Tuesday Talks-Interview with Mike Garrett

Today we have the privilege of speaking with Mike Garrett. He is an internationally respected book editor and previously published author. Mike first ventured into Christian writing by drafting humorous scripts for church dramas. Innocence Denied is his first Christian novel.
Welcome Mike, Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, raised by wonderful parents. They were God’s first blessings to me.  I attended Woodlawn High School, the setting of a major Christian movie a few years ago, WOODLAWN.

I still live in the area with my wife Sharon. My two adult children, Leslie and Wade, live nearby, and they have blessed me with five amazing grandchildren, all age three and under. That’s enough to keep me busy for quite a while!

What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?

For secular fiction I enjoy Harlan Coben, who always hooks me on the very first page and holds my interest throughout. For Christian fiction it’s Terri Blackstock.

At what age did you realize you wanted to write? When did you start writing?

When I was just an infant I loved to sit on my grandmother’s lap and listen to stories about her childhood.  I knew early on that I would enjoy telling stories of my own. The earliest that I remember writing my own stories was in grade school when I created my own comic character and crudely drew comics to pass around the room.

Tell us about this book.

Innocence Denied is the story of a fugitive on the run but not like you might expect. An unbelieving woman falsely arrested for murder flees unjust prosecution with the aid of a devout Christian man, a complete stranger. Both of their lives change forever as they follow the path that God has chosen for them.

Have you been published previously?

Innocence Denied is my first attempt at Christian fiction. My secular novel, Keeper, was published almost thirty years ago. It sold out its initial printing and was optioned for a movie.

How was writing a Christian novel different from your secular fiction?

This time there was no profit motive and no desire to be in the spotlight or advance my career. I did it solely to serve God. This one is for Him, not me. I can’t even take credit for it. It’s His story—He just chose me to be its vessel.

I originally wrote it with the intention of self-publication because I knew that it didn’t fit the mold of most traditional publishers. It’s a love story but not a romance; it has elements of suspense but isn’t a suspense novel. It’s difficult to classify.

When I finished the novel, I felt God prod me to investigate commercial publication but found little initial success. My own literary agent didn’t like it, and I couldn’t get any other agents to even look at it. I was about to give up when God led me to CrossLink, a Christian publisher with a more broad approach to publishing, and they saw the merit in my work. CrossLink and I were a perfect match, and the whole thing came together.

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

I don’t outline every detail in advance, but I have a strong knowledge of the direction I’m going and where I’ll end up. I think outlining, even a vague, general one, can be quite helpful. After all, you’re not just a writer when you’re sitting at the keyboard; you’re a writer whenever you have the freedom to think. With story developments in mind in advance, even when you’re stuck in traffic or sitting in a waiting room, you can plan what you’ll write at your next opportunity.  Planning ahead will make you more productive at the keyboard.

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded?

 My characters took on a life of their own. I reached a point in the story where they almost took over and  directed me to the end. It’s important not to force yourself to stick to an outline. Don’t let it restrict you; only allow it to guide you.

What advice would you give a new author?               

Ask yourself, “Who are you writing for?” If you’re only writing to please yourself, you may never be published. Keep a diary instead. To become a published author, you should write with your reader in mind. Writing is communication. How can you communicate without readers?

Where can we find your book?

Innocence Denied is available at Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/innocence-denied-mike-garrett/1129618191

Target:

https://www.target.com/p/innocence-denied-he-saved-her-from-life-in-prison-then-freed-her-soul-by-mike-garrett-paperback/-/A-54192518

Amazon:

and even in Australia at:

https://www.qbd.com.au/innocence-denied/mike-garrett/9781633571464/

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