is one other aspect to a doctor going to a medical conference, a police officer attending a conference on terrorism, or a pilot meeting with other pilots at a training session.

They get to meet with others like them. They get to “talk shop.” They get to swap stories. They get to hang around people who “get them,” before they head back to their places of employment and become bombarded by us.


Want to read more? Click HERE!




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Kathy Rouser


As I scroll through Facebook and see friends building a snowman on vacation up north, we sit here in Florida sweltering in ninety degree heat with a heat index of one hundred...in OCTOBER! (Remind me why I live in Florida again?) So, as we skip fall and plow ahead with an extension of summer, I want to welcome my next guest to the Florida front porch, author Kathy Rouser!

Kathy, pull up a chair, grab some iced tea, and give us a quick bio of who Kathy Rouser is?

I’m Kathleen Rouser, writer of inspirational historical romance. Most importantly, I’m in the grip of Jesus’ life changing grace and mercy. I’m grateful to be a wife to Jack and mother to Matthew, Leslie, and Jesse. I’m also a fan of the three Cs–cats, coffee, and chocolate. 

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

Before I wanted to be a writer I was sitting next to my mom while she read to me, taking naps, and sucking my thumb. Seriously! I wanted to be a writer from the time I was about four-years-old and before I could read. My friend, Laurie, and I would make up adventures to play together and I loved hearing the stories my mother read aloud. I was enchanted by picture books. I memorized a book called My Own Little House and would “read” it to anyone who would listen. I couldn’t wait until I learned to read and write. I wanted to write and illustrate my own books when I grew up.

Of course, dreams wax and wane as you grow and change. For quite a few years my passion was art. When I was in high school I focused on drawing and painting. But then I was on the school newspaper and bit by the writing bug again. I had my first magazine article published when I was 20. A friend of mine’s mom owned a travel magazine and was looking for an article on travel in space in the future. She liked what I wrote and published it.

When I was 21, I had my oldest son and focused mainly on raising the kids and homeschooling for the next 15 years as my husband was often gone on business. There were little writing projects here and there, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that I decided to seriously pursue fiction writing.

"Dreams wax and wane." You said it. So, what educational background do you have?

I went to a small parochial high school in the Detroit area. It was called Shrine High School and affiliated with Shrine of the Little Flower (St. Therese) Roman Catholic church, which is now a national shrine.

For my first two years of college I attended Michigan State University which had one of the highest-rated communications programs in the country. I thought it gave me lots of options to use my writing skills and I toyed with going into a public relations career. Then along came unexpected love, marriage, and children.

It wasn’t until my children were grown that I decided to go back to school for health care—twice. The first time I earned a liberal arts degree at Oakland Community College, along with a small amount of training in ophthalmic assisting—too little it turned out to land a job. Soon I was back in school. I earned an associate of applied science in dental assisting at Washtenaw Community College, the best accredited dental assistant program in Michigan. I earned two certifications. I worked in a contract job for a year and then did some temp work, but it became clear to me that wasn’t where the Lord wanted me to stay. Plus, the long hours were hard on me physically. I’m happily home much of the time and able to spend more time on writing now.

Small world. My wife is from Michigan. Lived in the Detroit/Pontiac/Auburn Hills area growing up. She wanted to move back to Michigan and be a dentist when we first met. And I think her mother attended Oakland CC. You've already stated you are married and have children. Anything you wish to tell us about your family? 

I’ve been married to my wonderfully supportive husband, Jack, for 36 years this December. We have three grown children scattered around the country.

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Mint-chocolate chip ice cream—the marriage of creamy mint ice cream and dark chocolate. Need I say more?
Favorite Drink: A mocha latte. I love coffee. Add chocolate and it’s even better.
Favorite Song: Contemporary Christian: “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”—Both beautiful worship songs that speak to my heart.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): At the moment, Finding God’s Blessings in Brokenness, by Charles F. Stanley. Reading this was the beginning of healing for me this past year as I waded through a grieving process.
Favorite Bible Verse: Lamentations 3:22-23 - It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Favorite Movie: While You Were Sleeping – It’s the quintessential romance and I love the humor
Favorite Actor or Actress: I don’t really have one. There are so many good ones out there.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Pride and Prejudice. Not very original of me, I know, but I appreciate Jane Austen’s wit and it was one of the original romance novels.
Favorite Novelist (other than you): It’s a toss-up between Jane Austen and Jan Karon. They’ve both inspired me in different ways and I just like to read their books more than once!
Favorite Sport: Maybe ice skating because of the gracefulness of it, but I’m really not a sports person at all.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Goes with the last question—not a sports person. Although I’ll root for the MSU Spartans over the U-M Wolverines.  (This past weekend must have been wonderful.)
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Probably English/Language Arts. I loved reading stories and understanding how the parts of grammar work and learning new words. Definitely weird, I know!
Favorite Subject Now: As in school subject? Or topic of conversation? (Good question.)
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Williams, my third-grade teacher. I wish I could find her and tell her what a encouragement she was to me. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and she was always kind to me.
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn. I love that it’s not as hot anymore (usually, this year being an exception) and not too cold. Plus, the fall colors are beautiful. I also loved starting a new school year full of possibilities, whether as a student or a homeschooling mom.
Favorite Place to Vacation: I love northern Michigan, but I must say the nicest place I ever vacationed is Hawaii. Northern Michigan is a lot more doable though. It’s only a few hours away and has some of the best scenery ever with its lakes and trees.


           
If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? 

There are plenty of people that would be a lot of fun to meet. Growing up, I always admired Louisa May Alcott as Little Women was a favorite book of mine. I’d like to talk to her about what it was like to be a woman writer in 19th century America and more about her stories behind her stories, which I love.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

First I was going to say Daniel, because of how steadfast he was in his faith, to ask him how he trusted God the way he did, but then I was thinking how wonderful it would be to talk to Mary,
the mother of Jesus. It would be so interesting to hear more about Jesus’ life on earth, what it was like growing up in His earthly family, some of the mundane everyday things, and just to get her perspective on how things happened. I’m wondering if it would make me feel even closer to Jesus, or to feel like I know Him even better.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

My experience of feeling as though I’d been going through a spiritual wilderness this last year really sharpened my focus. I’d been going through (and continue to) a grief of sorts over lost relationships that made me feel far away from the Lord. I kept waiting, listening, and grabbing any crumb of hope He gave me until I saw Jesus in a new light and my faith was renewed. During that whole period I was working on rewrites for Secrets and Wishes. As I pushed my way through, begging God for strength and energy I learned that even when the way isn’t easy, if He’s given you a job to do, He’ll make a way for you to do it. So even when writing feels overwhelming or impossible it’s important to keep putting one foot in front of the other, metaphorically speaking, and take the next step in obedience. It’s not time to give up. I felt empty, but He made a way. And He’s been with me through it all.

Why do you live where you live?  

My husband and I grew up in the Detroit area. We’re lifelong Michiganders. When his office moved farther away from the city and the drive got to be a bit much, we decided to move to a small town in a semi-rural area, though it’s gotten more built up over the last few years. The drive has been better for Jack and we enjoy the beautiful scenery, the winding roads, and lakes. It’s seems more peaceful and we have a little more room out here. We love it!


We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life? 

Probably Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. A dear friend of mine wanted to use this book as a Bible study we would do together last winter/spring. I wasn’t so sure I was feeling very thankful for anything at the time of being in the wilderness, but the Lord eventually softened my heart. Going through this book and learning to make thankfulness a regular practice instead of finding the negative in everything definitely helped me change my perspective. I did the journaling activities along with reading the book and it had a profound effect on my heart attitude. I should probably go through it every year!

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why? 

I was listening to John MacArthur on the radio one day talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection around Easter time many years ago. As he taught that Jesus had died once and for all for all of our sins and rose again, he also quoted John 10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. He talked about how salvation was all Jesus’ work and not by our good works. Even though I had thought I committed my life to Christ I was sure that since I wasn’t living for Him the way I should I was no longer worthy of being saved. Hearing John 10:28 lifted a burden from me! From that day forward my whole life changed, knowing He keeps me in the palm of His hand.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

I enjoy making jewelry and knitting, basically creating new things with my hands I guess. I’m thankful to have the privilege of teaching children at our local Community Bible Study.
And I wouldn’t mind trying writing in another genre such as YA speculative someday. For now I’m pleased to be able to share my stories about the fictional characters of Stone Creek, Michigan at the turn of the last century and grateful to work with LPC Books.


Kathy, it's been a pleasure having you stop by and share some interesting and personal thoughts with our readers. 

Readers, if you wish to connect with Kathy, here are some ways:



Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you all bless God!

Kevin


Now Available wherever
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Book 1
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Book 2
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Friday, September 22, 2017

When Hurricanes Blow Away Your Writing Schedule (A Seriously Write)



There is little out there more trying on the patience of a person than preparing for a hurricane. In the week to ten days prior to the event, you are watching forecasts, being told how big the storm is, how destructive it is. There’s the dizzying array of “spaghetti models” showing the storm going one way, then another, and another.

At first, Hurricane Irma was going to hit New York. Be another Sandy. Then, it shifted. The people of the Carolinas took notice. Yet again, it shifted. East coast of Florida. West coast of Florida. Then, right up the middle of the state.


Want to read the rest? Click HERE! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Author Behind the Series - Dawn Kinzer

Greetings from Hurricane Irma-torn Florida! As I write this, Irma is bearing down on our state with winds of 130 mph. As the eye wall goes directly over Key West (there won't be much left when it's over), the outer bands are already striking central Florida. Other storms, influenced by Irma, are covering the rest of the peninsula, stirring up tornadic activity. I can only imagine what things will look like on Wednesday when this post actually goes live. It's been a chaotic week with gasoline shortages, food shortages, roads clogged due to five million people evacuating north.

Well, enough of the doom and gloom. We'll survive. We'll rebuild. We'll move on. Such is life in FLA. Like I always say, "What did you think you were going to get by invading a swamp and building house after house?" :-) 

I'm excited, though, to have as my guest one of my writing friends and fellow authors, Dawn Kinzer. We have never met face-to-face, but because of the wonderful world of the internet, we have gotten to know each other as I write blog posts for a serious writing blog called Seriously Write. Dawn is one of the five people who started it and have watched it grow over the years. Please welcome, Dawn!

Dawn, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Dawn Kinzer?

I’m a freelance editor and author who believes the written word can change lives, and I’m doing everything in my power to prove it. I’m also a wife, mother, and grandmother. Favorite things include dark chocolate, cinnamon, popcorn, strong coffee, good wine, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.
Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

Prior to focusing on writing, I raised two girls and worked at a variety of jobs. Four years were spent with the sexual assault services in my county (advocate, support counselor, support group leader, community ed speaker, and assistant to the director). Following several years as a church secretary, I worked in administration for a large car dealership.
I didn’t get serious about writing until I was forty-seven (I’m now sixty) because I didn’t believe enough in myself. I later figured out that talent is part of being a successful writer, but most achievements in publishing come from having tenacity and the willingness to work hard.
For years, I’d sought God on what he wanted me to do with my life. I had a hunger to make a difference, and although various ministries and charities offered opportunities, I just couldn’t find the “thing” that felt right long-term.
But while co-directing a teen drama group at my church, I was challenged to write an original play with a friend. We ended up writing three full-length plays, and I knew then that writing fulfilled a creative need that nothing else matched.
A very varied life you have had. And with some similarities to mine (starting writing late in life, for example). Makes you wonder what would have happened if we started writing sooner, huh? What educational background do you have? 

I grew up in a small, farming town in Wisconsin called Prairie Farm. It was established in 1848, and the population has never gone over five hundred. The high school is the center of much of the town’s activities. My elementary school days were spent in the same building where my parents attended high school. Their high school band director was my high school English teacher—and she was amazing!
I graduated with a BS from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. I majored in biology and minored in chemistry. I loved science and thought I’d go into some field of medicine or research, but that never happened—long story.
Well, then, may I interest you in a book that could be right up your alley of biology? It's called The Serpent's Grasp, and it has received awards and many great reviews, and it has a bibliography! (Sorry for the shameless plug.) Okay, enough with the commercial, back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

You already mentioned you are married, have children, and have grandchildren (aren't they wonderful?). Do you mind sharing a little about this?

I experienced divorce after many years of marriage. But God carried me through that season, and I’ve been married to a wonderful man for fifteen years. I have two grown daughters and one grown stepdaughter. My oldest daughter has a little girl (18 months). My youngest daughter has a boy (3 ½) and a little girl (8 months). I LOVE being a nana, and I spend a lot of time with the two grandchildren who live in our area. My other granddaughter lives out-of-state, and time away from her is difficult. I’m so grateful for Facebook and Facetime because I receive photos and videos throughout the week.
I know you mentioned a few favorites already, but I’m going to give you a shotgun list of several favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Popcorn – I could eat it every day. I never get tired of it.

Favorite Drink: Don’t judge me – red wine. I like the taste—seriously. (I always say, if it was good enough for Jesus at the Wedding in Cana, why not for us? My wife would agree, too. Moderation, moderation, moderation...)

Favorite Song: Currently it’s “Do It Again” by Elevation Worship because I know so many people who feel like they’re trying to move mountains in their lives.

Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman because it helped me better understand my husband and children.

Favorite Bible Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). This has become my life verse because I have clung to it many times during difficult seasons of my life.

Favorite Movie: It changes all the time because I watch a lot of movies, but one of my recent favorites is Hacksaw Ridge because it’s a powerful and inspiring story of one man’s faith and determination to help others while standing on his principles.

Favorite Actor or Actress: Sandra Bullock takes on both serious and comedic roles, and I’ve never been disappointed in her movies.

Favorite Novel (other than your own): Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers changed my life. It made me realize that Christian fiction could be rich without being sweet and sappy.

Favorite Novelist (other than you): Really? You’re making me answer this? LOL! It’s like picking a number one best friend out of a group of best friends. Okay, because of my previous answer, I’ll say Francine Rivers.

Favorite Sport: Martial arts. Years ago, I trained in Tae Kwon Do and got my red belt (the one below black belt).

Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Hey, I live in the Seattle area, so of course my favorite team is the Seahawks! (What about the Ducks? Is it hard to root for Oregon coming from the Badger state? Oregon is a fun team to watch.)

Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: My favorite subject was English because I was an avid reader and enjoyed discussing literature.

Favorite Subject Now: Creative writing is my favorite subject because it’s a part of my daily life, and it’s still important to learn and grow in my craft.

Favorite Teacher in School: My English teacher, Mrs. Peters, challenged me and opened my world to the some of the classics I wouldn’t have read without her requiring it.

Favorite Time of the Year: Fall is the best time of year! I enjoy cooler weather (that we can still enjoy while spending time outside), the changing color of leaves, and having a fire roaring in the fireplace. (Amen.)

Favorite Place to Vacation: Even though I live in Washington State, I still like to vacation here. We have it all—the ocean, the mountains, and the desert.

  
If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

I would choose Mother Teresa so I could learn more about having a true servant’s heart.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus? 

I would spend time with Mary, mother of Jesus. Years ago, I read the book Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes. It helped me see and understand that Mary was very human—just like me. I think it’s easy for us to forget what a difficult position she was put in when she became pregnant. As a mother, I’d love to know what she felt and experienced as she brought Jesus into the world, helped him grow, and then had to watch him hang on the cross. I’d want to hear how her faith carried her through all those years.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author? 

After my first novel released, I was contacted by a woman who wanted to read it and write a review. It’s something she does on a regular basis for authors. But when I responded to her message, I didn’t hear from her. After a week had gone by, I tried to reach her again. She apologized for her lack of communication. She’d been going through a rough time, still grieving over the death of a young grandchild she was close to.

That unexpected admission opened the door to us having more conversation, and it gave me the opportunity to offer empathy, genuine care, and encouragement. The original connection was about a book review, but it turned into a greater purpose.


Connecting with readers isn’t just about books—it’s about building relationships with people themselves. Books can serve as a bridge to help make that happen. Unplanned opportunities to minister to people’s needs may come along, and I want to be open to them.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

To be honest, I read very little nonfiction that isn’t related to writing or publishing. But one book that has impacted my life is If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. The book challenged me to face my fears, step out in faith, and face challenges, but to also accept that failure isn’t necessarily the end—it can be an opportunity to grow.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I read a variety of genres, so I don’t zero in on a specific one. But, I’m a visual person, so covers are extremely important to me. If I don’t like the cover, I usually won’t look further unless I see a large number of positive reviews listed or someone I know has recommended the book. Then if the back cover copy piques my interest, I’ll read some of the reviews before purchasing.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

The Bible verse is the same one that I listed as my favorite: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

This verse helped me keep going when I didn’t know what the future would hold.

Like many people, I’ve experienced some pretty rough seasons in life. I went through a divorce after twenty years of marriage. Because of it, I lost some friends, and some relatives were so angry with my decision (because they couldn’t understand at the time) that they didn’t speak to me for over a year. Friendships and family relationships were later healed, but it was very painful at the time. I was also trying to take care of two daughters who were hurting.

Several years later, I married my now husband who also had two daughters about the same age. We thought life was going to be good. But two months later, we lost his nineteen-year-old daughter in a freak car accident.

Eight months later, he was laid off from work for two years, along with thousands of other Boeing employees. He couldn’t get a job flipping burgers.

After he was called back to work, I thought all would be well, but three months later, he checked into a thirty-day rehab facility, and my world turned upside down again. He’s been sober for twelve years.

The first three years of marriage were difficult, and we’re very open about those experiences, but the following years have been filled with many blessings.

Other people have gone through far worse than what I have, but I know what is feels like to cling to hope.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

I write fiction because I truly believe in the power of story to comfort, challenge, and inspire. And because I’ve seen so many people struggle with finding purpose in different seasons of their lives—or have been afraid to pursue their dreams—those themes find their way into my writing. I understand, because I’ve struggled with them too, and I want to offer encouragement and hope through entertainment.

Dawn, I want to thank you for spending some time with us. And to all my readers, thank you for stopping by. If you'd like to get to know Dawn more, you can find her at these locations:

Dawn's Blog, The Garden of Dreams

Until next time, May God bless you, and may you Bless God!

Kevin
You can find Kevin @ www.ckevinthompson.com.




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