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 Shirley Brosius, Janine Boyer, and Kim Messinger is Linda L.! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week Dan Walsh is in the Spotlight again! To win a copy of his book, The Discovery leave a comment on this post!

What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

It’s the same advice, Suzanne. First given from my agent, Karen Solem. Then my editor at Revell, Andrea Doering, who said almost the same thing. Recently it was reaffirmed by a good author friend, Jim Rubart in an article he wrote for Christian Fiction Online magazine.

It’s this: Don’t get too distracted with other things. The most important thing is writing a great book, telling a great story, something readers won’t want to put down and will want to tell their friends, “You have to read this book!”

What was your biggest break?

It would have to what happened after I sent my first manuscript out for The Unfinished Gift back in late 2007. I had anticipated a long period of constant rejections, so I sent out the first 3 proposals from a list of top literary agents in Christian fiction (figured I could only handle 3 rejections at a time). To my utter surprise, 2 of those agents wanted to read the whole book (as a result, I have only 1 rejection letter in my drawer). Both were interested in representing me. I picked Karen Solem, who had a deal firmed up with Revell in just a few months. That book went on to win 2 Carol Awards and began a long-term relationship with my agent and publisher that’s proven to be an amazing blessing in our lives.

I’m inspired by…

My wife Cindi’s faith, love, constant sacrifice and devotion to the Lord, to me, and to our family. She is the most amazing person I have ever met, or have ever known.

The one thing I hope to discover is…

To learn the secret of contentment Paul wrote about in Phil 4:11-13. And to know Christ the way Paul did (really know Him, not just about Him). I want to get to the place where my joy remains unchanged by life’s ups and downs. I’m pressing into this and experiencing a measure of fruit here. But I want more.

If I could go anywhere, it would be…

On a tour of Ireland, then parts of England and France. I’d want to do it slowly, and with Cindi. Why? Ireland, because I’m 100% Irish; the pics I’ve seen are amazing and, sadly, I wasn’t raised to appreciate my Irish heritage. My desire to tour parts of England and France have come from all my research into the WW2 era (the time frame where parts of 3 of my novels are set).

If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?

All of our family photos and videos. Insurance can replace most everything else.

What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?

Winning those 2 Carol Awards for The Unfinished Gift at the ACFW banquet in 2010. I knew I had been nominated but had thoroughly convinced myself I didn’t have a chance of winning. Even as I prepared my acceptance speech (which they asked all the finalists to do), it felt absurd. Then I won the first one, which seemed totally surreal. When they called out my name for the second award, I almost fainted.

What drives you to succeed?

A desire to write novels that affect my readers as much as the stories affect me when God puts them in my heart. I want them to catch honest and accurate glimpses of Him, and to ponder the things that matter most to Him. And I hope my readership grows to where I can provide adequately for my wife and I, so that I can keep on doing this for years to come.

Best Saturday Afternoon Read

Perhaps Leif Enger’s phenomenal book, Peace Like a River.

Best Forgotten Custom

The family eating around the dinner table every night with the TV off.

Best Time-Waster

Sitting on the beach near our home under an umbrella, toes in the water, Cindi sitting next to me, a great book on my lap, breeze blowing, cell phone off, a constantly changing yet always refreshing view of God’s amazing creation playing out before me.

Best Advice

So many things come to mind. This is certainly one of them:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Good Things are Coming!

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