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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Author Interview ~ Bill Myers

Bill Myers ( is a bestselling author and an award-winning screenwriter and director. His numerous books include Soul Tracker, The Wager, The Face of God, Eli, Blood of Heaven, Threshold, Fire of Heaven, The Bloodstone Chronicles, and When the Last Leaf Falls. His books and videos have sold over 7.5 million copies.

Interview via telephone 2006:

Gina Holmes: Tell me about your road to publication.

Bill Myers: I’m afraid my story isn’t very inspirational. I got my first movie script assignment by a TV producer who came up to me and asked if I’d write for his series. That’s not real encouraging for those who are trying to break in.

What’s even more discouraging, some people got some misinformation. They’d heard there was a famous Christian TV writer in Hollywood and if they could just convince me to take time from my busy schedule and write a book for them, they’d really be excited about that.

Gina: Did you think, hey, how different can script writing be from novel writing? I can do that.

Bill: No, to this day I’m still not sure I know how to write. It was just another act of obedience. That and needing to eat. Back then we were pretty much living off macaroni and cheese. In both cases it was a series of accidents.

The TV shows I was writing were terrible. The worst writing I’d ever seen on TV. Apparently the book publishers didn’t bother to check that part out.

I started off writing Bible studies. Which for me was just a natural extension of loving to teach. I wrote a couple of those and discovered nobody was particularly interested in reading those and somebody came to me and asked if they could turn one of my scripts into a book. That involved going to Russia to research when the iron curtain was up. I thought that’ll be interesting. Why don’t I give that a shot?

And it just goes on and on like that. A series of accidents. McGee and Me was probably the big footprint for me. It was the same thing there. They said, you wrote the scripts, do you know anybody who could write the books.

I said, "Hey, I’m hungry."They let me do it.

Gina: How would you classify your adult novels?

Bill: I think the publishers are marketing me as supernatural suspense. I could have just as well write comedy, but they’ve got to have a place to put you. So there I am.

Gina: A lot of writers would love to have your ability to infuse serious fiction with humor like you do. Is there a secret to doing that?

Bill: I think so. It comes with loving the fallibility of humans. All of my humor comes out of character. When I’m designing a character I make sure I design them to have endearing quirks that we all have and pretend we don’t have. Then I have something to play with. It comes by designing the characters.

Gina: Why write supernatural suspense?

Bill: I don’t know. The publisher wants me write it.

Gina: So, if the publisher asked you to write a romance, you would?

Bill: Actually, my favorite book of mine is When the Last Leaf Falls, which is out of print. That’s sort of a love story about a father and his rebellious teenage daughter.

From a ministry point of view, what drives me is if I could reach more people by operating a drill press, then that’s what I’d do. I’d quit writing tomorrow.

It really is a passion to draw people to Christ. As far as writing supernatural, you can deal with God issues pretty quickly in that genre.

Why me? When I was a film maker, I did a lot of documentary work around the world. And a lot of mission films. I saw a ton of supernatural out there.

Tyndale House asked me to write a series called Forbidden Doors. She asked me if I would write a Christian horror series and I said, no, I’m too busy with my Christian pornography series. She says, okay Mr. Smart Alec, you go and look at what’s out there for kids to read and you come back and see if you can be so glib.

About eighty percent of the bookshelves were devoted to supernatural. I said, okay, I’ll write those but only if you let me turn them into a teaching series. So with those 12 books, one dealt with reincarnation, one with UFOs--sort of demystified all this stuff.

As a result of that, I did everything from researching at Duke paranormal psychology lab, to interviewing the Son of Sam serial killer, just to get the information right.

As a result of that, and a couple of supernatural situations of our own, we kind of became knowledgeable in the supernatural realm.

The Pat Robertson’s, Jerry Falwells and James Kennedy’s would have me on their shows to talk about the supernatural. It’s kind of a boring topic because our trump card is always the same, our authority in Jesus Christ. For better or worse,
I’ve become a reluctant authority on that.

Gina: You said you’ve experienced supernatural occurrences yourself?

Bill: We were involved in a deliverance with a top L.A. psychic when I was in my early twenties. I was volunteering for a lay pastor in a church and we got this call from this psychic who got my phone number in a dream. I knew nothing except what the Bible talked about. I went over there and tried to help him and soon found out we were involved in something that was right out of The Exorcist. The good news was that I’d never seen The Exorcist.

Gina: You performed an exorcist?

Bill: Myself and another man...Back to the research I was doing. Going to Duke paranormal psychology lab and have the experiments go flat-line when we’d come into the room would be exciting. At one point they’d tease me about having negative psychic energy.

Gina: Hmmm.

Bill: Exactly. That was due to a lot of prayer.

Gina: Do you find in the genre you write, that people are afraid to read it?

Bill: Not every genre is for everyone. As far as publishers go, I’ve only come up against one publisher who was reluctant to deal with this type of subject.

Gina: Why do you think that was?

Bill: Well, in the wrong hands, this subject manner can be twisted to glorify darkness. But, that’s true in every genre. You can write a romance that turns Christian values on its head and glorifies that which you stand against.

I try to go to scriptures and do the same thing with violence, language and everything else.

Scripture uses swearing, but it puts it like this, Peter said an oath. Hey, that works for me. Half a book took place on death row in one of my stories. The boys there did not say, “Well, golly!” But you don’t miss the swearing because you find ways of getting around it. Or the violence. You can talk about it, if you glorify it, there’s that fine line you risk crossing. You need to abhor it the way you write it.

Gina: What are you working on now?

Bill: The new series is Soul Tracker. It takes the brain twelve minutes to die. They record the brain waves of about 1300 volunteers who are dying and are able to recreate the first twelve minute of death in a virtual reality computer. So, you can experience the first twelve minutes of death. You can go to Heaven. You can go to Hell or anywhere in between.

And this guy’s daughter committed suicide--he’s desperate to know where she is. So he enters the chamber...

Gina: How much plotting do you do when you begin a book?

Bill: I think my training comes from TV and film. I pretty much know everything before I start. I spend about six months researching. A lot of times my stuff has science in it.

I just finished a book where they are subjected to the presence of God. Sort of a haunted house, but one that is haunted by God and the guys running the experiment want to know what would happen if these people are exposed to God. They’re able to record the presence and pump it in to the people.

I had to a lot of research on that on brains. Physiology and all that sort of junk.

Face of God I think I read seventy books to get the Islam correct.

Gina: Is the research fun for you?

Bill: Oh, the research is the best part. Fire of Heaven I got to go to each of the seven churches in Revelation at the publisher’s expense. So, I research first, which for me is the most fun, and I’m usually writing a kids book during that period. I’ll write during the day and research at night. Then I outline for about four weeks. By then I’m pretty happy with the structure. I work from that very detailed outline for the next several months.

In writing suspense it’s not that literary writing where you get to go down rabbit trails, because you cannot afford to in this genre.

If I was writing a different type of book, I’d probably write seat of the pants and have that type of fun, but not when you’re dealing with suspense.

Gina: What’s a typical day for you like?

Bill: Once I get the kids off to school and the wife off to work, I hang out for about an hour with the Lord. We live in Southern California and there’s an orchard out back and I’ll hang out there praying, reading, and jotting down notes. I teach a couple of Bible studies during the week. A lot of times that’s where my ideas come from.

I’ll rewrite what I thought was genius the day before but which is really garbage and I don’t know until I reread it. I rewrite for two hours. I take a break. I write two hours fresh. I then rewrite what I wrote. So, I write in three-two hour sessions.

That’ll usually come out to be about four pages a day.

Gina: How do you find balance with being a family man, teacher, director, writing children’s books and adult novels?

To Be Continued Tomorrow...


  1. Fascinating stuff! The Soul Tracker premise sounds incredible. I've been wanting to read something from Bill. Where do you suggest I start? Is there a stand-alone book that's a good first step? Thanks, Gina.

  2. What a journey! I read Eli and loved it. I can't wait to read the rest of your interview. Great hook on ACFW, Gina!

  3. Bill, talk about living a purpose driven life. You're truly an inspiration.

    (Bill looks an uncanny amount like my father in this picture. My dad's got some years on him though.)

    Thanks again for taking time to share your story and passion!

  4. Great first part! His publishing/filmaking journey are indeed something to read about. I want to be more like him when I grow up. ;-)

  5. Bill, you're interview is great. Like Gina, I write supernatural Christian suspense (today, yesterday I wanted to write cozy mysteries). This a great inspiration.

    Gina, sorry I'm being such a bad friend. Two classes this semester! I still visit your blog but just don't reply all the time.

  6. Yippee! I adore Bill Myers, especially the Blood of Heaven series and the Soul Tracker series. Funny how he is a reluctant writer of his genre.

    Keep writing, Bill. You CAN write. God has wonderfully gifted you.

    And thanks, Gina, for the interview. :)

  7. Bill,

    No wonder I like your books. You're a guy who loves the Lord and is a deep digger/thinker.

    I used to borrow and read Wally McDoogle and laugh, until my son took them away and hid them.

    Then I read Blood of Heaven...and got sucked in.

    Mike, I think you'd like Threshold. I haven't started the Soul Tracker series.

  8. Thanks everyone.
    Ron, I don't equate leaving a comment on my blog to being a good friend...and hopefully all my blogging friends feel the same otherwise I'm in trouble.

  9. gina thanks for another great interview. I knew there was a special rason that I liked Bill's books...what an awesome man of God.

    Soul Tracker series...goosebumps.
    Blood of
    Threshold, Eli....outta sight!

    Great reads!


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