|Herb Marlow, Author of the Minister Wanted Series|
RAWA: When did you first discover that you were a writer?
HM: My first story was published in the Iowa Rural Electric Coop magazine in 1981. I was paid $35.00 for it, and I guess that was the first time I thought of myself as a writer.
RAWA: What is your favorite part of writing?
HM: Developing the characters and the theme. When I start I know how the book will begin and end (at least loosely, although I always leave some wiggle room), but the theme and the characters don’t develop until I start writing. Sometimes things come together in my mind while I’m sleeping, and I can’t wait to get up and write.
RAWA: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing?
HM: Re-writing. After several times of going through the MS, my mind begins to blur.
RAWA: Tell us about your series.
HM: In the first book – Ministerwanted.com – Dr. Charles Miller resigns from the church he is pastoring in Tyler, Texas and takes an interim position at a church in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The position is to last four weeks, the length of time the pastor will be away on vacation, and in Dr. Miller’s agreement, he will do no administrative work. From the first Sunday strange and wonderful things begin to happen in the church and through the congregation – salvation, spiritual renewal, healings – and Charles has no answers when people ask him why, except to say that he is allowing the Holy Spirit to minister through him, rather than trying to tow the Spirit along. In Ruidoso, Charles meets, falls in love with, and marries Jan Wilkins.
Next, Charles answer a call from a church in Santa Fe, and there he helps a struggling congregation come back to spiritual life, and at the same time averts a killing and solves a mystery. While still at Santa Fe, Charles receives a call from a District Superintendent in Wichita Falls, Texas, asking him to come help a group of people begin a church.
In Wichita Falls, Charles and Jan help an earnest group of Christians begin the Redeemer Community Church. They continue to minister to the congregation, and Charles once again escapes death in a miraculous manner when a deranged man attempts to burn him alive.
RAWA: How did you come up with the concept of your book series?
HM: In 1989 I received my Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling, and in 1990 I stepped down from the pulpit and opened a full time private counseling practice in Graham, Texas. I had been unhappy with the way things were going in my spirit for some time before, and the last church I pastored – First United Methodist Church, Olney, Texas – had been gracious enough to take as many administrative headaches off of my shoulders a possible. I know that made me a better pastor, for I could concentrate on preaching, teaching and shepherding, rather than on why the roof leaked. Still, a UMC pastor is considered the CEO of a local church, so there were meetings I had to attend and paperwork I had to confront. It was not until I was entirely away from those duties that I began to see how much better a minister could answer his calling from God if he didn’t have to be diverted by the CEO part of pastoring. For several years the first book – Ministerwanted.com – lingered in the back of my mind, and in 2008 I began to write. Once started, the words flowed, and it took very little time to complete. As I was writing the first book, the next one popped up in my mind, and then the third, and now the fourth…
RAWA: Do you anticipate writing any more books in the series? If so, what can readers expect from the next book?
HM: I am working on the fourth book in the series: ‘Minister Wanted: Portland, Oregon,’ and expect it will be released sometime in 2014. At this point I have no idea if there will be another book after the fourth one, but I’ll be ready if the words are there.
RAWA: Who are some of your favorite authors?
HM: For Westerns: Louis L’amour& Elmer Kelton.
For other novels: James A. Michener, Dick Francis, John Grisham
For Historical non-fiction: Bruce Catton
RAWA: What do you think has influenced your writing style the most?
HM: Reading and living. I read all the time – usually three or four books at a time. I have lived many adventures in my lifetime, and look forward to many more.
RAWA: As a writer what is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
The Minister Wanted series.
RAWA: How did you get published?
HM: In 1994 I wrote a juvenile novel titled: “Twisters, Bronc Riders & Cherry Pie,” about growing up on my grandparent’s farm in Iowa, and began to send the MS to publishers. The book was clean, and some publishers wanted me to add profanity, graphic violence and sexual innuendo, but I resisted. All of my writing is clean, and it always will be. Finally, I sent the MS to Dave Sargent at Ozark Publishing, and he accepted it.”
RAWA: Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?
HM: Polish, polish, polish. It is much easier to get published now than it was when I started, and due to Ebooks, many publishers will accept MS that they might have rejected in an earlier day. However, the MS that get published by respectable houses must be polished and as grammatically clean as possible. Also, never let rejection stop you. Keep on sending out your MS until someone picks it up.
The Minister Wanted Series: MinisterWanted.com, Minister Wanted Wichita Falls and Minister Wanted Santa Fe by Herb Marlow is published by Bottom of the Hill Publishing. You can purchase a copy of these books at Amazon.com.