I open this new year, 2020, with John A. Vanek: a mystery/thriller writer with a sleuthing priest series about Father Jake Austin's life. Listen to him discuss how having a great creative writing teacher in college while going to med school inspired him to write & publish poetry & now a mystery series.
BIO: John A. Vanek graduated from Case Western Reserve University, where his passion for creative writing took root. He received his M.D. from the University of Rochester and practiced medicine for a quarter century, but his interest in writing never waned. Medicine was his life, but mysteries became his drug of choice.
He began honing his craft in creative writing workshops and college courses and was gratified when his early work won contests and was published widely. He now lives happily as an ink-stained-wretch in Florida with Geni, his wife, fellow writer, and best friend. He teaches a poetry workshop for seniors at a local college, and enjoys swimming, hiking, sunshine, good friends, and red wine. John is an active member of the International Thriller Writers.DEROS (book 1): Father Jake Austin returns home in search of inner peace after a brutal war, but a series of murders force him to confront his own violent past, regrets over lost love, and his doubts about the priesthood. Miracles (book 2): Father Jake Austin’s life is hurled into the vortex of three storms: A dying sister, a bleeding Virgin Mary statue, and a comatose infant in the intensive care unit. What will be left standing after these tempests have passed?
Absolution (book 3): Father Jake Austin must decide whether to turn his back on his biological father, the man who deserted him as a child, or to turn the other cheek and save him from a vengeful drug lord, risking his own life and the lives of those he loves.
Genesis of the Father Jake Austin Mystery Series: Father Jake Austin is a fictional character, but aspects of his personality and struggles are modeled after two Catholic priests who became my close friends and confidants. When I first met them, I expected the usual stereotypes, but when their Roman collars came off, I found that they were simply human.
One priest confessed his attraction to a young nun. Call his love unrequited; he called it hell. I watched this righteous man struggle with his commitment to his vows. This became the inspiration for Jake and Emily’s relationship in my novels.
Seeing these men wrestle with the same emotions that we all share shattered my preconceived notions. I wanted to portray Father Jake as a spiritual man, but as realistically as possible.
Coffeetown Press in Seattle, WA published DEROS and Miracles in paperback & eBook formats in 2018 & 2019 respectively. Book 3, Absolution, will be released March 15, 2020.*** Thorndike Press (an imprint of Gale/Cengage, which merged with McGraw Hill in 2019) recently purchased the large-print rights to DEROS and Miracles as part of their Clean Reads selections for libraries and schools. Clean Reads is billed as: "General fiction, mystery and romance titles that do not contain graphic violence, explicit sexuality or strong profanity. Full of encouragement, warmth and humor that you’d be comfortable giving to your grandmother!" Note: get your local library to stock John Vanek's large-print editions! ***
In praise of the Father Jake Austin Series:
“Interesting, nuanced characters in a finely wrought setting.” -- Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Wilde Lake.
"John Vanek guides the reader through the seldom-seen worlds of both medicine and the priesthood. His years as a physician at a Catholic hospital make him the perfect creator of this literary mystery, but few physicians can manage prose as well as Vanek does." -- Sterling Watson, Professor of Creative Writing at Eckerd College, and author of Suitcase City.
“A riveting tale of mystery and murder. Superb storytelling with a deft touch by this talented author who keeps ratcheting up the tension until the explosive ending. A page-turner, but the characters linger in your memory. File DEROS under 'good books to read.' ” -- Ann O'Farrell, author of the Norah's Children Trilogy.
“John Vanek writes from a place of unusual experience and expertise while bringing the reader into worlds of mystery, medicine, and religion — and the human connections that bridge them all. Father Jake Austin is an intriguing and emotionally compelling character.” - Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of How It Happened
“John A. Vanek deftly takes readers up to the high wire of difficult moral choices. Father Jake Austin’s search for a balance between science and faith will make you a fan of the series, the mystery genre, and physician-writer John Vanek.” - Martin Kohn, PhD, director, Program in Medical Humanities, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Buy John A. Vanek's books!
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