Welcome, Robert. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t think it’s possible to not write myself into the characters. Though, I don’t think any one of my characters is considerably more me than another. On the other hand, given that many of the characters are angels or demons, I’d like to think that there’s not too much of me in the demons. And, I’m pretty sure my family would attest that I’m no angel either.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Oh boy, where to start. There are so many, so I’ll choose one that’s writing related. One spring break, I took my family on a 1,200 mile road trip to Arrow Springs in central
for research. Of course, Arrow Springs doesn’t really exist, but that didn’t
stop us. We spent a great afternoon driving around the area and walking through
the fields where the town would be, if it did exist. I remember walking across
a field and telling one of my sons, “Right there is Sarah’s house and way over
there is River of Life Church.” Of course, we spent most of our time at the
River’s Edge Bar. Except, there wasn’t a bar there, just, well, the edge of the
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In fifth grade, we were writing poetry and my teacher told me I had a gift. Then I spent the next thirty years writing everything from technical documents to church discipleship curriculum to theology papers. About the only creative writing I had done since fifth grade was a few church dramas and outreach events. Then one day, I sat down and wondered what it would be like to write fiction. I expected to get ten pages in and say, “Well, that was fun. Next.” About a year later, I completed my first manuscript. Then I attended an American Christian Fiction Writers conference and found out everything I didn’t know about writing fiction. Okay, probably not everything. I’m sure there’s still much I don’t know.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy reading a fairly broad range of books. It should come as no surprise that speculative fiction is my favorite. However, I also enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, suspense, and even the occasional romance, as long there is a good balance with a strong plotline in one of these other categories. I also read quite a bit of leadership and church development nonfiction.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I believe the easiest way to avoid losing your sanity is not to have any to start with. Seriously though, I always tell the people I oversee at work, “I’m always going to be busy. So I can either be busy doing something for someone else, or I can be busy helping you.” I feel the same way in regards to writing. We will always find something to occupy our time, it may as well be something that we enjoy doing and that can bring benefit to others. I just have to remind myself at times that I write because I enjoy it, and if I’m too drained to be creative, there isn’t much sense in writing. So I find something else to do—like promotion.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I often spend considerable time coming up with the right name. This was especially true for this book. Because it looks at both the physical and spiritual realms, I needed to come up with at least twice as many names. Not to mention descriptions and back stories. When choosing character names, I am usually looking for a name with a specific meaning based on the role the character will play. So I often search baby-name websites to find a name that jumps out at me. Sometimes, I will use a name as is, and other times I will modify the name to something that isn’t an actual name.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Because God uses marriage as the picture of our relationship, as the Church, with Jesus, I believe there is nothing the enemy wants more than to destroy marriages. As a result, my wife and I are passionate about investing in marriages before they run into trouble. We’ve done this through pre-marriage mentoring and teaching marriage classes. But the thing I am most proud of is the great example we have been able to set with our own marriage for the past 25 years.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would have to say a bald eagle. No, I’m not bald. But, then again, neither are they. I can only imagine the joy of being able to soar high above the mountains. To effortlessly rise up on the wind and see the beauty of God’s creation for miles. And then there’s the thrill of diving at speeds reaching 100 miles per hour and then swooping in to nab a fish or rodent. Finally, while all of this is true of many birds, the bald eagle is protected, so I wouldn’t have to worry about nature’s most ruthless predator—people.
What is your favorite food?
I have to say nachos. Though in reality, it could be just about any Mexican food. I love cheese, salsa (the hotter the better), tortillas, refried beans, onions, cilantro, and just about anything else that can be put on tortilla chips or in a burrito shell. For that matter, I also find a lot of things to fit that description that most people probably wouldn’t consider. We even have a garden solely dedicated to salsa. We usually grow a dozen or more varieties of peppers from sweet to scorpions.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Getting published. In a sense, many would say that I haven’t overcome it. After a few years of seeking publishing, hearing that the plot is intriguing, not finding anyone willing to take the risk on an unknown with a novel on spiritual warfare, and letting it sit in the drawer while I worked on something else, I finally felt called to self-publish. Well, that’s not totally accurate, I felt called to create my LLC, Hearts of Compassion Publishing, where the long-term plan is to build a reputation for quality stories, mine or otherwise, which are published with the sole purpose of donating all proceeds to compassion-based ministries.
Tell us about the featured book.
At a pivotal time in my life, as a young husband and father, I read Frank Peretti’s Darkness books. The impact on my life at that time was profound. I have always wished he would write more books of the dual-realm style. So when I sat down to try my hand at writing a novel, the only logical choice was to write a dual-realm style story of my own. From this endeavor, In The Image of Man was born.
The eyes are the window to the soul…
…but what if the eyes are empty?
When Officer Chris Davis, of
rescues a young woman from a mysterious attacker, he steps into the center of a
spiritual showdown. Following his heart, and a trace of circumstantial
evidence, he embarks on a collision course with a government research facility
and an unseen foe. Arrow Springs, Missouri
Whether intentional or not, humanity often walks that line first crossed by Lucifer himself—the desire to become equal with God. In The Image of Man is a supernatural thriller that gets the reader to ponder the ethical question, “If mankind succeeds in cloning humans, an attempt at creation, will God endow the clones with souls?” More important, the reader is encouraged to ponder his or her own soul as the book reflects on God’s restoration of relationships. Ultimately, God is the God of creation, and of re-creation.
In The Image of Man is the first book in the Unseen Dominion series.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Just get out alive. Sergeant Chris Davis pressed his back against the wall.
Beads of sweat oozed between his palm and the cool grip of his Glock 22. He slid his left shoulder to the door frame. One final breath to dull the thumping in his ears.
Like most of the quiet middle-class neighborhood, the
Hendersons had left for
work hours ago.
The house stood empty, or so he hoped. He aimed the gun at the gap separating the door from its frame. His free hand pushed the oak door. Black knuckles turned to tarnished bronze as his grip tightened around the Glock.
The door stopped.
A drip of salty sweat stung his eye. Was there someone in the room? He squinted into the darkness, letting his eyes adjust from the bright sunlight. “Arrow Springs Police! If you’re in there, step into the open with your hands in the air. I will not ask again!”
Should he call for backup? With the mayor’s cuts to the force, he’d have to wait for County to arrive. Dispatch reported a simple break-in. No reason to expect danger—except experience.
Through the crack between the door and its casing, he saw them.
A pair of tennis shoes rested against the door—devoid of an occupant.
He exhaled an overdue breath.
Gun barrel leveled, he willed himself through the doorway.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Webpage: http://www.heartspublishing.comTwitter: @AuthorRob
Thank you, Robert, for sharing your book with us today.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.In The Image of Man (Unseen Dominion Book 1)
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