As Vintage Week continues on The Y Life, we thought what could be more vintage than taking a trip down L’s memory lane… During high school, I had the pleasure of being taught by a wonderfully humble and wise religion teacher named Mr. Hutchinson, a.k.a. Mr. H to many of his students; to this day I still remember sitting in his classroom, and what a blessing it was to have been able to garner even just a dash of his wisdom!
I was thrilled to see he had taken time away from teaching to pursue another of his dreams, writing novels and some good old western inspired novels at that! So I took some time to catch up with Mr. H and wanted to share our conversation with each and every one of you.
We started off by catching up on old times and I just had to know, after teaching Bible at a private Christian school for over 16 years, what had inspired him to switch careers and pursue writing books?
“My wife and I both needed a little time away from the intense, interpersonal complexities that often come along with being a teacher. So as I looked hard at what I should do, I went through the same sort of process that younger people do when they’re ready to graduate from high school or college—taking personality inventories, assessments of abilities and interests, etc. The more I look into things, the more evident it became that writing would fit right in with who I am and where I’ve been in life.”
A high school teacher who had graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary, I knew Mr. H would use the inspiration of his faith as a seasoning to sprinkle upon his writing…
“It’s not so much a matter of setting out to overtly teach Christian beliefs and values through my novels. Rather, because I view the world essentially from a biblical Christian perspective, those are the convictions and ideals that bleed out into my stories. Successful writers note that readers generally resent being preached at when they pick up a novel for entertainment and relaxation. At the same time, if it’s couched in a good story, perhaps a reader will be drawn to the way a Christian author expresses the things one of his characters holds dear. Maybe they’ll see manifestations of good and evil in a new and thought-provoking light. Maybe the beauty of God’s created order will shine in an appealing way through the chaos and terror that come from selfishness and godlessness.”
Mr. H’s past experiences of cross-cultural global ministry from the rolling hills of Central America, into the stone paved roads of Europe were just a slice of what had helped mold his writings, he was also influenced by Christian commentators like Eric Metaxas and authors like C.S. Lewis, who respectively spoke and wrote of the need for the influence of Christianity into the realm of storytelling…
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did I teach History because I was fascinated with stories of the past, or did I become interested in stories of the past because I taught history? The same question applies to other cultures and teaching World Geography. One way or the other, tales of the past and of other cultures appeal to me a lot. My first novel, Sumotori, was largely inspired by my two visits to Japan. My second, Strong Convictions, materialized from a lifelong love of the American West. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll write a novel set in Spain or Costa Rica.”
And convictions he has, Mr. H has a blog called ‘260 Reasons for Believing‘ … Where he takes this online platform to inspire his readers on a more routine basis…
“Before I ever realized that there was a novel buzzing around in my head that needed to be hammered out on the old laptop, I wanted to use my interest in writing to directly address objections to the Christian faith. I had done some formal study in the area of Christian apologetics and found it extremely compelling. It became an area of focus in a lot of the public speaking I did, just before taking a break from teaching. So it just seemed natural to offer my thoughts on the things I had studied about the trustworthiness of the Christian message in written form on the worldwide web.”
Now an award-winning author who pens tales inspired by his love of history and world travels, Mr. H perfectly blends the crisp style of modern thrillers, with the classic conventions of old’ Westerns, and through this talent he has been able to create stories that capture the imaginations of readers… But we just had to know if there had been something in his life, that pulled him towards writing Westerns?
“I grew up in a time when kids often played “cowboys and Indians” (without fear of the political correctness “police”). Some of the most popular shows on TV were Westerns. So my imagination has toyed with the Old West for quite a long time. The defining moment, though, came when I was working on a second novel set in East Asia. I was slogging away, trying to pen a story set in Korea that would appeal to American readers, and it seemed to me, that it just wasn’t working. So I decided to set the Asian novel aside and simply write for the sheer fun of it. Just messing around, I started a dystopian novel, another thriller, and a Western, and the Western was, by far, the most fun to work on. Before I knew it, I had a full-blown story underway—Strong Convictions.”
I had some closing thoughts with Mr. H… I wondered what would be next on the docket for him, but also pondered upon which of his writings had been his favorite to pen and why?
“Writing Strong Convictions was an absolute blast. At the same time, just yesterday I told my wife how much fun I was having working on the next book in the series Strong Suspicions. I really like the characters in this series, not to mention the Old West setting. And the response from readers has been tremendous. I’m hoping Strong Suspicions will be out around New Years, though some aspects of the process are outside of my control, in terms of time. Long-range, I’ve also got a tongue-in-cheek crime novel called Vinny Got a Gun bouncing around in my brain.”
So Y’s if you are interested in reading ‘Strong Convictions‘ check them out via: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or you too can follow Mr. H on Facebook. Mr. H’s novels are currently available in paperback and Kindle formats, and the audio book will be out by around September 1!
Congratulations on all of your success Mr. H!
L & The Y Life