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Dan Walsh

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, and The Deepest Waters. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Favorite Verse: Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”


 Our Interview with Dan Walsh: The Discovery


Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m almost 55 years old. I’ve been married to the only woman I ever loved for the last 35 years.  Cindi and I have two married children, two grandchildren. I pastored the same church for 25 years, then retired from ministry to write fulltime in 2010 (being an author is WAY easier). Writing novels is something I’ve wanted to do since the 11th grade.
Cindi has also just fulfilled a lifelong dream of hers. She went back to school, graduated and was just certified to be a dog trainer. Besides the dogs she trains, we have two adorable mini-aussies, who keep our bodies moving every day walking around the neighborhood or the beach (which is just 1o minutes away).

How did you come up with the concept for The Discovery?
In my research for an earlier book that took place during WWII, I came across two different unrelated stories that intrigued me. There actually was a German spy who despised the Nazis and used this “sabotage” mission as a means of getting back to the country he loved. There was also a scene from Band of Brothers where a German POW asks his American captor for a cigarette in perfect English. The American is startled and stops to chat. He finds out the German was born in the US, even grew up not far from where the GI lived. These stories simmered a while until I saw a way to mesh them together, not just as a suspense novel but a powerful love story, too.

How did you choose the setting? Are you from Charleston?

No, but it’s our favorite getaway place. Just a 6-hour drive from the Daytona area where we live. We first visited there on a second honeymoon we took on our 10th Anniversary (I really botched up our first honeymoon…I was 19 years old…a long story). We fell in love not just with the town but all the plantations outside of Charleston. We’ve probably gone back to visit 20 times since then.
We went back just a few weeks ago to take pictures of all the locations Michael visited in the book. Readers can see them on my Facebook author page at . Just hit “Like” on the Welcome page, then go to the Photos. It’s one of the albums near the top.

You set the stage for most people’s fantasy; inheriting a $2 million dollar home free of debt in the heart of Charleston, is that based on your dream/fantasy, or is there some reality there?

Reality? Don’t I wish.
No, this is a total dream/fantasy. I gave Michael and Jenn our fantasy, hatched over two decades of gawking while walking through these amazing neighborhoods in the historic district. I also included Cindi’s fantasy of owning a little blue mini-Cooper.


Do you have a favorite character in The Discovery? Why?

I suppose it’s Ben. As I wrote this, I really found myself “getting in character” with him. I kept trying to imagine what it would have been like to be put in this terrible spot. But the real heroes of the story, to me, are Claire’s parents. Even though I agreed with the incredible sacrifice they had to make, I’m not sure I could have done what they did.

How much research did The Discovery take?
Quite a bit, but all of it a labor of love. Of course, writing in the WW2 era is not difficult for me. My first 2 novels are set there, and I did a lot of research when writing them. It’s perhaps the one historic time period where if traveling back in a time machine I could make a go of it.
The research for The Discovery had to do with all the specifics related to Ben’s dilemma, the FBI (very different then under Hoover), Nazi spies and U-boats, as well as recreating the Daytona Beach area in the 1940’s.

How much of  the story is based on fact?

The entire Nazi spy sub-plot was based on fact, including the FBI aspects. In June 1942, eight Nazi saboteurs were rounded up by the FBI after landing onshore in Florida and Long Island. And, of course, all the background details in the book are as accurate as I could make them. I essentially took the factual parts and imagined a plausible what-if scenario to create the storyline.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing The Discovery?

One big thing was the sheer volume of German U-boat attacks right off our shores. In the first 18 months of the war, up and down the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico (often within sight of the coast), almost 200 American ships were sunk and thousands of merchantmen died. Most of these attacks were not reported in the news. Our leaders didn’t want to create a panic, or let the Germans know how effective their attacks had been.

I also learned the Coast Guard actually patrolled our beaches every night on horseback, trying to keep more saboteurs from landing.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

I suppose it would be managing my time. I thought when I went fulltime, this challenge would end. But I’m writing 2 books a year now and, with the 1-year pipeline between the time I finish a book and when it comes out in stores, things get a little tricky. In the same month, I can be juggling tasks for 3 previous books, while writing the one I’m working on now.
Add to that, all the things a modern-day author needs to do in terms of marketing and social networking and the to-do list can get pretty full. But hey, these are good problems. Being a busy writer is a gift from God.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

That’s simple. I love the writing itself, and I love getting with people to talk about it.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?

I’m a member of ACFW, on both the national level and part of a new local chapter formed in central Florida. I also attend a monthly Word Weaver’s critique group (WW’s are part of Jerry Jenkin’s Christian Writers Guild). And I’m part of a published Christian author’s fellowship called Chi Libris.

What new projects are on the horizon?

I’m just finished my first of a four-book fiction series with Dr. Gary Smalley. Gary co-authored the Redemption series with bestselling author Karen Kingsbury a few years ago. It was a huge success (over 1.5 million books sold). Our books should resonate well with fans of that series; although Gary made it clear he wants me to write our stories the way I write. He said he picked me for this project because my books affected him emotionally the same way Karen’s did (that floored me). He’s been wonderful to work with, and I can’t wait for the first book to come out next year. It’s called, The Dance.

Right now, I’m doing interviews and researching Book Two in our series.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading The Discovery?

One clear theme is this: to forge the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, you must be willing to make great sacrifices and give it your all. Another is that God is able to work all things together for good to those who love Him, who trust Him and put His agenda first (no matter how scary that seems at times).

And I also hope they are thoroughly entertained.

What were your favorite books as a child?

Sadly, I didn’t read much as a child. I was totally involved in playing outside and sports (it was the pre-computer game era). I didn’t discover a love for books until high school.

What is your greatest achievement?

There are 2 things. I believe I love the Lord now more than I did when I first came to Him at 17. And that my wife loves me more now than she did when we married when I was 19. We are still each other’s best friend.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Go to Charleston, for one. On a local level, we love to go to the theme parks in Orlando, all just an hour away. I don’t know why, but I become just like a kid when I’m at a theme park, no matter how often I’ve gone. Also, we both LOVE to walk on the beach, and do it often.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say that I consider it an amazing honor and privilege to write books that both entertain and encourage believers to love God and care about what matters most to Him. I’m so grateful to the readers who buy my books and write to tell me how the books have affected them. And I’m grateful to retailers like CBD who make the connection between readers and writers possible.




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The Unfinished Gift, eBook

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