Jonathan's Shield is historical fiction. It's based loosely on the relationship between David and Jonathan in 1st Samuel. That being said, I wouldn't call it strictly Christian Fiction. I tried to take some of those great stories of the Old Testament and flesh out the characters so the reader can see them as real people with shortcomings and faults like everyone else.
Years ago I was in a Bible study that covered 1st and 2nd Samuel. During one session we blew through an incident that most of us don't remember from the story of David. Prince Jonathan climbs up a steep hillside to tackle a Philistine outpost, and nobody goes with him but his faithful armor bearer. Together they rout the Philistines and the battle is won. That armor bearer is never named or heard from again. I remember pondering about that brave unknown man, and I decided to give him a name and tell his story. I like stories about the anonymous grunts.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
The hardest thing about writing anything longer than a page is sticking with it. I think a lot of people get the idea of writing a novel and may even start one. But then, after that great opening scene, your ideas start faltering. It turns into drudgery. It gets hard, boring. And you quit. This has happened to me. There are two ways to deal with this, actually three. First, decide that you really want to write, to be a writer. If you do, then go to steps two and three. Second, set aside a block of time every day (I usually take weekends off,) and put your bottom in the chair in front of your laptop or whatever. Write even if you think it's trash. You will come back and edit anyway.The third method is the one I think has helped me the most. Join some kind of writing or critique group. Meet with them regularly—probably weekly—and have something to show them. They tear it apart—I mean critique it—and then you do the same to their submissions. Everybody gets better, and you keep writing because someone is holding you accountable every week.
When and where do you do your writing?
I'm a night owl, and I write mostly at night between eight PM and midnight. My man cave is upstairs away from the TV and whatever hubbub visiting grandkids might be stirring up .
What have you learned about promoting your books?
There’s so much more to the world of books than writing one. I honestly had no idea there would be this amount of marketing involved. I guess I thought that I would just write it, get it published, and then walk out to the mailbox to pick up royalty checks.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
To be honest, I’m most proud of finishing, of getting it done, following through, scratching this effort off my bucket list. I haven’t won any awards. I haven’t become a NYT best selling author. But I can say I’m a writer. And I’m going to write some more.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about?
I had to think a bit on this one. I suppose it would be James Lee Burke. He and I are about the same age although I’m just getting started in this kind of gig. We both came from Louisiana which we love, live or lived in Montana which we also love, and I think he may be the best mystery writer—maybe the best writer period—in America today. I’d like to talk with him about our two home states and about how he comes up with those great descriptions of the land and water and sky and smells. If he would confide in me, I’d also ask him how much of his writing is autobiographical. I doubt he would tell me that though. I probably wouldn’t either.
A son of the South, Channing Turner grew up in Arkansas and Louisiana before graduating from Louisiana State University in Psychology. He did graduate work in marine biology and became an estuarine biologist along the Texas coast. After retiring from the petrochemical industry where he worked in Louisiana and Montana as a laboratory analyst, he managed the 2010 US Census in Montana and northern Wyoming. He now lives in eastern Washington with his wife, Barb.
Channing served in the army and was discharged as an Armor captain. Reading and writing are his sedentary pursuits, but he also enjoys riding his Tennessee Walker in the Blue Mountains of Washington and Oregon.
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