Interview with M. Troy McDaniel

What are your five favorite books, and why?
1.The Holy Bible. The Bible is God's gift to mankind, and it reveals the character of God, what He did to create us, what He did to redeem us and what He requires from us. I read it daily.
2. Knowing God by J. I. Packer. Perhaps the best Christian book ever written.
3. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Regarded as the first novel, it is the original story of a sailor shipwrecked on an island, how he survived, how he was converted, how he was rescued, and how he got back home.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. On of the greatest novels of all time, it is the story of a little girl struggling to understand racism in Alabama in the 30s.
5. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote. The best true crime story ever written. Capote called it his non-fiction novel. It is the story of two paroled prisoners who murdered a family of four in rural western Kansas.
Who are your favorite authors?
Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe, Louis L'Amour who wrote over a hundred books, mostly westerns, and Rick Bragg, a writer from Alabama.
What are you working on next?
I hope to finish a novel by the end of this year. It is based on the true story of a girl who disappeared from her home in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Jesus Christ, who saved me from the wrath to come, my wife Colleen, my three children, and the conviction that I am alive to please God.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have been making knives since 1999, I teach Sunday School, write, study, spend time with Colleen, and since March of 2016, Colleen and I babysit our grandson, John-Luke.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was in the eighth grade, and my English teacher, Mrs. Gates, gave us an assignment to write a short non-fiction story. When I got home, I talked to my Dad about the assignment. He told me about some of the funny things he and his friend, Merle, did when they were growing up in the 50s. I wrote a story about it and turned it in. The next day, Mrs. Gates, who was an imposing figure who once referred to herself as a Sherman tank, told the class that someone wrote a fantastic story. We had half a dozen geniuses in our class, and I was striving to be average, but she called out my name. I was more surprised than anyone. She asked me to come forward and read the story to the class. When I finished, she said, "Promise me that you will never stop writing."
How do you approach cover design?
For my cover, I wanted to use the actual booking pictures of the two men who committed the crimes in my book, and a photo of the victim's bloody hand wearing Meagan McFarlin's class ring. I tried several apps but wasn't happy with the results. I was considering hiring someone to make my cover when I came across an app called Canva. With Canva, I was able to put together 3 - 4 cover designs that I liked, and nothing else came close to the ease, color variation, and variety that Canva provided. All the photographs are public domain, except one of a truck stop that I took. Thanks to Canva, I was able to make my own cover at no cost.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, after moving there in 1968 from Kansas City, Missouri. Just before my senior year in high school, my family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana. Memphis was a wonderful place to grow up. I had good parents who loved me, an older brother that kept me humble, lots of wonderful friends, great teachers, and I got a good education at school and church. I consider my wonderful childhood to be gift of God, and it has given me hope and optimism for the future.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
To say that I have been successful would be misleading. I haven't sold many books, but for me, just publishing a book is a success. I am over 50, completely unknown, and publishing my book would have been impossible without Smashwords. I researched eBook publishers and chose Smashwords because number one, I could afford it (it cost me nothing), and number two, by following their guidelines I could do it myself. I had no idea what formatting meant, but I read Mark Coker's step by step book and followed his instructions. Smashwords is an incredible company, and I appreciate the opportunity they have given me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The joy of writing is the challenge of relating thoughts and feelings in a way that touches and informs another person. Most of what I have learned in my life has come from books, and from books, I have been able to experience things that I could not have otherwise experienced. From Robinson Crusoe, I learned what it is like to be marooned on an island. From the Bible, I have learned why God created me, how I should live, and what Jesus Christ has done to restore humanity to God. Without books, this world would be a very uninformed place.
What do your fans mean to you?
To think that people download my book because they are interested in what I have to say is an incredible encouragement. I feel I have a responsibility to provide them with something worthwhile, and my aim with The Murder of Meagan McFarlin has been to take them into a world they have never experienced and give them a greater understanding of law enforcement. That world shows the gravity of being exposed to a dead and mutilated woman, but it also reveals the self-control of detectives who must sit down across from a killer and put themselves in their shoes. I am grateful to all those who have read my book, and above all else hope to help them see that God is still involved in the affairs of mankind and is waiting for us to call out to Him to be rescued.
Published 2016-10-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Murder of Meagan McFarlin
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 24,640. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » True Crime » Murder, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Life / Inspirational
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
When the detective from Louisiana called Denise McFarlin, she knew it wasn't good. She had not heard from her daughter Meagan in a month. The body of a white female had been found beside Highway 80 in Greenwood, Louisiana. She had been beaten and stabbed to death. The woman matched Meagan's description, and worse, she was wearing Meagan's high school class ring, but just one day later...