Welcome back, Henry. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
In the writing world, I see myself exploring new genres, like contemporary, fantasy and SciFi. The story ideas God has given me don’t always fit comfortably in the historical genre. I also see my writing finding a place in the general market, not just the Christian market. And I will continue to explore both Indie and traditional publishing. God is opening doors for more teaching opportunities as well as coaching and editing with individuals.
In the non-writing part of my life, God has opened wonderful opportunities to serve in our church, especially in the stewardship ministry.
That’s wonderful. Tell us a little about your family.
My wife and I grew up in
and moved to Texas
nineteen years ago after our kids were grown and out of the home. We have five
children. The oldest is in heaven and the others are scattered from Missouri to New Jersey
to Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Our grandson also lives in New Jersey. So we see
ourselves doing a lot of traveling, especially as more grandchildren come
along. Fortunately, we are blessed with a love of traveling.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I read from two different perspectives. When I read in the genre I write, I’m studying and learning how other authors approach telling their stories. I’m analyzing techniques for ways to improve my own writing.
But I also need to read for fun. So I read genres and subgenres I don’t write in. My fun reading leans towards thrillers and mysteries. I enjoy authors like Michael Connelly and Jacqueline Winspear. Elizabeth George, P.D. James and J.A. Jance are other authors I read for fun. I particularly enjoy Terry Pratchett and his comic fantasies. But even in these fun reads, the writer part of my brain is functioning. It’s learning from these fun reads on a subconscious level.
What are you working on right now?
At this moment, I’m working on a SciFi story. The hero is a hybrid—part human and part android. An explosion on the ship results in him suffering total amnesia, something that has never happened with a hybrid. As he attempts to regain his memory, he learns the explosion was no accident. It was a deliberate attempt to kill him. With the amnesia he has no idea who he can trust as he seeks to prevent another attempt on his life.
What outside interests do you have?
As I mentioned earlier, my wife and I enjoy traveling and we enjoy serving in our church.
movies, concerts, and exploring new restaurants are also on our list of things
How do you choose your settings for each book?
For me, a lot of this is determined by the core idea for the story. In my first novel, Journey to Riverbend, I knew I needed the element of time passing for the story idea to work. It was either going to be SciFi or historical. I chose historical because I was more comfortable with the genre at the time.
The idea behind another of my novels deals with grief and loss. As the idea formed, I knew it would work best in a contemporary setting because of the issues the main characters would face.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Jesus is the most obvious person for the most obvious reasons.
Jesus is the most obvious person for the most obvious reasons.
After Him, I would choose Paul. His life is so rich. I want to hear him speak of how he suffered and survived so much persecution and how he continued to teach, preach, and write letters full of love for Christ and for the church. And for his enemies. To me, he exemplifies the Christian walk in the middle of attack and turmoil and in living out Christ in everyday life.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How hard it was going to be. Not just the physical act of writing or the efforts necessary to get published. But learning and practicing all aspects of the craft as well. It takes hard work to become the best writer we can possibly be. But, maybe if I knew this, I wouldn't have tried. And that would have been one of my biggest regrets.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
He’s teaching me to trust and rely on him more, to develop a more personal, more intimate relationship.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
First, pray and meditate. Make sure God is calling you to write. Pray every day over your writing to use this gift to encourage and support your readers, and to convey his truth through your characters and settings and plots.
Second, write. Every day if possible but as often as you can. Make it a habit, like eating. Schedule time to write. I’ve often said, you will never find the time to write, you have to make it. To paraphrase Jack London, you can’t wait for the time to write. You have to go after it with a club. Part of this is learning the craft. Read books on writing, attend conferences, find a critique group that will help you grow, pray for a mentor to come alongside you.
Third, develop a thick skin as Jerry B. Jenkins calls it. We grow as writers when we are able to accept and process criticism so we can improve our craft.
Tell us about the featured book.
Riverbend Reunion is the third book in my Riverbend Sagas series. In this one, Michael Archer learns the past has a way of catching up with you even when you think it’s dead and buried.
Michael and Rachel are settling into their life as newlyweds, and Michael is in a new job resolving problems caused by shady land deals done by Sam Carstairs before he died. Michael is uncovering layers of corruption when he receives a mysterious and cryptic summons from the sister he hasn’t seen in years to return to their home, but she can’t tell him why.
After some deep soul searching, he and Rachel decide to return to the farm where he spent his first thirteen years, the farm where he stabbed his father with a pitchfork and fled. What he discovers there forces him to make choices to confront his past, choices that may cost him his future with Rachel.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Here you go:
Friday, September 1, 1865
Ellie Archer’s hands tightened on the trowel as she cringed at the sound of her father’s open hand striking her mother’s face. She knelt in the small flower garden under the open kitchen window.
“This cornbread is stale.” Her father’s slurred words spilled out the window.
Ellie dropped the trowel, squeezed her eyes shut. Her hands formed tight fists over her ears, but the sounds still came.
“I told you I want fresh cornbread with my breakfast.”
Breakfast? It’s almost noon.
A plate shattered against the wall, a shard spun out the window, landing in front of Ellie’s knees.
“Levi. No.” Her mother’s wail stabbed Ellie’s heart.
A different sound now. A hard thud. A fist this time. Something fell to the floor. Her mother’s body, a sound she’d heard all too often.
“Get up.” Another deep thud, more muffled. The sound of her father’s boot hitting her mother’s soft flesh brought tears to Ellie’s eyes.
“Never mind. I’ll get Ellie. She takes better care of me than you ever could.”
The barn. Hide in the barn until he passes out. Again.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.henrymclaughlin.org/
I’m also on Facebook at Henry on Facebook
Thank you, Henry, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers are eager to read it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Riverbend Reunion: Book 3 in the Riverbend Sagas Series - paperback
Riverbend Reunion (Riverbend Sagas Book 3) - Kindle
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