Waking Lazarus

A truly amazing and unique story, filled with twists and switchbacks and real people. If you like Inspirational stories that are hard hitting and that are written extremely well and that keep you guessing... you'll love Waking Lazarus.

The villian is truly wicked and you get a glimpse into this wicked mind which is deeply chilling. The hero is just an ordinary janitor... well, not so ordinary. He's got a gift for coming back from the dead. What Satan means for evil, God means for Good. This is a story a little like The Wrong Way Prophet, Jonah. Jude runs away until he meets God face to face. Well done suspense fiction with the crimson thread of redemption running through it.

Yesterday I gave you a teaser. The book just gets better and better as each page you turn, and turn them you will... faster and faster. You can't relax with this book; and yet, it will be a fabulous one to curl up with one night or one afternoon because I seriously doubt you'll be able to put it down until the last page is finished. Truly, it is that good.

I have read thousands of books. Enjoyed lots of them. I have not enjoyed a book so much since I read Alistair McClean's Ice Station Zebra. It is that suspenseful. I have also enjoyed lots of books from lots of different publishers, but I have never in my life sent a letter or emailed a publisher to tell them how much I enjoyed a book. I did that with Waking Lazarus. Bethany House has a real winner with this one.

I met Tony Hines in a writer's forum at Faith*in*Fiction (the blog link is on the side bar at the left). He has a truly wonderful love for the Lord and a sweet personality. But, that isn't why I liked the book so much. Dog gone it, it is the best written Christian book I've read in months. I want more like this!

So... on to the interview...

Tony, I enjoy your BLOG very much and walking with you through this publishing process. I’ve known you for several months and have grown to love you as a person… warts and all. I have also learned that when I know the author, I’m even more intrigued by the book. You tell us a lot about yourself on your website (interesting stuff!) But, would you tell me and my readers a little more about you personally… something that isn’t on your website and gives us a glimpse into Tony Hines the man?

Thanks, Gina. Blogs really can be like personal journals--the only difference being they’re personal journals the whole world can see. I try to be as real and as honest as I can on my blog; I do more than my share of promotion on the rest of the site, and on the web in general. The blog is where I try to keep myself brutally honest.One of the first questions I get asked about the book is, “How did you come up with your main character of Jude Allman?” I tell people he comes from my own experience, with bits and pieces thrown in from other people. And that’s true. But there really is a lot more of me in Jude Allman than even I probably want to admit: he’s simply a magnified version of some of my own foibles. I have certain obsessive compulsive tendencies--I count letters of words and phrases frequently, for instance--and I’ve struggled with depression. With Jude, I just took a few of those things and exaggerated them to extremes. This isn’t to say I’m just a bundled mess on neuroses, of course. I have a wonderful, supportive family, and I really don’t know where I’d be without a faith in God. But there you go: the character of Jude hits close to home, in many ways.

You give a great insight into the reasons for this story and how it developed on your site. I’m wondering what did you learn about God while writing this book and during the process of getting it published?

That’s a great part of the story, for me. Jude’s journey mirrors my own journey to faith. I was an atheist until age 27, and when I became a Christian, one of the most startling realizations was that God had been working in my life all along. I could go back to key points of my life, seeing how God had been at work in the choices I made, and it fascinated me. So, Jude is a man who is used by God, even though Jude does his best to thwart those efforts for much of the book. Writing the story illuminated the wonder of that to me in so many ways.

I also think my personal path to publication is something that can encourage other writers. I wrote WAKING LAZARUS a few years ago, and began querying literary agents--ABA and CBA--about representation. After being turned down by 80+ agents, I chalked up the book to experience and wrote another. Then, I queried more agents, and hit up agents who were “near misses” the first time. Same result: dozens of rejections. By this time, I was frustrated, and even though I’d started another book, I stalled. I finally sat down with God and had what I consider an Abraham moment: I had to hold up my desire to be published as a sacrifice. I said to God, “I don’t know why I’m getting so frustrated about being published. What I love to do is write, and I’m going to keep writing even if I never get published.”

Two weeks later--seriously--I received an email from Dave Long at Bethany House, who had downloaded a sample chapter of WAKING LAZARUS at my web site and was interested in seeing more. I still remember how he began that email: “Don’t know if you’d consider publication with a Christian publisher, but...” I still find that amazing. After a couple years of trying to find an agent as a door into a publisher, the back door had been opened to me--by a man I’d never met or spoken to.

That reinforced the message of the book for me yet again: God is at work in all our lives. And I truly believe God honored what I call my Abraham moment, when I offered up that desire to be published as a sacrifice.

[This last statement encouraged me so much in my own crises right now. It is probably the best advice I've ever been given.]

To be continued tomorrow...

Tony Hines
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