Tom Pawlik is the author of Vanish and Valley of the Shadow.
NA: What drew you to write Christian suspense?
TP: I love suspense thrillers. They say write about what you have a passion for. I love the kind of stories that keep pulling you through the pages to find out what's going on and what's going to happen next.
NA: What is unique in Vanish and Valley of the Shadow compared to other Christian horror?
TP: I don't think the storyline has been done before. The idea of the Interworld, I believe, is quite unique and provocative. Also, none of the major characters are Christians, and none of them technically become Christians at the end of the book.
NA: Where did this story idea come from?
TP: The basic germ of the idea originated from a dream I had back in 2003. I kept turning the concept around in my head for more than two years before I came up with the final plot. To me, that's the hardest part of the writing process.
NA: Were there any smaller influences that came into the books?
TP: I was working on this idea when the TV show "Lost" first aired. I liked that show right away and wanted to pull in some of the same 'what's-going-on-here' elements. Another influence from years ago was C.S. Lewis' book "The Great Divorce"
NA: Have you ever had a strange experience like those in your books?
TP: Nope. Thankfully.
NA: Which character was the hardest to write?
TP: Helen Krause. Being a male and a new writer, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to write a credible female character as one of the major characters.
NA: Which character was the easiest to write?
TP: Mitch. I think his basic personality is most like my own so it was easier to slip into his shoes and see the world through his eyes.
NA: If you could be any character in your books, which would it be?
TP: Hmmm... I'm not so sure I'd want to be any of them. I much prefer being the omniscient author deciding their individual fates.
NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred actor, director, composer, etc?
TP: An independent film company has bought the movie rights for Vanish, so I'm incredibly excited about that. I love to have either Gary Sinise or Jim Caviezel as the lead role of Conner Hayden. And possibly James Cromwell or Jon Voight as Howard Bristol. Other than that, I don't have any strong feelings as to actors.
NA: Good choices! Can you tell us one thing about yourself we readers may not know?
TP: I enjoy many different types of art... music, drawing and sculpting as well as writing. I also make a short Christmas movie every year with my wife and kids for their grand parents. Every year it gets more involved and complex. This last year was a brilliant 20 minute epic parody of "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", "Indiana Jones", "Wizard of Oz", "The Terminator", "The Princess Bride" and even "High School Musical". I don't know how I'm going to be able to top that this year.
NA: Do you have a title or cover idea for the next book after Valley of the Shadow that you can share with us?
TP: The title is "Beckon". The designers at Tyndale have already created a cover for it and I have to say, I really love it. I don't think I can share it just yet however.
NA: Do you have any other book plans or ideas after your current series?
TP: "Beckon" is an entirely new concept and story, which is probably why it's been so hard to write. I want to keep it similar enough to the first two to keep a sense of continuity in a style but I want to make sure the story is different enough to introduce something entirely new to readers.
NA: Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write Christian horror?
TP: Like any other genre, concentrate on telling a great story, buy a good book on self-editing, join the Christian Writers Guild, and never, never give up on your passion.
Thank you for the interview Mr. Pawlik!
Visit Tom Pawlik's website.
Buy Vanish here.
Buy Valley of the Shadow here.