Monday, June 17, 2013

Meet author Dan Walsh

Congratulations to Maxie, from Pasadena, Texas, who won Karen Witemeyer's book, Stealing the Preacher. Now let's say hello to Dan Walsh, an author who has been compared to writers, Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans.

Juanita: Hello, Dan, it is a pleasure to be able to talk with you this morning about your books. I have read several  of them and have perused many interviews others have done with you on the internet. As we talk today, I hope I can come up with a few questions that are different from the others. First, please tell us when you made your decision to accept the salvation Jesus offered you?

Dan: I came to Christ as a senior in high school way back in 1975. I had been raised a Catholic, and even attended a Catholic school through eighth grade but never really understood the gospel until that year when I was seventeen.

Juanita: When did you know you wanted to be a writer of novels and how many years have you been writing?

Dan: I’ve wanted to do this since I took a creative writing class in eleventh grade. Back then, I mainly wrote short stories and poems. But I set it all aside for several decades after experiencing a call to pastoral ministry a few years later. I began writing again in 2007 as something of a pastime, urged on by my wife who knew I loved to write back when we first met. I finished my first novel and was able to get an influential agent almost right away. She quickly secured a contract with Revell a few months later. And I have been writing for them ever since.

Juanita: I know you were a pastor for twenty-five years before the Lord led you to begin writing full-time. As the wife of a busy pastor, I know how much time that takes. While you were pastoring, did you find time to write?

Dan: I had just turned fifty years old when I began to write again. My kids were both grown, so I actually had some spare time on my off-hours. My first three novels were written this way, in my spare time.
Juanita: What about your idea for The Deepest Waters? I always read the author’s thoughts at the end of the book find out how the book came to be. Please tell our readers this most interesting story.
Dan: I had just finished my second book, The Homecoming. My publisher wanted to keep this going and asked if I had any other ideas. Things had happened so quickly, I really didn’t have any other book ideas in mind. Then I watched a show on the History Channel that totally gripped my attention. It was about a shipwreck in 1857 that included a couple on their honeymoon separated by the storm (they were both certain they would never see each other again). The ship went down with over 16 tons of gold. Some amazing things happened as the story unfolded. I was certain someone had to have written a novel about this. I looked into it and no one had. So I did.

Juanita: I was very impressed by the character, Micah, the old slave on the rescue boat. Where did you get the inspiration for him?

Dan: I really believe it came from the Lord. I don’t say that lightly. He wasn’t part of the historical record, but I needed a character who would help Laura deal with her grief and loss. Since this took place three years before the Civil War, I came up with the idea to have Micah be the one to help her. As I wrote the book, Micah’s character grew to be far more than I had anticipated. He’s one of my favorite characters in all my books.

Juanita: I read in one of your interviews, “When I write, I leave out the words that readers skip.” How do you zero in on the main things, yet still tell such descriptive stories?

Dan: That’s an interesting question. I think the secret has something to do with trusting the reader’s mind and his or her own imagination. People who like to read fiction are usually thinkers with active imaginations. My goal is to give them just enough detail to “prime the pump” and get them going. Then I shift right into the story itself. Leaving out the parts readers skip allows the story to move at a good pace and the reader is not frustrated as they wade through a thick swamp of boring words.

Juanita: Thanks for that answer, Dan. I sometimes get tired of all the description that could easily be left out so the reader can get on with the story. And I sometimes find myself  skipping some of those parts, so I understand why you do it.

Several other books you have written are stacked near my reading chair and I can’t wait to get to them. Tell us about your recent book, The Reunion.

Dan: I loved writing this book. It came out this past September and has received the best reviews of all my books so far. In fact, a major Hollywood producer who has made three films for Hallmark has optioned it for a movie. It would take several paragraphs to describe the story well, without giving too much away. Perhaps it would be safer to provide you with a link on my website devoted to this book:  

Juanita: Since we did this interview, I read The Reunion and it touched me deeply. It's about some of the unsung heroes of the Vietnam war. 

People have compared your style of writing to that of Nicholas Sparks and Richard Evans. Since all three of you are men who write romance novels, what is the first thing that sets your books apart? What are the main differences readers will notice when they read your books and possibly compare them to these other two well-known authors?  

Dan: I think my writing compares a little more closely with Richard Paul Evans, although more people compare me to Sparks. I think one difference between me and Evans would be that my stories typically include more romance. I can see three differences in my writing than Nicholas Sparks. I never have any bedroom scenes, they have stronger Christian themes and I never have tragic endings. Other than that though, I can see why my books are often compared with his.

Juanita: For readers of Christian novels, those are some pretty good reasons. Thank you. Now you are writing a series of books with Gary Smalley. How many books will be in this series?

Dan: Four books are planned for the Restoration series. The first one, The Dance,  released April 1st. The second one, called The Promise, comes out in September. I’m just getting ready to start Book 3 in a few weeks.

Juanita: Will you tell us about these books and what you want the reader to carry away?

Dan: The books are similar to the Redemption series Gary co-authored with Karen Kingsbury. If readers liked those they would like this series also. The stories follow the unraveling and rebuilding of a Christian family, the Anderson’s. The first book features John and Marilyn, the mom and dad who have been married for twenty-seven years but, for Marilyn, they have not been happy ones. The goal of the series is to contrast the genuine happiness God has in mind for marriage and family life compared to the counterfeit, inferior model many of us drift into. Each of the other three books features the Anderson children, who are adults now, as each go through a God-ordained restoration process of their own.

Juanita: I know you are a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. What advice would you give an aspiring novelist who is trying to get started in the business?

Dan: Don’t become sidetracked in your writing by all of the many distractions clamoring for your attention. Some of them are even important. Some of them only sound important. But none of them can compare to the importance of learning how to write and rewrite a great book. A great book will find its way to publication, because that’s what readers are always looking for. But no amount of marketing, publicity or social networking can make up for a mediocre story poorly told.

Juanita: Do you speak at Writers’ Conferences? If so, which one(s)?

Dan: I’ve just begun to do this more often in the past year. I spoke at the CLASS Christian Writers conference in New Mexico last November. At the beginning of March I spoke at the Florida Christian Writers conference. I’ll be speaking at a Christian writers retreat in July and also as part of an authors’ panel at the ACFW conference in September.

Juanita: How can readers find you and order your books on the net?

Dan: They are available at all the major online stores in print or e-book form (some are also available as audiobooks). Simply type in “Dan Walsh books” and they should see all the ones in stock. Here’s a link that might make the process easy. It’s my Book Page on my website. They can just click on whatever book they are interested in and it will open a page with links to all the stores at the top of that page:

Juanita: Thank you so much for your time, Dan. I really appreciate being able to interview you. I will be reading the other books you wrote as soon as I can.

Dan: Thanks Juanita for the chance to spend some time with you and your readers.

Now, readers, it's your turn. If you'd like a copy of Dan's newest book,  The Dance, you need to comment here. You can tell whether you enjoyed the interview, or you can say, "I want a book" or whatever you wish to say.  Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.
The copy I will send is not a new book; it is one I ordered it from Amazon and read, but it's in almost new condition. Winner will be announced on my blog on June 24.
 (One week from today).

You can get extra entries in the contest if you "Follow Me" or "Subscribe" to my blog. Let me know in your comment so I can credit you with the extra chances to win.

Three of Dan's recent books
 Dan Walsh is the award-winning and bestselling author of 8 novels, published by Revell and Guideposts, including The Unfinished Gift, Remembering Christmas and The Reunion. Reviewers often compare Dan’s books to Nicholas Sparks. His latest project is a 4-book fiction series with Gary Smalley. The first book, The Dance, just released in April. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Dan now writes fulltime in Port Orange, FL. He and his wife Cindi have been married 36 years. You can email him or follow him on Facebook or Twitter. There are buttons to connect to these on his website at


  1. Dan and Juanita, I enjoyed this interview. Thank you for taking the time to share your vast wisdom and experience with us! :)

  2. HI Jaunita and Dan! I have read a couple of your books and I loved them. I think you are a great writer and I look forward to reading The Dance. Thank you so much for the interview and giveaway.

    Wanda Barefoot

    I am a subscriber and follower too. :)

    1. Hello, Wanda, glad you came back to read another interview. I have your name on the list (3 times because you're a follower and a subscriber). Have the read The Reunion yet? It's really good.

    2. Thanks Juanita, for stopping by!

  3. Love when writers tackle the Vietnam era. Also, funny how so many of us started "writing" in school. Poems and short stories that I would never want to see the light of day.
    Great interview Juanita and Dan.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Linda. I know how busy you are, to take time out for this. Hope things are going well for you.

    2. Thanks Linda...I am glad no one can see what I wrote back then, but I do wish I had saved them, just for laughs.

  4. I enjoyed the Redemption Series and the new Restoration Series is one I look forward to reading. Thanks for the chance to win The Dance.

    1. Hello, Pat, thanks for stopping by to comment. Good luck in the drawing!

  5. Hello Juanita.The Dance sounds great. I would love to win it and I loved your interview,

    1. Hi, Diana, Good luck in the drawing. I sure enjoyed The Dance and I know you will too.

  6. What a great interview! I really enjoyed it. I haven't read any of Dan's books yet, but I do have 2 of them that I will soon read. I know I will enjoy them. Thank you, Juanita, for offering a chance to win The Dance.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

  7. Thanks to you all who commented. I really appreciate it. All you who requested the book are on the list! Good luck. I will select a winner on Saturday of this week and send an email to the winner.

  8. Sounds like a fantastic series. Enjoy books when they are co-authored with Gary Smalley.

    1. Hello Martha, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the others. I'm sure you've read Karen Kingsbury and this one is similar to those. Christian books are the way to go, in my opinion. Who needs that bad language and explicit situations? Not us. I'll be announcing the winner next Monday and will notify the winner by email. Good luck in the drawing!

  9. I certainly would like a copy of Walsh's book. I personally enjoyed the relevant questions as it pertains to Walsh's approach and motivation. I experienced the pleasure of meeting Dan the Florida Christian Writers Conference this past March. He remains very personable and helpful in my own career ambitions.

    James Cartee

    1. Nice to hear from you, James. It's great that you got to meet Dan. Good luck to you in your writing. I'll be announcing the winner of the book next Monday on my blog. I really appreciate your stopping by to comment.

    2. Great to hear from you, James. Here and on FB!

  10. I enjoyed the interview with Dan Walsh very much and would really like to read his book.

    Cheryl Stewart

    1. Hey, Cheryl, I'm so glad you signed in on my blog. I have your name on the list and will be announcing the winner next Monday. Good luck!