We’re back with another author interview! This time with Biblical fiction writer, Reagan Colbert!
Intro: What’s your name, what do you write, where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythological being, what or who would you be?
Hello! My name is Reagan Colbert, and I write Historical Biblical Fiction. (though I have attempted a few other genres lol) You can find me on Twitter at @reagancolbert97, on Facebook at @reagancolbertauthor, and I also have a blog, www.fiction4hisglory.com
As for a mythological creature, I’ve never given it much thought but I’d probably say a mermaid. I ADORED The Little Mermaid, (still do!), though it would be interesting since I can’t swim lol.
1. What got you interested in writing?
Reading had a big part in it. As a kid I read more than I did anything else, and part of my desire to write actually stemmed from my running out of new books. But what really inspired me was the Lord. I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to do with my life, and the desire to write was very sudden, like a calling. After I started I just never looked back.
- When did you become SERIOUS about writing?
Serious? That’s a little hard to tell. After I started my first manuscript, I was determined to finish it, but it was probably a couple years into it (I worked on that first manuscript for 5 years), than I began to research publishing and really take it seriously as a lifelong career.
- What inspired your book?
Now that, I remember vividly! It was on Palm Sunday 2016. Two weeks before I had permanently laid aside that manuscript I mentioned above after 5 years, and I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do next. While watching a rendition of the Passion, it came to mind that most versions are told in expected POVs. I thought something unexpected should be done, so I decided to try.
- What is the book about?
The Roman Soul Series is a trilogy told from the POV of Marcus, a legionnaire who is different from every other soldier in Jerusalem, because he has a soul. While he tries to keep it hidden, his soul is tested when he is forced to crucify Jesus. After seeing Him alive again, Marcus seeks answers, which lead him to meet the disciples and the Risen Lord Himself.
The trilogy follows him as he becomes a believer and escapes Jerusalem, and the adventures he has afterwards.
- What are the characters like?
All of them? 😉 Marcus is just like me – quiet but determined, and he battles fear, which is something I myself struggle with. I kind of discovered a side of myself I never knew while creating this character.
His best friend is Justus, the voice of reason who is understanding of Marcus’ “hidden soul”. The other soldiers are stereotypical Romans, and the disciples I tried to keep as they were portrayed in scripture. In the first two books Jesus is a “character”, but I made a point to take 100% of His dialogue straight from scripture. Also, in book 3 we are introduced to Saul of Tarsus. Besides Marcus, Saul/Paul was definitely my favorite character to write about.
- Who should pick up your book and why?
Anyone who thinks they’re too far gone, that they’ve done too much and couldn’t possibly be forgiven by God. I have struggled with those exact doubts, fears, and questions my entire life, and I believe God used The Roman Soul Series to speak to me and show me just how far His love goes. The purpose of the series is to illustrate that very thing – that Christ’s love and forgiveness can go so far that He’d forgive the very person who crucified Him.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
This is my favorite quote from the series. It is Ananias (the real Biblical person) talking to Marcus:
“The nails that pierced his hands, the death that he died, was not only done by you. It was done for you. As he was dying on that cross he knew of you, of your sins. The ones you had committed, and the ones you would commit. He was lifted up to heal you, and as you gazed upon Him, Marcus, and believed, He saved you. Your sins no longer matter, because the sacrifice He gave washed them away.”
- Traditional or Self-publishing? Why?
If it were up to me, I’d definitely choose traditional. I’m currently only published on Amazon Kindle, but when I do get around to publishing paperback I’ll definitely pursue traditional, because the business side of writing that comes with self-publishing definitely isn’t my thing.
- If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Biblical fiction. I have tried romance, contemporary, regular historical, and sci-fi, but I knew I’d found my calling when I wrote the Roman Soul Series. Getting to fictionalize actual events and bringing them to life makes me feel as if I’m witnessing them firsthand, and that’s an incredible experience that just doesn’t come with any other genre. After the Roman Soul Series is when I attempted sci-fi, and that was when I really realized what I love to write.
- Name one book that affected the way you write?
Well I’ve read a lot of fiction-writing books that taught me a great deal, but most of my learning has come from reading fiction itself and observing the styles, rules, and elements of it. The main book series that I studied was Jerry Jenkins’ “Left Behind” series. I gleaned a lot of knowledge off of Mr. Jenkins as a new writer, and still do!
- Three authors you recommend and why?
Jerry Jenkins. Like I said above he is an incredible author, and he also teaches new writers based on the knowledge he gained writing his series. Karen Kingsbury. She’s a phenomenal author, and her writing style is where I gained a lot of my learning from. Plus I just love her books! Jeff Goins. His books and webcasts have helped me a lot not only with my books, but my blogging and growing a platform. He really knows his stuff, and shares so many priceless tips and teaching!
12. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Wow, that’s a deep question. I’d say that the world needs more of the Lord. Not the feel-good kind, but we need to turn to the Lord Himself in everything, whether it’s worldwide issues or personal struggles. There’s a lot of questioning of right and wrong, and a lot of infighting among everyone. If we focused more on God and His word and less on how everyone else thinks of us, I believe that we would have a clearer vision to come together.
- What do you believe is your main purpose/motivation as a writer?
My purpose is to be a light, and give a little bit of hope where I can. On my author’s statement I always say the same thing, and I think it really answers this question:“When I write, I am not writing for an unknown number of readers. I am writing for one person. There is one person out there (maybe more), who needs these words. One person whose heart may need lifting, whose soul may need reviving, and whose mind may need awakening. That person does not need words written by me. They need words that were conceived by the Lord, words that He in His infinite power decided to give to me, of all people. That’s why I write.”
- What’s your favorite writing-related memory?
Meeting my protagonist. It’s a pretty recent memory, but almost 6 months ago I met someone who told me his mother needed a ghostwriter. I ended up meeting her and getting hired on the spot to write her memoir. I still work for her and we’re working towards finishing that book this year. I would have been happy just with that, but at the same time her son and I became close and fell in love. We’ve been together exactly 5 months now, and my writing plays a major role in this because the book we’re writing is about his cancer battle. It’s the hardest and most personal thing I’ve ever written, but it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Now I like to say I’m dating my protagonist!
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
Probably my very first reader review. I remember swapping reviews with a fellow writer right after publishing The Hidden Soul, and when she emailed me that she’d posted her review on Amazon I was so nervous, because it was the first thing I’d ever put out to the public.
When I read the review, which said she was surprised by how good the book was and how much the story and Marcus had affected her, I remember I burst into tears. That was the first time I really felt like I’d made it, that I’d done what I had been called for.
- One fun fact most people don’t know about you?I really can’t write female protagonists in my fiction. I’m not sure why, but I remember that my first manuscript had two protagonists, a male and a female, and I always gravitated towards the guy. I’ve tried since then, but it’s just so much easier to write male protagonists. I really couldn’t tell you why that is, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never told anyone that!
- One piece of advice you would give to new writers?
Your writing is going to suck. No, I mean it’s going to be really bad. You’re going to want to burn all those pages and destroy that laptop and go into any other field. But you won’t. Because as much as it frustrates you and drives you crazy, you were meant for it. And if you stick to it and don’t give up, and if you realize that you can be used to change someone’s heart someday, you’ll make it. It’ll get better, and if you stick with it you’ll wake up five years later and realize you’ve made it. Whether you’re published then or not, if you’ve written something – anything – you’ve created something. You’ve succeeded. You’re a writer, you are capable of anything, and there’s nothing in your way. (oh and definitely don’t throw anything away, even if it’s the most horrible thing you ever wrote! Someday it’s going to be awesome to pick it up and see how far you’ve come!)
Thanks Reagan! What a great and unique interview! Check out my review of her book, The Hidden Soul here and don’t forgot to say hi to her on Twitter at @reagancolbert97, on Facebook at @reagancolbertauthor, and on her blog, www.fiction4hisglory.com. See you next week for another interview!
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