Dear Readers, Mike
Brown is back with his newly revised, second edition of this book.
Welcome back, Mike. God
has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
More than ever, God wakes me every morning with a vision for
what he has in store for another day. I believe God allowed me to take early
retirement four years ago so that I could begin the arduous process of crafting
and promoting my Southern novels. Each story provides a God-centered thread
dealing with the connection between our perseverance and God's providence, and
the choices we can face with every twist and turn that life brings our way.
Until God inspires otherwise, my colorful family of characters and their small
South Georgia hometown of Shiloh will provide
ample opportunities to write more books.
When I sense the need to get away from behind my writing
desk, I participate at various author events sponsored by the Atlanta Writers
Club, the oldest and largest literary group in Atlanta. I also am finding my schedule
including more speaking engagements to encourage aspiring authors in the
promotion and marketing of their published works. Some wonderfully gifted
creative writers morph into “wallflowers” when it comes to talking about their
books. Whether interacting with agents, editors, publishers, book retailers,
and most importantly readers, authors can help themselves by confronting their
fears and grow more confident communicating about their books.
Beyond novel writing, as my schedule allows, I am updating,
editing, and compiling the best of my inspirational blog posts and sermons,
written over the past fifteen plus years, and hope to publish a couple of books
dealing with our daily relationship with God. I have found that many believers
far too often focus on battling with others over “book-end issues” (birth and
death of Jesus; Creation and End-Times of Mankind) and ignore the bridge we can
build discussing the practical, relational teachings of Jesus. If we could
rediscover and apply those core Gospel teachings to our day-to-day lives, we
would experience far less strife and stress in our relationships with others.
The other focus I feel compelled to share is the need for every believer to not
only know what they believe but also why they believe what they do.
Tell us a little
about your family.
My wife and I have been married forty-five years this
summer. We have two sons who have provided us with three grandchildren in Ohio and two in Georgia. My wife and I enjoy
staying busy, but we pace and plan book events and speaking engagements around
spending quality time with our family whenever possible. God has manifested a
burden upon my heart for my grandchildren. They are the why behind what I do
Has your writing
changed your reading habits? If so, how?
You cannot be a productive writer if you do not read. Since
I began writing novels, my reading list has shifted to authors I admire the
most and who write in the similar genre as I write. I confess my wife still out
reads me about 4:1, but I keep a stack of TBR novels on my bedside table. I
read a broad mix of well-known authors like John Grisham, Nicolas Sparks,
Charles Martin, Ricky Bragg, Terry Kay, and others, but I also intermingle
books from local authors - always making sure to offer a review.
What are you working
on right now?
This year is off to a fast-paced start. The revised 2nd Edition
of my first novel, Sanctuary (April 2017, Deeds), just got released as Sanctuary
- A Legacy of Memories (January 2018, Palmetto Publishing). My publisher also
is busy getting the sequel, Testament
- An Unexpected Return, ready for its launch in late March. As time permits,
the drafting of my third novel in the series, Purgatory - A Progeny’s Quest is
underway, and I hope to have it ready for a 2019 launch.
interests do you have?
Grandkids! And some personal bucket-list travel for my wife
and I to enjoy while we can.
How do you choose
your settings for each book?
That’s the advantage of a series. I took my time developing
my South Georgia town of Shiloh
and its cast of characters. I chose its locale in Southwest Georgia because my
wife and I lived there when I served as pastor of a small country church and
before that my business career allowed me to travel regularly through the rural
towns and backroads of South Georgia. My wife
and I now live outside of Newnan, Georgia, less than an hour southwest of Atlanta and its historical Court Square provided much of
the model for the Shiloh’s Town Square depicted in the story. And, I
serendipitously stumbled across the tragic fire photos of Sparta, Georgia’s
famous antebellum courthouse. When I visited this historic town while writing
Sanctuary, I fell in love with this time-lost city struggling to keep up with
all the 21st-Century changes. After seeing it resurrected from the ashes two years
later, meticulously replicating the original courthouse, I decided to get
permission to use it on the cover and in my book.
Should I decide to pick another backdrop for a future book,
my wife and I already have discussed using St.SimonsIsland.
We both love the storied homes, shops and of course the landmark lighthouse.
Yep, before I hang up my author’s hat, you can count on at least one story
as the setting. I might even invest several weeks, maybe months there before
writing a compelling seaside mystery there.
If you could spend an
evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Well, I’m a theology and history major. Picking one person
poses a challenge, but I guess I’d pick Nicodemus. No one person had a more
inquisitive viewpoint on the life and teachings of Jesus. He also could shed
much light on what took place between Jesus’ death and when the disciples
discovered the empty tomb. I believe he also played a significant role
afterward supporting the early growth of the Christian community. I’d also ask
him about his Sanhedrin colleague, Joseph of Arimathea. Both sacrificed so
much, but have been the source of much speculation over the centuries.
What is the one thing
you wish you had known before you started writing novels?The process of
publishing and promoting books. Authors today must invest so much time and
resources to market their books in the wake of today’s sea of books. An author
must remain acutely aware of the ever-changing marketplace and keep a clear
vision on the publishing path his or her book needs to take.
What new lessons is
the Lord teaching you right now?
Patience, perseverance, and persistence, because I am more
acutely aware that all things happen in His timing, not mine; for His purposes,
not mine. Likewise, humility has a new meaning to me because I know without
question that everything I have accomplished has its genesis through His
inspiration and handiwork, not mine.
What are the three
best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Phew. I am still defining what it means to be successful
myself. But, I have learned this:
1. If you started writing to make lots of money, you would
likely be very disappointed.
2. You will reach and impact far more people through your
books than you will ever personally meet or speak to, so take care of the
message readers will take away from reading your book. It not only reflects on
you but also your relationship with God.
3. Your book will leave a lasting legacy about who you were.
What will your grandchildren and their children say about the content of your
books? Will they share stories about you and what you stood for as an author?
The value of one’s legacy is measured by the extent of time what you left
behind is preserved and passed on to future generations.
Tell us about the
Sanctuary - A Legacy of Memories, between now and late March my
focus will be on continuing to promote my first novel with its revised edition
preparing the way for the sequel. In this opening story, retired publishing
executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife, Liddy, move from the shadows of Atlanta and return to their South
Georgia roots. Theo is recruited by the local paper's publisher to
write special-interest stories, which leads Theo to explore questions about the
tragic death of a town hero. However, he uncovers that scandal and dark secrets
have fractured Shiloh's otherwise time-lost tranquility and their plans to
peacefully retire in their home of local notoriety takes an unexpected turn
that impacts others in Shiloh.
Please give us the
first page of the book.
Until three years ago, the former Adams County Courthouse
had proudly stood since the Civil War as the landmark in Shiloh.
After the powers-to-be transferred the county seat to Alexandria
during the Depression, the majestic edifice underwent renovation to appease the
folks in Shiloh and became the town’s city
hall. The elegant lady had worn her nostalgic brick and stone exterior well,
but the makeover had been superficial.
Questions have lingered since city officials reported the
fire as accidental, cause unknown.
* * *
A prolonged Indian summer gripped Georgia. Though already the first
Sunday of November, hot and humid weather more suitable for early September
caused sweat to trickle unabated down my neck dampening the collar of the fresh
cotton polo I had just yanked over my head. The moving truck had pulled away
while Liddy patiently watched from her passenger window. I walked up the
sidewalk one last time and locked the front door of the colonial brick suburban
house we had called home for the past seven years.
I jumped into the driver’s seat, buckled up, squeezed the
hand of my wife of forty years, and then reached for the gear shift. “Any
Liddy raised her window and turned her gaze straight ahead
as a silly smirk appeared. “Nope, Let’s roll! We’ve got a moving truck to meet
in Shiloh tomorrow.”
My foot then slid from the brake to the accelerator, and our
Expedition jolted forward with the packed trailer in tow. Liddy stared straight
ahead for the first few minutes. She caressed the manila envelope stuffed with
photos, brochures, and paperwork about the house we contracted to purchase for
our retirement, but soon dozed off after we turned south onto US Highway 19. I
settled in for the long afternoon drive to our destination an hour below Albany.
The all-too-familiar gated communities and shopping centers
ever-present shadow faded in my rearview mirror. I snapped a farewell salute as
we passed Cornerstone Books where I served as chief publishing editor until one
week ago. The historic highway narrowed as the scenic panorama of autumn colors
revealed more and more farms, fields and forests along the landmark route.
Thank you, Mike, for
sharing this new edition with us. Readers, leave a comment for a chance
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