The Story Begins…
“What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Kids get asked that question all the time. When my son was five, he knew. “I wanna be a green Batman.” By high school I knew; I wanted to be an author of novels. My composition teacher was the spark that lit this fire. She went out of her way to encourage my feeble offerings. “You could really be a writer if you wanted to,” she said. Secretly, I began to write poems and short stories. Only my teacher and mother could read them (such things clashed badly with the surfer-guy persona I’d worked so hard to fabricate at school).
After becoming a Christian, my attention shifted in a different direction. I met Cindi, my wife-to-be. Then came a call to pastoral ministry. Then fatherhood. I still loved to write, but found little time for it. In the mid-90′s, we decided I needed a relaxing hobby. Cindi suggested I start writing again. I read some great how-to books and found some wonderful friends on a Christian fiction writer’s board on AOL (back when AOL was the Internet). A year later, my first novel was complete.
It was soon picked up by an agent, Karen Solem, but she found it difficult to market. Not much interest back then in a faith-based suspense thriller with a military edge. Shortly after that, the idea for The Unfinished Gift came to me. Halfway through, I felt I had jumped the gun. The demands on my time made it too difficult to juggle, so I set it aside.
Fast-forward the tape 10 years. By 2007 a lot of things had changed and, for the first time in a long time I had spare time on my hands. My wife suggested I pick up the writing again. I finished The Unfinished Gift and began looking for representation. To my great surprise, my agent from 10 years prior was very interested in the book. Since then Karen had begun her own agency, Spencerhill Associates, Ltd. Within a few months, we were finalizing a contract with Revell. Since it’s release, The Unfinished Gift has done very well, winning two ACFW Carol Awards. It has sold over 60,000 copies, is still in print and selling well, especially at Christmastime.
I wrote a sequel to The Unfinished Gift, called The Homecoming that released the following summer. My third novel, The Deepest Waters released to great reviews and earned my 3rd ACFW Carol Award for historical fiction. My fourth book, Remembering Christmas, then hit the shelves. It became a bestseller on Amazon in 3 categories and made both the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. It also became a finalist for Inspirational Book of the Year. My 5th novel, The Discovery, released in April 2012. This was my first novel reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and USA Today, who said: “The Discovery is a sublime delight that shouldn’t be missed.” It won a Selah Award and became a Carol Award finalist in 2013. It was also a finalist for Inspirational Book of the Year 2013 (RT Reviews Magazine).
At that point, Revell signed me to write 2 books a year for them through 2014. This included the 4-book Restoration series with Gary Smalley (who, sadly, passed away in 2016). The contract included 3 additional stand-alone novels. The first of those stand-alones, The Reunion, won a Selah Award, receiving a “perfect 10″ score from all the judges and Christian Manifesto’s Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction. It has also been optioned for a full-length film.
While writing the Restoration series with Gary Smalley, I released another stand-alone novel released set in 1962, called What Follows After. It won the Selah Award for best historical fiction and was also named a finalist for the ACFW Carol award in the same category.
In November 2014, my contracts with Revell ended, so I released my first independent novel, When Night Comes. It’s a little different than my other books. A true suspense novel and the first in the Jack Turner Suspense Series. Like my other novels, it has a romantic subplot and is told from a Christian worldview, but it doesn’t have as strong of a spiritual theme. Think of it as more of an entertaining clean read. Book 2 released in May 2016, called Remembering Dresden. I plan to release Book 3, Unintended Consequences, in the Spring.
In keeping with my promise to write in both genres from now on (the one I’m known for, and suspense novels too), I wrote and released Rescuing Finley, the first in a trilogy of books called the Forever Home series. Book 2 is called, Finding Riley, released in October 2016. Book 3, Saving Parker, should come out in the Fall of 2017.
As you can see, since my first novel released in 2009, I’ve kept pretty busy. When I think back to 11th Grade, my false start 20 years ago, and what’s happening now…I’m very aware that few people get to see their lifelong dreams fulfilled, and I’m very grateful to God to be able to what I do.