Interview With Author John Robinson – Book Give Away

John Robinson is the acclaimed author of the Joe Box series of Christian suspense novels featuring a private eye named Joe Box. Joe Box is a tough as nails ex-cop, a Vietnam Vet, and a new convert to Christianity. Think of a Christian Sam Spade, and you’ll get the idea.

The series consists of three novels that will be featured on this site on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Anyone who posts a comment to today’s interview will be eligible for a drawing for each of these three novels. Please let us know which novel you’d like. There must be at least ten comments for the drawing to take place, so tell your friends.

Joe Box Series Novels:

Until the Last Dog Dies

When Skylarks Fall

To Skin a Cat


Tell us a little about when and how you got started in writing.

Oh, wow, that’s a loaded question! I suppose I’ve always liked telling stories, but the real impetus came when I was in eighth grade. My English teacher had us all write a one-page story each week, which we would turn in on Fridays. I always got pretty good grades on these, but one day she asked me if she could submit that week’s story to a little literary mag. I said sure, and they published it. From then on, I was hooked. I kept writing little things here and there, mostly for my own enjoyment, but didn’t really ever think of getting published again until I was forty-seven.

I love the Joe Box Series. These novels are like the Christian version of Sam Spade. What gave you the idea of writing this series?

I’d always liked these kinds of novels, but about ten years ago while re-reading a very good one, the thought hit me: “What if this guy somehow got saved right about now? How would something like that spin the plot?” That’s when I started weaving the threads of the Joe Box character.

One thing I love about Joe Box is he’s a new Christian who’s rough around the edges and shows his warts and all. Do you think that it’s important to show the edgy side of a character in Christian fiction?

Absolutely. The name of the game in any form of art is “honesty.” This is especially true in writing. People like to relate to characters, both good and bad. And while we do have to be cognizant of not causing others to stumble, we have to be equally aware of showing life as it is (or should be). It’s a fine line, and I frequently fall off it.

Your novels have showed the seamy side of life. In “To Skin A Cat”, you even showed Joe going up against the porn industry. How important is realism in Christian fiction?

The same answer. Honesty and realism are really two sides of the same coin. In writing redemptive fiction, we have show what someone is redeemed from, as well as the consequences of rejecting grace. And let’s face it, not all stories are for all ages. Mine aren’t.

Tell us a little about how you researched the Joe Box novels.

I went deep into several facets of his character. First, the Southern part was easiest. I’m from the South, and Joe’s speech and mannerisms are second nature. For the Vietnam stuff I interviewed several vets from several branches who’d been there, as well as historical documents and videos. The sniper incident in Until the Last Dog Dies, for instance, is based on a true event. The cop stuff I also researched with some folks from the Cinncinnati Police Department, as well looking at forensics files.

What advise do you have for writers who haven’t been published yet?

Work on your art until the angels weep, write something every single day of your life, and read everything you can get your hands on until hell won’t have it. Rinse, repeat.

You have a new apocalyptic novel coming out soon. Tell us a little about it.

Ah yes, Heading Home, the book they said couldn’t be done. *G* Years ago I heard a preacher on the radio (could have been Bill Bright, but don’t hold me to that) say something that rocked me to the core. To paraphrase, he said “the Bible is clear that no one knows the day or hour that Jesus will return. But oddly enough, is doesn’t say we won’t know the week. My challenge to you: what if you knew, without a doubt, Jesus Christ was returning to earth sometime in the next seven days? How would you spend that time?” That idea percolated in me for years, finally culminating in Heading Home. The plot’s simple: one September night every Christian on earth has two words simultaneously dropped into their hearts: this week. And that’s all. But it’s enough. The story then focuses on two friends who’d served together in the Vietnam war being led to find what’s left of their old unit and minister salvation to them. A lot of people told me the idea was heretical (psst, it ain’t; it’s called FICTION) and that no publisher would ever touch it. It took years, but one finally bit, Sheaf House. It’ll be out fall of next year, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Thanks so much for letting me speak, Tamera!

I’m happy to interview you. I love your books, and I look forward to reading Heading Home.

This entry was posted in Book and Movie Reviews, Guest Authors and tagged , , by Tamera Kraft. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tamera Kraft

Tamera Kraft has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She is also a writer and has curriculum published including Kid Konnection 5: Kids Entering the Presence of God published by Pathway Press. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

21 thoughts on “Interview With Author John Robinson – Book Give Away

  1. Wow, that is a great interview, Tamera.

    Now I’ve gotta read Heading Home. Next fall, eh? That is if “the week” isn’t next week…

  2. Good interview! I read When Skylarks Fall and thoroughly enjoyed it. I meant to get Until the Last Dog Dies since it was the first in the series, but for some reason I didn’t.

    Heading Home sounds like a wonderful book. Can’t wait til that one’s ready!

  3. I’m always looking for books that will interest both my husband and me. The Joe Boxer series sounds interesting. I like the term “redemptive fiction.” I’m sure it’s been around awhile, but for some reason it hits me as new and fresh. The fact that John was told that his book couldn’t be published- yet it was is very heartening. Most of my stories deal with Christians who are overcoming some hang-up or who have listened to Satan’s lies, fallen away and are deepening their understanding of grace and redemption by re-establishing a relationship with God. Joe Boxer sounds like that kind of fiction. Thanks for the interview Joe and Tamera.

  4. Oh, pick me! Pick me! 🙂

    John’s books have been tatalizing me for awhile, I’d love the chance to win one. Am I supposed to say which one? Well, I’d like to start with #1, please.

  5. Maybe I should mention that if you click on my sig, it’ll take you to my website. There you can click on any of my titles and read the first chapter for free. That way if you hate ’em, you’re not out any coin…*G*

  6. Hi Tamera, I love your site. Interesting blog with John. I’ll definitely look up his books. God bless you both.

    By the way, I’m Lynnette’s mom.

  7. I gotta echo everyone’s sentiments that the Joe Box series is great. I’ve read the last two (sorry John, still gotta get my hands on the first).

    I’m looking forward to Heading Home


  8. The Joe Box novels certainly sound interesting I have the second book unfortuately I wasn’t sure which one came first!

  9. Great interview, John and Tamera. I love to hear what writers have to say about their journey through the craft. And I so love that John has had the guts to write Christian fiction that isn’t “safe”. If we all became perfect upon conversion, we wouldn’t need his books, but as realilty stands, I thank God for his “real” of writing.

  10. I’ve read all three of John’s books and they are great. I loved the way John made Joe Boxx so “Life-Like”, not the perfect Christian but trying. I can relate to that. Looking forward to “Heading Home”, thanks John for sharing your work with us.

  11. Pingback: Mystery Genre | Word Sharpeners

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