Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 12 novels including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery and When Night Comes. He’s won 3 ACFW Carol Awards, 3 Selah Awards and three times his books have been finalists for RT’s Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Word Weavers International, Dan writes fulltime in the Daytona Beach area. He and his wife Cindi have been married 38 years and have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren. You can find out more about his books or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest from his website at www.danwalshbooks.com.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Dan. Congratulations on your latest release, The Legacy, and your upcoming releases. Looks like 2015 is shaping up to be a busy, exciting year for you!
Dan: It has been a very busy year so far, Savanna. Hard to believe we’re almost at the halfway point already. Near the end of 2014, I released my first indie book (and first suspense novel), When Night Comes. Then in March, my first nonfiction book, a 31-Day devotional called Perfect Peace. As you mentioned, in April the final book of the Restoration Series, The Legacy, released. Now, I’m finishing up the first of a new trilogy, called Rescuing Finley. I hope to release it by the end of the summer. Then in September, my last traditionally-pubbed book with Revell comes out, called Keeping Christmas. Then in either November or December, I hope to release the second book of that trilogy called Saving Parker (Finley and Parker are dogs, BTW).
Wow, the crazy life of an author! 😉 As you and author Gary Smalley conclude The Restoration Series, what are you going to remember the most from your time writing about the Anderson family?
Dan: Perhaps the thing I’m going to miss most and my fondest memory was the privilege of just working with Gary. He’s really a living legend. Younger readers (mid-30s and millennials), probably aren’t that familiar with him. But through the 1980s, 90s and even into the first half of the 2000s, Gary Smalley was a household name in the whole area of marriage and family ministry. He’s authored or co-authored 16 major bestsellers, sold over 6 million books and over 8 million teaching videos on marriage. He appeared on every national TV and radio talk show numerous times. On a more personal level, his first book If Only He Knew literally saved my marriage 35 years ago. It was a distinct pleasure to get to know Gary and work with him almost on a daily basis during the 2 years we wrote the Restoration Series. The best part, I think, was discovering that the man in private is even better than his image. He was so kind, gracious and encouraging to be around, and he loves his wife, kids and grandkids madly.
I want to mention something before I forget…to celebrate the release of Book 4 (The Legacy), I’m offering readers signed copies of all 4 books, with matching bookmarks, for only $25 (plus $4 shipping). That’s actually 40% less than the cost of buying all 4 of them on Amazon. If anyone’s interested, just email me at email@example.com
Savanna: I read on your blog that your novel “The Reunion” is being adapted into a screenplay. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about your behind-the-scenes work in helping the writer/director?
Dan: For one thing, I’ve discovered the wheels in movie production grind even slower than they do in publishing. The director explained the process to me at the beginning, to help adjust my expectations. The first challenge is adapting the screenplay itself. People who’ve watched a movie based on a book usually agree they enjoyed the book so much more. One clear reason is that an average novel might be 300 pages, but the length of an average 2-hour movie script is only 100-120 pages. Which means, somehow, the screenwriter has to figure out how to capture the essence of the story while deleting almost 2/3 of the book’s content. That’s the dilemma we’re facing now. My job will be to review the first phase of the script to see if there’s any advice I can offer to make sure nothing of critical importance has been removed.
Savanna: That is so cool. Can’t wait to see it! You have a lot of great reviews on your website. What is one you’ll always remember?
Dan: It’s hard for me to pick because, you’re right, there’s so many that were so encouraging. I can narrow it down to maybe two. The first would be Ane Mulligan’s review of The Reunion (the book being made into a movie). Ane is the editor of the Novel Rocket blog.
“THE REUNION, by Dan Walsh, has taken up residence on my Top Ten of 2012 List, but that’s not all. It sparked a new list. My Top Ten All Time Favorites, and it’s earned a spot there. Exquisitely drawn characters, a heartrending plot, and a deceptively simple delivery make THE REUNION one of the best books I’ve ever read.”
The other might be New York Journal of Book’s review for What Follows After:
“Dan Walsh is an artist who paints with words. His canvas is the novel, where he uses different colors and hues of words to create a masterpiece. What Follows After is a marvelous old school tale illustrating the importance of faith and family. It’s a story that will surely touch your heart and soul.”
Savanna: Can you share with us one of your favorite excerpts from your new devotional, Perfect Peace?
Dan: Hmmm…let’s see. Here’s an excerpt from Day 14 – Praying to a God Who is There:
“…I can read words penned in either the Old or New Testament, or by His followers throughout church history, or even by contemporary Christian psalmists writing songs I hear on the radio. All of them telling of the same wonderful exchange that happens whenever God’s children turn to Him in times of trouble, instead of turning to other things.
We draw near to Him, and He draws near to us. And then, somehow, His presence brings a peace that surpasses understanding. He calms our fears. He lightens our load. He eases our sorrows. He restores our hope.
This almost universal and timeless experience―this miraculous exchange―can occur for only one reason: Because we are turning to a God who is there. Think of the absurdity of sitting all alone in a room, talking to no one but yourself, hoping for relief from an invisible being that doesn’t exist and isn’t even there.
Nothing would happen. It would be a pathetic waste of time.
Our energies would be better spent drinking a fifth of bourbon, smoking pot or downing some serious narcotics. But these things don’t help those who turn to them. They only dull the senses and postpone the suffering. And most of these refuge-idols come with serious, destructive kickbacks.
But we pray to a God who is there. A God who is paying attention, who is willing to help. He will not only work-together-for-good the various circumstances in our lives but He will, in the meantime, offer us the pleasure of His company, which will sustain and strengthen us, as we await His deliverance from all our troubles.”
Savanna: Beautiful. I really must get my hands on a copy of that book soon! 😉 You’ve written contemporary and historical, inspirational and suspense, and now your first non-fiction book. Which genre would you say is the easiest for you to write and why?
Dan: This is really an interesting question, Savanna. Actually, I want to compliment you on the variety and creativity of all your questions in this interview. I’ve easily done over a hundred blog interviews since my first novel was published in 2009. Often, I get asked many of the same questions. But yours are all very different, and I like that.
Now to the answer…to be honest, I enjoy writing in all of these different genres. I’m not sure I could say I find one to be easier or harder than the rest. I absolutely love history, so the research for these books hardly feels like work at all. But I’ve also enjoyed writing the contemporary novels. They’ve given me a chance to find out what life is really like, at a heart level, for so many different kinds of people. I guess my writing experience parallels the way I like to read. I don’t just read one kind of book all the time. I move in and out of different seasons, where I like one kind of book and will read several in a row. Then I’ll read another kind of book for a while.
At first, I thought this might be a problem for me as an author. The rule of thumb in publishing has been to only and always write in one kind of genre. But my readership continues to grow, so I guess there’s a lot more readers out there like me. And they often tell me, regardless of the genre I’m writing in, they can always recognize…it’s still me.
Savanna: I really appreciate that, Dan. I enjoyed The Writing Saga you shared on your website and hearing more about your journey to publication. Can you share with us a piece of writing advice that has made a difference in your career?
Dan: One thing quickly comes to mind, which is my favorite writing quote. It’s from the late NY Times best-selling suspense author Elmore Leonard: “In your writing, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.” I read that early on and memorized it right away. It continues to be a significant goal when I write, especially when I edit my writing.
As a reader, I hate parts of a book that are bla-bla-bla. When that happens, I am definitely skipping over the boring parts to find where the real story picks up again. If I do that too much in a book, I’ll just put it down. And likely, I won’t pick up another book by that author.
I want my readers to have the opposite experience, regardless of the genre of the book: a love story, a suspense story, or a family-life drama. NO boring parts. No parts where they’re tempted to skip. For me, the most enjoyable part of any review of my books is hearing readers say, “Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.”
Savanna: It’s been so great to have you here, Dan. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Dan: Perhaps just to keep their eyes open for this new trilogy I’m writing for and for the first book, called Rescuing Finley. My wife, Cindi, is a certified dog trainer specializing in animal behavior. She’s really a wizard with dogs. I’ve heard so many amazing stories from her that I decided to take some of the best ones and turn them into novels. In the first book, Finley is a retriever-mix rescued from a shelter, who winds up rescuing the female inmate who trains him and the Afghan war veteran who adopts him (and they might just find love along the way).
If readers would like to keep up with my writing news and special book deals, they can sign up for my newsletter on my website at www.danwalshbooks.com. Or they can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.
Savanna: Sounds great! Can’t wait to read more. Have a great summer! 😉
Dan has graciously offered to give one lucky reader their choice between a signed copy of his new suspense novel, When Night Comes, or his 31-Day devotional, Perfect Peace. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends June 23, 2015. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!