Please join me today in welcoming Andrew Huff to the blog today to chat about his new suspense novel Cross Shadow – and the stranger than fiction, real life story that inspired it!
SERIES: Shepherd Suspense #2
GENRE: Inspirational Suspense
RELEASE DATE: May 26, 2020
All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid it.
Former CIA agent turned evangelical pastor John Cross is busy caring for the small community of believers he ministers to in Virginia. Journalist Christine Lewis is busy with the demand for her talents from top news agencies in New York City. Neither has any time left for their relationship, which began eight months before when they paired up to prevent the detonation of a chemical bomb in the nation’s capital.
But when Christine hears that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Texas, they team up again to discover the truth about the crime. Untangling a web of conspiracy, the couple finds themselves in the center of another dangerous situation-and in trouble far deeper than they expected.
With an assassin on the loose, a trusted colleague acting as a double agent, and unreliable artificial intelligence connected to mercenaries who have Cross on their hit list, these two may not get out of the Lone Star State alive.
Stranger Than Fiction
by Andrew Huff, author of Cross Shadow
When I was a child, I would sit in church and daydream about living in the Star Wars universe. But I wasn’t just transporting myself into the world in my mind, rather I would imagine the characters from that universe showing up right then and there to whisk me away on exciting adventures. I enjoyed imaging the intersection of real life and fiction. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the origin of how I create the original stories I now have the opportunity to publish in novel form.
As the old saying goes, the truth is often stranger than fiction, and I’ve discovered that there’s no better place to look for inspiration when it comes to crafting a novel than picking up a newspaper. (We still have those, don’t we?). To expound on the saying, sometimes real life would be too farfetched if presented as the basis of a fictional story. The year 2020 has been a great case study for that to be proven true! What publisher would take a chance on a story that featured not only a global pandemic but also massive protests of racial injustice, a swarm of murder hornets, and a Saharan dust storm crossing the Atlantic?
In 2014, abducted journalist James Foley was executed by terrorists in a video posted to the internet. It was a horrific act of propaganda, and I found myself wishing there had been a different ending to the story. If only a courageous hero could have interrupted the taping to prevent the act. This thought became what is the opening scene to my debut novel, A Cross to Kill. The storyline began to take shape as I also wondered what it would be like if the man that rescued the kidnapped journalist turned out to be an ex-CIA assassin now living a life of pacifism as he enters the world of local church ministry. In what was almost a repeat of the daydreams I had as a child, I couldn’t help but imagine vengeful terrorists barging into the middle of a church service accusing the man at the pulpit of being a spy.
I conducted the same exercise for my follow up novel, Cross Shadow. This time, I based the fictional story on a real event that occurred in the 1960s called The Great Salad Oil Swindle. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. As scandalous as the event was, the news of it was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I encourage you to read further about it, but the gist of the story is that a con man attempted to embezzle millions of dollars from the U.S. government and various national banks by pretending to own much more vegetable oil than he actually had. How did this strange true-life story inspire my novel? You’ll have to read Cross Shadow to discover the answer!
So, what stories have you heard that would make an interesting novel? Next time you find yourself perusing headlines, see what your imagination might dream up. Who knows; maybe that will become the first novel you end up writing!
Andrew Huff is the author of the action-packed Shepherd Suspense Series from Kregel Publications. The first book in the series, A Cross to Kill, was a finalist in the Mystery/Thriller categories of both the 2020 Foreword INDIE awards as well as the 2020 ACFW Carol Awards. Huff is an accomplished novelist as well as screenwriter and has worked in the church media and entertainment industry after spending 10 years as a leader in local church ministry. He currently calls North Texas home where he and his beautiful wife Jae raise their two boys and rescue dog.
Kregel is offering a print copy of Cross Shadow to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff? What stories have you heard that would make an interesting novel?