Suspense, Political Thriller, Dystopian
Q: What is your latest release/release you chose to spotlight, and what would you like us to know about it? What take away? If its theme is pertinent to the time of year or a holiday that’s coming up, mention that.
H.L: My newest story, RIVEN (Riven Republic 1), was released this week, on March 8. At first glance, it may seem like a political thriller that predicts Civil War 2, but the main point is that the division in America today arises from two incompatible worldviews. What one calls good, the other calls evil. There is no significant common ground to be found and no peaceful resolution to the conflict, unless hearts and minds are changed through something like another Great Awakening. Another take away is the hero and heroine learn that our spiritual growth can be stunted, and our lives made miserable, if we don’t learn both to give and receive forgiveness.
Q: Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight encourages excellence in Christian fiction. What are things you look for in terms of excellence in novels you read? What is the latest novel you’ve read that you could heartily recommend and why?
H.L.: Reading first person, present tense is not my favorite way to take in a story. And I prefer fast-paced stories with thriller-level plots. Terri Blackstock’s IF I RUN series passed neither test, but I’ve enjoyed that series twice in the past three years. The main reason is that the heroine is a person we can love, root for and, unlike many Hollywood movie heroes, we can feel good about doing so. Also, the Christian elements unfold in a way that allows us to discover spiritual truths along with the character, rather than feeling like we’re being force-fed. I guess sometimes story trumps style.
Q: How has grace functioned in your life, been important to you? Do you have a joyous, unique, or even humorous story to tell about how grace manifested in your daily life, perhaps unexpectedly?
H.L.: In the winter of 1974, at the 7-year mark, we decided not to go career in the military, so we selected a discharge date. This was during the Oil Embargo. The U.S. economy was in the tank. There were no jobs, certainly not for meteorologists. The USAF unexpectedly released me long before our agreed upon discharge date. I think they needed our base housing for an incoming officer. With no home, no job prospects, and hardly any gas to be found, my wife and I and our two small kids drove from North Dakota to Washington in zero-degree weather. At one point, we coasted down into Bozeman, MT, and into a gas station. The engine died at the pump, but they had gas. We drove on to Washington and spent the night with my sister-in-law. I found a Meteorologist’s position at Pacific Northwest Laboratories the next day. That Sunday, I misunderstood my wife about the church we wanted to visit and drove to the wrong one. In the lobby, we ran into a classmate from high school who became our best friend. There we were introduced to a woman in the church who needed to lease her home (there were no rentals available in the entire area at that time). The list goes on and on. But in about 72 hours our lives went from unsettling uncertainty to blessed assurance. God confirmed that He had placed us where He wanted us at a time when we hadn’t a clue about our future.
Q: What will you be doing next, either in writing or in life?
H.L.: My writing will move on to RESISTING, book 2 in the RIVEN REPUBLIC series. But I’m not actually writing yet, because I’ve been ordered not to. Someone thought I needed a break. So, I’m re-reading RIVEN and noting all the actions and intentions mentioned that must be spliced into the plot of the next book. After the tortuous nine months we just came through—I was sick for 3 months and we had a death in the family which resulted in heavy, unexpected travel—it would be hazardous to my health to say I’ve started writing book 2. By that I mean my wife’s Irish eyes would not be smiling. Anyone married to the stereotypical Irish girl understands. There’s a lot of truth packed into those lyrics of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.