Monday, October 8, 2012

A Higher Court by John Betcher

An attorney is called to jury duty. This trial will be one of  unusual and supernatural circumstances. The existence of God is on trial. The Defense and the Prosecution present their cases and each juror must decide whether or not God exist.

My name is William Kensey. I have a wife and two great kids. Until very recently, I was a well-respected and financially successful trial attorney. I was also a man who was comfortable with his religion. I preferred it served at arm's length from the pulpit on Sunday morning. And would rather not discuss it the rest of the week. The circumstances that led me to write A HIGHER COURT changed all that. The entire experience was both bizarre and unavoidable. You see, I was summoned to serve as a juror in an improbable trial -- a trial to determine whether God exists. I know. You think that sounds ludicrous. I did, too . . . until the trial began. Witnesses buried me under mountains of scientific evidence. My own eyes forced me to confront the reality of extreme human suffering. God seemed less and less relevant -- even absent -- as the trial progressed. At the close of the trial, I had to render my verdict -- "God" or "No God." Affirm a new and deeper faith in a Creator, or confess the triumph of science. A HIGHER COURT is the story of how I discovered my ultimate truth. If your mind is open, you can join me in this journey of self-discovery. Come along. You won't be sorry.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. Betcher makes you feel as if you are in the court room. This read is a definite page turner.

I had the pleasure of interviewing this gifted author.

How long have you been writing?

As a lawyer for the past twenty-five years, daily writing was a part of my job. My first foray into publication was in 2007, when I authored a feature article for COACHING VOLLEYBALL: The Journal of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. I was coaching girls high school and club volleyball at the time. COACHING VOLLEYBALL published two more of my feature articles culminating with a cover story in the April/May, 2009 Issue. Here's a link to the online version of that issue:

A small book on coaching philosophy, entitled The Little Black Book of Volleyball Coaching, soon followed.

By this time, my law practice was winding down and our daughters had departed for college. Since I was no longer coaching their sports teams, attending their concerts, academic activities and awards banquets, I had extra time on my hands. That's when I began writing novels.
How did you come up with the idea for A Higher Court?

While I was writing my first two suspense/thrillers, I had this idea floating around in my head. It would be a book that offered a counterpoint to recent publications by "popular atheists," such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. But rather than attempting a scholarly dissertation which, I believed, would be unappealing reading for a mass audience, I decided to research the major arguments for and against God's existence myself, then present the core of those arguments in a format real people could identify with.

Eventually, that "floating" idea gained urgency. I began to feel that God wanted me to write this book. In fact, although it would have made much greater worldly sense to write Book Three in the suspense series, I felt so "called" to write A HIGHER COURT, that I couldn't focus on another thriller until I had God's project out of the way.

Unlike my experience with writing the other novels, I actually started writing A HIGHER COURT with no idea how I would end it. I had decided that the book should make use of my legal expertise. So a trial of some sort seemed appropriate.

Once the research into the various "God arguments" was done, I just started writing.   

What other books have you written?

I've already mentioned my volleyball coaching book. In addition to that one and A HIGHER COURT, I've now written and self-published four suspense/thrillers. I refer to them as the Becker Suspense/Thriller Series, after the name of the main character. Their titles, in chronological order, are: THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT and THE EXILED ELEMENT.  They're not Christian literature, per se; but they are quite "clean" books, considering the genre. There is a minimum of violence, cursing and vulgarities. And there is no explicit sex at all.

What do you do when you aren't writing?

When I'm not either writing or researching a book, I spend a good deal of time online, building my author platform on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I also attend church where I play guitar and sing as a member of our worship team. And my wife, Lynn, and I like to spend time together.

Are all of your books self-published?

Yes. When I began my publishing journey in 2009, traditional publishing was the only respected route for publication. So I sent a lot of query letters to literary agents hoping to find a representative to pitch my work to mainstream publishers. Despite a couple hundred letters (emails, actually), I had no luck finding an agent. Author friends warned me against self-publishing, saying doing so would ruin my reputation. But times were changing, even then, and I found self-publishing to be a viable option for me and my books.
What do you like about being self-published and what do you dislike about being self-published?

There are lots of things I like about self-publishing. I have complete creative control over the books and their content. I can bring new books to market much more quickly than a traditional publisher could dream of. And I can reap the financial rewards of my work.

Of course, traditional publishing has its benefits, too. Agents and big name publishers have access to marketing and distribution options I could only dream of. They've got great editors and artistic designers on staff, and have the financial professional ability to produce books of the highest quality.

The biggest drawback to self-publishing, for me, is also its greatest strength -- in every aspect of publication, the buck stops with me. Sometimes I make rookie mistakes. But then I learn from them and move on.

Do you have any books planned for future release?

At present, I've been researching what I hope will become Becker Book Five. The plot is not yet fully formed. My consultants so far have included a NASA scientist/engineer and a world class geneticist. I have confidence that, if this is a book I am supposed to write, God will show me the way to an appropriate plot.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The most valuable quality for a writer is patience.

Where can readers find you book(s)?

All my books are available at in Kindle and print editions. Readers can also order them from any book store. And my local sales outlet in my hometown is the Red Wing Arts Association, where enthusiast can purchase signed editions. Of course, I entertain special requests for signed books and quantity discounts via email, which can be found at my website:

Thanks very much interviewing me today, Kim. I had a blast.