Find a Christian store

Interview with Adam Blumer


Adam Blumer won’t scare readers for no reason, but he will use fear to make a purposeful point. The author of two Christian suspense novels chats with us about the relationship between fear and suspense and why reluctant readers of the genre might want to give it a try.


You write “meaningful suspense.” What does that mean to you?

Christian fiction should say something meaningful about our faith to have eternal value. I’m convinced the gospel and other spiritual truths can be woven in without being overbearing or preachy. Authors can achieve this goal by depicting characters realistically and letting spiritual lessons naturally emerge from their development and struggles during the story. What’s preachy is inserting a message without integrating it into characters’ lives so the spiritual growth emerges organically.

What would you say to someone who was reluctant to read a suspense novel, even from a Christian author?

You may not think suspense is your cup of tea, but if you enjoy a fast-paced story with cliffhangers aplenty that will tempt you to keep turning pages, you really should try suspense, especially when written from a Christian worldview.

Are suspense and fear the same thing? Are suspense novels meant to scare readers? Or evoke some other response?

In my opinion, suspense doesn’t work without fear, so while the two aren’t precisely the same, suspense definitely depends on fear or at least concern or apprehension. The best suspense fiction I’ve read made me feel fearful for the protagonist.

Let’s say Sharon steps into a dark room, not knowing that a serial killer who preys on women is hiding behind the piano. Sharon isn’t afraid because she doesn’t know the killer is there, but the reader is fearful for Sharon because of what might happen to her.

Suspense works only when there are high stakes to the story; this means there is a major threat (usually of death) for the protagonist or another character. Without this fear of possible harm, suspense fiction falls flat. So suspense isn’t fear per se, but without fear, suspense doesn’t work.

Your latest book, The Tenth Plague, has a clear reference to the Exodus story from the Bible. Do you have a special interest in the story of Moses and the plagues?

One day I was reading the book of Revelation and came across 22:18–19. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (ESV).

My mind began playing the “what-if” game. Would God really bring a biblical plague on someone who tampered with His Word? I chatted with a few theologian friends, and the plot emerged from there. I had fun incorporating the plagues of Egypt into a suspenseful plot.

You’re also an editor. How does that affect your writing? Is it easy to switch between writing and editing?

Adam Blumer at his desk

Being a full-time editor actually works pretty well with being an author because I’m working with words every day, regardless of whether it’s my own project. Either way, I’m learning more about how language works due to my job, and this benefit overflows into my own writing. Switching hats between writing and editing, however, isn’t so easy sometimes. Because my job entails finding mistakes and improving writing, I’m unable to get a manuscript down quickly and overlook my own mistakes. I need to be pretty happy with a scene before I’m willing to move on.

Biggest writing pet peeve?

“Telling” instead of “showing.” I see this error all the time in manuscripts I edit. I also see the temptation to be lazy in my own writing. “Rachel was mad” isn’t the best way to show the reader how a character feels. How can the author show that Rachel was mad? “Rachel threw her head back and screamed, hands balled into fists.” Yes, that’s so much better.

What are you working on next, in your own writing?

I’ve completed a third novel, a departure in style from the first two, and I’m very excited about it. I ran Drone, a speculative thriller about mind control, through the ACFW Scribes critique group last fall, to favorable reviews. The story is close to my heart, because the inspiration came from my father, who passed away from brain cancer in 2011. I’m currently seeking a literary agent for this project, and one interested party has been in touch. Hopefully God will show me His clear direction soon so I can move forward.

If you could have coffee (or tea or some other beverage) with an author, dead or alive, whose work you admire, who would that be?

Frank Peretti. I’d ask him about how he writes his novels.

Any parting words?

A lot of people want to be Christian novelists and ask me for advice. Here’s what I like to say: If you believe God has called you to write, you may never be on the New York Times or CBA bestseller list. You need to be okay with that. You may never be rich or even make enough money to write fulltime. You need to be okay with that. You may never be a famous author or even be well known or considered “successful” as an author. You need to be okay with that, too.

Search your heart for why you want to write. If you knew your novels, stories, or articles would never be published, would you still write them? Are you writing for your own glory or because God has lit a fire in your soul that you can’t put out?

Keep in mind: Being an author is not for the faint of heart. At times, you will walk a lonely path littered by rejection letters, misunderstandings, criticisms, and self-doubts. Countless voices (including your own) will tell you that your writing isn’t good enough. Don’t listen to those voices.

Believe in the ability God has given you, seek to learn and grow (mostly out of failure), and do the best with the ability God has placed in your hands. No one can do more than that. Then pray, work hard, and leave the rest to God.


Lisa Bartelt is a child of the flatlands fulfilling her dream of living near mountains in Pennsylvania. She loves reading, writing, and listening to stories—true ones, made-up ones, and the ones in between—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. Wife, mom of two, writer, ordinary girl, Lisa blogs about books, faith, family, and the unexpected turns of life at

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.