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.

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