How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

My third grade teacher encouraged me in my writing. That along with reading the Narnia Chronicles inspired me to want to be a writer. It’s what I’ve wanted to do ever since. I wrote my first novel (an action adventure) in ninth grade. And yes, it was pretty bad, but I finished it and proved that I could write and finish a novel.

What was your favorite scene from Isolation? What was the most fun to write? What was your most difficult scene to write? Please Explain.

My favorite scene in Isolation is the final one. I had tears in my eyes when I wrote it, and have since had tears in my eyes when I’ve had to reread the page proofs. It affects me this way because I know what went into writing the story, and in the message that comes through at the end.

The most difficult scene in the book?

I don’t want to give much away, but I knew I was going to kill off someone in the story late. And I was absolutely dreading it. It was difficult to write and to get through. I try to experience what the characters are going through, and that was tough.

I know you probably hate this question but I'm going to ask it anyway (I know that we can't pick a favorite child but if you had to) out of all the books you have written which is your favorite? If you don't have a favorite, which was the most fun to write? Why? Which book of yours was the most difficult to write? Why?

I agree with the feeling that books are like your children, but I do have a favorite without question. Sky Blue. It’s my most personal and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. I spent seven years working on the story, living out the story, and I’m very proud of it. It’s got love, suspense, even the supernatural in it.

The most fun to write had to be Out of the Devil’s Mouth, my Indiana Jones-esque adventure. I hope that Henry Wolfe has more adventures in the future. Because I tend to “live” in a novel, that was a fun one to take the ride with.

I was going to say that Isolation was the most difficult novel to write, but that was before I experienced Ghostwriter. That book is coming out May, 2009, and it was the most difficult to get right. It’s dark and scary like Isolation but also deeper and more ambitious. It deals with grief, faith, and the supernatural.

Some authors tell me that they plot out their story step-by-step, other say that they write by the seat-of-their-pants. What kind of writer are you?

I’ve done both. I think it works better for me to plot out the story with a map. Not exactly scene-by-scene, because you have to allow for spontaneity and for the story and characters to take over. But I need some sort of direction I’m heading. Otherwise I can get horribly lost.

Can you tell me of two "Wow" moments you have had since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

The first was during an author dinner that I helped plan at a trade show with all these bestselling authors. My first novel, The Promise Remains, had just been published. They surprised me at the end of the dinner by letting me autograph copies of the book for all these authors (Jerry Jenkins, Francine Rivers, etc.). After the dinner, I went back to my empty hotel room and cried. That was when it finally hit me that God had answered this dream I’d carried around with me since third grade.

The other happened on a day when I got some bad news about one of my novels. The business side of publishing isn’t always the most uplifting. I wrote all about that in Sky Blue. On a very discouraging day when I got a book canceled by a publisher, I received perhaps the most moving fan letter I’d ever gotten. It was humbling. And I knew that God had allowed that email to come at the perfect time. To encourage me and to let me know that I was doing a few things right.

How did you come up with the the idea for The Second Thief? What did you hope to accomplish with that book? I totally loved that book.

I just signed a contract for Three Roads Home when I came up with that idea. And typical of me, I decided to write it. It’s all about second chances. The ending came to me and I decided I wanted to write the story with that ending in mind. Some people don’t get it; others love it. I like the ambiguity at the end. It’s like a Twilight Zone episode with a message.

Could you please share some of your Testimony with us?

My parents had a dramatic conversion in their lives when I was in grade school living in Germany. Shortly after that, while going to a Christian school in fourth grade, I committed my life to the Lord during a long and restless night. There have been times when I’ve been running away from the Lord. I’m thankful for this wonderful thing called grace.

What was your inspiration for The Promise Remains? Please Explain. I really liked that book. It was the first one I read by you.

I wrote seven dark and ambitious stories and decided to write a simple love story. I based it off a girl I met during a summer camp. I tried to make it in the vein of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. This happened to be my first novel published, and I’m still very proud of it even if it’s very different from Isolation.

What was your inspiration for The Watermark? Please explain. I enjoyed that one too!

This was my most personal novel before Sky Blue came out. It was inspired about my running away from the Lord and making mistakes in college. Redemption plays a huge part in this story. It’s still a favorite of mine (I guess I could say that about all of my books). It’s got a lot of me in it.

Because you started out writing love stories and then action books how are people responding to your last two books which have been very edgy and intense?

Some love the edgy and intense stuff and dislike the sappy stories. For others, it’s the reverse. I’ve been fortunate to do both, and I want to continue to do so. I never want to be put into a box. I’d like to build a readership that will be willing to take journeys with me. Everybody has told me I should try humor! Who knows—maybe I will. Life doesn’t fit into a box. There are dark days, romantic days, funny days, and sad days. I’d like to have a career reflecting that.

Is there something that you do every time you begin a project that really helps you in the writing process? (a habit or ritual that works for you!) Please explain.

I drink heavily. Coffee, that is. I also make playlists in my I-Tunes library that contains a soundtrack for what I’m writing. It always fits the story. It helps get me in the mood. I write when I’m inspired, but I also write when I’m completely uninspired and I know the writing is horrible. I get the words on paper—that’s the process of writing.


If you were trapped in a dangerous and life threatening situation, which fictional character would you chose to save your life? (This could be a cartoon, a comic book character, a super hero, someone you've read about etc - you're the author here be creative).

Huckleberry Finn. Not that he would necessarily save my life, but if he did, we’d surely find some fun adventures to go on.

Given our current gas situation and the fact that we are getting less mileage for our dollar – what alternative resource would you rather use in the future? Let's dream here!! Several authors have been creative here, some said they would use the "Beam Machine" in Star Trek, the hovercraft from Star Wars or sit on the shoulders of "Trees" like the hobbits in Lord of The Rings. What type of future travel would you like to see and would you like to use?

They’re going to discover that you can bottle and use Creative Energy in the future. For those that like spreadsheets and never day dream, they’ll be in trouble. But for all of us who love to imagine other worlds, who spend days and nights reading, who love making up things, we’ll be millionaires. We’ll be able to make a fortune off all that “stuff” going on in our heads.

If you had the opportunity to travel to outer space, where would you go, and why? If not, where would you really like to travel – given you have the time and money?

I’d like to go to a black hole. Those intrigue me. What happens when you actually go through one, with all that time and space bending stuff? Sometimes when I get stuck in traffic around the Chicagoland area, I feel like I’m in a black hole, but that’s another story . . .

If you could choose to be a superhero for a day, who would you pick and why? You can mix and match if you wanted – be creative the sky is the limit!!

I once had a job at Walgreens and my manager forced me to dress up as Mr. Peanut and wave at oncoming cars. I’d like to do this again, except have special powers, so that when someone flicks me off or yells at me, I can fly to their car and pick it up and drop it into Lake Michigan. (I guess this answer shows less creativity and more about my horrible teen years!)

If you had to pick a Reality TV show to be on, which one would it be and why?

Survivor. My wife and I have been big fans since the show started. I’ve watched it enough to know what to do. Don’t be the Alpha-Male, because they always get voted off. I’d be nice to everyone and secretly negotiate deals. I could win it all! In fact, I’m applying today.

If you had $100.00 in your pocket, and you MUST spend it right away. What would you buy? Why? (Be specific!!)

Gas. Then I’d spend the rest (twenty dollars or so) on groceries. Hey—I’m a fulltime writer!!

When you sit down to watch TV can you find your remote control? How many do you have? Who controls the remote once you find them to watch TV?

We hide the remote from our 21-month-old daughter, Kylie. And once we have it, Kylie controls it.

If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money); to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? Please Explain.

You might not believe this, but if I could do anything I’d want, it would be what I’m doing now: writing. I get to see my family more than I would if I had a fulltime job at a corporation, so I’m fortunate in that way. I’d like to not to have to worry about bills and all that, but I really, truly love writing. I’d also like to be interviewed by Oprah.

What is the neatest place you have ever visited so far and why? What made it so neat, special and memorable to you?

Grand Canyon West. There’s a thing called the SkyWalk. I did this during my Route 66 book tour for Sky Blue. It was truly one of the defining moments of my life. Being afraid of heights, it was terrifying. But it was also one of the clearest times when I felt God speaking to me.

If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone dead or alive in the history of the world, what 2 people would you pick and why? What would you do? Talk about?

Okay—so I want to say Jesus, not because I feel like I should (I’d never do that) but because I really sincerely mean it. An hour with Him would change my life. But that’s a clich├ęd answer coming from a “Christian Novelist.” So . . .

Ernest Hemingway. I’d hang out with him as he wrote, then have some beer with him at Sloppy Joes in Key West, go deep sea-fishing, would hear him talk about being the Great American Novelist, and then probably realize that being the G.A.N. is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The other—this is probably going to sound silly, but I’ll be honest. One of my heroes is the songwriter for my favorite rock group, Depeche Mode (or as my dad calls them, Depeche Commode), Martin Gore. He seems like such an interesting guy. These days, artists no longer have any kind of mystique because you know all about them. But he has this mystique to me, and I’d love to watch him write music. Deep down, I’d really like to be Bono rather than Stephen King, but I can’t really sing, so I’ll keep my day job.

Hey, Travis are there any last comments you would like to make to the ladies in my book club and other readers?

I think I’ve definitely said way too much. (Big Grin) For anyone reading this or for any readers who enjoy my stories, I want to say thank you. I hope to continue to entertain and move you in those stories. I try my hardest with each story I do, and hopefully I’m learning a few things and getting better.

Thanks for such great questions!! And if I am in Atlanta, I’ll definitely let you know. I’ve attended many book groups and enjoy doing so.

Thanks for taking the time to do this Travis. I'm glad that everyone has gotten to know you better. I have loved your books and look forward to your next one. Please let me know if you are in the Atlanta area, we'd love to met you.

Blessings on your writing journey until we talk again or you are in Atlanta and stop by for a visit!!
See you then.
Nora :)

1 comment:

  1. HEy Nora,
    Great interview. I didn't realize he had all those other books out. I am going to order some of them know. IT being the month of Halloween I'm in the mood for a scary read.