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’m pleased to introduce you to my friend and very successful Christian author, Dan Walsh. Dan has a book that’s free today, so make sure you check out the end of the interview for the link so that all of my readers can get their copy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Let’s see…I’m almost 61 (in May). I’ve been married for 42 years to the only woman I’ve ever loved. She remains the best friend I’ve ever had. We have 2 grown children, both married. We’re all very close and get along well. I have 3 grandkids, a 4th due in May. We’ve lived in the same house for almost 33 years (so, it’s paid off…yay!). We both moved to the Daytona Beach area in 1965 as kids. Both our dads were hired to work on the Apollo moonshot program. In 2010 after my 3rd novel came ou t(The Deepest Waters), I left pastoring full-time (after 25 years) to writing full-time. Working on my 20th novel now.
Tell us about your current release: My most recent release was Saving Parker (in November). It’s Book 3 in my Forever Home series. For folks familiar with my books, this series is similar to the Nicholas-Sparks type novels I’m known for. The first novel in the series, Rescuing Finley, has over 1,000 5-Star reviews.
I don’t have a title picked out yet for the book I’m working on now, but it’s the 4th book in my Jack Turner Suspense series. This series is doing very well in sales and getting great reviews. Each of the suspense novels features the same main characters and main location, a strong romantic theme, and a mystery that involves WW2 somehow.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? No, if I’m being honest. I’m always encouraged when I get feedback that one of my novels touched helped/blessed someone in their walk with God. Just read a beautiful email like that this morning. But, for me to be able to write these books and keep writing, I need to have a fairly large number of sales.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Not at all. I’ve enjoyed a fairly good measure of success with my first 12 novels, published by a mainstream Christian Fiction house (Revell). They required the books to be written from a clear Christian worldview (even if they didn’t have an explicit Christian message) and contain no profanity or sex scenes. Although challenging sometimes to write a novel that includes read bad guys doing and saying real bad-guy-things, it wasn’t hard for me to write with these standards in place. I’ve still followed them with the 6 indie novels I’ve written since leaving Revell.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I never wrote a thing (as I recall) until I took an 11th grade elective class on Creative Writing. To my surprise, I loved it and got straight A’s on everything I turned in. When it was over, my teacher pulled me aside and said, “You might be one of the most naturally gifted writers I’ve ever had in my class. You really should consider writing for a career.” That had a profound impact on me, and I thought that’s what I’d be doing for the rest of my life.
Real life intervened, and I had to lay that dream aside. But I never lost my love of writing and felt sure God would open a door for me to do it someday. Maybe when I retired. Real life intervened again when, after pastoring for 22 years, I began to experience burnout. It was suggested I needed a hobby that helped me relax. My wife reminded me how much I used to love to write back in high school. That year I wrote The Unfinished Gift in my spare time. An A-list literary agent read it, loved it and had a deal with a major publisher in 2 months. It went on to become a bestseller and win 2 Carol Awards. That led to writing more books and, after my 3rd, my publisher made me a deal I couldn’t refuse to write novels fulltime.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? As I said, I had some good success with a traditional publisher. My 12 novels with them averaged about 20-25,000 copies sold (some over 50,000). But in 2012, I started to notice a massive shift in how readers were buying books. More and more were being sold as ebooks and more and more in online stores like Amazon. Since I was only making about $1 per print book and 75 cents per ebook (my publisher and retail stores getting all the rest), I decided by 2014 I really didn’t need a publisher any longer to get my books in readers’ hands. Since Amazon was willing to pay me 70% of the sale price per book (about 40% for print books), we made the leap to indie (self) publishing then. Six books later, it’s turned out to be a great decision and, really, made the difference in me being able to keep writing full-time. Not only am I getting paid a much fairer share of the total sales, I get to write the kinds of books I want, choose the titles and covers I want and market them in a number of ways my publisher would never consider.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Writing with a view to getting a novel published is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have a deep desire to excel at the craft of writing (not just love to tell stories), if you become easily hurt or discouraged when you receive input or criticism, if you don’t enjoy long hours of solitude, if you don’t love to read great books, if you are known for starting many things but finishing few, if you don’t have a tenacious zeal to keep doing something until you succeed…you might want to consider doing something else. And here’s a quick writing tip taken from my favorite writing quote by the late NY Times bestselling author, Elmore Leonard: “In your writing, try to leave out the part readers skip.”
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 19 novels including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards (finalist 6 times), 3 Selah Awards and 4 of his books have been finalists for RT Review’s Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Word Weavers International, Dan writes fulltime in the Daytona Beach area. He and his wife Cindi have been married 42 years, have 2 children, both married, and 3 grandchildren (more coming). You can find out more about his books or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest from his website at http://www.danwalshbooks.com.
Find Dan’s book Unintended Consequences – FREE online:
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