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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 6 July2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ – DON BROBST

CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ – DON BROBST

“God always has a plan, and nothing has ever taken Him by surprise. Every moment of suffering we experience is to benefit others—even to the point of salvation.”

 

“Christian living is easy in this country—so easy that if we’re not careful we become complacent. And when we ask ourselves if that’s okay with God, undoubtedly we would say no.”

 

 

rem:  Hello, Don, welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

DON: I was born and raised in New Jersey, but moved away when I married my wife at age 21. Although I’ve lived in a number of states, I have lived in Alabama since 1993.

rem:  I moved around a bunch too, but have been in the upstate of South Carolina for almost 30 years now. Tell us three things about yourself.

DON:  I’m a doctor, the Medical Director of Alabama. I travel to Africa frequently to provide medical aid in the bush as well as the desert working with Syrian and Sudanese refugees. I love to fly and used quite a bit of my personal experiences in the book, The Ghost of Africa.

 

rem:  I love how Father puts two things—your medical expertise and passion for refugees—and uses it to reach out to the world. Cookout—steaks or burgers?

DON:  Steaks for sure, preferably cooked on a Green Egg grill, and maybe with a few ears of grilled corn beside it.

rem:  Perfect! If you could have any super power what would it be?

DON:  Flying, for sure. Without the aid of an airplane. I often dream of flying, and it would be amazing to soar on wings like eagles.

rem:  Definitely flying! I’ve loved flying for as long as I can remember—either because my dad was in the Air Force or because my name is robin, although I think I was born loving to fly. Vacation: beach or mountains?

DON:  Beach as often as I can go. I do like the mountains, especially if skiing is involved, but the beach is a must have several times a year.

rem:  And Alabama is an ocean state…  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

DON:  Psalm 51:10. David, described as a man after God’s own heart, asks God to create in him a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within him. If David had to ask this of God, how much more should I ask every day? I need a clean heart and a right spirit if I am to do God’s will in my life. It’s comforting to know that I can ask for that, and He can help me.

 

rem:  David is such person—the Psalms are full of how real he was, no pretense, no putting on airs, just humble before Father. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

DON:  My writing of fiction came on the heels of writing a memoir about my wife’s spiritual journey (and mine) after she discovered she had cancer. (rem: I am so sorry for your loss, Don.) No one has ever been more encouraging about me writing fiction. Christian fiction is often a challenge in that I need my readers to see the journey of a fictional character. If there is no change, no romance, no transformation in my main characters, it’s not true to life. Everything changes us, and if we don’t go to God for our needs, the changes we undergo will be for the worse, not the better.

In my own walk with Christ I’m challenged every time I put my protagonist through a trial he or she can’t possibly endure. My most heart-wrenching scenes are written when I can draw from those painful experiences in my own life.

rem:  So true! I look at some of what I’ve gone through and know that without Him by my side (or me in His hand) I would never have survived. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

DON:  It has to be believable. That is also one of my greatest challenges. But when a plot is moving forward and something coincidental slips in and saves the day, or a character suddenly becomes capable of a power that had never been mentioned, I tend to stop reading. Readers are smart. (rem: so true) If I create a scene where my doctor character needs to land a plane in a field in Sudan, I don’t want other pilots or persons in the know to say, “There is no way that could ever happen.” For that reason, for the opening scene in The Ghost of Africa, I flew the exact plane in the book to the area in question and landed it there. It was a knuckle-whitening experience, but I can stand behind that scene in the book.

rem:  That’s awesome, to live (or pre-live) the story you’re writing. Which is more important: plot or characters?

DON:  Plot is what shows us what the characters are going through, but I don’t like the terms plot-driven or character-driven. I believe that, as Steven James book states, “Story Trumps Structure.” Your story has to be real—that is, believable and important. But if the characters are all strong, or all weak, or all the same, you won’t get much out of your book anyway.

rem:  Or as DiAnn Mills calls it, The Dance of Character and Plot. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

DON:  I would be working in Africa more than I already do. But my writing helps to make my work in Africa possible.

rem:  The, uh, dance of writing and mission… What are you reading right now?

DON:  My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni. Robert is a friend and mentor. He helped me with The Ghost of Africa, and he is helping me with my work in progress. Robert is a gifted author, and My Sister’s Grave has sold over a million copies. If you like mystery, adventure, thrillers, you must read his work, and start with that one.

rem:  I’ll add it to my TBR behemoth. What do you munch on while you write?

DON:  Jelly Bellies. Didn’t even have to give that any thought. If I’m out of them, life (and writing) become very difficult.

 

rem:  LOL I see large stockpiles of Jelly Bellies! You have a ministry and mission in Africa. Tell us about that. How did that get started?

DON:  After my wife passed away in 2008, I embarked on what we had talked about doing for many years—working in Africa to help the poor and needy. That has blossomed to where I make between four and six trips a year to several different African countries that need medical help desperately. We are not allowed in some of those areas, but we go because they need us.

rem:  And that is the call of God, to go where we’re needed. You are also involved in rescuing victims of human trafficking. Is that connected to your work in Africa?

DON:  My passion regarding helping victims of human trafficking actually began nearly thirty years ago when I worked with agencies in Chicago to recover and extract those who had been taken, and stopping organizations responsible for exploiting those young people. This will be brought out in the next book, and much of it has always been shrouded in secrecy, and for obvious reasons, it must remain that way.

rem:  Don, that’s admirable and astounding. That’s such a dark and depraved industry, so many deceived, and such horror to young girls. I thank you for your part it that. What is the greatest adventure or challenge you’ve encountered on visits to Africa?

DON:  The greatest challenges are those involving men . . . evil men. In my book, the LRA, or Lord’s Resistance Army is a very real entity that kills, rapes, and destroys the people of Sudan, Uganda, and the Congo. In other areas we now must also deal with ISIS. The challenges are to do the work we’ve been sent there to do, but not be discovered.

rem:  And this is not fiction. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

DON:  I began writing on the website caringbridge.org when my wife was ill with cancer. It developed into a daily writing habit through which I expressed my love for the woman I loved. That developed into the writing of Thirteen Months, a non-fiction book about my wife’s journey through cancer. I promised her I would do it, and have never regretted it. I continue to hear from individuals who have been deeply touched by her story and faith.

A literary agent, Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management contacted me after reading that book, and I signed on with her immediately. She has succeeded in supporting me and propelling me through the industry.

I then decided to write fiction, which my wife had always wanted me to do. It has been successful, and I enjoy it very much.

rem:  Bittersweet success. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

DON: I wrote Thirteen Months in an apartment in New York City, but I no longer have that apartment. Although many authors I know, write in coffee shops or Panera, I write my best in the quiet of my study. I love having several days during which I can write from morning till night, since I can allow myself to be fully engulfed in my work. And I do just that.

rem:  Ya, I can’t work with ANY noise around me other than life—no music, no TV, and definitely no Panera or Starbucks chatter! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

DON:  When I’m writing a scene about something that has actually happened, but when written that way sounds unbelievable, I struggle with keeping the truth in it while making it fiction. Frank Peretti once told me that when I write fiction, I needed to be certain I was writing it as fiction, and not brown paper wrapping a true story under a fiction heading. It took me a while to truly understand that, but it was great advice.

rem:  Interesting way to put it—I love that! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

DON:  I prefer the creating aspect. I’m a dynamic writer as opposed to a static writer. I do not use outlines, but write what comes to me onto the page. Sometimes my characters do something wrong that gets them into trouble, or make decisions that don’t play out well. When that happens it’s often a total surprise to me. Writing in that manner is much more fun to me.

rem:  Ah yes, the ever devious characters. I know them well… What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

DON:  I very much enjoy watching readers become interested in a character, and become so tied to him/her that they can’t stop turning pages. If the characters are real, and the reader feels invested in their lives and is concerned about them, I’ve succeeded.

rem:  Agree 100%! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

DON:  The hardest thing was sticking with it when rewrites seemed to take over my life. I’ve said in the past that my manuscripts have gone through fifteen to twenty full edits before a publisher gets to see them. There are times you want to say, “That’s good enough.” But you can never settle. It has to be the best you can do, because you can never resubmit a work to be reconsidered. Once that door is closed, it’s closed.

rem:  Twenty years ago (I was so clueless) I said my story would be published and in its 10th edition and I’d still find something to tweak or edit! LOL What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

DON:  1. Stick with it. That sounds cliché, but it is true. Don’t give up on your work. rem: AMEN! 2. Have others who will be truthful read and critique your manuscript. Don’t ask a friend or relative. They may not tell you how much work is needed. 3. Make sure it’s the best you can do before showing it to an agent or publisher. Polish it. Go over it again. Hire a personal editor (I still do that) and go over it again. Remember, fifteen or twenty times. And turn it in with a well-done proposal (no matter if it’s to an agent or publisher). I strongly recommend Michael Hyatt’s book on writing proposals for fiction and non-fiction.

 

Do not give up. It bears repeating that. Do not give up.

Don’t trust a friend to tell you the truth. Get professional help.

Never try to represent yourself to a publisher. You need an agent.

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

DON:  The current work deals with organized crime, human trafficking, and political espionage. It takes place in Chicago and parts of the Middle East. I’m not allowed to say more at this point, other than it is finished and I’m very excited about it.

rem:  Can’t wait to get my hands on it! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

DON:  My favorite part of the book is man overcoming impossible odds, and the transformation that takes place when he puts others first. We have all heard that nothing is impossible with God. I believe that’s true.

rem:  Gotta love a good transformation story. Tell us why you wrote this book.

DON:  The book setting is in the location where I have worked extensively. The area is real. The people are real. The villages and chiefs are real. And the enemies and obstacles are very real. I wanted to capture the plight of a people who cannot fend for themselves, and the selfless drive of a man who would not let them down.

rem:  Please give us the first page of the book.

DON:

            Twelve men lay motionless on their beds in the makeshift barrack. Charles Manning stood in the doorway in disbelief as the stench closed his nostrils. But it wasn’t death he smelled. It was the chemicals and vomit. He turned in disgust to leave the room, but Quinn’s massive frame blocked his exit.

“You didn’t come to Africa to leave so quickly. So tell me, Doctor . . . how many of these men do you think are still alive?” Quinn gripped Manning’s shoulders with his enormous hands and spun him to face the test subjects as they lay before him. “How many?”

Quinn’s calm voice forced a chill down Manning’s spine as nausea urged him to close his eyes and swallow hard. He rubbed his sweaty palms against his slacks as beads of perspiration dripped from his brow.

“See what you’ve done, Doctor? This, after only fifteen hours of exposure.” Quinn squeezed harder on Manning’s shoulders, radiating pain across his back and chest. Manning imagined Quinn could crush him with his grip alone. “Tell me how your work is coming now. Is your experiment a success?” He pushed Manning into the room with such force he fell to the dirt floor.

From there he saw puddles beside each bed and forced himself to stand when one of the men moved. Manning hurried to his side and reached for his pulse. It was faint.

“He’s alive, Quinn! This man’s alive.”

Quinn walked to the bed unhurried, as if he didn’t care, and looked at the man. “What are you feeling—right now?”

Instead of answering, the man turned to Dr. Manning. “Help me.”

 

rem:  Wow! That’s jam packed—and a great hook—I’ll turn that page for sure! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

DON:  A single person with God can make a difference that can change not only the lives of others, but of him or herself forever.

rem:  Where can we find you online?

DON:  Amazon is the best way to buy the book. It comes in audiobook, Kindle, and paperback.

http://amzn.to/2krOkIz

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

DON:  Remember that if writing is not your passion, it’s not for you. But if writing is your passion, no one can make you give up. Only you can do that.

rem:  Very true! Don, thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

https://www.donbrobst.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialdonbrobst/

https://twitter.com/donbrobst

https://www.instagram.com/donbrobst/

https://www.amazon.com/Don-Brobst/e/B005CA0FUS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

 

“Don Brobst is dedicated to fighting the indecency’s of the poor and needy children of Africa, the refugees of tyranny, and the victims of human trafficking throughout the world. When not writing, his life is spent on the front lines, fighting the battles, waging the war, refusing to turn his back on that which is most important.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Manly Man Interview Blitz, Don Brobst, The Ghost of Africa, Thirteen Months

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BLOGWORDS – Friday 30 June 2017 – FIRST LINE FRIDAY – THE GHOST OF AFRICA by DON BROBST

FIRST LINE FRIDAY – THE GHOST OF AFRICA by DON BROBST

 

 

Reading is My SuperPower

http://cafinatedreads.com  |   Singing Librarian   |   Bookworm Mama

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All the Book Blog Names Are Taken   |   Fiction Aficionado   |   Bibliophile Reviews

Kathleen Denly   |   Lauraine’s Notes   |   https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com/

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http://momentsdippedinink.com   |   http://cjaneread.blogspot.ca

 

 

 If you’d like to join us on your blog for First Line Fridays, shoot Carrie @ Reading is My Superpower an email and let her know!

 

 

 

THE BLURB:  

Together New York City surgeon Paul Branson and his wife, Nicki, had a dream: to help the people of the African bush. After Nicki’s untimely death, Paul decides to honor her memory and carry on alone. In South Sudan, he channels grief into hope, caring for villagers and working to save Leza, a little girl with leukemia who has captured his heart.

Meanwhile, Jason Quinn, terrorist leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has deadly plans for the people of South Sudan. But he needs information to carry out his plot—information from research Paul did for the US government years ago. Quinn will stop at nothing to obtain this secret intelligence, even kidnap a dying child. Now, in order to save the ailing Leza and stop a genocide, Paul must go beyond his medical training to journey into a world of brutal terrorism and global intrigue. With only instinct and his faith as guides, how far will he go to save the lives of thousands?

 

THE FIRST LINE:

Twelve men lay motionless on their beds in the makeshift barrack.

 

MY THOUGHTS:  

I have recently developed an affection for African, for the wild and for missions there. The cover of this book intrigues me, as does the title. And after reading some of the author’s work there, it is high on my reading list.

 

GENRE:

Christian Mystery and Suspense

 

STARS:

unrated

 

 

#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, The Ghost of Africa, Don Brobst

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