What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Inspirational novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Jim Denny and Free Books!

Young inventor Max McCrane builds a time machine and takes three friends on a roller-coaster ride through time and space to confront humanity’s ancient enemy in the Garden of Eden.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the free copy of Bonnie Leon's historical romance, One Hundred Valleys, is:


Congratulations! We'll get your book right out to you. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to learn about new releases! U.S. subscribers are entered in the drawings a second time when they comment.

And now let's visit with novelist Jim Denny, author of the Middle Grade (ages 9-12) science-fantasy and spiritual warfare novel, Battle Before Time (revised and updated edition, Writing in Overdrive Books, January 2020). Paperback and Kindle editions.

Jim has wanted to be a writer since he was a boy. He wrote his first short story as a third-grade class assignment, a tale of a spaceman who escaped from a prison on Mars.

He quit his day job and became a full-time writer in 1989. He's written more than a hundred nonfiction books in collaboration with Ray Stedman, Leighton Ford, D. James Kennedy, Michael Youssef, Michael Reagan, Super Bowl champion Reggie White, Star Trek actress Grace Lee Whitney, supermodel Kim Alexis, Orlando Magic founder Pat Williams, and many others.

The most fun Jim ever had as a writer was when he wrote the Timebenders series—Battle Before Time, Doorway to Doom, Invasion of the Time Troopers, and Lost in Cydonia. These books are full-tilt, thrill-a-minute science-fantasy page-turners. In early 2020, he revised and re-released all four books for a new generation of young readers.

I'm excited for my readers to introduce your books to the young readers in their lives--especially the boys! I don't often get to feature books young boys would like. 

Please tell us one random thing we might not know about you.

At age eight, when I rode my bike to school, I had to pass a house with a pair of vicious dogs. They’d come tearing after me, snarling and snapping at my heels. After school, I told my dad about the dogs. He said, “Let’s pray about it.” So we prayed that the dogs would leave me alone. The next morning, I sped past that house—but the dogs didn’t appear. They never bothered me again.

For years, whenever I doubted the reality of God, I’d remember how my prayer was answered when I was eight years old. One day, it occurred to me: “What if Dad ‘helped’ God answer that prayer?” So I asked Dad, “Did you have anything to do with that prayer being answered?” He assured me he didn’t. God answered that little boy’s prayer, and the lesson has stayed with me throughout my life.

I love that story, Jim. What a blessing for you to see memorable answered prayer at such a young age. 

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Battle Before Time.

Max McCrane is the friendless “new kid” at school—but everything changes when Max shows three of his classmates the time machine he built from a rusty old VW Beetle. He calls his invention Timebender.

A nasty trick by the class bully sends Max and his companions plunging into the distant past where they encounter spirit beings—angels—fighting a war in the heavens. Their journey takes them to ancient Mars, and ultimately to an epic confrontation in the Garden of Eden.

Tempted by the alluring lies of humanity’s ancient enemy, Max and his friends must summon the faith and courage to make the right choice.

What is it about Max that will make your readers care about him?

Though he’s a science wiz, Max has the same problems all kids have. He struggles to fit in at his new school. He means well, but sometimes blunders into trouble. He’s intensely loyal to his friends, he believes in God, and he’s a problem-solver. He sincerely tries to do the right thing, even when facing an unsolvable dilemma. He deals with the same insecurities, problems, and fears all kids face—but with the added stress of being chased by dinosaurs, knights in armor, or time-traveling robots.

As parents and grandparents, we see our kids learning to live with a global pandemic and online classrooms and restricted activities. In these times, the adventures of Max and his friends can provide them with inspiration, encouragement, empowerment, and a much-needed infusion of faith and hope.

Wow, all of that is sorely needed right now.

What’s the most positive thing you can tell my readers about the state of Christian fiction today?

In my conversations with my friends who are professional Christian writers, I constantly hear them talking about how they are taking their fiction in exciting new directions. We’re in a golden age of compelling, relevant, Christian storytelling with believable characters and profound (but not preachy) spiritual insights. It’s a joy to be surrounded by writers who are not only serious about their faith, but also about their craft. The best Christian fiction of all time is being written and published right now.

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

The last novel I read was C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces. For years it sat on my bookshelf because I had little enthusiasm for a retelling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. A few days ago, I picked it up and started reading—and I couldn’t put it down. It was Lewis’s last novel, and he’d spent his entire adult life preparing to write it. It turns out that the Greek myth is merely a backdrop for a compelling tale about Psyche’s half-sister Orual, a princess who learns the true meaning of sacrificial love and the lasting value of suffering for a good cause.

I haven't read that one yet, but I'll put it on my list. Thanks. I love his writing. As a matter of fact, since we're on the subject of Lewis, I want to share a stunning quote a friend posted recently, if you will all indulge me. I think it's wonderfully timely:

In 1948 C.S. Lewis, in reference to the mental shift required by living with the threat of the atomic bomb, wrote the following “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays.

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

Isn't that perfect for our current situation? 

My apologies, Jim, for the digression. To focus again on your writing, please tell us what you're working on now?

I just finished collaborating with Pat Williams on a nonfiction book for Baker-Revell on great leaders of the American Revolutionary War. And I’ve begun work on a new adult fantasy novel with strong elements of mystery, suspense, and spiritual warfare.

You certainly have a lot of plates spinning at once! Where else can readers find you online?

You can find me at writinginoverdrive.com and waltsdisneyland.wordpress.com.

The book can be purchased online via the following button:

Readers, if you would like to read a sample from the book, you can find it HERE by clicking on Look Inside

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

What kinds of books (either Christian or secular) do your children most like to read? What should I, as a Christian author, be writing to feed your kids’ hunger for good books?

Thank you, Jim, for visiting and telling us about yourself and your book. Readers, Jim has offered to give away a free copy of his book. To enter, leave a comment and your email below in answer to his question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Remember that U.S. subscribers are entered an additional time in each drawing. The drawing is done by email, so leave your email address, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

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Trish Perry said...

My kids are adults now, but my son was a huge fan of Bill Myers' Wally McDougle books as a young one, and as a middle schooler he read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy (he still does, actually). So Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, and on to Tolkien.

Jim Denney said...

Thanks, Trish! Bill Meyers is an excellent storyteller. The Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan are very engaging. There are a lot of books I first read as a child that I continue to re-read today. I first read A WRINKLE IN TIME in 1962, the year it was first published (I was nine, and I discovered it on the "new books" shelf at the school library), and have read it many times since. I also like to re-read the Narnia books, the Space Trilogy, The Hobbit and LOTR, everything by Ray Bradbury, and Alan Garner's THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN. One of my favorite C. S. Lewis quotes is, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

Trish Perry said...

Great quote (no surprise there).

Yes! I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time to my son every night for quite a few nights. I remember doing multiple voices for that one, losing track of each character's voice sound from one night to another!

I started Narnia with my granddaughter sometime ago--this will be the third time through. Lewis is so right about enduring value of worthy "kids'" books.



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