Well I did say I would be interviewing several authors and this year has got off to a very good start! Next up is Barton Jahn. Author of some very compelling Christian books about the last days. Very appropriate for this day and age and he really makes you think! And make the most of this interview because that will be it for a while. I will be returning to my Bible verses and thoughts and then maybe interview some more authors later in the year. This has been great fun though as I have met lots of lovely people. So here’s Bart just joining me now…………………………
Hi Bart – thanks for joining me today. I wanted to speak with you about your life as an author because I have read and enjoyed several of your books. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Cross in the End Times’. So, tell us about the first book you ever published.
B.J. My first book was one of four published through McGraw-Hill in their Professional Book Group. The title is Practical Cost-Saving Techniques for Housing Construction, and was the product of about 20 years of research and 13 years of practicing and improving my writing.
The target audience was builders, jobsite superintendents, tradespeople, and architects.
I took a one-day seminar in how to get published at UCLA, purchased some books, identified six publishers of construction books, and sent out six query letters with short samples of the book. I got back five cordial rejection letters wet-signed. The sixth response was from a McGraw-Hill acquisitions editor who said “quick, call me…this is just what I am looking for.”
My four books with McGraw-Hill were published 1995-98. The fourth book was translated into Chinese by the Architectural Society Press of China.
They were published under the name Bart Jahn.
Oh wow! That sounds great and a real inspiration for any aspiring authors out there. You just need to find the publisher who says ‘this is just what I am looking for’. So what are some of your writing quirks?
B J. My best time for writing is early morning for about 5-6 hours from 5 or 6 A.M. to noon. Sometimes I can write decent first drafts later in the evening between 8 to 10 P.M.
I usually need several drafts to reach a finished product, especially with Christian books. The technical writing for construction books comes easier and quicker as the task of articulating what I want to say is more narrowly focused and defined. The Christian books require more analytical thought and numerous drafts to get the final product I want.
Well in my opinion you have done a great job with the Christian books. I enjoyed them all because they are very thought provoking and particularly relevant for today with all the trouble there is in the world. I can’t say I agree with everything you say, but it really helps to focus the mind and search the Bible to find evidence that supports our views. I also like the way you are never dogmatic and always stress that what you are saying is your own opinion or view. So where do you want to be in your writing career five years from now?
B J. I would like to have completed the two current construction books I am working on, and also have completed a fifth Christian book that is in rough draft form.
I would like to pursue a graduate degree in science and engineering for the dual purpose of research for another construction book I have in mind, and another Christian book or books.
It would be fulfilling and challenging to have speaking engagements in both the building construction field and in Christianity as a result of my books.
I really hope – and will pray – this works out for you. What one piece of advice do you have for other writers?
B. J. I can only go by my own experience. I was not good in English composition in college and showed no signs of a person who would someday write books and be published. I am a self-taught writer with a foundation of being an avid reader and having spent untold hours writing and re-writing until my expression on paper was almost as free and easy as my speech.
So my advice to other authors is if you think you have something interesting, unique, and necessary to say to a particular audience, work hard at your writing until it becomes a workable craft that flows naturally from your thoughts on to the written page. Then be disciplined to go back and fine-tune and edit your work until it feels and sounds professional. When it feels polished and perfected, then join a writer’s group and critique other people’s work and have other author’s critique your work. Participation in a writer’s group is a great way to step up a level in writing quality and to perfect the ability to evaluate your own work by critiquing other people’s work.
What book projects are you working on right now?
B.J. I have two construction books that have several years of research invested that are each about 80 to 90 percent complete. I have another Christian book that is rough notes form.
My day-job in building construction informs my inspiration for the concepts and topics of my Christian books, which I believe is as it should be. Daily problems, issues, and challenges in the workplace and in the office flush out eternal truths in much the same way that the Apostle Paul’s evangelical mission to the first-century Greco-Roman world inspired the topics for his thirteen New Testament letters to the churches.
This is probably true for writers in every genre. My personal journey of faith following Jesus Christ informs the issues and topics I cover in my Christian books.
My Christian books are published under the name of Barton Jahn.
I have put the link to your author page on Amazon (UK) below which shows all your Christian books, so anyone who is interested can find them quickly. Thanks for joining me today and God bless you.