My guest today is romantic suspense author Kent Wyatt, who I’ve yet to meet in person, but I can meet—and introduce him to you—thanks to the magic of the Interwebs!
Welcome, Kent! It’s wonderful to have you here.
Thank you, Amanda, for the great privilege of being part of your blog. We love talking about stories with other writers and readers and you have set up such a great place to do that. We are honored. (So your readers will know, when you hear me responding as “we” it is because my wife Rebekah and I write as a team. I write. Rebekah reads, sticks out her tongue in disgust, and sends it back for me to make it better. We repeat this about fifty times until I finally wear her down and she concedes to the latest draft. Therefore, I use the word “we” even though I do the fun stuff and Rebekah gets the hard work).
Wow, thanks so much for the kind words, and that sounds like a great system! You are truly blessed
First question: What was the inspiration for your debut novel, Seeing Beyond?
Seeing Beyond is about the economy of Heaven. By that, I don’t mean the current value of harp gold. I’m talking about the differences in what is of earthly value and what is of spiritual value. We knew that we wanted to write a romance that delved into what was truly valuable in relationships of various kinds while taking a few humorous jabs at the romantic illusions in which we humans can become trapped—some of the unrealistic expectations that can lead to disillusionment in marriage.
In addition, we wanted some of our main characters to have special needs.My wife Rebekah and I have had many people in our lives whose genetic challenges lead them to be more dependent on family and friends. (You can read about one such interaction by going to our website, www.kentwyatt.org, and scrolling down until you get to a link for the true story called “The Santa Claus Man.”) We know that God does not make mistakes and one of the places we can see that most clearly is in how He has used our friends with special needs to teach us things about faith, trust, openness, and dependence on our Heavenly Father. We know a young man with Down syndrome who frequently reminds us to let go of the perfect facades we put up and just have joy in each other and in the Lord.
James chapter two is one of the many places we see in Scripture where to follow the Lord we must all become like “the poor, rich in faith.” What is considered worthy in this world is turned on its head in the social structure of the Kingdom of God. In Seeing Beyond, we have tried to capture those ideas in a fun, exciting story with a unique twist.
You had a long and no doubt fascinating career as a law enforcement officer, and we thank you for your service! How does your career influence your fiction? Are there any real-life experiences you had, be they funny or dramatic, that we may find ourselves reading about someday?
When you do something for over 30 years it becomes a part of you. Some readers have told me it really comes through in my action scenes. In Seeing Beyond I have recreated an incident that happened when I was a Colorado Springs Police Officer. A female officer, who was a friend of our family, caught a burglar coming out of a building she was checking. She was alone and he was bigger and stronger than she was. She knew she wouldn’t win a regular fight with him, so she began to push him down while staying out of his reach. She was calling for help on the police radio, but because of her location we were having a hard time finding her, so to say it was a tense moment would be an understatement. She prevailed until her backup finally found her by continuing to push him down every time he tried to get up and never letting him get a hold of her. In Seeing Beyond, I have recreated the tension of that incident in a different scenario. Throughout our novels, you will find my experiences in the interviews, the crime scene processing, the fight scenes, the authentic events and in the humor. It all comes out in my writing.
What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? Do you have a set time of day you write? Daily goals? Are you a plotter, pantser, or somewhere in between?
I am all over the map. Because I work a full time night shift job along with my writing, I grab writing time when I can. I use Evernote to capture ideas continuously. When I get ready to write a novel, I start out with the basic outline of a story in my mind and the spiritual aspect that I want to explore. Then I start writing and see where the characters interacting with the situation take me. I try to get the rough draft done quickly. In my job at the hospital, I work three 12-14 hour days and then have four days off. On those days I sometimes binge write, taking a break only to sleep, eat, and interact with my family. When the story is flowing, I let it flow. Then Rebekah starts her editing process. She will point out the areas that are cliché, boring, or confusing, and I will go back and rework them until she approves or we just give up. We try not to be satisfied with the usual. I frequently ask, “What would people expect to happen here?” and then try to write something different. When I am stuck on a scene, I walk away and we pray that God will pour something in me that is beyond myself. Our writing is first a ministry and we rely heavily on His help to make it amazing for the reader.
How has God changed you during your writing journey? What lessons have you learned that you’d go back and tell your younger Writer Self?
First, I would constantly remind myself to seek God above all else, so I would be better equipped to do what he has called me to do. Write more and start trying to write for publication sooner. (I have more books in me than I have years.) Don’t let your wife telling you that a scene stinks set you into a stream of whining, sniveling justifications and excuses. Just rewrite the scene!
If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author(s), living or dead, who would you choose? What would you want to talk about?
C.S. Lewis. I would ask him all the questions you just asked me. Then I would ask him to just tell me about God. Fortunately, through his books, I can still experience a lot of that conversation. That is the power of what we do.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Something I don’t want to be doing. --- except when I’m talking to Rebekah of course. (I may be dumb, but I’m not crazy!)
How can we pray for you?
Pray I don’t have to do as many of those things I don’t want to do…so I have more time to write. (While you’re at it you might pray that I don’t do as many dumb things that get me in trouble with Rebekah. She’s the best cheap editing help a guy can find…uh oh, I did it again. See what I’m talking about.) Seriously though, pray that God will continue to give us the words that keep people coming to our books for fun and excitement so they can find Him inside the story.
Kent Wyatt is a 30 year plus veteran of law enforcement. For over half those years he has been entertaining readers with his stories about everyday life and police work from a Christian cop’s perspective. A native of northwestern Kansas, Kent served in law enforcement agencies in Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon before retiring to beautiful northwestern Arkansas, where he lives with his wife, Rebekah. His debut novel, Seeing Beyond, is available now on Amazon, and he is currently working on the rest of the Special Heroes series. He loves to connect with readers at his website.