Mystery Writer Zachary Bartels

If you could sit on a panel with three famous authors, who would they be?

Moses, St. Paul, and John Calvin. (What? You didn’t say they had to be alive.) Oh, fine. I’ll go with Stephen Lawhead, Chuck Palahniuk, and Gordon Korman.

Which of your characters (or character types) is the hardest for you to write?

Spineless women. They exist in the real world and I suppose that means they should show up in fiction, but not in anything I’ve ever written. I’m surrounded by awesome, strong, independent-type women every day, and that’s pretty much all you find in my books. Even the villains (like La Bella Donna in The Last Con and Isabelle in 42 Months Dry) have a certain admirable indominability about them. Anything else would be kind of boring from my perspective.

What part of publishing makes you want to tear out your hair?
The part where I bleed words onto the page for a year, then work with the editors for another year to create the best book possible, and then see that the bestsellers lists are full of ghostwritten celebrity memoirs and whatever trendy thing has replaced vampires. That doesn’t sound bitter, does it?

What’s the best thing anyone ever said about your writing?

Upon first reading my stuff, quite a few people have compared it to Frank Peretti’s writing, which is high praise from where I’m sitting.

What do you wish people knew about the writing business?

No matter how good a writer you are, you’re more likely to win the Powerball than you are to make it huge on your first or second book. When my agent was shopping around my first manuscript, she told me that the publisher who contracted my debut novel was more interested in my fifth book than my first or second. Building a readership is easier with a major publisher than it is when you go it indie (which I’ve also done), but it’s still a long, hard, sometimes discouraging process. If you’re not down for that, save yourself the grief.

Called “the suspense author everyone is talking about by Family Fiction Edge magazine, Zachary Bartels is the author of critically acclaimed supernatural thrillers. An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, Zachary has been serving as pastor of Judson Baptist Church in Lansing, Michigan, for ten years. He enjoys film, fine cigars, stimulating conversation, gourmet coffee, reading, writing, and cycling.

His debut novel, Playing Saint, has been called an “intrigue-filled thriller  (Library Journal) and “a page-turner from the very beginning . . . gripping and realistic (RT Book Reviews). His newest book, The Last Con (HarperCollins Christian Fiction, 2015) has met early positive reviews. He lives in the capital city of a mitten-shaped Midwestern state with his wife Erin and their son.

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