A speaker with twenty-five years tenure, Tom Blubaugh has written non-fiction for most of his adult life. Night of the Cossack, his first novel, is based on a story passed down through his family. The book is set in Russia in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Now retired, Tom is active in writing, photography, Bocci Ball, and horseshoes, and enjoys time with his wife Barbara, six children, and fourteen grandchildren.

You’ve been a speaker for a number of years. What sparked your writing journey?

Although I was a speaker, I was writing along the way. I had some articles published in company and denomination magazines. I self-published a book back in the mid 70’s. Nonfiction writing has always been a part of my life.

Who or what most influenced your knowledge of the writing craft?

My mother wrote a lot. She was always sending articles into magazines. She really got excited when she got a rejection letter from Loretta Young.

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

More than one, but the most significant one involved a ministry—Jericho Commission. I ended up being the president. I fought it for several months until I finally gave in. It was very successful.

How does your faith play into your writing?

Everything I do is an act of worship. I learned this from Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. Until then I thought only spiritual things could be worship. My favorite verses are Prov. 16:9 and 19:21.

Let’s talk about your debut novel, Night of the Cossack (Bound by Faith Publishers, April 2011). Please tell us a little about it.

This is my first work of fiction and it took five years to write it. I have found writing fiction is much more difficult than writing nonfiction. It’s a story about a sixteen-year-old who is kidnapped by a Cossack soldier in 1898 and is forced to be a Cossack himself.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

It’s about my maternal grandfather. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I had a little information about my maternal grandfather. I wanted to know him, so I started researching Russian history and found the information I had was fact. I began writing about him with the purpose of creating my own grandfather. Then I started writing for my six children and fourteen grandchildren. I let my wife read it, and she thought it might be publishable.

Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?

Life is all about choices. Some things are not our choice, but we still have choices to make in the midst of it. God directs us in everything, and His purpose always prevails. This is not a story about a Christian—the protagonist is a Jew. Nevertheless it is about faith.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Popcorn. It’s crunchy and it’s a whole grain. I pop it the old fashion way—in a big pan on the stove. If we go out to celebrate—BBQ ribs at Cheddar’s.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

I’ve always had a fantasy of playing the guitar and singing. I can’t do either. One day I was walking in the park with some five and six-year-olds from Sunday School. I started singing Victory in Jesus. This little blonde girl looked up at me and said, “Bad singing, Brother Tom, bad singing.” Out of the mouth of babes. : )

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

Praise song first—oldies rock & roll second.

In the story that is your life, are you the tall, dark stranger; the romantic lead; the mythical warrior; the mad scientist; or the child in an adult’s body?

The romantic lead.

Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

I have a cat named Blacky. He talks to me in an unknown cat language. I’m writing some children’s stories about him.

Thank you, Tom. It’s nice to have you at DivineDetour!

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For more information about Tom and Night of the Cossack, visit his website at www.tomyblu.com, where you can read the first chapter.

To purchase Night of the Cossack logon to: