Jack-of-all-Trades...in the Master’s Service – Meet Glenn Hascall
By Lynda Schab
FWM: Glenn Hascall…loving husband and father, published author, General Director of Christian Media, Inc., co-host of various radio programs, editor of Cross-Times Christian Newspaper. Let me start by asking this: How in the world do you do it all?
GLENN: I suppose it's like eating an elephant – one bite at a time. Actually I think a lot of it stems from the fact that I come from a long line of 'jack-of-all-trade' types. My grandpa, Glenn Hascall, was a policeman, a stagecoach driver, a rancher and a railroad engineer among his many other skills (I still have his 1930's gold railroad watch).
God has really shown me that the art of 'Holy Subtraction' has to come into play, too. There are times that I have to say, "no," to things I really like to do. It's sort of an odd concept perhaps, but sometimes I have to say 'no' to some good things just to keep things balanced. I try to maintain a 40-45 hour workweek, which allows me time with family.
Well, then there's that odd wiring that God gave me. Sometimes I have 3-4 projects going at once, and usually they all get done. Long story short – it's a God-thing. It's hard to explain something that can't be explained. Uh, yeah, good question. (laughs)
FWM: In your FaithWriter's bio, you say you began writing professionally in 1995. Did you just wake up one day and decide to become a writer, or has writing always been a part of your life?
GLENN: 1995 was the year I started writing for Cross-Times. I think it was the creative broadcast commercials that I had written for 12 years previous that helped pave the way for writing longer form pieces. Frankly, other than work related writing, I did very little outside writing until 1995, although I was a voracious reader. Sometimes I would devour as many as 200 books in a year's time. It's considerably less these days.
FWM: As mentioned in the opening question, you've had a couple of books published. Tell us a little about your latest novella, "Coming To Terms."
GLENN: The story was actually a gift to my dad. He grew up in a tiny ranching community that features a Christian camp and a filling station – lots of legend and lore, but little written about the place. I chose his place of birth and some of his personal experiences to provide the setting and some of the character development of the story. It's a modern day mystery with roots 50 years deep. It's a classic story of redemption and grace. I even provided a few subtle family moments in the story and made sure that I included the name of my dad and his brothers in the story (although none are main characters).
Aside from the family connections, this is not a story about my family and it is not a history of a town, it is the story of one man's lifelong pursuit of personal redemption. It follows my own personal philosophy of providing family fiction – which means that the story can be read or heard by all members of the family without embarrassment or the need to censor anything.
FWM: Is it true that you self-published "Coming to Terms?" If so, was it a positive experience and would you recommend self-publishing to other aspiring novelists? And what advice can you give about publishing as a whole?
GLENN: Actually I published "Coming to Terms" and "Fellowship of the Forgotten" through Publish America – although I have learned that I am not very good at promoting my own work. My first book, "The Trail Stopped Here" was published by a regional publisher and they did a great job of promoting the book. In terms of sales, that first book has eclipsed the other two combined.
As far as what I would recommend to other writers, I think it would depend on the circumstance. There are several reputable Print on Demand (POD) publishers as well as self-publishing opportunities. I have enjoyed my experience with Publish America, but you have to be willing to self-market if you are accepted for publishing there.
Sometimes the small niche publishers have a greater ability to market your work, especially if it is aligned with their niche. My latest novel has both an emphasis with trains and World War II. I have found a publisher that works with both genres specifically. I am hopeful that this might be a good fit.
FWM: On another note, I have to say that working in Christian radio sounds exciting to me. What an awesome thing to impact peoples' lives and be able to encourage and inform in such a tangible, powerful way through Christian programming. What does a typical day look like for Glenn Hascall? And what aspects of your work do you enjoy the most?
GLENN: Working in Christian radio is exciting.
Typical Day? Hmmm.
I get to work, check emails and send out daily ministry emails to thousands of subscribers. Then I prepare for a midday radio show called "Coffee Break". I do lots of administrative things in the afternoon. Our ministry is also working with a new on-line radio station and I am providing a significant amount of voice work for this new ministry.
I suppose some people might think radio announcer types just sit around and listen to their favorite music. After doing this for 22 years I can promise you that rarely ever happens – there's just too much to get done.
FWM: Each month you give FaithWriters members the opportunity to submit articles, stories or poetry for possible publication in Cross-Times Christian newspaper. What can you tell us about Cross-Times and what is your involvement?
GLENN: Cross-Times just turned ten years old. My involvement goes back to the very beginning – the fall of 1995. My boss, at the time, invited me into his office and expressed frustration with local news – it seemed as if only bad news was ever printed. We lamented the fact for a bit and then he jokingly said, "What if we were to make a publication that spread good news?"
We laughed and I went back to work only to return a few minutes later to say, "Yeah, why don't we?"
Within three months the first issue of Cross-Times was delivered. My former boss moved on six years ago and I assumed the editor's role for the publication that I was honored to co-found.
Interestingly, I had no idea how to do anything with print when I started, so it was a tremendous learning curve for a wacky radio host to shift to writer, editor, director of layout and design, as well as sometimes delivery guy.
We have gone from a regional publication to one that has gone to many locations around the world. It seems that God has provided the opportunity for many to hear about the love of Jesus through the pages of Cross-Times.
I won't go into a lot of detail, but one instance of God's work through Cross-Times resulted in the salvation of 6,000 Nigerians between 2002 and 2003.
FWM: Wow! That is incredible! It's obvious that God is using you and the magazine to reach people across the globe. Another way your words impact people is through the articles and stories you submit to FaithWriters. Your family is often the subject matter for your articles, and humor is often your choice of style. What is life like for you as a husband and dad? Does laughter play an important part in your home?
GLENN: I like to think of myself as a very involved dad. I ferry my children to school and help them with their homework. They go on photo outings with me on the weekend and we often go to the lake to feed various water fowl. My son, Ryan, loves to have me tell him stories (right now he's pretty stuck on a series of homegrown stories about Shorty the Shynosaur). Alyssa pretends not to care about the bedtime stories, but sometimes she will ask me to come back to her room and, "Maybe tell one of the stories Ryan likes best, just to see why he likes them." She's always grinning when I leave.
My wife, Nancy, must have been 'Shelly the Shynosaur' when we first married. She was very quiet and reserved. Some of my nuttiness has rubbed off and today she is just as loony as I am – sometimes more so. Laughter is a big part of family life. Sometimes I have to remind my son to breathe.
Oh, and my wife does have absolute veto power on any article I write that includes her – she has deep six'ed a few.
FWM: So, Glenn, what can we look for from you in the near future? Any other books in the works?
GLENN: Well, since I already mentioned a bit about the next book I guess I should mention some of the other work I'm up to. In the past year God has given great opportunities for freelance work and I just had a poem published in a book (Beyond Katrina) designed to provide relief to Katrina survivors. I just finished work on a tenth textbook of stories for elementary school students. Bethany House Publishers will be using a story called Scared Girl Talking (once a FW Challenge article) in an upcoming book called "Embrace of a Father" due in April of 2006.
I do have three children's stories being reviewed by a publisher right now. I seem to be able to write for textbooks, we'll see if that can translate to picture books.
In all, God has allowed me to participate in some form or fashion in more than twenty books this year.
It's nice to have a book with my name on it, but I don't mind the contributor's role. There's something satisfying in being able to write without all the extra issues that can come with needing to promote your own book.
In a perfect world I could do both. Sadly I'm not perfect.
Strangely I didn't set out to be an author, but the ranch stock I came from sort of took over. It seems that my approach to most things is, "Go ahead and try it. If you like it, keep doing it, then keep doing it until others lovingly tell you that you're no good at it. Then you keep working at it until you either get better of you get tired of beating a dead horse."
The key thing that I see happening is that as I write with an open hand and allow the work to be used wherever God directs – God is honoring that heart-set.
So, most nights when the kids are fast asleep, you may just find me in the corner typing some little story, poem or anecdote, and if you need a story I'd be happy to share.
FWM: Thank you so much, Glenn, for giving us a peek into your life. I must say, I'm impressed with everything you do, and more importantly, the way you allow God to work through you and give Him the glory for your accomplishments. You are truly a humble, amazing man and I'm sure we'll be seeing great things from you in the future.
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