Welcome back, Roger. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write Christian fiction because that’s what I most enjoy reading. Now, if you’re asking about my specific genre, I should explain that my first two books are considered Young Adult because they have an eighteen-year-old protagonist. Nonetheless, men and women seem to enjoy them as much as teens. I don’t think of myself as a YA author. Not primarily, anyhow. I have several unpublished manuscripts that fall into the category of contemporary women’s literature and one that’s “speculative fiction.” About spiritual warfare. And because I have a weird sense of humor, I’m apt to use humor a lot in my writing.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I married Kathleen. This is a second marriage for both of us. We’ll celebrate our eighth anniversary on November 4, and we still feel like newlyweds.
Actually, after almost 47 years, James and I sometimes feel like newlyweds, too. How has being published changed your life?
When I go to Christian writers conferences, unpublished writers look at me with admiration. Receiving respect from one’s peers is important, but even more so my being in a position to advise and encourage them. Being published has also given me a special relationship with local bookstore staff. I can’t say that people recognize me walking down the street or that I see my seatmate on a plane reading one of my books, but those things would give me a charge. I get the biggest charge, however, from knowing that my books are in the hands of thousands of people whose lives I’ll never have the opportunity to touch spiritually in person.
What are you reading right now?
Bill Myers was a speaker at the writers retreat I just came back from. I’m reading his book, Eli, which is a fictitious “What if Jesus had come during the 20th century instead of in New Testament times?” I’m only forty pages or so into it, but I’m hooked. He’s as good a writer as he was a speaker and teacher.
I loved that book What is your current work in progress?
I’m writing a novel for teen boys now. Misfits is about a pair of misfit preacher’s kids who start such a rocking nonconformist movement that even the in crowd is begging to join. I’m 70,000 words into the rough draft and anticipate 20-30,000 more. Thank goodness, Harry Potter helped get teens into reading longer novels. After writing so many books from a girl’s/woman’s point of view, it’s kind of weird writing as a guy again.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve been to
on a number of mission trips and a couple of personal ones, but always with
limited time and an even more limited amount of money. I’ve never made it any
further west than the Blue Mountains. So I’d love to take Kathleen back to Oz
with enough time and money to visit other parts of the country. Australia
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Because Found in Translation was loosely based on my daughter’s mission trip to
setting took care of itself. I needed to return Kim to Mexico in Lost in Dreams because that made it easier to include
one of the other characters from Found in
Translation. My place settings aren’t always that important. Many of my
manuscripts can take place anywhere. But they’re all contemporary. I don’t
think I’d be good at trying to recreate something from an earlier period in
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
With the elections coming up next year and the Republicans determined to remove Mr. Obama from the White House, I’d really like to meet Herman Cain. He seems to have a number of good ideas, but I’d like to chat with him about his plans rather than simply listen to speeches and debates.
I find the debates much too artificial, so I'd love that, too. I'd like to visit individually with a couple of the candidates. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Music. I play guitar and sing, and I write my own Christian songs. I have a small digital recording setup in my music room, and you can listen to some of my songs at the Read/Listen tab on my website. My other favorite hobby is photography. Our living room walls are lined with pictures I took on various trips to
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I’m a perfectionist, and my biggest obstacle is making myself accept that I’ve done all I know how to do to make a manuscript excellent—and in calling it “Done!” I have to remind myself that it’s probably good enough for the right publisher not to reject—and that further positive changes will be up to the editor.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t try to get published too soon. It takes years to learn the craft of writing sufficiently well to get your first book published and a lifetime to keep improving and continuing to be published. My first published book, Found in Translation, won a novel competition in 2006, but it took another three years for it to become publishable. Thanks to James Scott Bell, I ended up cutting those precious, original first fifty pages and writing a new beginning. But that, in the words of Robert Frost, has made all the difference.
Tell us about the featured book.
Lost in Dreams is a continuation of Found in Translation. On the way home from her mission trip to Mexico, Kim arrives in Atlanta to find that a horrible disaster has taken place. She feels responsible, and periodic nightmares highlight a prolonged period of guilt and depression. The prospect of a mission trip to California helps to restore her, but she still has a number of issues to deal with, especially regarding her relationship with her father.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Kim! Look out!”
Aleesha’s scream almost gave me a heart attack as it split the early afternoon lull and reverberated throughout the Skyfly Departures Terminal at
. San Diego International
Before I could figure out what I was supposed to look out for, my feet started sliding gracelessly across the floor. Was this one of those
earthquakes I’d heard so much
But how could it be when I seemed to be the only object shaking or moving?
As I teetered and tottered to maintain my balance, I felt like a pedestrian who’s stepped on an unexpected patch of icy sidewalk. . .and never stopped sliding.
I didn’t have a chance to think about protecting the arm I’d broken in
a couple of weeks earlier. I
was too concerned with not breaking my neck this time. Mexico
Just as I stopped skating out of control and started regaining my stability, I made the mistake of shifting my weight the tiniest bit. That motion offset my center of gravity just enough to make both feet shoot out from under me. Although Aleesha had gotten close enough to grasp my unbroken arm, she couldn’t hold on to it.
I wish I could say her valiant effort served as a parachute slowing my fall, but truth be known, I probably more closely resembled a jumper whose chute has failed to open.
From a speeding, out-of-control vertical position to splattered-flat-on-the-floor in 3.353 seconds. That would be a new record for any accident-prone eighteen-year-old. It was for me.
“Ow.” Good girl, Kim. No cursing. God cured you of that in Santa María.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can find me at www.RogerBruner.com . I just put a contact form on the Contact Me tab, so they won’t even have to send email if they want to get in touch with me. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you, Roger, for the interesting interview.
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