Though I had originally planned to give readers some background on my upcoming book, sometimes it's a lot more fun--and makes even more sense--coming from the mouth of one of the characters themselves! That hasn't happened since Violet Dunne from FOREVER IN MY HEART came for an interview.
Now we've got Tom Clayton, the hero of ONCE UPON A PAINTED HORSE, who has graciously agreed to stop by and talk about this upcoming Christian novel which, as it turns out, is about romance...and more. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax & enjoy the interview!
ME: Welcome, Tom, to my humble, little blog!
TOM (smiling shyly): Thank you, writer! (Whispering) Um...do I pretend we haven't seen each other every single day since the book began? I'm not sure how to do this.
ME (whispering): Oh, you're doing find, sweetheart. The readers know we've been working together. You just be your wonderful self, answer my questions--but don't give too much away. Okay?
TOM: Got it!
ME: Good. So tell us about ONCE UPON A PAINTED HORSE. In a nutshell, what is it about?
TOM: Well, the story starts out with Heather Blackburn--that's my Heather, though we don't know each other at the very beginning. She's just been laid off from a very prestigious job in New York City.
ME: She was an editor, right? At a publishing house?
TOM: Yes, that's right. Her dream job. Anyway, she's let go and she doesn't know what direction her life is supposed to take. Her parents have been living in Western North Carolina, and their pastor and his family are planning to take an 11-week sabbatical. They offer Heather, who is coming down to North Carolina because she has lost her apartment up North, as a house-sitter. She's just gotten to the house and is driving around, checking out her surroundings, when she sees signs for an amusement park. That's when she meets me. I own the amusement park.
ME: How cool! But there's something...let's just say, unusual about this amusement park, isn't there?
TOM: Y-yes, absolutely. The amusement park hasn't been used in decades. In fact...it's said to be haunted.
ME: Ahhh, exactly. Okay, well, let's go back to that, but first...tell us about Heather. It's love at first sight between you two, right?
TOM (laughing): No, I wouldn't say that. We don't get off on the right foot at all. But she ends up going to church with her parents, and guess who's also there? Because I'm the piano player for the church. I accompany the worship team.
ME: Very nice! You're also a high school teacher and a coach, but it's the summer, so you're currently not working, right?
TOM: Right. I had decided to spend the summer trying to get the park--or rather, the land it's on, sold.
ME: But nobody wants to buy land that is "haunted," right?
TOM: Unfortunately, that's true. But it's not haunted by ghosts. As a Christian, I have to deal with what is on that land. And I can't do it alone. That's something I have to learn in the story.
ME: Yes, and that's what makes this book a lot different from other Christian romances I have worked on. You're a very brave hero, by the way, and Heather is a very brave heroine.
TOM: I appreciate that, but it's not always easy. There are elements of spiritual warfare. This used to be a beautiful park, a playground for families, but there were tragedies there, and there are things there that don't want to leave. They would also like to come between Heather and me.
ME: That's right. It's important to warn readers that there are elements of horror within the story, too, but at heart, what is really going on there is what you mentioned--spiritual warfare. This isn't easy for either of you, either.
TOM: No, because I've been a Christian since I was younger, in my 20s. I'm 30 now. But I'm at a hard place in my walk, where I'm wavering in the faith. And Heather is just coming to the Lord. This story is also about re-dedication to the Lord and trusting Him no matter what you face, and trusting Him to be Lord over the most important relationship of your life--aside from the one with Him, of course.
ME: Of course! I think we're going to leave it there, Tom. You've given the readers a good idea of what to expect.
TOM (smiling): A good story and, I hope, a blessing!
ME: I agree. Thank you for coming, Tom.
TOM: Thank you, writer! See ya this afternoon! Meet you at the laptop!
ME (giggling): Meet you there!
And remember...ONCE UPON A PAINTED HORSE will be released sometime in August 2015!