The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh Blog Tour Excerpt and Review and Interview

Posted 30 November, 2009 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Thank you, Mr.Walsh, for taking the time to answer a few interview questions for us here at Book Reviews by Buuklvr81!!!
BL: What is your favorite type of genre to read?
DW:Surprisingly, what I love to write are not the books I usually read (inspirational historical fiction). I will occasionally read an inspirational tale. Just finished Richard Paul Evan’s new book. Mostly though, I weave back and forth between historical novels and non-fiction history books (but here, they’ve got to be really compelling). I also love to read suspense thriller novels, like the series written by Douglass Preston and Lincoln Child. I think books like these indirectly help my writing also, because they provoke me to write in a way that make the pages turn.

BL:Do you have a favorite Christmas story or book that has particularly touched your heart?
DW:Every year we have to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” (in recent years, we watch the one with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge). It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen these stories, they still get me. There’s something so powerful in that moment when the lights come on and the main characters’ see themselves honestly and their hearts melt. I’ve been there. I’ve tasted that joy. I love to be reminded of the things that are most important in life and like anything that reminds me. This is what I aimed for while writing The Unfinished Gift.
BL:Do you have an idea for next year’s Christmas book yet?
DW:Actually, I do. I’m writing it now. But it may get bumped a year, we’ll see. Since writing The Unfinished Gift, I’ve written the sequel, called The Homecoming (due out in June). I’ve just finished a 3rd book, called The Deepest Waters. It’s not a Christmas book and begins a new storyline, set in 1857. It’s inspired by a true story about a newly-married couple who gets separated by a shipwreck on their honeymoon voyage. My publisher may want that to come out next. The timeline of novels 3 and 4 isn’t firmed up yet.

BL:Do you have a special Christmas memory that stands out as extra-special?
DW:I do, it flashed through my mind the moment I read your question. I was in 5th grade in a little suburb south of Philadelphia, not unlike the setting of The Unfinished Gift. It was my last Christmas up north. The next year my Dad moved us to Florida. It was Christmas Eve, we were setting up our tree (that was our tradition). One of my little sisters shouted, “It’s snowing.” We all ran to see. Sure enough, it was coming down hard, harder than I’ve ever seen. Philadelphia will get snow in the winter, but there’s no guarantee it will snow on Christmas Eve. I’m pretty sure that was my first white Christmas; I know for a fact it was my last. It snowed all night.
We woke up Christmas morning to the always-amazing sight of toys sparkling under the tree. But equally amazing was the sight outside. A full two feet of snow covered the ground, with drifts up to five feet or more. It was the most beautiful scene. But in 5th grade, scenery matters just so much. The real marvel came the next day when the snow plows went through, carving out a single lane for cars. The best part was where they dumped the snow…in two huge mounds directly across from each other. Two perfectly-formed snow forts. All the kids from one side of the street challenged the kids on the other to a snowball fight. An epic battle, that lasted all the way to New Year’s Day.

BL:Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition that you can share?
DW:Yes, it’s the night we set up the tree (not on Christmas Eve, usually in the first week of December). We play our favorite Christmas CD’s and drink egg nog (I have no self-control with egg nog). After the tree is completely decorated, we take out the videos of our kids at Christmastime and have the best time, remembering.

BL:When writing The Unfinished Gift,were any of the events or people based on real experiences or people in your life?
DW:Some, but it really is almost entirely fiction. Thankfully, my grandfather was nothing like Ian Collins. But he does look like him, a lot. My grandfather was a joy to visit. I couldn’t wait to see him and hated it when we had to leave. The setting of the book is in his neighborhood, that’s real. I modeled Patrick, the little boy, after my son Isaac when he was the same age. But pretty much everything else…I made up. But in some odd way, I feel like I know them well. They feel as real to me as family.

BL:Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers about your book, or are there any messages that you would like for them to take to heart when reading this novel??
DW:What do I hope readers learn from the book? I suppose it’s this: Forgive as we have been forgiven. This is one of the most powerful aspects of the gospel, but one we often fail to grasp. We are happy to receive God’s forgiveness but then find it very easy to withhold from those who’ve wronged us. The alternative to forgiving others is not complicated. We become bitter and start to pull away. As the book shows, we can stay on this path for years, growing harder, becoming more isolated and more unhappy. This is why Christ came at Christmas, to set in motion God’s redemptive plan, to reconcile us first to Himself, then to each other.

And for those of you who decide to buy The Unfinished Gift, I hope you thoroughly enjoy it. May I suggest you not read the ending in public? I’ve lost count of the readers who’ve emailed me saying it made them cry (but it’s a good cry). Actually, there are three spots that get me, no matter how many times I read it.
DW:Thanks again Molly for making it possible for us to spend this time together.
BL: Many thanks to you, too, Mr. Walsh! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!!
About the book:
Can a gift from the past mend a broken heart?
Ian Collins is an old man without his son. Patrick Collins is a young boy without his father. On his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather’s house. And he wants the dusty wooden soldier in Grandfather’s attic–the one he is forbidden to touch.
Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is the engaging story of a family in need of forgiveness. With simple grace, it reminds us of the small things that affect powerful change in our hearts–a young boy’s prayers, a shoe box of love letters, and even a half-carved soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart.

About the Author:
Dan Walsh is the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, a church he helped found 23 years ago. He is the author of The Unfinished Gift and lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area.

The Unfinished Gift

My Review:
Powerful. Amazing. Fantastic. That is how I would describe this book. This book is packed full of lessons to be learned, but the most important lesson that I, myself, learned was this:the power of FORGIVENESS. God certainly used Dan Walsh’s hands to let this lesson flow. I felt Him through the whole book. From the first heartfelt prayer little Patrick said to the very last chapter, you can feel God. It WILL make you cry. It will also make you smile and laugh a bit. But more importantly it will make you stop and think about the true meaning of forgiveness and God’s path for your life.
I wouldn’t normally have purchased this book if I saw it in a store as I have never read or heard of Dan Walsh before( I generally buy books by authors I have already read). But, now that I have read The Unfinished Gift, I will keep on my bookshelf and buy the other books that Mr. Walsh mentioned in his above interview and add them to my collection, too! He is truly talented!
Five stars and two thumbs up! Well done, Mr. Walsh!
*Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group*
**This book was provided for review by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group**



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