Thursday, January 28, 2010
Fifteen years old at Central Baptist Church in Pampa Texas. I was most influenced by a godly mother and a Sunday School teacher. I had really reached a decision long before that but was so shy that it took a terrific effort to get me out to walk down that aisle.
How did you and your spouse meet?
At church when we were in high school. We went steady for years breaking up later after I went to college. Dumbest thing I ever did. We ended up back together 30 years later and have been married 17 years now.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
I’m assuming they don’t have to be living authors. First and foremost would be Paul to help me with faith content, Max Lucado to help me learn to write inspirationally, Louie L’Amour to show me how you continue to reach the common man and dominate book shelves years after your death, and Jerry Jenkins to show me how to write a bestseller. I’ll be at a conference with two of these in February.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
My speaking ministry is writing related, tied to being a literary agent. I do a couple of writing conferences a month and fill in around it with programs in libraries, schools, bookstores, churches, etc.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
In high school I had a little bit of a problem and had to make a fast trip to the restroom. It was during class and I had it to myself. I did not know I had ducked into the wrong one until I started hearing all of these high pitched voices. No way I was coming out of that stall. I pulled my feet up and waited them out. After the bell rang I was late for my next class but went undiscovered. I learned a lot from the conversation that day.
I'm sure you did. Probably helps you with the female characters you write. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I hear it every time there is a booksigning or I do a program. Or there is even a better version where they look at you and say “I could write a better book than this.” I always tell everyone who wants to write to do it. Get it out of their system. Not all will be good enough to be published, but there is no down side. The worst thing that can happen is you have some great stories to pass to your family.
Tell us about the featured book?
Please give us the first page of the book.
1879 Santa Fe Trail
A wagon leaving the safety of a wagon train to strike out by itself is a lonesome sight.
Its occupants, Patrick and Janie Benedict were headed west in an old Conestoga that complained at every bump and jolt in the road. The wheels squealed a high-pitched, irritating sound. Still, it was marginally dependable. More dependable were the four Missouri mules, which drew it, depending on their mood and disposition at the moment.
The young couple looked the part, him tall and handsome with the sincere brown eyes appropriate for a young minister. The prairie heat made shirtsleeves mandatory and he peered out from under a flat-brimmed black hat indicative of those who pursued the avocation of a circuit-riding preacher.
His bride of only a year sat next to him, simply clad in a checked dress and plain white bonnet. Her hair peeked out from the bonnet and lit up scarlet red when the sun touched it. Both their faces were brighter from the barely contained excitement and enthusiasm than from the rays of the hot summer sun.
They made the trek west because Patrick had been called to the ministry. More specifically, he had felt himself called to do missionary work in what he referred to as the wild, wild west. Not that he had to go so far to find sinners; there was certainly more sin right there in certain sections of St. Louis than would be found in the entire west.
Yet many of his seminary classmates knew that in the secret compartments of his mind, Patrick saw himself in a saintly pose, surrounded by a throng of half naked savages kneeling about him as he converted them in droves by the power of his magnificent oratory. Such ambitious visions were certainly encouraged at the seminary.
Still, some of his teachers thought him very naive. Others thought him to be headstrong while the more optimistic conceded he had a unique evangelistic drive. The term the wagonmaster came up with when a couple of young people still in their twenties left the train alone was . . . well . . . to be truthful . . . stupid.
Quite a distance back up the wagon trail, pint-sized Ruben Dunn had his own ideas. He had these ideas on virtually any subject you could name, and he didn't mind sharing them with anyone inclined to listen.
Ruben's alter ego and long-time saddle mate was a tall drink of water by the name of Frank Walker. Had Frank ever been caught asleep at the wrong place, someone might have mistakenly used him to try and repair a length of split rail fence. Frank had dark hair that defied any comb in existence, chocolate brown eyes, and was unfailingly good humored and easygoing.
More important, and absolutely essential to have a friendship with Ruben, he knew his own mind and did not feel it necessary to debate various points with his confident, but diminutive companion. Once Frank made up his mind, he simply went ahead and did what he wanted without much, if any, discussion.
I like the western sound to the words. I'll be glad to get my copy. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website which includes a blog, bookstore, and huge library of writing tips is at http://www.terryburns.net/ - I can also be found at the Hartline site http://www.hartlineliterary.com/ or the Hartline blog at http://hartlineliteraryagency.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Terry, for sharing part of your life with us.
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