Q&A with Davis Bunn: Is photography one of your hobbies?

February 17th, 2016

The Fragment by Davis Bunn

Q: Muriel Ross, the 23-year-old protagonist in The Fragment, is an amateur photographer. Is photography one of your hobbies?

Davis Bunn: When I entered junior high school, I met, by what I now call divine chance, a teacher who supervised the school newspaper. He was a passionate photographer, and had managed to equip a school darkroom.

Large format (4 x 5) press cameraHe chose one student from each class to serve as photographer for that year’s newspaper and yearbook. I had no experience with cameras and did not even know what I was letting myself in for. But for the next two years, I had the joy of working under a quietly passionate artist, and learned to handle myself behind the lens.

The two cameras I worked with were the precise instruments that Muriel handled. The Grafex 3 ¼ x 4 ¼
was for decades the workhorse of professional news photographers and still-artists alike. It was a monster of a machine, weighed over seven pounds, and required a series of steps to operate that at the beginning I never thought I would master.

The negatives had to be put in place by hand, in complete darkness, by feel alone. They were the size from which the camera got its name, 3 ¼ inches wide and 4 ¼  inches tall, that were fitted to either side of a glass plate which was slid into the back of the camera.

Then the protective sleeve was pulled out, the picture was shot, the sleeve put back in, the glass sheet pulled out and flipped over, then the second shot taken.

Leica cameraI carried the camera in a massive wooden case, and a second case that held a dozen glass sleeves.

Added to this was the smaller Leica and a light meter slung from cords around my neck. I looked like a complete and utter geek.

One of the high points of my junior high school career was having a photograph of our team’s center dunking a shot that ran in the local city newspaper.

What about you?

Are there any fellow photography buffs out there? Tell me about your first camera! What inspired your shutterbug love?

Reviewers of ‘The Fragment’: Political intrigue and spiritual quest in a great read — 5 Stars

February 10th, 2016

On February 19, 2016, my new historical novel, The Fragment, releases. Here are three early reviews of the book, from Sherry Arni, Dave Milbrandt, and Anne Rightler.

The Fragment by Davis Bunn

Sherry Arni, on Goodreads:

Against the backdrop of post-World War I Europe and the crumbling Ottoman Empire, Davis Bunn weaves a story of elegance, intrigue, strength, and faith as 23-year-old Muriel Ross embarks on a quest she only gradually comes to understand, along with U. S. Senator Thomas Bryan and mysterious French diplomat Charles Fouchet, a young man deeply wounded by the war and its aftermath.

A reliquary containing a fragment of the True Cross and deepening crisis in the Ottoman Empire pull these characters from Paris to Constantinople in a dangerous journey.

Davis Bunn’s characters, as always, are well-drawn, believable, and real. The story pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until the last page. The Fragment, which ties in to the story of the Empress Helena in The Pilgrim, is a great read. 5 Stars

Dave Milbrandt, on Goodreads

Bunn’s previous book, The Pilgrim, provides an interpretation of Helena’s discovery of the True Cross of Christ. In The Fragment, we travel to Europe in 1923, where American researcher Muriel Ross is pulled into risky, yet spiritually rewarding search for a piece of this most auspicious of relics.

Having both taught history and written my own tale about a piece of the True Cross, I can tell you first hand that Bunn’s attention to historical accuracy is spot-on. But, where others might have fun taking a more mystical approach, Bunn travels the higher road and focuses on characters being changed from the inside.

Bunn’s writing is always poetic and never pretentious, leaving me enchanted and, to be honest, a shade envious. His details about life in 1920s Paris and Constantinople both ring true and, at times, make the reader crack a smile.

The book is a quick read, and well worth the investment of your time. In The Fragment, it’s clear Davis Bunn has mastered the art of weaving history and story together in a seamless fashion. 5 Stars

The Fragment quote 11 - reliquary of the True Cross

Anne Rightler, on Goodreads

The Fragment, by Davis Bunn, is a marvelous post-WWI novel that will delight readers of historical fiction.

Bunn gives a splendid glimpse of Paris and Constantinople from the perspective of Smithsonian researcher and photographer, Muriel Ross. She has been chosen by a family friend who is a U.S. Senator to accompany him to Europe to photograph a piece of the True Cross.

While in Paris, she meets Charles, a young man from the French embassy and realizes all may not be as it was originally told to her.

  • Can she trust the Senator?
  • Can she trust Charles?
  • Just why was she chosen for this project?
  • Where does her faith in Christ fit into all that is happening around her?

Bunn details the history of this post-WWI era in an interesting and intriguing manner. As he notes regarding Constantinople–the names were spiced by centuries of tales. The characters are beguiling, believable, and likable.

Despite the ordeals, threats, and disappointments, Muriel knows there is a promise of hope. The Fragment, a thrilling tale of a piece of the Cross and its impact on those seeking it. Don’t miss this newest book by Davis Bunn. 5 Stars

Two weeks until ‘The Fragment’ releases

February 5th, 2016

Let the countdown commence!

Only two weeks to go before the February 19, 2016 release of The Fragment, a historical suspense that takes place in 1923 Europe.

Here’s a quote from the book to pique your interest.

Quote from THE FRAGMENT, Davis Bunn's post-WW I suspense

The novel is available for pre-order from your favorite bookseller.

Super sale on Acts of Faith trilogy co-authored with Janette Oke

January 28th, 2016

Here’s a great deal on the ebook version of a series I co-authored with Janette Oke.

The Acts of Faith historical series is steeply discounted at many online booksellers, from February 1 through March 31, 2016. I’ve done some price shopping, and these are the prices, as of the day I published this blog post:

The Centurion’s WifeFREE at all three outlets!

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble NOOK Book

Christianbook.com ebook

The Hidden Flame – $6.99 or less

Amazon Kindle – $4.99

Barnes & Noble – $6.99

Christianbook.com – $5.59

The Damascus Way – $6.99 or less

Amazon – $4.99

Barnes & Noble – $6.99

Christianbook.com – $5.59

You Could Win Both Books in the Legends of the Realm Fantasy Series!

January 5th, 2016

Merchant of Alyss Like to WinMerchant of Alyss, book 2 in my Legends of the Realm epic fantasy series, is releasing today, January 5. What an exciting way to kick off 2016!

This series is published under my pen name, Thomas Locke. (Here’s an explanation of why I’m using a pseudonym).

I’m giving away copies of BOTH BOOKS in the series throughout January. My first giveaway is today and tomorrow on my @TLockeBooks Facebook page. Here’s the direct link to the contest: http://on.fb.me/1Rd5hkD

How to enter:

Go to http://on.fb.me/1Rd5hkD (it’ll be the first post on my page) and like the picture. Get a bonus entry by leaving a comment. That’s it!

I’ll announce 5 winners – who will each get a 2-pack of books – on my @TLockeBooks Facebook page  Wednesday, January 6 after 6PM PST. Be sure to stop by the page that evening to see if you won.

Here is a link to the Official Rules: http://statictab.com/jbsttgr

Would you help me promote the giveaway?

Here’s a tweet-length update I’d love for you to share Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan 5 and 6):

You could win EMISSARY and MERCHANT OF ALYSS. Enter at http://on.fb.me/1Rd5hkD by 1/6 at 6PM PST.

Reviewers are Saying…

Early reviews of Merchant of Alyss are pouring in. Here are excerpts from several reader-reviewers (click their name to read their full review):

Redd Becker:
“What fun to share in an honorable quest with characters I’d like to know; as real and vibrant as friends. Dragons, witches, elves, ancient spells and lore entwine in an adventure that spun me into their space and time. A test of endurance, the purity of love and loyalty meshed in an Ursula Le Guin-type adventure.” 5 Stars

Sue Stevens:
“What does it mean to love, to be loyal, to be a true friend, to seek one’s purpose in life? Through a complex but spellbinding plot, Locke explores these truly real and human concepts in the realm of fantasy. So while there is plenty of action and fantastical scenes that unfold almost cinematographically in your mind, there is depth here too.”

Judith Barnes:
“Locke’s writing captivates the reader. The landscape descriptions are vivid, and the action scenes move the story along with clarity. I particularly enjoyed the storyline involving the dragons.” 5 Stars

Natalie Walters:
“… My genre of choice is not fantasy but as of late I’ve found myself drawn into the world created by authors who captivate my imagination like no other. Thomas Locke is one of those authors. I was pulled in by Hyam’s struggle to overcome his new handicap (no spoilers here!) and the challenge to save not only his wife but his home from the threat of potential war. Mr. Locke pours enough detail into Hyam’s companions that they are no mere secondary sidekicks but rather characters who leap from the page begging me to ask, “What’s their story?” Thankfully, Mr. Locke provides.”

‘The Warning’ $2.99 eBook Deal on Amazon

December 15th, 2015

The Warning by Davis BunnIn 2001, my novel, The Warning, was the #1-selling fiction title for Thomas Nelson.

Strangely enough, Amazon is offering the Kindle version for only $2.99, as part of their Monthly eBook Deal until January 4, 2016.

The book is being featured by Amazon on the Kindle home page, featured in an eBlast to Kindle customers, and promoted via Kindle social media.

I’m amazed that a book published 15 years ago is being so heavily promoted. Mostly, I’m grateful!

How to Use ‘The Pilgrim’ as a Teaching Tool

December 4th, 2015

The Pilgrim by Davis BunnIn her review of The Pilgrim, Cindy Anderson — a self-described older adult, avid reader, and former homeschooling parent — examines the novel from a variety of perspectives. I particularly like Cindy’s tips for how teachers can create a unit study of The Pilgrim that covers the Bible, geography, history, and language arts. Well done, Cindy!

Cindy Anderson, on her blog:

The Pilgrim, by Davis Bunn, is a thought provoking narrative that deals with acceptance, forgiveness, and faith. While the book is a work of fiction, and therefore should not be viewed with a mind toward theological debates, these three aforementioned aspects of life are some that we all, in our own way, battle with daily. Sometimes the battle goes on for years depending on the extent of the damage done and our ability to overcome circumstances beyond our control.

As an older adult, I can relate well with the characters and several of their plights. Being able to empathize with a character allows the reader to better identify with the subject matter, and therefore determine whether or not they themselves need to deal with similar issues in their own life.

The author does a very good job of helping the reader realize that knowing one ought to forgive someone and being able to do so do not always go hand in hand, at least not immediately. Even though the main characters in The Pilgrim are Christians, they are shown to not be perfect and to struggle with the events in their lives that have hurt them deeply and permanently changed their futures.

While true Christians are told to forgive, they must realize that forgetting can be much more difficult, and often seems impossible. Reliving over and over again the event(s) that caused the pain is what tends to make forgiving so difficult.

The characters in this book were not immune to the consequences of rehashing events that could not be changed but which must be dealt with and endured. Remorse, self-doubt, self-pity, and the persistent “what if” question is shown to do nothing to further the characters healing process or their spiritual growth.

Each character in this book, beginning with Helena, works through the process of accepting his or her new set of circumstances, with coming to terms with their need to forgive those who were seen to have caused them pain, including God in Anthony’s case, and has their faith tested to the nth degree.

While only those with a very good knowledge of history would be able to discern whether or not the events and geographical descriptions are accurate, almost anyone who reads this book will be able to understand the turmoil that the actions of others, or life occurrences, can cause in one’s life making the storyline much more believable because of the reader’s ability to identify with one or more of the characters within its pages.

As an avid reader, I enjoyed The Pilgrim and was personally challenged to follow the examples of its characters, a task that’s almost always easier said, or in this case written about, than done.

How to use The Pilgrim as a teaching tool

As a former homeschooling parent, I can easily see this book being used as a unit study covering Bible, geography, history, and language arts.

Advanced students could also use it to study sociology and some areas of psychology. The student can research the various historical events mentioned, trace the journey and learn about the different cities and cultures of the area, not to mention the cuisine for those who enjoy learning and executing that subject matter, and look into the lives of the different characters mentioned such as Constantine and his mother Helena to determine how much of what they’ve read in this book is true and how much has been added by the author. That exercise alone would be an excellent way to learn “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say.

To end their unit study, the student would write a book report and/or essay(s) based on their research of the subject matter. There is enough material here to structure into either a one semester study or a full year study as determined by the parent/teacher.

Whatever your reason for reading The Pilgrim, I have no doubt that you will find it to be not only an interesting and enjoyable read but also one that will challenge and enlighten you. It will help you to deal with your own need to forgive and move on or possibly better understand someone you know who is having a difficult time forgiving and accepting their new normal.

In the event that the latter is the case, this book would be an excellent gift choice for that friend or acquaintance and may lead to fruitful discussions whereby you can help and encourage them to move forward and past their circumstances.

The Fragment by Davis BunnComing Next: The Fragment

This followup to The Pilgrim releases February 19, 2016. Here’s a preview:

It’s 1923, and a resilient Paris is starting to recover from the ravages of World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Enter Muriel Ross, an amateur photographer tasked with documenting the antiques that her employer, U.S. Senator Tom Bryan, has traveled to France to acquire.

Although she’s exhilarated to have escaped her parents and the confines of their stifling Virginia home, Muriel has lingering questions about why the senator has chosen her for this grand adventure. Nevertheless, she blossoms in her new surroundings, soaking up Parisian culture and capturing the sights and sounds of Paris on her camera.

But events take a dangerous turn when she discovers that the senator is on a mission far more momentous—and potentially deadly—than a mere shopping trip.

At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senator Bryan asks Muriel to photograph an astonishing artifact: a piece of the True Cross, discovered by Empress Helena—a historical figure familiar to readers of The Pilgrim.

When rumors surface that another fragment has been unearthed, Muriel becomes enmeshed in a covert international alliance dedicated to authenticating the fragment—and protecting it from those who will stop at nothing to steal and discredit it.

Click here to pre-order The Fragment from your favorite online bookseller.

Readers Learn About Forgiveness, Courage from ‘The Pilgrim’

November 20th, 2015

Today I’m featuring reader reviews of The Pilgrim from Dennis Brooke and Mary Esque.

The Fragment, a follow-up book to The Pilgrim, releases February 19, 2016. While both novels are stand-alone books, the themes are loosely tied together. You might consider getting both of them as a gift for someone who loves historical fiction.

The Pilgrim by Davis BunnDennis Brooke, on Goodreads:

For three centuries Roman emperors did their best to crush the movement started by the disciples of a Jewish preacher they had executed as a common criminal. In The Pilgrim Davis Bunn tells the tale of the woman and her son who made that movement the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Bunn uses historical fact, legend, and masterful storytelling to weave a story about Helena, the spurned wife of one Roman Emperor and the mother of a future one, and her quest to find the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Through this story and her example, I also learned something about forgiveness—and my personal journey.

Davis’ research and master of the craft made me feel like I was witnessing the early days of the church and a turning point in its history. I’ve done research on this place and era for my own book and Davis’ descriptions are spot on.

You might read The Pilgrim for the great tale, the characters, and what you learn about this important time in history. You’ll remember it for what it teaches you about yourself.

Mary Esque, on Goodreads

The Pilgrim is another fine example of the masterful storytelling we have come to know and love from Davis Bunn. Rich in detail and rooted in historical fact, Bunn weaves a lovely, engaging tale about an era of church history that is not very well known. It is a powerful story about faith and forgiveness, one that I found personally challenging.

In a world of faithlessness, it takes a lot of courage for Helena to step and go on the pilgrimage that she embarked upon. It took even more courage to continue on that journey in spite of all the obstacles that she faced. I found myself asking would I have persevered in such a daunting task if I had faced the same challenges.

As I considered the answer to that question, I realized how very similar our world is to Helena’s world. Both are full of faithlessness and have powerful opponents who would seek to destroy believers or at the very least silence them. I was reminded and encouraged that God is still at work and He prevails despite any and all opposition. His plans and purposes will not be thwarted. Helena reminds me that God delights in doing the most impossible of miracles in the hearts of those who would truly seek him. That is why I love this book.

Reader Mailbag: Readers Encouraged by ‘Prayers of a Stranger,’ ‘The Turning’ & ‘The Presence’

November 10th, 2015

I love hearing from readers… and I hear from you often! Here are thoughts several readers shared with me, along with my responses:

Sarah writes:

I read Prayers of a Stranger while going through miscarriage, and it was so helpful and hopeful to read during that time. It really meant a lot.

Dear Sarah,

I am so very, very sorry to learn of your misfortune. Oh, how I wish it could have been different news that you brought. Just the same, I consider it a true gift from God that your heart found some measure of solace in my story. May the Lord bless you and your family, and bring to you both full healing and full peace.

Jane writes:

I finished The Turning last week. It was a fascinating book. I see so many of your other characters in that book. I especially remember The Presence. Although the two books are completely different, they are similar in some ways.

I don’t do much on Facebook, but I do follow you. The comment that the one lady made “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called” was one I had highlighted. That is how I have felt most of the time I have been married to my husband. When we were on the road with his music, I often felt that way. I had to learn to hear God’s voice a lot.

Right now I wonder if I can hear at all. I know that’s not true, but when things get really tough you wonder what’s going on. No one knows right now the extent of the struggles we are having, and I haven’t felt led to tell anyone and he hasn’t put anyone in our path to help. I think God is doing this for a reason and I’ll know eventually. Sorry about all that.

I am always amazed the directions you take with your writing. I’m not sure there is much God hasn’t equipped you to do when it comes to your writing. Hearing your voice I can sense the gentle yet strong spirit within you. I am just glad you listened to His calling. You have blessed many!

Dear Jane,

What a lovely, heartfelt note. Thank you so much for the response to my story, and for sharing this connection with your husband. Truly, this was a gift.

Margie writes:

I have a complete Davis Bunn Library with the exception of the books that have not yet been released! I was hooked when I read The Presence and have searched out every Davis Bunn book I could find since that time. I even have e-books of some of the paperback editions that I own. There are so many great stories in these books that I am surprised that more of them have not been made into movies!

Keep up the good work as long as the Spirit leads you, Davis Bunn!

Larry writes:

Linda and I just finished The Turning… or at least, that’s what we thought. But, “No!”  Now we are in Day 1 of 40 of the accompanying devotional, with great excitement and anticipation.

It is a blessing to be “invited” into such an experience as this with one who has become a good friend, despite the distance.

Thank you for being attentive, for listening to God, and for being a catalyst to propagate even more listeners.

God bless you in His work.

Elaine writes:

It seems I’m compelled to write after the completion of practically all your novels. When an impact of some kind has been made on my heart or my spirit, it’s impossible not to share it with the author!

The Turning replanted some hope in me at a time most needed. I’m one of those melancholy personalities, a complicated “C” in the DISC profiles, who all too easily fixes her eyes on what is seen rather than on what is unseen! One of the concepts most affecting me from the book was the joining together aspect. The drawing of the team in perfect unity under the Holy Spirit created a yearning in me that aches as I watch the atheists demanding their own military “chaplain” and a satanic black mass is scheduled on the campus of the formally God-fearing Harvard University.

The church we’ve belonged to for 14 years is being rent by humans bent on pleasing self rather than the Lord. This has been the #1 contributor to my loss of hope, because, even as every day the news shows America growing darker, the Church is supposed to be a safe place, a light in the darkness, a rock. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in an earthquake, but I’ve experienced three—the most serious being 6.9—and nothing is more disorienting than the ground underneath you suddenly being unstable.

Dear Margie, Elaine, Larry and Linda,

It is such a gift to receive this enthusiasm included in your words. I am currently working on a new project, and must take time out today to fly to Grand Rapids in order to present my new concept to the Baker-Bethany sales force. I carry the lovely sentiments of your email with me.

Reader Question: Which Davis Bunn Books are Appropriate for Young Readers?

October 24th, 2015

Heartland by Davis BunnJulie writes:

My son is 10 and he borrowed one your books (Imposter) from his school library last week. I tried to search online to make sure his age is appropriate to read your books but no luck.

He’s still into Jackson Percy kind of books. Please advise.

Dear Julie,

I have a number of teen fans, but ten might be a little young for Imposter, which deals with some sensitive father-son issues and is a suspense novel. Two suggestions: Heartland is a teen favorite, if it’s available.

Also, I have a fantasy series that I am writing under my Thomas Locke pen name. I have made a clear separation between the Davis Bunn and Thomas Locke brands so that those evangelical readers who don’t like fantasy aren’t drawn in.

The  series, called Legends of the Realm, is being published by Revell. Emissary (book 1) was released in January 2015 and Merchant of Alyss (book 2) comes out January 5, 2016.

 Merchant of Alyss by Thomas LockeGeorge writes:

I just wanted to say thank you for your books.

My wife and I homeschool our kids and try to raise them with Christian values. We have a 15-year-old son who just devours books, and it is always a challenge to find wholesome, interesting, and inspiring books for him to read. I also have that challenge.

I just finished reading The Lazarus Trap, and I loved it. I grew up reading Tom Clancy novels, and I spent several years as an officer in the US Navy, working on some intelligence things, etc. However, after becoming a Christian, I don’t read many of those types of books anymore because they are too filled with vulgarity and other things that I just don’t want to read about, and I certainly don’t want my kids reading.

Your books seem to fill a void in this area, where they are exciting and inspiring, and clean and I really appreciate them.

It is also good for my son, because his dream is to write Christian novels; and he’s a very good writer at this young age. I’m sure your books will help him along his journey. He started The Lazarus Trap last night, and couldn’t put it down.

Trial Run by Thomas LockeDear George,

Please tell your son that having new readers of his generation is a genuine honor for me.

He may also be interested to know that I have started a new line under the pen name I have used in the past—Thomas Locke—the name of one of my Revolutionary War-era ancestors. There are two genres of books here, both aimed at his generation of readers, and seeking to instill Christian moral values into these genres. The first series is Legends of the Realm, C.S. Lewis-type fantasies.

The second series, Fault Lines, includes Michael Chrichton-style thrillers.

Book 1 in that series is Trial Run, which released August 4, 2015.

Book 2 in the series, Flash Point, will debut during the summer of 2016.