Fisher of Men
Publisher: Tumblar House
Publication Date: June 24, 2010
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When people, and even great white sharks, suddenly become prey off Southern California, marine biologists Storm Hancock and Terry Ho battle through ruthless politicians, dangerous waters, and their personal quests for truth to track down a mysterious killer before it strikes again.
A lot of people disappear, and it is implied that a sea monster ate them, but there is nothing graphic.Profanity: None Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: None
NOTE: This guide may be incomplete.
1.) How do your incorporate Catholic elements into the story of Fisher of Men?
Being a convert to Catholicism, I’m well aware of the misunderstandings about Catholic Christianity that negatively influence our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters. I wrote Fisher of Men as an ecumenical Christian novel that portrayed the Catholic Faith in a favorable, Christian light without being pushy. For example: the name of Terry’s church in Hawaii and the dialog about St. Francis of Assisi.
2.) The main character, Terry Ho, is your namesake, albeit female. What prompted that decision?
I’ve always just really liked the name -Terry. I remembered a friend from years ago who had a Hawaiian wife, and they had named their daughter Kanani (pretty one). Then, from my early surfing days pouring over Surfer Magazine I remembered pictures of Derek Ho and Michael Ho surfing the North Shore, and presto! We have the real-cool name of Terry Kanani Ho!
3.) What inspired you to write this book?
It all began in 1975 while I was a commercial abalone diver. I experimented with writing down some of the day-to-day wild experiences of that job and sending them to my mother and sister. They loved what I wrote, so I wondered if I could put a story together that my non-believing friends at the local dive shop might read and thereby think about God, even if for only the time they were reading it.
4.) Are experiences in the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Saving the Marine, surfing, body surfing, free-diving Deadman’s Reef, deep diving in Palau, the Dall’s porpoises, the killer whale, spear-fishing for calico bass in the kelp, the abalone-diving, the winter-storm angel event – the list goes on and on. It all happened to me. The how-to-write-a-novel books said to write what you know, so that’s what I did.
5.) Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that science, reason, and faith in God are not mutually exclusive.
6.) What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The criticism came during the fifteen years it took me to write the story. In the beginning I didn’t know enough to know what I didn’t know. Over time I learned to accept criticism, although it was never easy to read a chapter to my best critic (my wife) and have her lovingly pick it apart.
It’s a real pleasure to read reviews that say the readers lost sleep, because they couldn’t stop reading, but the best compliment was from a reader who said the book made him think about his faith.
7.) What books/authors have influenced your writing?
I had a good mentor in James L. Nelson and his historical maritime novels. He critiqued some of my work, and I would pour through his Revolution at Sea Trilogy and try to pattern my points of view, rhythm of action, and overall appearance on what I saw in his books. And I owe great thanks to Francine Rivers who took the time to read Fisher of Men and gave me the encouragement to plow ahead when the writing got tough.
The man shivered, not because of the coolness of the ocean water bathing his bare skin, but because of a sudden, strong feeling that he was being watched.
That was odd, Simon Andrews thought, as he blew his snorkel clear and took his first look in months at the underwater world. Diving conditions were perfect, with no wind or current to speak of and water visibility of over fifty feet. Convincing himself that he was probably imagining things, Andrews kicked away from his boat, stopped after swimming only a few yards, and raised his head out of the water to take in the scene before him. His sloop, Time Out, hung slack on her anchor line against a backdrop of San Clemente Island’s chaparral-covered hills. Andrews lifted his new underwater camera up to his faceplate and snapped a shot.
Two days of sailing and motoring had brought Andrews to this magical place. He had spent the night at Catalina, rounded the west end of San Clemente Island by noon today, and finally stopped when he came within sight of the partially submerged destroyer wreck. From the Time Out’s bow he had clearly seen his anchor hit the bottom twenty-five feet below, and he had grabbed his fins, mask, and snorkel, and had tumbled over the side into the blue Pacific.
This was the life, Andrews told himself, taking in the underwater scene before him. Selling Porsches in Newport Beach was lucrative but stressful. A week by himself on the backside of San Clemente Island was just what the doctor ordered.
Andrews’ eyes darted in the direction of a fleeting movement on the bottom. Goose bumps scampered across his skin as again the feeling of being watched swept over him. He scanned the ocean bottom for a possible cause of the feeling. Ribbons of feather boa kelp, ten-feet long and lined with fringe, swayed like grass skirts in the gentle surge. Various fish, though fewer in number than what Andrews expected to see, swam in and out of the kelp’s protective curtain and seemed to be going about their normal fish business.
It was just as he suspected. He badly needed some time to unwind.
Andrews was ready for his first dive. He hyperventilated by taking ten long breaths. He held the tenth one, jackknifed his body, and sliced downward through the water, reaching the bottom with a few strong kicks of his swim fins.
That wasn’t bad, he thought, considering that he hadn’t been in the water for two months. He felt comfortable, and he figured he could stay down for at least half a minute before he had to surface for air. He knelt on the sandy bottom and began framing imaginary pictures with his new camera.
Another fleeting movement caught the corner of Andrews’ eye, but this time he mentally chronicled the movement’s location. Whatever it was, it was behind him and only a few feet distant. He placed a finger on the camera’s shutter release and eased his body around in hopes of not scaring away a good picture. He saw nothing but the swaying bushes of feather boa and the noticeable lack of fish. Puzzled, he continued to look through the camera’s large viewfinder, sensing that some photogenic, undersea creature was probably right in front of him but hiding in plain sight.
Too late, Andrews spotted the source of the movement. As the ocean floor opened up and engulfed him, his underwater scream was captured and carried upward in a swirling cloud of bubbles that broke silently on the surface.
Debris and sand that had been stirred up soon began to settle back to the bottom. A calico bass peeked out from its hiding place in the feather boa. A fresh afternoon breeze rippled the ocean surface, and the Time Out, secure at anchor, swung her stern another degree towards shore.
Whether fishing, spear fishing, free diving, scuba diving, body surfing, or board surfing, Terry Cross has been on or in the water most of his life. He worked two seasons on the Cat as a commercial abalone diver and helped put himself through nursing school teaching basic scuba as a NAUI/PADI instructor. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology. After attending his first Mass on a dare, he wound up leading the church choir where he met his wife of twenty-six years. He and Judy Ann still lead singing at Mass on Sundays, and on Saturdays Terry and his custom kneeboard are riding the waves. His hobbies are writing music and bird watching. Fisher of Men is Terry’s first novel. It drinks deeply from his real-life experiences and was written to share his thanksgiving for having lived them.
On the surface, the book is Jaws with Catholic elements interspersed in the background. But underneath, the book is so much deeper than that, with vivid scenery and animated characters to accompany the gripping plot. Fisher of Men is a book that you will want to dive into.