My 13-year Odyssey To Getting Published

Making of Christian Historical Fiction

 An American Family Portrait

Audio Podcast


Show Notes

In this series of podcast episodes, I take a look BEHIND THE PAGES at the making of the Christian historical fiction classic, An American Family Portrait series. Today’s topic: Why it took me 13 looooonnnnnnggggggg years to get my first book contract.

  • Three key moments in my life converged to make me a writer of Christian historical fiction:
    • Changing my B.A. major from Bible studies to history
    • Having a writers seed planted in my mind while in seminary
    • Realizing the power of stories while speaking and preaching
  • After meeting Dr. Sherwood Wirt, founding editor of Billy Graham’s Decision magazine, I began attending writers critique groups and conferences.
  • The door to Christian fiction opened with the successes of Janette Oake, Frank Peretti, and Brock and Bodie Thoene.
  • At Mt. Hermon Writers Conference an editor from Victor Books told me they were looking for someone to write an American history series.
  • After submitting a proposal, I was offered a four book contract; after I submitted the first manuscript, the contract was extended to seven books and I began writing full time.

 CLICK HERE to start reading An American Family Portrait in minutes!

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INSPIRATIONAL HISTORY: John Winthrop, Puritan hero


Where Do Novel Ideas Come From?

Behind the Pages

USUALLY, BY THE TIME A NOVEL IS RELEASED the author has journeyed so far down a story path he’s forgotten the fork in the road that led him there. Until someone asks him. Such was the case for me the other day when a friend inquired about the origins of my latest supernatural suspense novel, Behold

I had to do a little time traveling (figuratively, of course) to remember that the genesis for Behold was actually a mix of things I wanted to do and things I wanted to say. 


For some time I had wanted to write a time travel story with scenes both in the present and in the past. Michael Crichton’s Timeline  was one of the books that inspired me. But I’m not a sci-fi writer so I needed a time-traveling vehicle other than mechanical for my character. 

The second thing I’d wanted to do was craft a story that featured mankind’s spiritual nature which is so often overlooked by the crush of advertisements of all things related to the body (fashion, cosmetics, body size and shape, food, medicines, body and breath odor) and stories of physical drama (serial killers, sexual attraction, technology, politics, and all manner of life-threatening danger). 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said it, oh so well: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience. This quote became the theme for Behold

Then, there were — 


I am fascinated by the mystery of exploring a universe that is forever out of reach. Despite our baby steps in space exploration, the size of the universe is mind-numbingly prohibitive to earthly travelers who are apparently prevented from traveling faster than light. Add to that the fact that the universe is an incredibly hostile environment to humans on so many levels. 

But what if we could explore the universe without taking our bodies with us? Or go back and forth in time? Ah! Here’s where the story begins . . . 

And finally, while I have learned and taught the interpretation of end times as portrayed in the popular Left Behind series, I’m enough of a student of God and history to know that it probably won’t happen that way. Why? Because God is always surprising us. I am reminded of the Jewish scholars, experts in Messiah theology, who missed completely the coming of Christ because he did not fit their theology. I wanted to write a story that reminded us not to be cocky when it comes to predicting what God will do in the future. 

All these things came together for me resulting in Behold, the story of a boy who is thrown out of his body, back in time, and discovers the wondrous working of God in history that culminates in the end times. 


00 BEHOLD cover rev

To learn more about Behold   CLICK HERE 


The Quote That Inspired A Novel

Behind the Pages
THE PURITANS HAS BEEN by far my bestselling novel. Although I wrote it nearly twenty years ago, I still remember the quote that proved to be the inspiration for the novel’s plot— 

Drew Morgan dreamed of becoming a world-renowned knight, long after the days of knighthood had vanished. He dreamed of fame, adulation, and glory. His dream was nearly his undoing. 

The quote that inspired the story? 

Speaking to a graduating class at McGill University, Rudyard Kipling advised the graduates not to care too much for money or power or fame. He said, “Someday you will meet a man who cares for none of these things, and then you will know how poor you are.” 

The story of Drew Morgan hinges on the small English village of Edenford where he was sent to uncover an underground publisher of seditious pamphlets. If he was successful, he’d achieve his dream of fame and glory for the Crown. But in Edenford, he met a man . . . . 


To read more about The Puritans click here