Please welcome Henry McLaughlin. Henry has a great sense of humor. Enjoy the interview and get to know Henry a little better. Henry is giving away a copy of Journey to Riverbend. Tell Henry hello and leave a comment to be entered.
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
I’m in writing room at my writing table which is an antique piece from my grandmother’s house. It’s almost the perfect size to hold my laptop and essential writing supplies. I sometimes wish it were wider for spreading out my research. I’m wearing my usual work-at-home outfit. Today it’s a pair of cargo shorts and an old Dallas Stars t-shirt. And barefoot. Really enjoy being barefoot. Typical dress code for summer in Texas.
What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
Recently I’ve been researching in Kansas for a historical I’m working on. I spent some time exploring the prison system because one of my characters is found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. I learned that in the 1870s, as the result of a badly botched hanging, all executions had to be approved by the governor and none were until after 1900. Another thing I found fascinating was that the Kansas state prison made a profit from producing things on its own and from letting businesses use prisoners in manufacturing.
What is something that very few people know about you?
People who know me since I’ve been writing seriously for the last eleven years or so, don’t know I’m very shy and introverted. Stepping into the writing world has forced me to come out of my shell (in a good way). But there are times when I’m very comfortable being by myself. I tell people I’m so introverted I won’t even talk to myself. LOL! That is a problem I never had. I seem to have one way conversations a little too often!
What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)It’s a tossup between my Nook Tablet and my laptop. The Nook goes everywhere with me and I enjoy always have a book handy and access to the Internet. I have Evernote on it so I can jot ideas and notes about my characters and stories. And my bible is also on it. I seldom leave the house without it.
If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, past or future, when and where would that be and why?Growing up, I wanted to live in the Old West of cowboys and horses. Books, movies and TV shows about the era fascinated me. Right now, I’d like to live either in Hawaii in the early twentieth century or Ireland before England took it over. The climate in Hawaii is very appealing (especially after thirteen years of Texas summers) and I think it would be fascinating to see and explore the islands before it became so developed and so accessible for tourists. Ireland is my ancestral home and I think I would enjoy being part of the clan in its early days.
If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?
It Wasn’t Me or It’s Not My Fault
What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story?The Black Stallion by Walter Farley was the first novel where I had this experience. Through this book, I fell in love with reading and with horses. I could imagine myself as Alec, riding the Black, having all those adventures. I believe this book planted the seed to one day be a writer.
Subsequent novels include Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and the Thomas Lynley series by Elizabeth George. For me, the mark of a great novel is one that makes me want to be part of the story, not just a reader.
What is the biggest secret you ever kept (of course it can’t be a secret anymore)?
Unfortunately, the Witness Protection Program prohibits me from answering this question.
Actually, the biggest secret I ever kept involved confidential information I learned about an employee’s severance package that I wouldn’t share with coworkers because it was none of their business. In my careers in public child welfare, and in Christian ministry, I learned the value of maintaining confidentiality and thus earning the trust of others.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?Write a book. And then write more.
The decision to step into writing full time. On the surface it was crazy, but it was ordained by God. My wife and I felt his blessing on us each step of the way.
Henry’s first novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel award sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild and was published by Tyndale House in January, 2011.
His bachelor’s degree in American History helped develop his research skills and an appreciation of the physical and spiritual greatness of this country. The post Civil War era and the settling of the American West have long been areas of interest to him.
Henry has been writing seriously for ten years. In September 2010, the Lord opened the way for him to move into full-time writing.
He also completed four years of courses through the Christian Writers Guild: Apprentice (two years), Journeymen (one year), and Craftsman (one year and residency). To improve his craft, he belongs to the Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, Word Weaves International, and North Texas Christian Writers.
Henry attends writers’ conferences, workshops and retreats, and participates in online and local critique groups. He teaches writing at conferences and workshops, as well as a creative writing course at his church.
Henry serves as President of Fort Worth Chapter of Word Weavers. This local writers group is part of Word Weavers International and provides a forum for teaching, critiquing, and encouraging fellow writers.
He is mentor for Word Weavers International and assists six local chapters across the country in achieving their mission of encouraging and developing writers.
He also serves as a writers coach for North Texas Christian Writers. He oversees and provides direction, encouragement, and guidance to four writers groups.
Michael Archer is nothing if not a man of his word. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. Unfortunately, Sam Carstairs, one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier, has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation.
Soon after arriving in Riverbend, Michael meets and falls for the stunning Rachel Stone while waiting for Sam to return from a business trip. Beautiful yet guarded, Rachel seems to be running from a past as dark as Michael’s.
When word reaches town that Sam has been kidnapped on the stagecoach home, Michael offers to join the search party formed by the local sheriff. With a budding romance behind him and a dangerous rescue ahead of him, he sets out on the trail, determined to complete his journey no matter the cost.
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Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, August 19th at 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.