[Home][Creativity][Genres][Resources][Links][About Us]

[Audio][Biographies][Books][Events][Film][Interviews][Mailing List][Publications][Publications]

[David R. Beaucage][Kathy Tyers][James BeauSeigneur][Jefferson Scott][Walker Chandler][Alton Gansky][Ray Hansen]

[Emily Snyder][Randall Ingermanson][Theodore Beale][Steve Laube][Laura Lond][Frank Wu][Donita K. Paul][Brenda W. Clough][Bryan Davis][John Granger]

[Karen Hancock][Miles Owens][Robert Liparulo][Bryan Davis, part 2][Chris Walley][Kathryn Mackel][Gene Wolfe][Sharon Hinck][Wayne Thomas Batson][Lars Walker][Christopher Hopper][Jeffrey Overstreet]

Rich Christiano[Jeff Gerke]


Interview: Alton Gansky

Alton Gansky is the author of nine novels, including By My Hands, Distant Memory, A Ship Possessed, and Vanished. Alton holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Biblical Studies. His first novel, By My Hands, was published in 1996. He lives with his wife Becky in Phelan, California, where he is senior pastor of High Desert Baptist Church. The have twin daughters and a son. He took part in the list in June, 2000. Bob Blackman and Thomas P. Roche asked the questions, and here is an edited version of the question and answer sequence. (Note: Several other people asked questions, but unfortunately this interview got cut off prematurely.) You can find out more about Gansky on his web site at www.altongansky.com.

TR: Tell us about your background, where and when you grew up, what your childhood was like, etc.?

In short, I'm a professional "used-to-be." I used to work in a bank, I've been a firefighter, spent ten years in architecture, and am a Baptist minister. I was born in Texas but we moved to San Diego when I was three months old. What that means is that I have no accent but still know how to eat cornbread and black-eyed peas. My childhood was typical of most. I read a great deal and loved creating stories. I also watched every SF movie and television show I could. There simply were not enough of them.

TR: What is your Christian testimony, and denominational preference?

I was not brought up in the church and considered myself an atheist through my early high school years. Science was my first love. I came to know Christ through the witness of a girl (isn't that always the way?) and her friends. Her persistent testimony and prayer paid off. I have been a Baptist since my salvation.

TR: Where do you live now, and are you married? Children?

I live in the high desert area of southern California and have been married since 1973. I have three college age children, twin daughters and a son.

TR: Do you have a job, or do you live full-time as a writer?

I split my time between my work as senior pastor of my church and writing. I'm on deadline these days, so most of time is spent at the computer putting up the last pages of my latest novel.

TR: What is your education and training?

My education varied. I majored in political science, biology and finally biblical studies. I have a B.A. and M.A. in biblical studies.

TR: How did you come to write SF?

I write in several genres. Mostly I write suspense and supernatural suspense with SF overtones. I have also written two mysteries (Marked for Mercy and A Small Dose of Murder.) SF doesn't sell well in the Christian market although new inroads are being made every year. One of my writing goals is to write a true SF novel.

TR: What SF, fantasy, etc. authors do you read? Most like? Who has had the greatest influence on you as a writer?

I've enjoyed some of the old SF masters, Bradbury, Pohl and others. I used to read Orson Scott Card and Spider Robinson quite a bit.

TR: What Christian authors (i.e. theologians, church historians, activists, etc.) do you read and have had the greatest influence on you as a Christian man, and also as a writer?

Because I am a writer, I try to read those books that are similar to what I write. It helps me keep in touch with what is going on in the publishing world. Some of my favorite Christian writers include Angie Hunt (adult novels), James Scott Bell (legal thrillers), and Harry Kraus (medical suspense). Secular writers I read include Koontz, Cussler, Crichton, Cook and others. For non-fiction church related books, I turn to Philip Yancey.

TR: What do you consider the most important traits for a Christian writer to possess? Can these traits be developed?

Writing is hard work. Some are attracted to it because a writer works for him/herself, sits around all day, and has no boss. That's the myth. One writer said, "All I had to do to become a published novelist is give up my social life for five years, sit at a computer and open a vein." A writer first needs a passion for the craft. Many authors will say, "I write because I have no choice." Second, a writer must learn the craft. It's like any other business, a carpenter has to learn his craft, an attorney her craft, and a writer his craft. Optimism is third quality every writer should possess. It's a lonely profession most of the time and the interval between completed projects spans months. One has to believe that he will succeed.

TR: How did you get your first work accepted for publication?

I had finished a book and it was rejected by an agent. I put it on the shelf for five years. A friend of mine who had gone on to have his first book published called me and asked, "So what are you working on?" I answered, "Nothing." There was a long pause, then, "Why not?" I couldn't answer him, so I went back to the work. I sent the manuscript directly to the acquisitions editor of Victor Books and it was picked up. I surrendered five years of writing. I've been trying to make it up ever since.

TR: What are your hobbies/avocational interests?

I watch educational television, read, enjoy movies, and spending time with my wife.

TR: Do you have favorite TV shows or movies?

I confess, I'm an X-Files fan. I also enjoy old, black-and-white game shows.

TR: What do you consider as your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

My strengths are in my characters and unusual plotlines. I tend to write about intelligent but otherwise ordinary people in extraordinary situations. My weaknesses are too many to mention.

TR: What, if any, "Christian activism" causes or efforts do you involve yourself in and/or espouse?

I don't see myself as a Christian activist. I believe that the daily Christian life makes the biggest difference in the world.

TR: Have you any advice for the aspiring Christian novelist?

Yes. Study the craft. Practice the craft. Read others in the craft. Then sit down, start writing and don't quit.

BB: I just wanted to tell you that I read A Ship Possessed last month and enjoyed it. I was intrigued by the sticker on its cover that read, "We guarantee you'll love this book or it's FREE." I can't imagine a book being so bad I'd return it, but I was impressed that Zondervan would make such an offer. Anyway, I enjoyed it. I'm not sure I'd classify it as SF and it's certainly not fantasy. How would you classify it?

You're right, A Ship Possessed is not true SF. It was never meant to be, nor was it marketed as such. The best genre description for it is "supernatural suspense." My book Vanished, which has the same protagonist as Ship, has SF elements but is still basically a supernatural suspense.


[Home][Creativity][Genres][Resources][Links][About Us]

[Audio][Biographies][Books][Events][Film][Interviews][Mailing List][Publications][Publications]

[David R. Beaucage][Kathy Tyers][James BeauSeigneur][Jefferson Scott][Walker Chandler][Alton Gansky][Ray Hansen]

[Emily Snyder][Randall Ingermanson][Theodore Beale][Steve Laube][Laura Lond][Frank Wu][Donita K. Paul][Brenda W. Clough][Bryan Davis][John Granger]

[Karen Hancock][Miles Owens][Robert Liparulo][Bryan Davis, part 2][Chris Walley][Kathryn Mackel][Gene Wolfe][Sharon Hinck][Wayne Thomas Batson][Lars Walker][Christopher Hopper][Jeffrey Overstreet]

Rich Christiano[Jeff Gerke]

[Home] [Creativity] [Genres] [Resources] [Links] [About Us]

[Audio] [Biographies] [Books] [Events] [Film] [Interviews] [Mailing List] [Publications] [Store]

[David R. Beaucage] [Kathy Tyers] [James BeauSeigneur] [Jefferson Scott] [Walker Chandler] [Alton Gansky] [Ray Hansen] [Emily Snyder] [Randall Ingermanson] [Theodore Beale] [Steve Laube] [Laura Lond] [Frank Wu] [Donita K. Paul] [Brenda W. Clough] [Bryan Davis] [John Granger] [Karen Hancock] [Miles Owens] [Robert Liparulo] [Bryan Davis, part 2] [Chris Walley] [Kathryn Mackel] [Gene Wolfe] [Sharon Hinck] [Wayne Thomas Batson] [Lars Walker] [Christopher Hopper] [Jeffrey Overstreet][Rich Christiano][Jeff Gerke]