Friday, March 30, 2012

Jack Cavanaugh: Novelist and Teacher


            I want to welcome Jack Cavanaugh to my blog. Jack is a full-time novelist and speaker. His 26 books include the American Family Portraits series, Songs in the Night series, The Book of Books series, The Great Awakenings series with Bill Bright, Kingdom Wars series, Postmarked Heaven, Death Watch with Jerry Kulper, and Dear Enemy. His latest novel is the e-book Behold. His books have garnered a Silver Medallion award from the Christian Booksellers Association, two Christy Awards for excellence in Christian fiction, and a Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media. He will be the plenary speaker at the Write-to-Publish Conference, May 30-June 2.  

            Please leave a comment, and your email, to be entered in a drawing to win not ONE book, but THREE. Jack is giving away his TRILOGY, SONGS IN THE NIGHT: While Mortals Sleep; His Watchful Eye; and Above All Earthly Powers. The last day to leave a comment is midnight, Thursday, April 5.

Jack, according to your website, you write hero fiction. Please define that for us?

·        a family swept up in the vast panorama of American history (American Family Portrait series);

·        ordinary believers who dared to read outlawed English versions of the Bible (Glimpses of Truth; Beyond the Sacred Page);

·        a German pastor and his wife who never bowed a knee to Hitler, rescuing disabled orphans from the gas chambers (Songs in the Night series);

·        an American nurse captured by a German soldier in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge (Dear Enemy).

The goal of hero fiction is that after reading it, readers will be inspired to live nobly in whatever situation they find themselves.

Tell us about your trilogy, Songs in the Night, which you are giving away this week to one of my readers. 
Did you know that the first people sent to labor camps by the Nazis were Christian pastors who dared preach against Hitler? Did you know that the first victims of the gas chambers were German children with birth defects? The Songs in the Night trilogy depicts the faith journey of a pastor and his wife who are forced into the underground as they attempt to rescue their church youth from the brainwashing of the Hitler Youth movement and a houseful of disabled orphans from certain death. Theirs was an amazing generation. In one lifetime, these Christian Germans saw the rise of Hitler, the ultimate defeat of the Third Reich in World War II, and life among Communists behind the Berlin Wall.

You will be the plenary speaker this year at the Write-to-Publish Conference. Can you give us a preview of what you will be sharing in these sessions, as we end our day? 

During the day you will taught how to write and how to get published. In the evenings, it will be my task to give you spiritual strength for the journey. The path to getting published is daunting. Frustrating. It can be a long journey, often much longer than you think it will be, and you’re going to want to give up. I know. I’ve been there. From the time I began writing for publication to the time I landed my first book contract was thirteen years. I’ll be sharing the lessons I learned along the way.

You once served as a pastor and a teacher and are now a full-time novelist. What advice do you have for those wanting to become full-time writers?

One Christmas my brother stood in a long line at a bookstore to get a signed copy of Dean Koontz’s latest, Intensity. As he reached the front of the line, my brother told Mr. Koontz that he was buying the book for me and that I was also a novelist just starting out. Dean Koontz wrote the following inscription:

“Perseverance counts.”

And now I pass the same advice on to you, writer-to-writer-to-writer.

How can a Christian writer best prepare to be a writer who represents the Lord?

Two thoughts come to mind —

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” — Psalm 37:4.  

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:6.

Tell us how one of your blogs ended up in a San Diego newspaper.

Good question. Not by accident. When I first began writing I believed that people would marvel at the wisdom of my words and eagerly seek to publish them. Reality is a harsh tutor. It doesn’t work that way. The blog you mention is a good example of this. To get published, you have to submit your work aggressively. After reading the blog, a friend suggested it would make a good entry for the Amy Awards, funded by an organization that promotes Christian articles appearing in secular magazines. In order for the blog to qualify for entry, it had to be published in a secular publication. So I sent the blog to the San Diego Union newspaper for their op-ed page and they published it on January 1, 2012. The cut-off date for the Amy Awards for 2011 was December 31, so I’ll submit it as a 2012 entry later this year.

What do you like to do in sunny California to relax, when you’re not writing?

Much of the year I sit in the backyard in the early evening and read or listen to music. In high school and college I tried my hand at oil painting. I’ve taken that up again recently, painting on the weekends. Landscapes, mostly. But I’m determined to do portraits. Early attempts are not encouraging.

Tell us about your next project.

Two, actually. Having just released a supernatural suspense novel, Behold, the story of a young man who has seizures so violent they throw his spirit back in time, for a change of pace I’m returning to historical fiction. I have a World War II novel outlined and I’m researching a medieval-style story that may turn into a series.
Thank you, Jack, for sharing today.

Please leave a comment, along with your email, to be entered in a drawing for Jack's trilogy, Songs in the Night, through midnight, Thursday, April 5.


  1. I enjoyed Dear Enemy. I'd love to read Songs in the Night.

  2. Great interview! Jack is one of my top favorite writers and I enjoyed reading this interview today. I have almost ALL of his books, some autographed, so don't enter me in the giveaway. I just wanted to drop in and say "Hi" to Jack. Maybe he remembers me from waaay back. I provided the title for one of his American Patriot books "The Peacemakers." ")

    1. Peggy! How nice to hear from you again. I follow you on Twitter to keep up to date and remember with fondness the live chat conferences you held online. And yes, Peggy did come up with the title for Book 8 in my American Family Portrait series set during the 1960s. Blessings!

  3. Wow, these sound like books I would enjoy as well as my 24-year old son. Thanks for the chance to win!
    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

  4. I love to read books on WWII. The pastor who didn't bow to Hitler sounds like a very intriguing trilogy. I would be thrilled to win. Plus, I haven't read a book by you yet. Thanks for the opportunity!

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  5. I love learning WWII stories. Please enter me. Thanks! cara at caraputman dot com

  6. Sure enjoyed this "visit" with Jack and you, Tammie! And yes, please enter me in the contest if it's not too late (I don't recall your deadline this moment as I comment). Jack is one of the staff from WTP in 2000 who encouraged me to write my family's China stories as novels. I'll be forever grateful. . . :-)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Millie, I remember our conversation. So glad you followed up with it. Exciting stories. Blessings.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone! Blessings.

  8. I love the sound of this series and would enjoy reading these books. Please enter me!


  9. This sounds like a great series and I'd love to win it! I've learned a lot just from this interview....stuff I didn't realize before. Thanks for the chance to win.



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