Bio: 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, 2 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 http://danwalshbooks.com.
Welcome back, Dan. How did this book come about?
I actually got the idea for this book back in the mid-90s and made it the subject of my first, unpublished book (I wrote it before The Unfinished Gift). The book was unpublished for a reason. It was over 600 pages long, the plot moved way too slow, and it was overly complex. But I loved the concept and felt the story itself was solid. When I read history, I often try to imagine what it would be like to go back in time and see these events firsthand. On one of these reading moments, I got the idea for this book. It has elements of time travel involved, but it is definitely not a time travel book.
Two years ago, I pitched it to Revell. They loved the idea, but felt it stretched my “Nicholas Sparks” brand too much. Back in May, I decided with all that’s happening in the publishing world, and this new shift toward indie books, it was a good time to dig it out. I rewrote it over the summer, taking advantage of all the things I’ve learned about writing since the mid-90s.
Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
For one thing, the cover is very different from all my other novels. That was on purpose. While I try to keep the suspense and tension pretty tight in all my books, When Night Comes is my first true suspense book. Meaning, suspense would be its most dominating feature. It has some history in it and strong characters, and definitely some romance, but it also has murder and intrigue. I wanted to cover that would set it apart from the others, but also one that would begin to hint and point at what’s inside.
Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
Most of this novel is fiction. Even the small, southern town of
Georgia, is fictitious. Although we took a research trip through a number of
small Southern college towns to get a feel of what life would be like living
there, we decided creating our own town would give us more freedom. None of the
characters are based on real people. There are several historical things
mentioned in the book, which are based in fact, but even here, the fiction
story overlaps (can’t say anymore without giving too much away).
How much research did you have to do for this book?
Quite a bit. As I said, we researched life in small Southern college towns a lot, wanting to get it right (since we live in a town that’s nothing like this). The historical chapters in the book required countless hours of research. But since I love history, doing this never feels like work.
What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
Although most of When Night Comes takes place in the present, as I mentioned, there are several chapters that take us back to major historical events during WW2. These chapters required the most editing. Mainly because, I wanted to spend much more time there than the average reader would enjoy. Literally, I deleted thousands of words in these chapters, whole sections in fact, to keep the average reader from being bored. My wife always helps me with this. Her tastes along these lines more closely represent the amount of detail most people want to see (too much slows down the pace and detracts from the main story).
What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
Since it is a suspense book, I’d say very little of the content inspired me, other than being stirred by the heroic examples of the real-life people I read about when researching the WW2 scenes.
What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
To be honest, I’m not sure there’s a great deal a reader will take away from this story. It’s more of a fun, clean read. It is written from a Christian worldview, but it doesn’t carry a deep spiritual theme like most of my other novels. Think of it is a typical, secular suspense/thriller, but instead of following some dark, seriously flawed hero who sleeps around and uses profanity, we’re following a decent guy who also happens to be a credible Christian. How would he handle the crisis and challenges presented in the story?
When they finish the last page, I hope readers think about how much fun they had while reading the book, how hard it was to put down (and how much they want to go get another book I’ve written).
What is the next project you’re working on?
The response and success I’m already seeing with When Night Comes has encouraged me to make it the first book in a series. But I won’t be writing Book 2 right away. I still enjoy writing the more “Nicholas Sparks” type books my readers are used to. I’m already 15 chapters into the first book of a new trilogy that will involve a dog as one of the main characters. This first book is called, Rescuing Finley. It’s about how a shelter dog named Finley winds up rescuing two broken souls who think they are rescuing him. A female inmate near the end of her prison sentence and a former Marine corporal struggling with PTSD.
What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
Sometimes I take a break and go online for a while, just to connect with people on the internet (like Facebook and email, etc.). Other times I’ll go for a walk with my dogs. For the last two years, I’ve been doing the cooking in our house (after 36 years of that task being handled by my wife), so sometimes I’ll take off go grocery shopping.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Dead bodies have a way of changing everything.
Sergeant Joe Boyd drove his unmarked car down
toward a possible homicide. He’d heard the officer on site reporting over the
radio, his voice all jittery and pathetic. Sounded like he’d completely lost
it, talking about throwing up and never seeing anything like it. Have a little
dignity, Boyd thought. It was a Saturday morning. Figures it would be a
Saturday, the one day in the week Boyd got to sleep in.
At this point in his career, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to deal with a murder or not. Two months ago, he had been a homicide detective in the relentless, suffocating pace of Zone Five, arguably the toughest precinct in the Pittsburgh PD. He had worked there since coming out of the academy sixteen years ago and didn’t relish the idea of leaving all that excitement to move down here to neighborly little Culpepper, Georgia.
But it was either that or his family. I’m out of here, Kate had said. It’s them or me. Take your pick.
Kate had fallen in love with the town their first drive through. Boyd had to agree, Culpepper seemed like a better place to raise a family, a town the bad guys hadn’t found yet. Since moving, he had been home for dinner more often than not. Started showing up at his son’s Little League games. That was a first. At least three or four nights a week, his daughter could count on daddy reading her a bedtime story. He even made it to church most Sundays.
And now this.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Probably the easiest thing is just to visit my website and check out my homepage. There are buttons there to connect to my blog, send me an email, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. They can find me at: http://www.danwalshbooks.com
Thank you, Dan, for sharing this new book with us. I just started reading it.
Readers, I'm going to interview Dan on the Gate Beautiful Blogtalk Radio Show on Thursday, January 15 from 1:00 to 1:30. Here's the link if you'd like to listen in and learn even more about Dan:
Here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.By Dan Walsh When Night Comes [Paperback]
When Night Comes - Kindle
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