Let’s Chat! Author Henry McLaughlin

Welcome, Everyone!

This week we chat with Henry McLaughlin, a writer who like me has a bit of gray on top. 🙂 He and I both won the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest (2011 and 2014 respectively). I’m eager to know Henry better.

So let’s gather ’round to learn more about this gentleman writer. Please comment below. You’ll help make this a richer conversation. And you just might win one of Henry’s books.

**Congratulations to Jenny Snow, winner of this week’s drawing and an ebook copy of Henry’s #2 novel in his Riverbend Saga series.

Henry McLaughlin Before Writing

Henry’s heritage is Irish.
Henry married a girl of Italian heritage.

Born and raised in Rhode Island in a strong Irish-Catholic heritage, I married at age twenty a beautiful Italian girl of nineteen. This may not seem like much to many people, but, at the time, ethnicity was a very strong component in the state. When it was announced I was getting married, one of my father’s Italian friends expressed amazement that he was letting me marry an Italian girl. My father, in a perfect Irish brogue, responded, “Well, you see now, Tony, it’s the curse of the Irish that we must help those who are less well off than ourselves.”


W
e raised five wonderful children—or more accurately, they raised us. (Tweet That!) The oldest is in heaven and the others are all grown and on their own.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in American History and a Master’s in Social Work. For thirty years, I worked in public child welfare. This was a rich experience I draw on to get into the emotions of my characters.

In 1999, my wife and I moved to Texas to be part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. I served with the ministry for nearly ten years until God opened the door for me to write full time.

Henry McLaughlin, the Writer

For many years I dabbled with writing and started my first book in the 1990s. A writer without a clue, I loved to read and figured that was all I needed in order to write. Undisciplined for several years, I wrote sporadically. Actually I rewrote the first chapter many times, never getting to chapter two. And was never satisfied with chapter one.

In the early 2000s, with my wife’s loving support and encouragement, I decided to get serious about this whole writing thing. I signed up for the courses offered through Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild.

The Guild sponsored the Operation First Novel contest in partnership with Tyndale. I entered my novel and received a polite letter congratulating me on completing a novel. And to keep trying.

I rewrote the manuscript and reentered the following year. I celebrated when I was named as a semi-finalist, but when the four finalists were announced, I was not listed. I figured being a semi-finalist would help when I pitched to agents.


On the first night of the Writing for the Soul Conference of 2010, Jerry Jenkins announced a mistake had been made. Five, not four, entries reached the finals. I was the missing finalist, the one who was left behind. Then he announced my book as the winner of the contest. The prize: a publishing contract with Tyndale House and $20,000.

Only God could arrange such a total surprise.

Tyndall released Journey to Riverbend  in February, 2011.

I indie published two more books, Riverbend Justice, and Riverbend Reunion  and re-released Journey to Riverbend as an indie publication in 2016. Together, the three novels form the Riverbend Sagas series.


A Bit of Wisdom from Henry McLaughlin

  • Writing is hard work. An author needs to develop patience, diligence, and a thick skin.
  • We can only control so much. We need to write the best stories we possibly can. And leave the rest to God.
  • We can’t control if or how we get published. There are too many aspects of the business beyond the author’s control.
  • Never stop learning the craft. Write every day if possible. Read magazines and books on the craft. Read novels to learn how others do it.
  • Attend conferences and workshops. Network. Build relationships with writing partners for critiquing and encouragement. Hook up with a mentor and give that person freedom to speak honestly and, at times, bluntly, into your life. I whined to my mentor once about not having enough time to write. Her response: “Get up earlier.”
  • Never stop learning and discovering yourself as a person and a writer. Work on your relationship with God as much as you do with your spouse and as you do on your writing. Be in a position to be guided by him on both your personal and writing journeys.

How to find Henry McLaughlin

My website: http://www.henrymclaughlin.org
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/henry.mclaughlin.79
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2riOpCQ

Lord …

You show Your faithfulness by calling Your servants from grand and lowly places. You called King David from a sheep pasture and Elisha from a plowed field, Esther from a lowly home and Samuel from the grandeur of the Temple. You call writers like Henry McLaughlin from their chosen professions to write stories that point others to You. We bless Your Name and ask You to bless the work of Henry’s hands and his heart that Your name will be lifted up in all it’s might and glory. ~ For Jesus’ sake

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22 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Henry McLaughlin

  1. Lucy Reynolds

    I enjoyed reading this. Congratulations to you both on your award. Blessings

     
     
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lucy! You’ve encouraged us!

       
       
    2. Henry McLaughlin

      Thank you, Lucy. I appreciate your stopping by.

       
       
  2. Marilyn R

    Linda and Henry, Congratulations on winning the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. Another new author introduced to this reader with a beautiful testimony about God’s leading and rewards when waiting upon him for that first publication. Riverbend Saga series will be a great series to read–the covers are beautiful and captured my attention. God bless you both as yo continue to write stories for His glory and honor.

     
     
    1. Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. Your comments encourage both Henry and me.

       
       
    2. Henry McLaughlin

      Thank you, Marilyn, for visiting and for your encouraging words.

       
       
  3. Wise words, Henry! Your story is inspiring.

     
     
    1. Glad you stopped by, Jenny. Henry’s a great author to follow.

       
       
    2. Henry McLaughlin

      Thanks, Jenny. You’re so sweet!

       
       
  4. Great interview, Linda and Henry. I, too, have more than a sprinkling of gray, and I have to fight the voices that tell me I’m too old for the writing life. Thank you for your example and encouraging story.

     
     
    1. Henry McLaughlin

      You’re most welcome, Kathleen. Those voices speak to me to. I have found a Scripture to stand on when they seem to be shouting. It’s Isiah 40:31 (NLT): But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
      They will soar high on wings like eagles.
      They will run and not grow weary.
      They will walk and not faint.
      Another word for faint is discouraged. Don’t let those voices sow discouragement in your heart. Trust in the Lord and you will soar.

       
       
    2. Hi, Kathleen. I love rehearing from authors who have been guests here before. Thank you for returning and joining our conversation. God’s blessings on you and yours! Linda

       
       
  5. […] Here is the link: http://lindabrooksdavis.com/henry-mclaughlin/lets-chat-author-henry-mclaughlin/ […]

     
     
    1. I’m honored to have you as my guest this week, Henry.

       
       
      1. Henry McLaughlin

        Thank you, Linda. It’s a blessing for me to part of your blog community.

         
         
  6. Being an older author myself, I identify with Henry. It’s nice to know God doesn’t let us sit around and get moldy in the last third of our lives. Henry’s wisdom on writing is up there with Solomon’s.

     
     
    1. Henry McLaughlin

      Thank you, Clarice. Especially for the comment about Solomon.
      My wife likes to tell people writing is my third career. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey God has started me on.

       
       
      1. God bless you on this journey, Henry.

         
         
        1. Henry McLaughlin

          Thank you, Linda. I receive that.

           
           
      2. I, like you, Henry, love having an opportunity for another career.

         
         
        1. Henry McLaughlin

          Amen, Linda.
          I like the challenge of a writing career especially when I know God’s hand is on it. And it’s never boring.

           
           
    2. I’m with you, Clarice! Thanks for chatting with us.

       
       

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