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.
Tell us about The Deepest Waters.
I watched this documentary about a paddlewheel steamship which sank after a hurricane in September 1857. Tons of gold went to the bottom of the sea, along with over 400 souls. Among the few survivors there was a honeymoon couple who thought they’d been parted forever. How this couple survived and the way they were reunited was nothing short of miraculous. So The Deepest Waters is inspired by these true events.
But as I began to write, a new main character emerged named Micah. He’s an old, illiterate Negro slave who has this abounding joy and Christ-like demeanor, even though his life is filled with suffering and loss.
How long did it take you to get to this place as a writer?
I began my first novel in 1997, got about halfway through, then set it aside for 10 years. Didn’t write a thing that entire time. In the summer of 2007, at my wife’s urging, I finished The Unfinished Gift and got signed, almost immediately, with my agent. She had a contract with Revell in a few months.
After one of your books comes out and you see the response, does that affect how you approach the next book?
If anything, it has only strengthened me to “stay the course.” The responses I’ve received with my first two novels, and already from The Deepest Waters, have touched me deeply.
What part of a story do you find hardest to write?
When I have to put my characters through heartbreak and suffering. I know it must happen. It’s part of life and what makes the story relevant and gives it meaning. I even know as I write these difficult parts that, down the road, all things “will work together for good.” But still, it’s hard. The characters become almost real to me. I wish I could yell to them, “Hold on, don’t give up hope.”
When I do finally get to write the scenes where these tragedies resolve, I often cry. I’ve cried numerous times writing all of my books. I’m sure I look like an idiot when this happens. I’ve learned not to write these scenes in public places.
What aspect of God do you most hope readers get from reading your work?
I want my readers to be thoroughly entertained—but I also want them to experience a quiet revelation of God’s nature in the story, too. His beauty, kindness, mercy and incredible patience. I don’t want to be preachy in my books, but I am always on the lookout for creative and subtle ways to help us catch glimpses of this magnificent Savior.