Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so excited to have mystery author Adam Blumer as my guest. I love that Adam and I have very similar writing philosophies – to write realistic characters battling real-world problems. Adam’s new release sounds SO GOOD – read on to see how you can enter to win a copy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I grew up in lower Michigan and began writing at an early age, mostly pirate stories. I graduated to mysteries in high school and took novel writing in college, along with journalism as my degree. Winning a few writing contests in high and college fanned the flames of my desire to be a published novelist.
I live in Upper Michigan with my wife and two daughters, and I edit books from home for a living. In my free time, I work on my next clean Christian thriller. God opened the door in 2009 for me to publish my first suspense novel with Kregel. I’ve traditionally published three novels so far, but my fourth, coming out this fall, will be self-published. I believe in writing “Meaningful Suspense,” adrenaline-laced suspense that includes a redemptive message to encourage both believers and unbelievers.
Tell us about your current release. I was recently invited to join nine other Christian suspense authors for a novella collection called Mistletoe and Murder: A Christmas Suspense Collection, which releases on October 6. My contribution is the novella Death the Halls, which was a blast to write. I hope readers are able to get their hands on it and enjoy it. Award-winning authors contributing to the collection include Nancy Mehl, Loree Lough, Vicki Hinze, and Cara Putman.
What is Death the Halls about? Here is the back-cover blurb:
Two strangers join the Henry family Christmas reunion. One wants Lauren for a ransom. The other wants her dead.
Lauren Henry looks forward to introducing her boyfriend, James, at the Christmas family reunion at Henry Haven, her parents’ Upper Michigan getaway. But when two strangers surprise the family in a home invasion that turns deadly, they take Lauren as their captive.
Now she finds herself at the mercy of a man with a mysterious connection to her family’s past. The two men are at odds about what to do with Lauren. When tempers flare, she has only one option to stay alive: escape. Meanwhile, James becomes concerned that he may never see Lauren alive again. There’s one sure way to put his fears to rest: find her or die trying.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I don’t usually struggle with this problem, but when I do, I get away from my computer, go for a walk, and pray. I ask God to help me sort through the story and find the right path. Then I take the advice of Steven James in his book Story Trumps Structure. I think about the story and consider what could possibly go wrong. Then I show the protagonist making things right. Usually at this point, a variety of options emerge, and I can take my pick.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Yes, this is a very real pressure for anyone seeking to write books that will sell. A few industry professionals have told me, “Your next book needs to be secular” or “How about you try to remove religious references from your manuscript?” I believe in writing my tagline, “Meaningful Suspense.” That means I deliver not only an action-packed story but also a redemptive message. Without delivering the truth, what else is there but entertainment, which has no eternal value? That’s not the path for me. I’d rather write for a smaller audience that desires a strong plot wedded with a meaningful message.
What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Depth. As I stated in my last response, there is pressure in the industry to either go secular or tone down the redemptive message. But when has there ever been a more opportune time in our world to share the message of Jesus Christ? A lot of Christian fiction is primarily written like secular fiction with God thrown in here and there with only a little meaningful takeaway. I believe in showing realistic character grappling with real-world issues and finding answers only God provides.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? When I was a kid, I devoured Hardy Boys books—yes, even my sister’s collection of Nancy Drew. I read a lot of mystery and fantasy authors. All those novels inspired me to write my own stories. When I was a child, I began writing wildly imaginative pirate and fantasy stories. I rarely finished them, and I never had a plan. My first handwritten story was a fantastical tale about Captain Kidd’s spyglass. In high school, I wrote and finished an unpublished novel called Down with the Ship. It’s such an Agatha Christie copycat that I laugh whenever I peruse it, but emulation is how a lot of authors get to be where they are today. I loved writing fiction and couldn’t stop.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? If you’re a writer who wants to be a published novelist, be patient and work hard but keep in mind that doors will open for you only in the Lord’s timing. We can’t rush God. If He has prompted you to write, God gave you that desire for a reason. Explore what His will could be, but learn to wait on Him—perhaps even for a long time. When He’s ready, He’ll let you know. In the meantime, seek Him with your whole heart.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) Authors write what they like to read. When I was a kid, I devoured Hardy Boys books—yes, even my sister’s collection of Nancy Drew. I also enjoyed fantasy authors C. S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, and Madeleine L’Engle.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I always begin a novel with a story premise in mind that I hope readers will find unique. Then I have a clear beginning path for my main character, perhaps even a possible ending. But then I mold the story and characters as I write based on the story world that emerges. I was a meticulous plotter and planner for my early novels, but more recently, I’ve discovered a much more enjoyable experience when I allow the story and characters to present new possibilities. I choose from those options as I move along. I assume that if I’m surprised by where the story goes, readers will be too. In my opinion, nothing is worse in a story than predictability. Though I may have a novel ending in mind, often new possibilities emerge as I draw closer to the finish line. Usually, an ending or even a plot twist emerges that is far better than anything I planned at the beginning.
Here is where you can find Adam online:
Adam is giving away an ebook copy of Mistletoe and Murder to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway