I started writing suspense fiction because that was the kind of book that I wanted to read. I love reading authors such as James Rollins, Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly, Robert Ludlum, and even Dan Brown. The issue I kept having (especially when it came to Mr. Brown’s novels) was that while the stories were thrilling and adventurous, there were sometimes values and worldviews antithetical to my Christian beliefs. I decided I would try my hand at writing the kind of novel that I wanted to read, one high on thrills but also deep in theology.
I would also say I write the books I do because I love the work of storytelling. It’s so much fun to create a cast of characters, put them in life-threatening situations, and then see what happens as a result. While I’m always ultimately in charge of how the story plays out, I’ve been amazed at how often the characters take on a life of their own and surprise me with how they influence the direction of the plot.
That often happens to me, too. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day! My wife, Jae, and I will be celebrating our 15-year anniversary this year and without a doubt every year has been better than the last. She is a big part of the reason I’ve pursued a career in fiction. In fact, I was writing character profiles for a novel that I eventually wrote but never published on our plane ride home from our honeymoon.
The day we were married was hectic, like most, but an incredible experience shared with many friends and family. We were married in front of a beautiful country home that would be the future site of a church that I would eventually work for, with the reception taking place in an exquisite tree-lined courtyard under tents.
How has being published changed your life?
I’ve never been busier! I still work a full-time job that does not involve writing fiction (oh, how authors long to be able to do just that!), and on top of that, I still serve with my local church, coach sports for my sons, and generally spend time with my family and friends. So I have to be very deliberate when locking myself away to write, not to mention the extra time spent now participating in interviews and working on other marketing opportunities for my novels.
One thing that has been fun to have happen is having readers reach out and connect over their love for fiction. Taking the time to build those connections has been one of the more rewarding aspects of being published. Hearing what draws them into stories and how they’ve particularly enjoyed my novels is time worth spent!
What are you reading right now?
I’m in the middle of two non-fiction books at the moment. The first is a book by James K.A. Smith called You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit. It’s a great book about how the object of our worship shapes our hearts and therefore our daily practices. While the emphasis in the book is on how proper worship can inform discipleship, there is so much practical application for individual Christian formation as well.
The other book I’m reading is South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History by John W. Gordon. This one is research for a potential story that has been brewing in my mind for the better part of a year. While my story has to do with a particular historical figure, the book is a good primer on the political and military background of the Revolution in
What is your current work in progress?
I just wrapped up the first draft of the third novel in the Shepherd Suspense series, Right Cross. We’ll go through several editing phases in the coming months before that book will be ready to print.
As I look ahead to the next novel I would like to write, I’m also interested in working on the craft of screenwriting. I’ve had several opportunities to write scripts for shorter form projects through my current employer, but I’m also very interested in finishing a longer form script at some point in the coming year.
Screenwriting is a totally different kind of writing. I should know, since I also write screenplays. What would be your dream vacation?
I had the opportunity to spend time in
Spain, during a trip to
capture stories of local church pastor training and education and fell in love
with that area of Europe. My dream vacation would
be to return to
and spend time on the coast. Spain
Another dream of mine is to travel the Mediterranean coast visiting famous biblical sites in
Israel, and . I have a
particular interest in biblical archeology and would jump at the chance to
visit and perhaps even work at an archaeological site somewhere in Egypt . Israel
How do you choose your settings for each book?
It’s a combination of both writing about places I’ve visited but also choosing the best location for the story I’m inspired by. One of the ways I form a plot for a novel is to read about real life events and then imagine what that event (or some facsimile of that event) would have been like for my characters to be involved in. In some instances, I can transplant the story from one location to another that I would prefer to write about, but other times the plot may dictate the location based on real life criteria (CIA training grounds, called The Farm, located in
, for instance). Virginia
I also have a list of real-world locations that I’ve got in my back pocket in case they happen to work for a storyline in the future. I’m drawn to not only interesting natural locations but also to manmade towns and structures that may have been well known in history but have fallen into disrepair or forgotten entirely.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
This is a great question. There’s so many great people to choose! Off the top of my head, someone I would love to spend an evening with is Bear Grylls. I’m a huge fan of his shows and have always want to think of myself as someone who would be a capable survivalist (not that I’ve ever come close to finding that out, haha). I would love to just hear stories from Bear’s past and maybe get some practical tips on how to survive in a wilderness.
Not only that, but I’ve read his faith plays an important role in his life. I would love to not only hear his life stories but talk about the balance of life and faith that he has had to achieve as well. I’m sure most people may choose theologians (I had many names), other fiction authors, or celebrities (Chris Pratt, right? I guess Bear might count as one), but I kind of loved the idea of having an evening with a true-life adventurer since he is exactly the kind of character I like to write about!
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I’m very much into sports, football in particular, and not only spectate but also coach my sons’ teams. Spending time with family is a priority, and we love a variety of shared activities such as taking walks, having NERF gun battles, competing in Mario Kart competitions, and playing board and card games. A hobby for me and my wife involves visiting as many of the local coffee shops in our area as many times as possible!
I am also very involved in church. I teach an elementary-age boys’ small group, lead teach for all age groups in the children’s ministry, and co-lead a home group of adults with my wife. Throw in the 9-5 job, and my week gets filled pretty quickly!
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
It’s an obstacle that is both frustrating but also necessary. Often when I’m writing, I will reach a point where I need to stop and make sure I’ve got something right. This requires research, and I like to be thorough. Now, that might not sound like an obstacle, but I’m usually tight on time when I’m writing and trying to cram in a lot of work in a short period. So sometimes it can feel like my scheduled writing time was a waste when I don’t have as many words to show for it.
At the same time, this is an incredibly important part of writing. To get through this obstacle, I have to constantly remind myself that the time is not a loss. Even if I didn’t get as far as I would have liked, the time I spent making sure what I was writing was correct would have needed to be spent ultimately either now or later. It’s nice to be well researched before you begin, but there are always new things to discover along the way!
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Writing a novel is as much learning the craft as it is being inspired. Like every beginning author, I spent a lot of time researching publishers and agents while I was still in the early stages of learning how to even write. I still blush over having pitched incomplete and weakly written novels to editors at conferences! So don’t do your homework on how to get published until you’ve done your homework on how to write fiction.
Read books on how to write fiction, and also read the kind of fiction books you want to write. Find writing groups you can engage with. These can be local chapters or people you meet as a part of a writing conference. And, most importantly, practice! Write as much as you can. I always find that doing something is the quickest way to learn. What you need to remember though is that published authors will often have a novel that they wrote in the beginning that wasn’t published. So don’t worry the first one being perfect, just set out to finish it!
Tell us about the featured book.
Cross Shadow is the follow up to my debut novel, A Cross to Kill, and is the second book in the Shepherd Suspense Series by Kregel Publications. In the first book, we are introduced to journalist Christine Lewis and John Cross, the man who rescued her from an execution by terrorists. Christine sets out on a mission to discover who John is, only to be surprised to learn that he is a former CIA assassin now serving as the pastor of a small country church. John’s past doesn’t stay hidden for long, however, and soon his idyllic life comes crashing down around him threatening to take Christine along with it.
Cross Shadow picks up Christine and John’s story the following year from the explosive ending of A Cross to Kill. They are trying to make a long-distance relationship work, but things become even more tense when Christine leaves John behind as she sets off toward
to investigate a murder charge against her stepbrother. Things are not what they
seem, and before long both she and John are pulled into a web of conspiracy
that is more dangerous than either could have imagined. Dallas, Texas
Please give us the first page of the book.
A brisk wind prompted Christine Lewis to draw her coat tighter as she exited the headquarters of the North American Broadcasting Channel and joined the herd of
natives and tourists mingling in the
open-air plaza out front. Pushing past a group of senior citizens organizing a
photo op in front of the network gift shop, she picked up her pace and trotted
through the New
York City Forty-Ninth Street
crosswalk just as time expired on the pedestrian signal.
The plaza access street between Forty-Ninth and Forty-Eighth offered a quaint block length of traffic-free asphalt perfect for a pleasant lunchtime stroll, but her meeting with her cameraman, Mike, had run over and she didn’t want to miss the
Sixth Avenue Express car arriving in six minutes.
His excitement over covering a Russian tanker detained by the coast guard did
nothing to distract her from her impending clandestine meeting.
Even as she marched toward the intersection, she couldn’t help but imagine any number of scenarios of how her resignation would impact the network. Mike an exception, most of her coworkers wouldn’t care. Her boss, Steven Jacobs, would be furious, but when wasn’t he when things didn’t go his way?
Janeen would want to come with her, but Christine didn’t expect United News Network to accept terms that included full-time jobs for best friends. Still, maybe the door would open. Someday. A pit formed in her stomach as she pictured Janeen’s reaction to the news of Christine’s departure. She pushed the emotional farewell from her mind and searched for a happier face to picture.
Interesting! How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can read more about me and my novels and sign up for my e-mail list by visiting my author website: www.andrewhuffbooks.com. I’m also very active on my author Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/huffwrites. You can also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/andrewjohnhuff as well as on Instagram at www.instagram.com/andyhuff.
Thank you, Andrew, for sharing this second novel in the series with my blog readers and me. Your first page really pulled me into the story.
Readers, here are links to the book.Cross Shadow - Christianbook.com
Cross Shadow (Shepherd Suspense) - Amazon Paperback
Cross Shadow (A Shepherd Suspense Novel Book 2) - Kindle
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