by Lynn H. Blackburn
I wasn’t one of those kids who was writing novels in elementary school. I didn’t want to write. I wanted to read. I never went anywhere without a book. I had no problem with this, but when I turned 15, my mother realized I didn’t know how to get around town. I had never paid any attention to where we were going because I always had a book with me!
Mom made me stop reading in the car until I learned how to navigate our small town. I firmly believe that all that reading, all those stories, and all those different voices and ways of communicating had a profound influence on the way I craft a story. It isn’t something I think about or force. It’s an innate part of me.
My latest release is Under Fire. In the novel, USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend—and the woman he desperately wishes could be more.
Though Tessa almost lost everything, she battled her demons and came out on the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president’s protective detail wrenches her past back into the present, her greatest failure threatens to come to light. Zane refuses to let Tessa go through this alone. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time?
There is an important scene in Under Fire that occurs at a donut shop. While the donut shop is fictional, the donuts are not. I spent a glorious day wandering the streets of New York City a few years ago. One of the places I stopped was at a donut shop that I’d been told was a “can’t miss” spot. The donuts were amazing, and I couldn’t resist having the same donuts available in North Carolina.
That’s part of the joy of writing—the opportunity to incorporate small details that are both genuine and a reflection of a real-life experience for the author. Donuts definitely enhance the research for a novel.
Another aspect is being able to see the challenges in my life or those around me from a new perspective as I write. I have a friend who has been a true light as she has battled her addiction to alcohol. She’s a believer and her love for Jesus is glorious to see. She inspired me to create a character for Under Fire who loves the Lord, who hits the bottom, fights through it, and comes out even stronger in her faith as she does the hard work to stay sober.
My friend’s openness about her struggle has been so encouraging and instructive, not just for the novel, but for life. It’s impossible to be around her and not fall in love with Jesus even more.
Deuteronomy 20:3-4 reads, “Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”
This verse is the one the characters in Under Fire cling to when they’re facing a formidable enemy. I love the reminder that the Lord goes with us. That He knows the battles we are facing, and He is fighting for us.
My hope is always that readers will come away from this novel encouraged in their faith and more aware of how much they are loved and cared for by their Heavenly Father.
About the Author
Lynn H. Blackburn is the award-winning author of Unknown Threat and Malicious Intent, as well as the Dive Team Investigations series. She believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. Blackburn is passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose), and enjoys experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Learn more at www.lynnhblackburn.com.
About the Book
USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend—and the woman he desperately wishes could be more. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time?
Did You Know?
Chapter numbers weren’t part of the Bible until sometime in the 13th century, and verse numbers weren’t added for another 300 years. Cross references (notes that direct readers to a similar topic in the Bible) began to appear about the same time. Many more helps for understanding Scripture have developed, and each type serves a different purpose.
A Bible dictionary and Bible encyclopedia provide informative articles in alphabetical order about the people, places, events and customs found in Scripture. A Bible concordance is an alphabetical listing of words found frequently in Scripture, along with references to where those words appear.
A Bible atlas provides maps of Bible lands at different time periods throughout Bible history. Knowing the geography of where events happened, the distance between locations and the route Bible characters traveled all help us envision and understand more about the lives and experiences of the people we read about.
A Bible commentary offers verse-by-verse explanation and application of specific books of the Bible. A Bible lexicon provides meanings of the Greek and Hebrew words of the original Scripture texts. A study Bible incorporates shorter commentary and definitions in the notes provided below or alongside the Scripture text.
Together, these resources make reading and studying the Bible even more profitable and enjoyable. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV).
-Diane Stortz, Say & Pray Easter Sticker and Activity Book
Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore
“I still prefer browsing in a bookstore, where the scent of paper and ink draw me like a hummingbird to sugar water, where book covers transport me to other worlds, where titles lead me to hope. There's nothing like discovering a new book, in a real store, waiting for you on a shelf. It's like going on a sacred quest—every time I cross the threshold, a new adventure awaits.”
-Anita Agers Brooks, Getting Through What You Can't Get Over