John R. Dougherty, Author Spotlight

In Holy Terror, Thumos, the greatest warrior of God’s angelic army, the fiercest of all heavenly soldiers, has had enough of what he perceives to be God’s deference. He decides to take matters into his own hands. But the path he starts down is a path that other angels have traversed before. And many of them have ended up in the camp of the Evil One, the most destructive force the universe has ever known. Thumos comes face to face with Satan himself, and he have even more decisions to make. Meanwhile, Detectives Jelani and Madigan face demons of their own, and they too, are going to be faced with tough decisions. Their families’ lives are on the line, as well as their own. They are in for the fight of their lives as they must come to terms with Holy Terror and what it means for mankind.

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author John R. Dougherty whose book Holy Terror thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love fantasy but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and John R. Dougherty will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful John R. Dougherty!

John has spent his professional career working in information technology by day and dabbling in a variety of other diversions by nights and weekends, including a few decades of serving in lay ministry. While serving in this capacity he preached hundreds of sermons, taught countless Bible study classes, and wrote dozens of inspirational articles.

He enjoys golf, guitars, grandchildren, and all things Kansas City – the Chiefs, the Royals, Sporting KC, KC Symphony, and KC Broadway, to name a few. He thinks (if not for his long-lost metabolism of youth) he could eat the famous Kansas City barbecue every day…maybe not for breakfast, but lunch and dinner for sure!

Now he is enjoying bringing to life his angelic hero, Thumos, and a host of other characters that he hopes you will find both entertaining as well as either inspiring or repulsive (after all, there are both good guys and bad guys in this story). This is the first book of a series, featuring detectives Lane Madigan and Ian Jelani, whose experience with Thumos will yield life changing results. And if you happen to be interested in such things, happy Bible Easter Egg hunting while you read, since many are planted throughout the book.

Now, how wonderful does John R. Dougherty sound?! John R. Dougherty is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy John R. Dougherty’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself

I am a first-time author.  While I have done a lot of writing over the years, that has all been short articles, expository in nature, so writing a fiction novel has been a very different…but very enjoyable…experience.  While I absolutely love to read good books, I have to admit that music (member of my church’s choir) & movies have been the big passion of mine for my whole life.  I don’t know that I can explain it, but my brain seems to be wired to particularly remember movie quotes, and I always like to say “there’s a movie quote or a song for every occasion”.  All of my kids grew up watching movies with me, and they have been conditioned to be the same way with those great movie quotes.  Of anyone out there, they can most identify with me, and are usually the first ones to pick up on my obscure (or sometimes very recognizable) movie quotes.  It makes for a lot of fun and laughs in our family!

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

My book Holy Terror is, in its essence, a classic good versus evil story.  It very much begins as a “whodunnit”, crime solving mystery, with police detectives in Miami, FL investigating some gruesome crime scenes.  But ultimately the story delves into the supernatural realm, eventually with significant crossover between the very corporeal world of these police detectives and the ethereal world of angels of heaven…and hell.  For students of the Bible, they will likely find the “Easter eggs” of Bible stories & scriptures scattered throughout the book, and for those who are not really students of the Bible, they will still enjoy the mystery & intrigue of the story, along with some pretty intense action/fight scenes.  I would say the real inspiration of my book was my longstanding interest in angels: who they are, what they do, etc.  But also, my book’s inspiration also stems from the frustration I often experience as I see and hear about the terrible things which people seem unfortunately capable of doing to each other.  I have frequently found myself asking that age-old question of “why does God allow bad things to happen?”  Hence a story about a vigilante angel, with power that no human could stand up to, began to evolve – an entity who could truly do something about the perpetration of violence.  Then finally, more inspiration came from realizing that despite those kinds of frustrations I feel, I need to come to grips with the fact that from my very limited, human perspective, I can’t possibly comprehend all there is to know – that ultimately revenge, violence, and hatred have no place.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

For aspiring writers, my #1 piece of advice is simply to start!  I’ve talked to many people who say things like “well, I’ve always wanted to write a book, I’ve got ideas, I’ve thought about doing that myself, etc.”  The bottom line, until you start the process of putting your ideas down on paper (literally “on paper”, or electronically, makes no difference), you aren’t going to get anywhere.  Once I just carved out the time to start doing that, I found that I needed to carry a notepad (or a cell phone, where you can make voice recordings, send yourself an email – a very common tactic of mine – or, type out notes in your favorite document app, etc.), you will discover that various things you experience, read, see, think about, something someone says to you – all that will fuel ideas for your book, and you need an easy way to help yourself remember those great ideas.  And eventually, I highly, highly, highly recommend hiring a writing coach – I would not have ever finished my book without doing so.  Melody Bussey was a God-send for me, and you can find her at

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

I suppose many things could be said to the “the important thing about a book”, but I would have to say I think that the most important thing about a book is that people see it as a “page-turner”, something they can’t put down because it captures their attention so intimately, that they are thinking “I just want to read a little bit more to see what happens next”.  If a book can capture a reader’s attention like that, and can inspire your reader in some way, your book is a success!

What is your writing process like?

To me, the writing process is like a series of short bursts of energy.  In today’s hustle-and-bustle world, where everyone has a million different things happening, and a million different things vying for their attention, the writing process is difficult to sit down and dedicate long periods of time to.  I found that working a little bit at a time worked the best for me.  It may mean that the finished product takes longer to get to, but there’s nothing wrong with that.  Putting down your writing frequently, moving on to other things, then coming back to it when you’re in the right mindset, worked well for me.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Most of all my research for my book took place as I writing, and as I got to certain points in the story where I needed to look up some real, factual data.  I did virtually no research before I began my book (other than my years of having studied the Bible, being intimately familiar with its content, from whence came the basis of many parts of my book), but I did a lot of research along the way.  If I was incorporating some real city into my story, I looked up street names, parts of town where certain types of events might frequently happen, etc.  And Google was my best friend – online research via the Internet is so easy.  But just be cautious, as the old saying goes “just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t make it true”.  For some aspects of research, you probably need more than 1 website / resource in order to verify accuracy.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

I am definitely not a set-schedule writer.  I can only write when I feel inspired.  How do I know when that is?  That’s hard to explain, as I found that I just had to be in the “right frame of mind” to write.  There were a few times when I thought I need to sit down and work on some writing, and those times didn’t work out.  If I tried to force myself to do it, the creative juices just weren’t flowing.  So I learned to wait on myself to “feel” ready to write.  Many times, I’d be in bed, ready to go to sleep for the night, and some idea would hit me – I would send myself a quick email with just a few words, even incomplete sentences, simply to serve as a memory-jog to help me remember the thoughts I was experiencing.  Then the next day, or maybe even a couple of days later, I would be ready to flesh those thoughts out.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I have read a lot at different points of my life, and then at other points of my life, I would read next to nothing.  Admittedly, over the last few years as I got more serious about trying to finish my novel, I found myself reading more.  It’s a great way to find inspiration – not copying or plagiarizing by any means 😉 – but simply reading what other people have written can jumpstart your own creativity.  It can give you ideas of how to portray your own book’s characters.  My favorite authors have changed over the years, and yet, there are a couple I consider to be stalwarts, that I basically read anything they wrote.  Lately, I have really gotten into Andy Weir’s books, who writes a lot of sci-fi novels.  Frank Peretti has written many intriguing Christian fiction novels, so he has been catching a lot of my attention lately.  Then, C.S. Lewis has been one of those long-time stalwarts, whom I have read and reread throughout my lifetime.  The type of book (fiction, nonfiction, business, religious, etc.) have a big impact on who I would consider a favorite author.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?  

I have big plans to write a new novel in 2023, which if all goes according to plan, would be a prequel to Holy Terror.  After needing several years to complete Holy Terror, thinking I could get another one done within 1 calendar year definitely seems daunting.  But having an excellent writing coach, as I mentioned earlier, has really upped by writing game, so I have a lot more confidence in my writing, and frankly more “know-how”, this time around.

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with John R. Dougherty! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Amazon US

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