Enter below for a chance to win a copy of James R. Hannibal’s newest book, The Gryphon Heist.

Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to Robin Weiss for winning a copy of Jane Kirkpatrick’s One More River to Cross.

Please email my assistant Christen to claim your prize. Note: This post contains affiliate links meaning I will get a small commission if you click and buy from that link.

In this Ocean’s Eleven–meets–Mission Impossible thriller, former tactical deception officer and stealth pilot James R. Hannibal plunges readers into a labyrinth of action, con men, and global espionage. The Gryphon Heist is a nonstop, electrifying ride that will take readers into the most daring burglary ever conceived.

Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer who had high hopes of being assigned to the Moscow desk but is instead relegated to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe. She is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology. Talia assumes this assignment will be clear-cut, but that’s before she knows where the designs are stored—and who’s after them. She is soon embroiled in a high stakes race to stop the theft of the

secret weapon design and a potential attack on Washington DC.

With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where only criminal minds and unlikely strategies will keep the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault, hovering in the mesosphere. Even Tyler is more than he seems, and Talia begins to wonder: Is he helping her? Or using her access to CIA resources to pull off an epic heist for his own dark purposes? Who is conning who?

Author Spotlight with James R. Hannibal

What is a Bible verse that inspires you to keep on writing?

Most Christians will recognize “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NASB). But how does that relate to writing?

The Seek Ye First command is all about the mission—the kingdom mission. During my military days, all other goals, desires, and distractions gave way to an all-important concept. Mission first. Always. As Christians, we are called to the same mission-first ideal. You can find our mission summarized at the end of Matthew 28. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .” Clear away the haze of our goals, desires, and distractions, and the kingdom mission remains.

We all serve the kingdom mission in different ways, just as pilots, intelligence officers, and finance clerks all serve the military mission. My job is reaching others through story-telling. I’ve known this for a long time. “Seek first his kingdom” reminds me daily to stay on target—to put the kingdom mission first.

Describe the moment that you knew you were born to write.

I knew I was born to create stories at a young age. I can’t pin down the exact date. Sometime in early elementary school, I saw an illustration of a child watching a fair from the edge of a forest. There were tents, people, a juggling jester—an aura of magic. I don’t remember the book. It might have been a seek-and-find book. I’ve never been able to find it. So many stories of that boy watching the jester and the fair from the trees came unbidden to my mind in the days that followed. The author hadn’t told them. I knew I would have to.

What’s your strategy for coping with bad reviews?

The correct strategy is “Don’t read reviews.” This was the consensus of several authors during a coffee-shop discussion after we’d been asked to supply a writers conference with video readings of our worst reviews. You cannot control reviews or reviewers. You cannot please everyone. And if you are an outspoken Christian writing for the ABA market, you will be targeted. Stop looking at Goodreads and get back to work.

If for some reason you couldn’t write anymore, what would you do with your gift of communication?

I recently had the opportunity to study oral storytelling with master storytellers Steven James, Tim Lowry, and Tony Marr. I love the direct interaction and feedback of working through a story together with listeners. I have a lot to learn, but if I lost my ability to write, I’d hit the road, travel the world with my family, and tell stories. Maybe along the way, I’d find that kid watching the fair from the trees. I’d take his hand, and together we’d go introduce ourselves to the jester.

Describe your worst writing moment.

I run every chapter by my wife as soon as it’s finished. She’ll give me straight answers. Thumbs-up. Thumbs-down. No sugar-coating. One day I chose not to listen. She didn’t like my spectacled bear. I loved that bear. I dreamed about that bear. I still dream about that bear. Keep in mind, this was a children’s book. My wife told me the bear didn’t work and suggested a calico cat. I told her she was crazy and sent the chapter to my editor. “I love it,” he said. “Except for the bear. The bear doesn’t work. Get rid of it. Have you considered a cat?”

By the time the book hit the shelves, my spectacled bear had morphed into two inseparable characters, a blind librarian and a calico cat. Everybody loves that cat. Stupid cat.

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James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. A former stealth pilot from Houston, Texas, he has been shot at, locked up with surface-to-air missiles, and chased down a winding German road by an armed terrorist. He is a two-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his Section 13 mysteries for kids and a Thriller Award nominee for his Nick Baron covert ops series for adults. James is a rare multi-sense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells and hears flashes of light. If he tells you the chocolate cake you offered smells blue and sticky, take it as a compliment.

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