"I love to create stories, almost as much as I love to preach." –Al Lacy.
That word "almost" may sound a little odd, coming from a man who’s written over 70 novels, many of them blockbuster bestsellers! But for Al Lacy, and his wife and co-author Joanna, preaching the gospel has always taken first priority.
In fact, Al and Joanna only took up writing as a means of financing their first passion: evangelism. As a traveling pastor, Al had been visiting around the country, preaching the good news to churches, whether they could afford to pay him or not. In doing so, he’d run into a bit of an impasse. "I felt that I should do that," he explained in an interview with Multnomah publishing, "But I wasn’t putting anything away for retirement. I thought, ‘What else can I do and travel at the same time?’ Then I was inspired by my wife. She said, ‘Well, you’ve read Westerns and historical books all your life. You’ve talked about writing. Why don’t you try writing one?’ So I sat down and wrote a Western novel called Dead Man’s Noose."
For over 21 years, Lacy wrote for various secular publishers, using his gifts as a storyteller to fund his efforts as a minister. But eventually he ran into another problem. The market was growing more competitive, and Al’s editor felt that, in order to be successful, Al needed to include more compromising material in his novels. Al refused. Finally, the editor told him straight out: "If you don’t write sex scenes, you’re through."
Al said, "Okay, then. I’m through."
But nothing could have been further from the truth! A friend introduced Al to the editors at Multnomah, a Christian publisher who’d respect his convictions. Al fit right in, and under this new direction, his career flourished. He launched the action-packed Battles of Destiny Civil War series, as well as the popular Western saga Journeys of the Stranger.
Soon Joanna, who’d been serving as her husband’s writing advisor all along, decided to join him as a full-fledged author. Combining their talents, Al and Joanna came out with the Mail Order Bride series. Next, they captivated fiction lovers with the Hannah of Fort Bridger books—a series of romantic Western novels that have kept CBD’s fiction-lovers on the edge of their seats, impatient for the latest installment. Recent projects by the Lacys have been The Orphan Train Trilogy, and novels in the Shadow of Liberty, and Mail Order Bride series.
In a recent letter to CBD’s customers, the Lacys summed up their mission—explaining how their call to preach the gospel has gradually become one and the same with their desire to write quality fiction:
"We try to tell stories that will grip the heart, wring out some tears, stir emotions of joy and anger . . . Throughout our stories, we include the gospel and run threads of Bible truths that will apply to the lives of our readers, even in contemporary times."
Westerners at heart, the Lacys divide their time between Montana and Florida.