Saturday, August 2, 2008

In The Middle


How does a guy keep his blog from sounding as if it were written by the “Me Monster?” I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I’m working on it. Until I do . . .

I’ve lived a life most people only dream about. My friends and I spent our early lives in surroundings reminiscent of Tom Sawyer; our playgrounds were lakes and rivers, open fields and deep woods. When I was eight years old, I saw John Wayne in Flying Tigers and knew I wanted to be a pilot. I retired a while back after thirty-five years of flying . . . six years in the Air Force, the rest with a major airline. To those of you who are trying to figure up how old I am, this is a good time to let you in on a secret . . .

am older than dirt.

Before the stars were born

He chose Ruth

to be the great-grandmother of David.

He chose David

to be the first of the kingship line.

He chose Christ

to sit on the final Throne.

and in those great, bright reaches of eternity past

He spoke my name.

and He chose me

to choose

Him.

 

A couple of years before I stepped away from aviation, I started writing a Christian suspense novel; my desire was to come up with something that would crack the enamel on its readers’ teeth. That first novel became the genesis for five more. Three of the books have been published . . . book four is looking for an interested publisher . . . books five and six are stewing in my word processor.

The behind-the-scenes details of my getting published amount to nothing less than a long series of over-lapping miracles, and over the course of time I intend to use this blog to share elements of the journey with you. In this first post, though, let me drop you in near the middle of my story and work in a couple of directions.

In 2006, the publisher with whom I had signed the three-book deal invited me to the International Christian Retail Show. I arrived in Denver in July to find my picture prominently displayed on a banner in the Colorado Convention Center; a similar banner hung outside the Hyatt Hotel across the street. My first book, ABIDING DARKNESS, was due to be released that August and a few hundred copies were available at the ICRS for a scheduled “signing.” I took in my surroundings and prayed—as I had daily for two years—that I would be more interested in my pursuit of the knowledge of God than in how many people might buy my book.

The next day, when I showed up for my scheduled book signing, I met Karen Kingsbury; she was just finishing up her own signing session (and yes, she is exceptionally nice). Besides Karen’s novel, it “happened” that books by Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Stephen Baldwin, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft were being featured by my publisher. I was moving in stratospheric circles, and I began to think I might need to prepare myself to be the author of a best-seller.

Today, two years later, all three books of The Black or White Chronicles are on the market. Jakes, Joel, Joyce and the other John got play in the national media . . . Nan and I got a few free meals in Denver. The majority of the reviews have been great, but in truth, relatively few people have heard of the books. Sales have been abysmal. Oprah hasn’t called. God is granting me a little extra time to prepare to be a best-selling author. However . . .

I told you all that to tell you this: This past February, during my daily quiet time, when I prayed (for the thousandth time) that I would care more about my pursuit of God than about book sales, I meant it . . . for the first time! Every minute of the five years I invested in writing those three books was time well spent because it brought me to the place where I now care less about books sales and more about Him. I’ve finished book four, and maybe it’ll do well . . . maybe it won’t. I will always need to be diligent in my marketing efforts, but the responsibility for how many of my books sell does not rest with me . . . my job is to live out the theme I emphasized in those first three books . . . know God (Jeremiah 9:23, 24) and make Him known (Matthew 28:19, 20). Incidentally, if you’re a Christian, knowing Him and making Him known is your job, too.

We’re getting ready to make a round trip to the Delta. The Mississippi Delta Community College Library is hosting two events wherein my first three novels will be highlighted. On September 23rd, I’ll be speaking at the Greenville campus; on the 24th, I’ll be in Moorhead (called Moores Point in my books) . . . both start at 10:00am, probably with a reception beforehand. I’ll get to say a few words, maybe read from the manuscript of book four, and have a chance to visit with the guests. During our remaining time “back home,” we’ll drink sweet tea and eat greasy hamburgers, and I’ll try to bring back a picture of Cat Lake.

Choose well,

John

16 comments:

Deb Caverly said...

I love your books and will pray that you get a publisher soon. I had my library order all three.
---Deb Caverly

P. S. I may be duplicating this comment as I am not sure what happened to the first one I wrote.

Rel said...

John - welcome to the blogging world :) Great post (of course it is because you wrote it!). Praying God continues to richly bless you and the journey your books take, wherever that may lead. I am selfishly hoping for the bestseller lists because I want to read more of you fabulous stories.

Blessings!

Beth said...

Know God and make him known! I have been telling that to my four sons for 24 years now. I think your story "Abiding Darkness" has just jump-started a desire to finish my story. I will get to the other two as soon as possible. I have interviewed many a Chriatian author on my Radio Talk Show in the past. I would have loved interviewing you. Thanks for an inspiring testimony to God's love and protection. Beth at billnbeth@comcast.net

billnbeth said...

Thanks for a wonderful reminder of God's love and protection. Know God and make Him known has been my mission since being saved as a teenager. My children are reminded often of the Lord Jesus and His love. Thanks again. Beth

Lance and DK said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lance and DK said...

hello, john. we are so glad you decided to accept our invitation to come home. we enjoyed your visit to our campus and have received some wonderful comments on you talk. you really made the day worthwhile for the student who asked questions and was so interested in your inspiration for writing. she is a struggling english student who has a great story to tell and who sometimes gets down because she feels her grades are not what they should be. i will keep you in my prayers for your continuing to choose well and for your books to sell like wildfire.
There is a quote from shakespeare's tragedy "othello" that i would ask my students to explain in light of the world around them:
"When devils will their blackest sins put on,/They do at first with heavenly shows,..." (act II.iii.352-53).
God bless you and i look forward to the publishing of your new book next year. dk

Cindy said...

John, I just finished If I Die and am wanting more. I have read all three in the last four weeks. "To know Him and make Him known" has become my goal. I have known Him for over 45 years but I now want to pursue making Him known in a more urgent manner. I will be donating my books to our Christian school library and hope to add book 4 when it becomes available.

May the Lord bless you, and us, with a publisher soon!

Linda said...

Linda said..
I love your books. I was given a
free one. I have since bought
five. Keep them coming.

Kim said...

It's great to find your blog, John! Your books have been such a blessing to me, and you are welcome to visit my blog anytime! I will be praying that the Lord will direct your next books to just the right publisher so the word will go out about your terrific novels!

Knowing Him and making Him known...

Kim

Anonymous said...

I listened to Abiding Darkness-the audio. It was amazing. I read the next two books and here I am looking to your site for the fourth. I can relate to how you teach the word thru the book. Your characters aren't overly preachy, just matter of factly. It is refreshing.

EvangelistKari said...

I think you are one of the finest writers that I have ever read and I turned 48 yesterday!! I have read my entire life since early childhood and you are truly one of the best!! I have longed to read books in regard to spiritual warfare for years and the author that wrote books closest to what I wanted to read were written by Frank Peretti. Sorry if this sounds critcal, but I never cared for his writing style but loved the storyline and I could never understand why no one ever wrote about spiritual warfare. Yea!! I am so happy that you are, and you are truly a marvelous writer as well!! I am looking forward to more books from you in the future and dare to dream that someday you will have at least one movie!!!!

Fighter Pilot saved by grace said...

John, from the moment of reading the first paragraph of Black and White (oops, Abiding Darkness), I knew I held something special of God. I don't yet know the outcome of the book four sales meeting yesterday, but I know your writing is being used by God to extend His kingdom in a unique and powerful way. Never have I encountered a better storyteller. Never has spiritual warefare and the life of a Christian been so realistically and poetically described. God prepared your mind with these stories to bless the rest of us. We see them played out on every page. You are making Him known. Never get discouraged and never give up blessing the rest of us.

Denise said...

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I just finished reading both "Abiding Darkness" and "Wedgewood Grey" and can't tell you how much I enjoyed them. I am a Christian who needed the reminder to "make Him known". Your books served to make me realize how much more I need to do in that effort.
I can not wait to get my hands on the next book of the series.
There is no doubt in my mind that this work of yours will inspire people to take stock of their lives and their beliefs.
Bless you and keep "making Him known".
Denise

Mom said...

My husband and I have enjoyed reading all three of your books; we are praying more and more to "know God and make him known." We are very hopeful that we will soon be able to buy book 4. May God bless you and prosper your efforts.
Frank and Kay

Dr. Deborah Snodgrass said...

Hi John,
My husband and I both read your 3 books and whenever anyone asks me, "What is your favorite book?" I say, "Anything by John Aubrey Anderson!" I too will be praying for a very wise pubisher to pick up that 4th book.
Dr. Deborah Snodgrass
F/T Assistant Professor, Liberty University Online

Jodi @ SNAPPED said...

Our book club here in Yazoo LOVES to go and meet great authors!!

Will you be anywhere close to here or Jackson? Will you let me know if you are and we will come!

~Jodi Smith