Welcome, Sammy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There’s probably a little of myself in each of my characters. Because I’m viewing life through my own world perspective, a little of me comes out in each of the characters. However, as much as possible, I attempt to write life situations through the eyes of others.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I walked with six others across
America, pushing a wheelbarrow
filled with Bibles. We passed out the Bibles and held rallies on university
campuses in 1970.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I returned from traveling in
Romania in the mid 1980s and knew
that what I had witnessed in the nation needed to be shared. I approached Moody
Press with an idea about a book on what I had learned. They were open to the
idea, and I wrote my first book, Fire in
Your Heart. It did well, and I knew writing would be a part of my life and
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
With nonfiction, I read a lot of the classic books on Christian living. I enjoy the depth of writers during the 1800s and early 1900s. I, also, enjoy Jerry B. Jenkins and Brandilyn Collins writings in Christian fiction and have read their latest books. I am, also, a big John Grisham fan.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I attempt to maintain a consistent time alone with God, reading His word and spending time in prayer each morning. I find that I am able to accomplish much more with less time if I’ve spent time with God.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
With my present novel, Twice a Slave, ninety percent of my characters were historical personalities. I had a pretty good handle on the times and the persons involved in the story. That made it fairly easy. I had a much more difficult time choosing names for the novel I’m presently writing. For it, I chose names that were uncommon but not completely unknown. I tried to find a name that fit the character’s personality.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Speaking at the first outdoor stadium evangelistic event in
after the Romanian Revolution.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A lamb. I like the gentle character of the lamb.
What is your favorite food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
In Twice a Slave, there were several historical circumstances and events that didn’t make sense. However, I checked with experts in those areas and found that even though those events were unusual, they were explainable. It took a lot of digging to find the right experts who knew the answers to those difficult questions.
Tell us about the featured book.
Twice a Slave is the story of a Cherokee slave, a forbidden romance, and tragedies that build faith. One man who is determined to find his purpose and discover his identity becomes a slave a second time and changes the course of history in
Joseph Willis is one of the most fascinating, yet unknown personalities in
Evangelical history. He was born into slavery before the American Revolution,
the son of a Cherokee mother and an English father who faced incredible
difficulties. His story is timeless and inspires the modern heart to overcome
insecurities, conquer prejudice between believers and insurmountable obstacles
that unsettle the faithful. Even though Joseph's life was threatened because of
his race and faith, he became the first Protestant to preach the gospel west of
the Mississippi River. This is a novel based
on the life of an unknown slave filled with drama, suspense, love, defeat, and
ultimately triumph, an epic all can cheer for.
Please give us the first page of the book.
October 1, 1852
Paw told me not to worry when he and Maw climbed into the family wagon before dawn to head for Blanche to buy supplies. They were leaving me to help Grandpa get ready to speak at the big meetin’. “He’ll be all right, Polk,” Paw said. “We’ll be home in a couple of hours.”
But he didn’t know. Didn’t know I’d get the fright of my life. Didn’t know what I’d be told.
Grandpa was real old, seriously old. Nobody knew exactly how old, because people like him didn’t know, but Paw said he was past ninety. It seemed like everybody expected Grandpa — church folks called him Father Willis — to die any minute. But Paw said they’d been saying that for twenty years. I just hoped it wouldn’t happen when it was only me at home.
A few minutes before Maw and Paw were s’posed to be back home, Rube, an old freed slave, rode up asking if Grandpa was ready to go to the meetin’.
I shook my head. “Paw told me he’d be awake before the rooster crowed, but he ain’t moved a muscle.”
Rube’s eyes grew wide. “Your Paw told me to git the other wagon ready so’s I could tote you and Father Willis to Evergreen behind them in the buckboard. You don’t think somethin’s a-happened to him?”
“We gotta wake him! Right now. Your maw is gonna be mighty upset if he’s not ready to go when they get back.”
Rube and I hurried off to Grandpa’s bedroom and found him on his back, eyes closed, not moving, his face as gray and cold as the blade on Paw’s old knife. We tiptoed to Grandpa’s bed and bent over him, and Rube whispered, “Lord Jesus, have mercy.”
“You think he’s dead?”
“Yessuh, for shor.”
It took all the courage I could muster, but I leaned close to Grandpa’s face and lifted one of his eyelids with my trembling fingers. Fighting back tears, I said, “Yep, he’s dead.”
“What you doing, boy?” Grandpa bellowed, flinching at my touch.
I jumped so high I thought I would hit the ceiling. Rube screamed and fell on his back, and I landed on top of him, our arms and legs tangling as we just kept turnin’ over each other, slapping and kicking and hollering until Grandpa sat up and yelled, “Stop it!”
Old Rube finally gathered himself from the floor and bowed his head. “I’m sorry, Father Willis. We thought you was dead.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Sammy, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers well be as interested as I am in this story.Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
TWICE A SLAVE - Amazon
Twice a Slave - Kindle
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