Save A Prayer: Author Paul W. Meier Chats To Nick Wale

Paul W. Meier sat down with me for a second interview. (Please see the first interview here.) This one was as fascinating as the first– we really wanted to expand our conversation and I really want you to know how great this guy is. I discovered that not only was he an excellent writer, he is also a great human being and a very forward thinking and compassionate guy. I present Paul W. Meier to you again and I hope you are all listening for that voice in your gut—that’s the voice you need to hear.

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Q) Hi again, Paul! So tell me what did you think of the last interview?

A) Great! It went places I never expected.

Q) That’s the way with me! So let’s talk about you as a person. What do you like to do for recreation?

A) I’m just now trying to find that out. In the last year, I’ve been working on getting four books out. Two were 80% written before the year started, and then two shorter books I put together during the year. Now that I’ve gotten those out of the way, I think I’ll have some time to go fishing – that’s my recreation. My wife and I are also catching up on some movies. We hadn’t seen any new ones in a long time, so they’re still new to us.

Q) How does it feel to have written four books? That’s an achievement in itself.

A) It’s a relief to get them done. I wanted to have several available so that my blogging and other activities might be more useful. The best part is that I learned more than anyone about the stuff I was writing as I wrote them.

Q) How about your congregation? Have they been supportive?

A) Very much so. They are an incredibly loving and generous group of people. It helps that the research I do for my sermons is much of what I include in my books, so the two activities go hand in hand.

Q) Tell me– how are the books doing? Are you reaching a strong audience?

A) I’ve had a good two weeks since the release of my new book. I’ve done some specific marketing for them because Lent begins on Feb. 13 and two of them will make good devotional books for the season – Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther and O Taste and See. I put together a plan on how to use each of them that can be downloaded from my website for free.

Q) I received an interesting question through my Contact Me page that the writer requested be passed onto you. Does God hear every prayer?

A) Of course. According to the New Testament, we are temples of the living God. God dwells within us. How else would God be able to know our heart? We just forget to look for God within…that’s usually where many of the answers to our prayers lie anyway.

Q) How would someone without any religious education find God within?

A) The same way the Himalayan masters find the Source that Christians call God. The same way people who have never been able to read have found God through the centuries– meditation, prayer, spending time in the quiet. Remember that religious education is simply that, teaching about what someone else thinks about God. You still have to choose whether you agree with them or not. Not enough people think they have permission to think for themselves.

Q) It’s interesting that you mention people following rather than thinking. Have you always had the ability to think for yourself? Or have you learnt that quality?

A) I trusted what others told me for fifty years. That’s when I began the practice of centering prayer and it changed my whole theology and life. It did lead me into spiritual leadership in the Christian faith because I had to start where I was. I think that’s how the Spirit teaches us and moves us along at the pace we are willing and able to hear. Writing my first two books was all about my learning who God is and giving myself permission to disagree where religion didn’t make sense.

Q) So what didn’t make sense to you about religion?

A) The question I always had was this: Why does Jesus’ Father not look much like the God of the Old Testament? They don’t have the same characteristics or personality. Jesus said God doesn’t kill people because of their bad actions. Is that a loving God? The New Testament says God is love, God is light – in Him there is no darkness at all. This is the good news!

Christianity has blended the Judaic faith with the New Testament revelation of God and God has a split personality.

Let me quickly say that I am not putting down the Judaic faith. There are many faithful Jews who have become kind, generous people because of their beliefs.

Q) For British readers I’ve got to ask this– What’s the difference between the Church of England (C of E) and Lutheranism?

A) That’s a broad question, and my only real contact with a group I assume to be related to the C of E (however remotely) is the Episcopal Church in the States. The Lutheran church has many more divisions than the C of E and Episcopal groupings. The similarities between us might best be found in the liturgical aspect of worship, with C of E being more “high” church than most Lutheran congregations are today. Liturgy is a treasure for all of us.

On the other side of the coin, I think Lutherans feel a little more freedom to depart from doing everything the same way. You can walk into three Lutheran churches and experience three completely different kinds of worship service. Theologically, most Lutherans “say” they believe we are saved by the grace of God, but in actuality, if you don’t think the same way, you may be suspect.

You might also take note that this is my opinion, and there are some who will disagree with my assessment.

Q) I’m actually fascinated because growing up C of E I was never really exposed to anyone who was Lutheran. It’s a huge learning curve for me. So what is the Lutheran stance on things like rock music, drugs, etc? Is it frowned upon as it is by the C of E community?

A) I’d say that if it’s legal by the standards of the state, who make laws that are hopefully built upon the desire to promote peace, harmony, and justice among large groups of people, then it might be done in moderation and without harm to self or another. Again, this is my dancing on the head of a pin. Let’s just call it the opinion of one Lutheran. Rock music – okay. Drugs – not legal.

Q) You strike me as a very fair, honest and just guy. I’m sure you’re well respected in your community. Do you find people coming to you for guidance and help often?

A) I minister in a relatively small congregation– 75-80 people in worship each week. I’m in a rural, non-farming community in the Bible Belt. It’s surprising to me that not many people in this area know what a Lutheran is either! The Germans and Scandinavians who immigrated to the states settled further north. So I help whoever God brings to me. Maybe that’s why I feel the need to write, to reach a wider audience.

Q) I had a lot of people ask me, “Who is that guy?” They just instantly liked you. I think you are touching a lot of people out there. How does that feel?

A) Anytime someone says you have helped them, it fills that space within you that wants to feel valued, appreciated, and put on this earth to fulfil a need. It’s like the beatitude: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – for they will be filled. We always come away satisfied when we do the right thing that brings peace and hope to others.

Q) Yes, well you certainly helped me a lot. I was grateful for your support when my fiancée went home. It’s a trying time, but I talk to God as much as I can. Have you ever had an experience with an angel?

A) My definition of an angel is “a messenger from God.” I’ve encountered many messengers from God on my journey. Somewhere in the psalms it says a man might make his plans, but God guides his footsteps. I think that means go the direction you think you’re supposed to go until the light shines on another path or a door opens that just makes sense. And most of all, be open to appreciating the moment in which you are in.

  1. O Taste and See: Discovering God Through Imaginative Meditations is available now!
  2. Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther: Finding Freedom in Love
  3. In Living Color: The Lords Prayer
  4. In Living Color: The Beatitudes

Don’t forget to visit Paul’s website, Praying the Gospels and his Facebook Author Page!

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“The Burning Bush Is Your Friend!” Author David Alvin says Howdy!

David Alvin is a forward thinking guy. He’s a risk taker with the faith to know all will be good. David is also author of many books, most notably, “The Burning Bush is Your Friend” and also happens to be a guy I can now call my own friend. We have spoken on many subjects– books, music and David Frost. What did we talk about for this interview? Keep reading to take a look!

David Alvin

Q) Hi, David. Tell me about yourself– who is David Alvin?

A) I knew you’d ask this first (I HAVE read your other interviews!) I would say David Alvin is what Winston Churchill said about Russia: “A riddle wrapped inside a mystery inside an enigma.”

Nah, not really, I’m a servant of my Lord God, an acceptor of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (the term “Christian” I use hesitantly for that term appears three times in the New Testament, and two of those times its derogatory), the husband of Martha, the dad to Sarah and Jeffrey, the small business owner whose business is getting bigger every day, and a creator of words upon paper that make sense! Most of the time.

Q) What’s your business? How do you feel about running your own business? Are you a man who believes in enterprise?

A) I’ll give you these answers separately:

1) My wife and I started a Shaklee business of our own — it’s a fifty-five year old health and wellness company specializing in inch loss/weight management products, environmentally friendly cleaning products, comprehensive multivitamins, and natural beauty enhancers — last March. We’re not making near what we want to make, but doing quite well. Hey, who couldn’t stand being healthier? For more information check out our business website.

I feel running my own business — it’s good that I can’t get fired from it, for one thing, but I’ve also got a lot of help locally and an excellent support system — gives me more of a sense of purpose, sometimes makes me feel more alive, that this is something I can leave to my kids and my wife should God forbid something happen to me. You may consider my view of the man of the house being the provider a bit … um, old-fashioned, but I believe I have to be the one who doesn’t give up — at my writing, in my home life, anything.

Do I believe in enterprise? I would think that’s self-evident, but how’s this: I believe in striking out on your own and being willing to take your lumps is essential to making any achievement of yours work. I’m sure you can relate to that, too, and we can both guarantee the person doesn’t live who’s never practiced enterprise to its ultimate potential!

Q) Well said, David. So can you tell me, how your faith has guided your path in life?

A) I would say my faith has helped me most by giving me a purpose beyond myself. Certainly if I didn’t have it I would have never driven up from Florida where I grew up to remain with Martha (a two-and-a-half day drive in Summer 2002) just two years after I met her online and a year after we’d met in North Dakota and I got taken aback, “She’s THE ONE!”

I was not — at least I don’t believe I was — a thief and murderer growing up, but when I was about fifteen it came across to me, “What’s the point of life?” It’s not that I didn’t believe in God and didn’t, um, go through the motions of church attendance and being an all-around “good kid” (maybe I was TOO good; I didn’t go on any dates through high school though I did ask, and I had it explained politely by one young lady that going out with me would have felt like going out with her dad).

Faith made me/makes me a risk-taker. And taking a risk makes me a better child of God, husband, father, employee, business builder, and creative artist.

Q) Your faith allows you to take risks? Can you give me an example of this?

A) Seriously?

Q) Yes, perhaps the very first risk you took?

A) Ok, ok, I’m going to go with one that was more something I had to do rather than what I wanted to do … when I was five years old and living in Illinois where I was born, I was diagnosed with a tumor. Thank God it was a benign one, or we would not be having this conversation, but the surgery I had for the tumor was in the pre-radiation therapy days (late ‘70s), the doctor had to go in and attach what’s called a shunt to the back of my head and drain the fluid from the tumor out of my head and into an incision by my stomach.

Prior to that, I remember doing well in Kindergarten (my reading was so good that I got to go to the first grade class at my elementary school for a while and read with them) but not outstanding, at least academically.

When I moved to Florida and started school there in First Grade, oh man, did I blaze a trail! Sometimes I acted smarter than I was, but I could just pick up concepts and words faster and place them in context better. I recall I heard the word “clone” on a TV show one weekend in fall of ’78 and the next week in class we had to name words rhyming with (or was it ending in) O-N-E.

I came out with the word “clone” and the teacher was saying it wasn’t a word. I imagine it wasn’t used greatly in the late ‘70s, but I politely argued it was, and explained myself to the teacher and the guidance counselor in the room, and … I don’t know, I got the impression then you could learn AND teach as well!

Made me want to be a teacher for a long time, and in a way I still am.

Q) You have a very inspirational story there David. So let’s focus on your writing. How does David Alvin like to write?

A) How do I like to write? Usually, as it occurs to me. The idea of writing for a living didn’t really occur to me until I started to read a Janet Scarborough novel in my high school days and stopped myself in the middle of chapter three and said, “I could WRITE a better book than that!”

So I started … and got to a chapter and a half of a story tentatively titled “Suicide Progeny” as well as a few others my freshman English teacher was really impressed with. Then I put ’em aside, and university happened. Life happened. Work happened, and then gone were the nineties.

Come the turn of the century, I’d moved up to be with Martha in North Dakota and came across the older stories I’d written and found myself with a bit of time to ask, “What happened next, then what happened next, then what happened next?” incorporating some characters I’d created in high school and the few chapters became twenty-eight and that became my first novel Progeny.

That led to an idea for the second novel “Legacy” (a sequel to Progeny published in 2006) and a sequel to THAT (“Victory,” to be released soon). Then I discovered National Novel Writing Month.

Q) I know you are quite prolific. How many books do you currently have in print?

A) As of now, I’ve published nine books via self-publication — five novels, three Bible studies, and one book-length poem.

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

Poetry:

Q) Tell me more about your novels. What are they about? Where are they set? Are they connected? Do they stand alone?

A) The novels are mostly set in a world (Progeny, Legacy, Litany) where the heroic age was the day before yesterday and certain villains and powers have taken advantage of that.

The Carbonari Players my first NaNoWriMo novel was a pure fantasy, a murder mystery set in the afterlife, if you can believe that.

The Book of Numbers is a novel set during the time of the Biblical book of Numbers with Moses, Aaron, and the like fighting to set the children of Israel up in the Promised Land — that may be the novel I’m most proud of, because I wanted to tell the story it’s often hard to get even if you study your Bible, to make my readers realize it’s pretty exciting.

Q) You mentioned your non-fiction work, The Burning Bush wants to be your Friend: A Study of Exodus. Can you tell me more about that one?

A) The Burning Bush is a chapter-by-chapter Bible study about the book of Exodus, when not only does Moses discover who he is — he’s the one who sees the burning bush — but the children of Israel are reminded who they are. Originally, this was a series of blogs I wrote in 2009 and I didn’t want some “random” accident to make them disappear.

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Q) Of all your works, which is your personal favourite?

A) Depends on what time of day you ask me! *laughs*

Seriously, The Book of Numbers is my favorite novel; Litany is my favorite story (I wrote that from a first person point of view); and The Chariot of Israel (a study of the Old Testament’s book of Two Kings) is my favorite Bible study — so far at least.

Among those three, The Book of Numbers because it’s a retelling of a great story a lot of people don’t remember.

I use the capline on the back cover:

“The story everybody knows. The story nobody knows.”

Q) Where do you find the inspiration to write?

A) I keep my eyes open, really — no lightning bolt from the skies needs to hit me! If I hear something incorrectly or an especial title or a direct quote from somebody hits me — well it does, and sometimes it’ll be a year or two before I expand on it in a story or within my novel (I’ve got journals going back more than twenty years). Additionally, I have all kinds of writings I’ve accumulated which drives Martha crazy sometimes, but I’ve gotten it more manageable.

Q) What are your personal thoughts on self-publishing?

A) I feel it’s the only way you will get noticed most times. Traditional publishing requires you to know somebody who knows somebody and/or be willing to outlay major cash, and maybe end up with a lot of copies of your own book to sell …

I used to think it was my goal to be a “list” author, but now it’s not.

Q) What is your goal now, then?

A) My goal is just to write — of course, I don’t mind ending up one day on the New York Times bestseller list or some such thing — and express myself, and maybe have a few people see something in my work that encourages them to write their own.

Q) Do you ever find people writing to you asking your advice on their own writing?

A) Sometimes … or I find myself giving advice when someone wants to write or checking over someone’s work. For someone just starting out, I just say write not to impress anybody or be fearful of offending somebody, but write because you’ve got something to say.

Q) For the editing and proofreading stages of making a book happen– do you use professionals?

A) No, I don’t right now … unless you consider me one. *laughs*

Q) What’s your opinion of bloggers who get paid to do interviews?

A) Provided you know the fee up front and you, the interviewee, are satisfied with the finished product, it certainly works!

Q) David, what is next for you? Another book? Another poem? Tell me what’s going on inside your head.

A) Another novel. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, but various issues kept me from getting in live. I’m also considering an upcoming movie likely to resurrect interest in the Land of Oz that might have been a blessing in disguise. It’s called “Refugees From the Emerald City. There’s also my third hero-based novel, “Victory” that I want to finish and bring out but something’s missing with it at the moment.

Q) How many books do you have sketched out in your mind?

A) Maybe five or six that come to mind right now … and childrens’ books … and another two Bible studies at least.

Q) If you could give any advice to a young writer, what would it be?

A) Start.

Don’t worry about being right, don’t worry about being accurate, don’t worry about being interesting — these are all things that can be worked on — just start.

Q) Thank you for this wonderful interview, David.

A) Thanks, Nick.

I hope you all enjoyed my words with David! Check out his entry on my Hot Books page here!

Karina Gioertz Talks Novels, Writing and Writer’s Daydreams! An Interview with Nick Wale

I had an email from a young lady the other day. I receive all kinds of emails but the ones I enjoy most, however, are when people ask me to interview them. Karina Gioertz asked me for an interview and how could I say no? I am proud to present Karina Gioertz to you!

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Q) Nice to meet you, Karina! So tell me– how did you get into writing?

A) Starting with the big question, I see! Well, I’ve actually been writing for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I loved making up my own little stories and filling my notebooks with them. As I got older I moved on to Poetry. My writing just sort of kept evolving, and in 2011, I finally wrote my first novel.

Q) Tell me about your early stories. What did you write about? What set your imagination on fire?

A) As a child? All of my stories revolved around animals. The first one I can remember was about a cat named Daisy. I think it’s because I always wanted a pet but my mother wouldn’t allow it, so I created my own, so to speak.

Q) What have you been up to lately? Any new book releases?

A) I released two books back-to-back last month. One is a Thriller called Blood Bound and the other is a YA Romance called This Christmas.

Q) Tell me about Blood Bound! Where can people get it? What’s it about?

A) Blood Bound is the story of three cousins who have been estranged for over a decade but who must come together as they seek justice for one of their own. It’s about greed and corruption as well as redemption and strength of a family bond. It is currently only available as an E-book on Amazon, but will also be out as a paperback in the coming weeks.

Q) It sounds interesting to me! Do you believe self publishing is the future of publishing?

A) I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I definitely still have a lot to learn about this business, but I do feel that self-publishing is creating huge possibilities for authors who might not be able to share their work otherwise.

Q) Do you write to satisfy your own creative need? Do you write to make money? Why does Karina Gioertz write?

A) I write because if I didn’t my head would explode! My brain never seems to shut down. Creating characters and making up stories is just what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. There isn’t a moment of my day when I’m not lost in some crazy thought or another. When I write, I feel like I’m directing those thoughts a bit more and using them more productively than if they just drifted off, turning into just another random daydream.

Q) So how do you write? Do you like music in the background? Do you like silence? What do you need to write?

A) I usually write late at night. I can’t have any background chatter, real or TV, because I automatically tune into what I’m hearing. However, I do love to play my music. I have a special writing mix I turn on before I get started and it helps me disconnect a bit from the real world so I can get sucked in by whatever story it is I’m working on.

Q) Many writers tell of getting lost in their work and “waking up” hours later wondering where the time went. Do you ever get lost in your writing?

A) All the time. There are those times when the story just flows and you lose track of everything else. I love those moments. That’s when I do my best work.

Q) Can you tell non-writer readers what it feels like to finish a manuscript?

A) Are there words to describe it?! It’s incredible! There is nothing better than writing that final sentence and following it up with ‘The End’. To know that you were able to take those first few sentences, those random first notes and ideas and turn them into an entire world, filled with characters who feel more like friends and events you didn’t even see coming until you wrote them in, is exciting. There’s nothing else like it. The second I finish, I want to turn around and do it all over again!

Q) So, going back– what’s This Christmas about? Where can people find it?

A) This Christmas is also available on Amazon. It’s about a young woman who realizes she’s in love with her best friend after her college roommate shows interest in him. Naturally there are complications that lead to awkward moments, misunderstandings and surprise encounters under the mistletoe.

Q) I think it sounds like an interesting and romantic tale! Are you working on a current project?

A) Yes, I am. This time, I’m giving fantasy a try.

Q) Can we have a few sneaky secrets about your new project for our readers, please?

A) Oh, all right, I can’t tell you much, but I will say that there will be an array of recognizable characters guiding a brand new generation no one has ever met of or heard of before. There will be magic, mystery and adventure…and perhaps even a touch of love.
Q) Love’s alright isn’t it! So which of your books do you consider your favourites?

A) My first is still my baby. I love Blood Bound, but Country Girls will always be closest to my heart.

Q) Which writers do you personally enjoy?

A) My mother got me hooked on Sydney Sheldon many years ago. He is my all time favorite!

Q) If you could have written any book by any author, which would it have been?

A) Harry Potter. To have been able to create that world and those characters with such detail…that had to have been incredible.

Q) I agree with you there! So Karina, why should readers choose your books to read with so many on the market?

A) It is my hope that I have created loveable characters and put them in entertaining predicaments; that I have been able to address serious issues while still finding the humor and that no matter how low I may go, I always end on a high note.

Q) What do you like doing outside of writing? Any hobbies?

A) When I’m not writing, I do a lot of painting. I like to refurbish old furniture and turn worn and battered pieces other people are throwing out into beautiful pieces of art.

We wrapped up there and Karina went back to writing her latest work. I enjoyed my time with her and I hope you enjoy this interview. Karina is a driven girl and I am sure there will be many, many books to come!

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Check out Karina’s other books as well!

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Follow Karina on her wonderful blog, FriedGatorTail, here!

Stuart Yates is Back! Nick Wale Heralds the Return of Stuart Yates

This will be my third interview with Stuart Yates–a writer’s writer and a man who seems to have endless ideas for books. I was impressed with our last interview. Stuart is a writer and he writes almost every day. It matters not if he has sales, and over our conversations I have realised how wonderful it must be to just write for the joy of writing. When you see a guy like Stuart who has sometimes sold only one or two copies of a book, you wonder why he keeps doing it? He has his fans and he has a deep love for his work. He might be writing for a select audience, but those people sit up and love his work. That is the best part of anything– knowing that your work is appreciated by someone. I present to you my third outing with Stuart Yates.

Stuart Yates

Q) Tell me, have you enjoyed our interviews so far?

A) Yes, very much so.

Q) How many interviews have you done over your writing career?

A) About writing? Quite a few, but yours have been my favourites.

Q) You had an accident on your bike recently, right? Tell me what happened!

A) Ah…well…it was raining, very hard, and it hadn’t rained for a while, so the road was very slippery. I just lost control. Simple as that.

Q) How long till you recover?

A) Well…not sure. Perhaps a week. I’ve torn the ligaments in my arm, busted up both knees. Very painful, but I’m okay. Nothing is broken! My arm is in a sling, so it is hard to do very much at all, really.

Q) Have you managed to fit some writing time in?

A) Well, funnily enough, I had a sudden spurt of inspiration! So, yes, I’ve managed it, but very slowly with one finger of my right hand. My left one is incapacitated. I’m working on a new thriller, which is coming along very nicely. Once I start thinking of scenarios, it is difficult to stop.

Q) You’re a creative powerhouse!

A) A creative powerhouse? Well…when an idea takes hold, it does tend to take over.

Q) Tell me more about your latest thriller.

A) This one is set in the near future, when the world is massively over-populated. The sea-levels are rising and the politicians decide to take somewhat drastic action.

Q) What do they do?

A) They create a smoke screen– they get a real duffer of a policeman to investigate a murder, so that the world will focus in on that. Meanwhile, they put together an elaborate plan to end everybody’s problems. It’s a simple fact that in a generation the population of the planet will be 10 billion people and we cannot sustain those numbers! That’s the thread of the story. It’s not nice, and it has no happy ending– but it is good fun!

Q) How has the world changed since you started writing?

A) In so many ways! I used to type on an old Olivetti portable, using masses of correction fluid and carbon paper. I longed to be like Dashiel Hammett, writing well into the night! Then, of course, you send it away with return postage and wait for half a lifetime for it to be returned. Not like today, of course! Everything is so much faster! [The writing process is] still tinged with frustration and disappointment though. That much hasn’t changed! The rejection slips still mount up, only this time they are in the form of e-mails.

Q) How often do you get rejected?

A) A lot! I have written what I think is a wonderful story, and it has gone to maybe thirty agents, all of whom have rejected it. A publisher liked it, read it all, but decided not to go ahead because my hero was too weak. Poor man. So now my latest manuscript is with Harper Collins and some agents in the States. We will see.

Q) Have you been rejected by Harper Collins before?

A) Yes!!! Years and years ago, when you could submit directly to them. Nowadays, they won’t look at you without an agent, but late last year they threw open their doors to ‘open submissions’. They received 4500 of them!!! Mine hasn’t been rejected YET…

Q) What is so important about a signing with Harper Collins?

A) Because they are HUGE!!! They assign an editor to you, do the marketing, publicity, arrange interviews (wink wink) and press-releases. They are a major international publishing house and are fully equipped to take you forward in your career. When the opportunity came to submit, I simply had to. I had made some changes after the feedback from the publisher who had rejected me, so I feel it’s a better product. It is the first part of a trilogy. I’ve already written the second, and the third is planned.

Q) What would you deem a hit?

A) A hit? For me? Anything over ten copies sold makes me happy. I just got my royalty cheque for Burnt Offerings. I made a whopping five pounds!

Q) You’ve had a book that didn’t sell even one copy?

A) Yes!!! Of course. Death’s Dark Design has sold NIL and my trilogy of animal tales set on Alderney have sold NIL. Now I find that Interlopers From Hell, which I expected to do better, hasn’t sold a single copy. Do I care? Not really. You write for the love of it. Not for the royalty checks or the fame. I don’t worry! I am a published author and that’s what counts.

Q) How do you cope with such a lack of success?

A) How do I cope? What a question. I have a wonderful capacity to simply shut out bad vibes, bad news, setbacks, etc., unless, of course, they are personal. I simply just get on with the next one. What more can you do? They have been edited professionally, they are well produced, the covers are good… AND, the stories are good, too. So, I simply carry on.

Q) Do you ever get fan mail?

A) What is fan mail? I have had some lovely comments from people, yes. Some people have done reviews on my books, people I don’t know, and that is tremendous. I have seen people make comments about my blogs. Nobody then goes and buys a book. Well, not enough to make any kind of difference. I keep telling myself ‘this is the one’ after I have finished a book. So far, it isn’t!!! Still, what does it matter? I’ve thought about opening up a little Bed and Breakfast in northern France or working in a museum, telling visitors about the exhibits– anything to keep me going artistically. I could put some of my books on the counter.

I remember once I was at a fair here in Spain. I had a little stall with my books on and I was giving away bookmarks–really cool they were– however, they didn’t have my face on them, which is always a good selling point. I handed one to some guy and he looked at it and said, ‘No, I’m not interested.’ I smiled, ‘But you do read, don’t you, sir? You could use that, it’s absolutely free.’ ‘No’, he said, and gave it me back. I was so downhearted. I haven’t been there since– I’ve even tried to give my books away at work! Nobody wants them. Maybe three or four of the forty-odd staff have read my books, and they have all liked them. Two of them wrote stonking (that means “good” for the American readers) reviews on Amazon.

One girl loved the book I gave to her, and she wanted to read more, so she has. Another good friend has helped me with editing. She’s a brilliant teacher, and literacy is her strong point. But another I had to virtually beg to read it. It was FREE for crying out loud. She just looked at me and shook her head.

Q) Tell me Stuart, do you know that your work is good?

A) Yes, I know my work is good, even though I rarely admit to that. I’m naturally very modest. I hate putting myself forward, that is why I find all this marketing and promotion business so difficult!

People find that extraordinary when they find out about my background in acting. But, like I try to tell them, that was not ME up there on that stage. That was a character. Being ME is extremely difficult.

Q) Tell me about your acting career.

A) Well, I sort of stumbled into it really. I was unemployed – AGAIN – and went on a government sponsored scheme as a youth-worker in a local rep theatre. Wow, the people I met there. So talented! Outstanding musicians and actors. I had a great time. We used to go around local special schools and put on plays for the kids. It was brilliant. I used to help out in the theatre in the evenings and got into acting properly that way. I went down to London for an audition and I got in !!!

I’ve always wanted to be an actor, perhaps for longer than I’ve wanted to be a writer. I started up my own theatre group with some friends. We won lots of competitions. I was voted best actor twice in one of the most prestigious acting competitions on Merseyside. Then I went to university, and did Drama as part of my degree. All of that taught me a lot about good dialogue pacing, tension, all of that. It was a great time in my life and I still keep in touch with some of my old friends.

Q) So your acting indirectly shaped your writing?

A) Definitely! I was always very intuitive as an actor, and I am as a writer. I just go with it, I don’t think about it too much. Sometimes, thinking gets in the way. I’m like that as a teacher, too. I can’t be doing with following plans, even though in my writing I do have a very loose plan but, it is a plan that develops as the story unfolds.

Q) How would you describe your writing?

A) Pacey, spicey, with lots of twists

Q) Do you enjoy writing sex scenes?

A) Wow!!! Dear me…er…well…Mm, what do I say to that? Yes, in short! As long as they have place in the story, why not?

Q) Has writing sex scenes made you a better lover?

A) Er…mm…they’ve certainly made me more thoughtful. The research is great !!! I don’t want you to get the wrong idea! Hey, James Bond wouldn’t be who is is without all that spice!!! I don’t write erotica…just a little sprinkling of good, wholesome fun ! And besides, writing about vicious gangsters who blow people’s legs off hasn’t made me a better killer! I deal with story-making which is fiction and fantasy. None of it is real. Although I have met some pretty gruesome characters and they populate the pages of my books quite a lot!

Q) So what was the last great book you read?

A) The last ‘great’ book I read…I re-read Of Mice and Men just before Christmas, and it blew me away as usual. That is what I would class a ‘great’ book! The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas left me feeling dazed by its brilliance. I read that a few months ago and No Country for Old Men. Now there was a book and a half. Wow. I was in awe of that. I’ve read lots of others, but none that I would term ‘great’. At the moment, I’m reading about William II as part of the research for a historical novel I’ll be getting down to in the summer

Q) What’s this new historical novel called?

A) My book has a working title of ‘Arrow From the Mist’ or something like that, but that might change.

Q) What’s the historical book about?

A) William II was killed in a hunting ‘accident’ in the New Forest in 1100. He had become separated from the main group. He was found dead, with an arrow sticking out of him. The arrow belonged to a knight called Walter Tyrel who promptly disappeared. Henry, William’s brother, quickly seized the throne…and here’s the interesting bit! He never ordered any investigation into his brother’s death; Tyrel was allowed to leave the country, and his family were awarded top jobs in the government so, was it an accident, or was he murdered on the orders of his brother? It’s a real mystery, that will never be solved. BUT, my story puts a nice little twist on it because it wasn’t Tyrel OR Henry…it was somebody else…or maybe two people… or three… who knows!!! You’ll have to read it and see! I just can’t wait to start it!

With our interview over, I left Stuart to his work. He loves his work and it shows through with every ounce of his being. I think you will discover him one day. Perhaps today? You will go and pick up a Stuart G. Yates novel and read until you are satisfied. Stuart will be satisfied, too– he will have gained another new reader. Adios till we meet again!

Stu YatesSee my other inerviews with Mr Yates here and here!

Follow That Voice- Nick Wale Interviews Lutheran Minister and Author Paul W. Meier

When I meet people along the path of life, I sometimes wonder why different people choose different paths. Paul W. Meier is a man who has intrigued me for a time and when I saw a post about his latest offering on the almighty Facebook, I felt I should go ahead and contact him. A few hours later, we had a series of interviews set up. Today, Mr. Meier gave me one of the most revealing interviews I have ever had the pleasure of undertaking. Paul set me at ease straight away and I knew he would be with me on this one. The interview that follows makes me proud to be doing what I am doing. I am keeping the faith.

Paul W. Meier

Q) So are you ready for your first interview with me?

A) Nick – I’m ready if you are! I’m just interested in what you found interesting about my books that led you to contact me.

Q) Well, I’m a guy who loves religious discussion and, if I can fit that into my work, then I will. I think your books sound interesting and I followed my hunch.

A) Then we have a lot to talk about.

Q) I’ve learned to just follow the voice that says “Do it!”

A) Follow that voice!

Q) Why did you choose to write books?

A) I wrote my books because I felt like I had something to share with the world. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have been able to push through the work it takes to make it happen.

Q) So you write to fulfill a creative need inside of you?

A) I write to let something out of me that I can’t keep to myself. It’s like when a light goes on that gets you excited, you’ve got to share it with someone. Since I write non-fiction, mostly about religious topics, I discover new ways of looking at things. Do you ever have those “ah ha!” moments?

Q) Yes, I do a lot, especially when I interview. Tell me about your writing process. How do you write? Do you like music on in the background? Silence? How does Paul W. Meier write?

A) The early morning is the quietest time for me. I like to get up at 4:30 a.m., put the coffee on, and spend twenty minutes in “centering prayer.” This is simply a practice of clearing the mind, which is not always an easy thing. But it gets me ready to write. Then I get my coffee and start writing for a couple of hours before I get ready to go to work.

Q) You are a Lutheran minster am I right? Tell me how you found your faith and became a minister– was there a moment when you knew you had to?

A) Yes, my father and both grandfathers were Lutheran ministers. But at the age of thirteen, I was sure I didn’t want to have any preacher’s kids, nor did I want to go to Africa to be a missionary. So I taught high school for eight years, sold medical equipment for fourteen years, and then felt “the calling” to enter the ministry. I went to seminary when I was 49 and I’ve been at a rural church for ten years now. To be specific about the “calling,” I was reading the Bible in morning meditation when that happened. The good news is that I didn’t have to go to Africa – I’m serving in the town where my wife and I took our first vacations. I think if I was destined to go to Africa, God would have made that a compelling thing.
in-living-color-lords-prayer-paul-w-meier-paperback-cover-art

Q) What did the “calling” feel like? Did you just know instinctively that you had to be a minister?

A) At the time I’d say I was an extremely practical, moderately conservative, and “realistic” Christian thinker, so I didn’t expect any supernatural revelations. But when the words of a verse in Luke 4 seemed to raise up off the page and speak directly to me, I had to take a deep breath and let the tears run down my cheeks. I had never said anything to my wife about feeling like I was inclined to become a minister, even though I’d been teaching adult Sunday School. That night I said, “I’ve got something I need to tell you.” She didn’t give me time to finish. She said, “You’re going to be a preacher, aren’t you?”

The verse that hit me, I’ve discovered, has spoken to others, too. Jesus reads part of Isaiah in the synagogue, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.”

Q) If you had ignored your calling, do you think God would have just drawn you in?

A) I think if we don’t follow the path that opens the way to discovering all that God created us to be, another path will present itself. Although, it took three “calls” to actually get me moving. After the first message, I said, “BUT… I’ve been working on a new business for nine months, do you want me to throw all that hard work away?” The next day, another verse of the Bible came up that said, “No soldier gets involved in civilian affairs, he only wants to please his commanding officer.” That was pretty clear. But I said, “Okay, I hear you…BUT…just to make sure, I’ll wait for you to tell me again.” Three months later, another verse hit me – “the Son does only what the Father does.” So I gave up and started seminary thirty days later and became a Lutheran pastor like my father. In some ways, I think listening for the “call” is learning how to listen to the inner voice within us.

Q) Do you believe we all have a calling?

A) Yes, and I think that calling changes as we journey in life. I seem to be drawn to the practice of using the imagination to become the person I’m supposed to be. In my late twenties, I wrote my first book. The title alone would have made it a blockbuster: “The One Minute Diet.” The premise was that if you could imagine yourself trim and beautiful for one minute several times a day (maybe at mealtime), you would develop the motivation for doing what was necessary to bring your vision to completion. I never submitted it to anyone, however.

When I discovered Ignatius of Loyola’s method of using the imagination to experience the stories in the Bible, I did it, and it changed my religion. That’s why I wrote the book that I’ve released this week.

Q) What stopped you from having that diet book published? I think it sounds like a great book to have out there.

A) Lack of confidence, lack of a credible background in diet or weight control, no platform, and needing to support a family.

Q) Have your beliefs strengthened your confidence in yourself?

A) Let’s say that I think what I’ve learned and accepted as truth has strengthened my confidence in the absolute goodness of God. And with this as a foundation, what can anyone do to shake the secure feeling that all will be well, no matter what we go through in life? It makes life more exciting and freeing.

Q) Do you believe God can help you achieve any goal?

Not if I’m the one deciding what I want to achieve. I spent a lot of early years setting goals for what I thought would make me happy and content. I achieved some of them, but only wanted more. I missed a lot of goals (I tend to set BIG goals), and was disappointed. Happiness is found when you trust the path will open to what you’re created to do. You just have to work hard and do the best you can right where you are without allowing others tell you what will make you happy.

I would also like to mention my newest book O Taste and See: Discovering God Through Imaginative Meditations is at a reduced price Tuesday through Friday this week on Amazon.
Q) Thank you for this wonderful first interview, Paul. It’s been a pleasure having these first few words with you. Could you pray for me please? My wife-to-be is returning to the States and I am feeling really bad about it. I don’t want her to go– but she has to.

A) I’d be honored to pray for both of you. Be the best long distance fiancé you can be, and God will bless your journey in ways you never imagined.

Q) Thank you Paul–I’ve got to go to London with her and then come back home. In some ways I don’t know how I will manage it. I don’t like being away from her– I guess I’m meant to be married.

A) Safe travels to you both. Trust in the goodness of God.

Have you ever felt that warm feeling inside of you? The one where you know everything will be just fine? I had that feeling when I talked to Paul W. Meier. I felt as though all my troubles were sliding away, and I was free from all pain and anguish. I hope you feel that way, too.

Paul

O Taste and See: Discovering God Through Imaginative Meditations is available now!

Check out these other great books by Paul W. Meier:

Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther: Finding Freedom in Love

In Living Color: The Lords Prayer

In Living Color: The Beatitudes

Fant Says “No” To Fifty Shades of Filth! Nick Wale Interviews Author James Fant

James Fant is a writer I’ve been waiting anxiously to interview. His busy schedule means that he can only interview when he has time and I was willing to wait. For those of you already aware of his work, you will know what to expect. For those new to the work of James Fant I should explain some important things about him. He is a gentleman above all and his education shines through clearly. James is a sturdy, strong-willed man who loves his family and his wife. He doesn’t need anything other than the family unit to keep him strong. Calm and sophisticated, he’s a man who drives himself along with his own strength and creativity. I am proud to present a true professional to you today. Here is James Fant.

James Fant

Q) So tell me, James, how did you get into writing?

A) My imagination is exceptionally strong. I’ve always been able to see an invisible world and translate what I see onto paper. I’m not crazy, mind you, but I have always enjoyed making up stories. I wrote a story in the third grade about a witch and three pirates. The witch ended up eating the pirates because they tried to kill her. (Crazy, right?) But I received an award for that story in the third grade.

Q) So that one story you wrote in third grade stirred you to become an author?

A) No. That story was a result of the creative gift that God gave me. I started writing professionally because God kept giving me stories to write. I can be driving down the road and see, for an example, an old rusted van in the back yard of a house. I say to myself, “Why is that van there in the back yard? What’s that van’s story?” So, that’s what stirs me to write. I look at things and see the story inside of them.

Q) When did you publish your first book and what was it called?

A) I published my first work in November 2011. It was a short story called “The Mended Fence” and it chronicled (briefly) the adventure of a cheating husband who came home one night and saw his wife returning the favor. I really had fun writing that story because I fashioned it to be a sort of poetic short story. Like all of the works I write, there is a message or theme in that short story that will inspire readers.

Q) I really admire that you always leave a moral or theme in your work. Is that consciously done?

A) Yes. I feel that my work is both entertaining and inspirational. In “The Mended Fence” readers are taken on a wild ride that includes reckless driving, destroyed property, and a bank robbery. You see, the main character of the story was trying to buy a diamond for his wife because she caught him cheating on her. He was trying to fix a problem in the wrong way. The moral of that story is that sometimes you need help, someone greater than yourself, to fix problems that you create.

Q) I think your work sounds wonderful. You don’t care for this current trend of sex and profanity in others’ work, do you?

A) No. I choose not to use profanity and graphic sexual content. However, I do write steamy material. It is all in the way I write.

I have a novel available now on Amazon.uk called “An Ode for Orchids.” It is about four beautiful woman and their relationships with men and with each other. This is a romance novel, but this is a novel that a reader can read out loud to their pastor. The content is steamy, sensual, and exciting; yet, it is totally clean.

Q) I was going to ask about “Ode” next. You beat me to it! How is the public receiving it?

A) Very well. I have glowing reviews of the work. Several readers have said that it made them laugh out loud as well as cry. Readers also say that they can identify with certain characters. I really love when readers pull something out of the book that I had not consciously thought of. I’m reaching readers and enhancing their life through the power of inspirational fiction and I absolutely love that about writing.

The Secret Branch

Q) Where do you get the inspiration to write your books?

A) Divine inspiration. Take “An Ode for Orchids,” for example. I started writing the story in 2006 and nearly shelved the idea after I started graduate school, but the story would not go away. No matter how busy I was with school work, with church, or family life, the story would come back to me. It needed to be told. I’m sure readers will be able to identify with the story and say, “Yes. I went through something similar.” I believe God inspired me to write the story to be both entertaining and edifying.

The idea came from my appreciation of the enduring strength and tenacity of all of the women in my life. My hardworking mother, my loving grandmother, my strong sisters (related and non-related), no-nonsense aunties, and last but definitely not least, my beautiful wife. A lot of women are holding it down on their own for one reason or another. They endure many hardships and have become tougher for it. However, they still have the power to be nurturing and sweet. So, I believe that God gave me this story to edify not only women, but also the men that want them and must have them in their lives.

I have to give credit to God for the ideas that He gives me because that keeps me going. He’s the Master Communicator and everything starts with His Words. So, I’m a big student of communication and the art of wordplay. An author can project a certain theme and really draw the reader in just by choosing the right words and putting them in the right place at the right time. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Also, as a storyteller, one has the luxury of creating utter chaos for the reader’s enjoyment. I recently read “One Blood” by Qwantu Amaru and the chaos was in full swing. Powerful storms, heated battles, tragedy and triumph. All without the need of a stunt double. Knowing that I have the opportunity to write literature that is both endearing and exciting motivates me to want to write forever.

Q) How do you go about writing your work? Do you need silence or do you listen to music? How does James Fant write?

A) James Fant writes to the rhythmic sounds of Robert Glasper, a jazz pianist with such albums as “Mood,” “In My Element,” and “The Experiment.” The list goes on. But I’ll put in my headphones and let the syncopated rhythms pump as I punch the QWERTY.

My writing process is very simple. The story starts off as divinely inspired idea. Then I outline the entire story, trying to be as brief with the outline as I can be. Then I just write. And, I mean, I don’t sit at my laptop and think about what I’m going to write. I just write.

One of my favorite movies is “Finding Forester,” with Sean Connery and Rob Brown. In one scene, William Forrester (Connery) and Jamal Wallace (Brown) were sitting at their typewriters. Forrester starts typing away while Wallace just sits there. He tells Forrester that he’s thinking, but Forrester replied that the first draft is written with the heart. The second draft is written with the head.

When I’m in writing mode, I really don’t think about what I’m writing at all. I have the story in my head and I just let my subconscious go to work. What I really love to do, especially if I don’t have to get up early the next morning, is to write late at night. I like to see what I come up with in the haze of sleepiness. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I wrote. There are some words, phrases, plot twists, and endings that my mind would definitely tell me to avoid if I’m writing earlier in the evening. After midnight, I write with my heart primarily and include every intimate detail of my experiences and thoughts. I usually come up with something pretty cool. Or, I end up writing something really crazy, get a real good kick out of it, and file it away in a folder named DO NOT USE.

Q) It sounds like a wonderful process. I write in a similar way and I always love writing to jazz. I think you have a lovely style. So what sets your books apart from others in the genre?

A) One major distinction is that there is no profanity or lewd sexual scenes in my books; however, the stories are still extremely hot and steamy. There’s a high level of passion and conflict within my stories. There may be arguments and fights. There may even be a great deal of sexual tension. But there is no profanity or graphic love scenes. Now that I’ve given that disclaimer, I love including “OMG” moments in my books, places that will make the reader say, “Wow. I cannot believe the character did that.” It’s all in the way I use words and I actually have a lot of fun crafting hot, steamy, non-raunchy books.

I want to write stories that will encourage readers to analyze and repair their personal relationships. That’s what I love about writing fiction. You can create this wonderful and exciting story with lots of twists and turns, but the story can also have meaningful characters and situations that readers can identify with and learn from. Another distinction, like my upcoming novel titled “14-Pages,” is that I may write love stories that involve married couples. Many romance novels are about people actually hooking up and eventually getting married, but I believe that love stories don’t end when the wedding ring goes on.

Q) As an author, what are the keys to success that lead to your book getting out to the public?

A) Enlisting the help of others is a major key. You don’t know everything, and you can’t be good at everything. As an indie author, I had to realize that it doesn’t matter that I run a small publishing company and that I have to wear many hats. I still need to surround myself with talented people.

Education is another key. As a graduate student I learned that the true goal of any Masters or Doctorate program is to teach the student how to learn, how to educate himself. To be successful as an author, publisher, or anything for that matter, you can’t be scared to learn new things. You actually have to embrace learning.

Q) I agree. So what is your publishing company called? Are you taking manuscripts right now? If so, what genre? How can people approach you with their work?

A) I created my publishing company REAL FANTASY PUBLISHING to release only my work at present. That doesn’t mean that I will never publish other authors. That is actually phase five of my long-term plan. But presently, I am only publishing books by James Fant and I’m having so much fun doing so.

Readers, however, can check out my website www.jamesfantbooks.com for information on my work.

Q) Can readers of your books contact you? How about publishers?

A) Readers and publishers can contact me at the following places.

Email
jamesfant (@) yahoo.com

Facebook

James Fant Facebook Page
Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Other social media sites:
Blog
Book Blogs

Q) So what is next for you? Another book? A new idea?

A) What’s next for me? My novel “14-Pages” will be released soon. “14-Pages” is about a newlywed couple who argue so much that they discuss divorce, but a marriage expert tells them that their issue is that they signed a marriage license and not a marriage contract– a document that will govern how they treat each other.

So the couple draft a 14-page contract with step-by-step marriage instructions. It even includes crazy clauses like the Tip Out Clause, The Quota, and Chill Therapy. Everyone thinks the contract is crazy and they may be right. But for Marco and Venice, the newlywed couple, happily ever after needs all the help that it can get. So here’s the question– is a 14-page marriage contract enough to save a failing marriage? Only time will tell. (Or in actuality, only I will tell since I’m the author of the story!)

Q) I will be getting a copy, James. I have really enjoyed this interview. So is there anything you would like to add? Any last words, so to speak?

A) I’d like to leave this little bit of encouragement to the readers of this interview. Please, whatever you do, continue to dream. No matter how busy you get with the cares of life, dream and I mean dream drastically. As children we fantasized about what we will be. We even tell people proudly about our dreams without an ounce of trepidation. Any and everything was possible when we were children. Then came adulthood and what many term as the real world. And many times we stop fantasizing because we’ve gotten a healthy dose of reality. But here is the real reality. All things are possible if you believe. Do you believe that?

Q) I do, James. I have dreamed my whole life and tried to make them come true. I finally met the girl of my dreams and everything fell into place. Your words really hit home with me there.

A) Now that’s alright with me. Love’s alright, isn’t it?
An Ode For Orchids

Check out “An Ode For Orchids” right now for a great read! Then check out “The Secret Branch“!