Author Spotlight: Brock and Bodie Thoene

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Donna Fletcher Crow is Connie Saunders! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week please welcome Brock and Bodie Thoene in the spotlight! To win a copy of their new book When Jesus Wept (Zondervan, 2013) , leave a comment on this post.

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

Married 42 years and writing together for more than 25 of that. Four kids (all grown) and eight grandchildren from age 17 down to 1 ½…Most fun ever! (Just got back from taking one set of them to Disneyland) Pretty much writing full time when not with grandkids!

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

70 novels—mostly historical fiction—life of Jesus, World War II, rebirth of Israel, Ireland and some westerns. Some contemporary political thrillers too. And non-fiction works, mostly delving into the Jewish roots of Christianity.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I (Bodie) got my start in journalism . . . newspaper and magazine writing. My big break was writing The Fall Guy with John Wayne’s stunt double, Chuck Roberson, which led to screen writing with John Wayne’s Batjac Productions and also led, indirectly, to writing The Zion Chronicles, the first of the historical novel series.

I (Brock) am a historian by training and interest, so I’m the researcher. We often say, if we were to create a fictional couple to write historical novels, we’d probably give him a background in history and her training in journalism . . . so God had that all planned 40+ years ago…long before we thought of it!

After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published?

My (Bodie’s) story is different from many novelists, because I was already a professional writer before the first novel came out. When we teach writing we teach journalism and we teach writing for publication . . . meaning: magazine articles etc as a way to build your craft and resume before attempting a book-length manuscript.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I (Bodie) write to music. I find that to be very important. Also having ample time to think before trying to write. If a scene takes 6 hours to compose, it might be 3 hours of thinking and 3 hours of writing . . . or it might be 5 hours of thinking and then pour out on the page in an hour!

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? 

Yes, but it’s not what other people think! Working ‘til 2am to meet a deadline and throwing away the last 200 pages and rewriting it in the last week is NOT glamorous!

What are your biggest distractions?

Grandkids! And very welcome they are, too!

What do you most like about being a writer?

Love the independence.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Learn journalism! Clarity is more important than cleverness! Hone your craft. It’s not so much a talent as it is a skill to be learned.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Take whatever you think you know about any Gospel story. Then ask yourself: ‘Why did the Gospel writer include that detail?’ Then ponder and explore that question and answer. Take Lazarus, for example. Besides being the man Jesus brought back to life, did you know that the religious rulers wanted to kill him too? (Not just Jesus!) Why? Having the attitude: ‘Everything means something,’ makes studying the Bible fresh and exciting . . . and our books will help open those windows.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

More about Jesus and many other subjects as the Lord allows!

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Thoene books sold everywhere . . . print and Kindle both . . . or autographed, exclusively from www.familyaudiolibrary.com who also sell our award-winning audiobooks.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Ramona Schlaegel says:

    Everytime that I read, or even reread, their books, I grow spiritually and intellectually.

  2. I grew up on your books! Loved the Zion Legacy. My dad used to disappear for hours with the Chronicles series and we’d finally find him as he was finishing up the last chapter. 🙂

    They made history come alive for me and I grew very interested in the history of the church through reading your novels.

  3. Sharon Foster says:

    Great books to read and re-read.

  4. I love Zion Chronicles and Zion Legacy! I love history and they make it live!

  5. I would love to read this book, I remember the Zion Legacy. Was great. Believe I still have those on my shelf.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

  6. Shirley M. Franklin says:

    I love historical fiction, but this is not fiction – it is historical reality brought to live so we can understand it. I would very much like to win this book. Thank you for this opportunity. Suzanne, thank you so much for sharing information about other authors whom your readers might also appreciate. What a generous, selfless attitude you have.

  7. Shirley M. Franklin says:

    Ooops! A typo in my comment – I meant to say it is historical reality brought to LIFE.

  8. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read and re-read (and recommended!) books by this terrific writing team. Thanks for sharing your gift!

  9. Mary Tullila says:

    Love thier books….such an inspiration they are,

  10. Lisa Medeiros says:

    Sounds like a great book… I have never read any of their books!

  11. Margaret says:

    How interesting it is to read some personal things from authors. All are so different but, with the Holy Spirit’s help, create amazing stories.

    Thank you all.

  12. Megan Parsons says:

    I would love the chance to win this book!!

  13. Rita Clements says:

    This team is so wonderful! How blessed they are to work together in God’s name and bring wonderful works for us! I love hoe they Glorify Him! I would so love to receive this book! Thank you for your work!

  14. Rita Clements says:

    Typo, how not hoe!

  15. Carol Carman says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying the author interviews. I’ve not had the pleasure of reading any of Bodie and Brock’s books yet, but am certainly looking forward to it now. Thanks! Great interview!

  16. Carmena Stoney says:

    Love their books!!! Thanks for this opportunity to win a free copy of When Jesus Wept!

  17. Aleda Swartzendruber says:

    Interesting interview. Would like to win their book for my husband. He enjoys their books! Blessings to you today!

  18. Angie Carroll says:

    It sounds like an interesting book! I also like to read authors that I am not familiar with as much as some others! I am familiar with their name but I have not read any of their books yet!

  19. Betty says:

    Would love to win a copy of this book.

  20. Patti M. says:

    I’m so glad I found this blog today as I’m a huge fan. Great info about writing and the writing life — thanks!

  21. Nat Homgren says:

    Love your Zion Covenant & Zion Chroncals books….have them all! Thanks for weaving the stories and teaching history and heritage!

  22. Phyllis Kemp says:

    Thank you for presenting such OUTSTANDING authors and their work. Hopefully, more people will be introduced to their novels. Thank you.

  23. Shelley DePalmer says:

    My husband and I love reading the Thoene’s books. My husband is a history nut so we not only enjoy the books but the conversation they spark. I am looking forward to reading “When Jesus Wept”. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Jasmine A. says:

    I love the Thoene’s books! When I was a young teenager searching the library for good books, theirs were some of the early ones I tried and I have been hooked ever since.

    Trying to choose a favorite Thoene series is kind of like trying to choose a favorite friend. I think the A.D. Chronicles might have a little bit of an edge over the others though, the idea that “everything means something” is so fascinating and resonates with me.

    Would absolutely LOVE to win and read this book!

    Blessings!
    Jasmine A.
    montanamade(at)gmail(dot)com

  25. Susan P says:

    Love their books! Their new one sounds like a deep and wonderful read.

  26. Would love the chance to win this book. Have never read any books of this author and sounds like a good read.

  27. Thank you so much for the great advice today, Thoenes! I wrote for newspapers and I know that has helped me as a writer. That, and editors who DO value clarity above cluttered, fanciful prose. Would love a chance to win your novel!

  28. Karen Johnson says:

    I am being introduced to your work and enjoying my first Thoene book, First Light in the AD Chronicles. I think I would also enjoy “Jesus Wept.”

  29. sharon says:

    Thanks for this wonderful introduction to you and your writing. It would be a pleasure to read your memorable books.

  30. Halita Wilson says:

    Hey guys!!!! Its great to get to know you guys.

  31. Megan Wilson says:

    Wow! Congrats on 42 years of marriage! 🙂 This book sounds really good and I will definitely have to check it out. 🙂 I love interviews like these, it is always great fun to read about authors.

  32. Melanie says:

    I LOVE to read their books!

    I have also, always, been so touched that Our Lord has so much compassion for us that HE actually cried! My King crying for me, that’s who I want to worship! Can’t wait to get WHEN JESUS WEPT and get all comfy on the beach and read it in a couple of weeks!

    Thanks so much for writing it!!! 🙂

  33. Pam Flynn says:

    I love the Lord and Can’t wait to read this, hopefully I will win it. Thank you for writing a beautiful book.

  34. Jennifer says:

    Looks like a great read. 🙂

  35. Donna C says:

    This looks like a wonderful book. A must read to add to my list.