Tony Ross is a man of many hats. By day, you’ll find him with his family, helping his wife in homeschooling his five children. From the early afternoon until evening, he’s a lead man, machinist and jack-of-all-trades at the local forge plant, involved in the manufacturing of all manner of steel parts. On the weekends you’ll find him at his local church, Calvary Apostolic in Clintonville, Wisconsin, often assisting in the ministry, leading the order of service, and preaching as needed.
Occasionally Tony has free time, and when he does… he kills people.
Not literally, of course. Tony is an author, writing what he defines as “thrillers for thinkers,” adrenaline-packed novels with touches of sci-fi and the supernatural and a healthy dose of deep spiritual meaning. He has two on the market at this time: Victor: The Reloaded Edition and Orion. Readers have been kind enough to compare his writing style to Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker and Stephen King. While Tony is reluctant to place himself in such prestigious company, he’ll readily acknowledge each of those authors as an influence on his work.
Tony understands that some readers may have concerns and writes his thrillers under a strict set of guidelines. You’ll never find profanity in his novels. “Adult situations” are only alluded to and never presented as acceptable conduct outside of marriage. While his novels do contain violence, Tony tries to avoid dwelling on the gory details for too long. He’d rather tell an exciting, entertaining story that points people toward God.
Tony’s first book, The Ugly Duckling’s Revenge (Morris Publishing, 2009), was a very limited release that was never sold online. This short book was Tony’s own testimony. Within its pages, he shared his own struggles with depression, anger and alcoholism and explained how God brought him from a place of utter hopelessness to a new and living hope. Written with honesty and humor, The Ugly Duckling’s Revenge speaks to those who feel that they don’t fit in and have no hope. Tony’s message to readers is simple: “If God can do it for me, He can do it for you.”
Tony’s love of fiction won out on his next project, Victor (WestBow Press, 2011). In a disturbing near-future in fictional Sunlight City where choice is the only law, the decisions of three people will influence the future of the world: an elite assassin slowly losing his mind, a brilliant scientist with world-changing information, and a streetwise, energetic detective with secrets of his own. All three are bound by the darkest of secrets. Only the truth will set them free. Victor is a story of non-stop action and adventure that addresses questions of tolerance, morality, identity and eternity.
While Tony was at first happy with Victor, he soon saw that he could’ve written a better novel. He also came to realize that WestBow Press wasn’t the best fit for him. Feeling that his readers deserved his very best, Tony decided to part ways with WestBow Press, pulled Victor off the market and went back to work. He soon found a new publisher in BookLocker that proved to be a better match and did an excellent job in bringing his vision to print.
Victor: The Reloaded Edition (BookLocker, 2012) soon hit the market as a vast improvement over the original novel. While the storyline remained the same, the new book featured a new cover, expanded scenes and additional details that added more vibrancy and life to the story. Tony’s efforts paid off: Victor: The Reloaded Edition went on to win a silver medal for Christian fiction in the Readers’ Favorite 2013 International Award Contest.
Tony’s latest release is Orion (BookLocker, 2013), a sequel to Victor. Hiding from his past in the north woods of Wisconsin, David shelters a frightened young woman running for her life. In doing so, he draws the attention of the killer pursuing her. Faced with a deadly ultimatum, trapped by the weather in an overcrowded hotel slowly boiling over with fear and mistrust, David must protect the woman, find and stop the killer… and confront the darkest secrets of his heart. Orion focuses on the struggle within a man’s heart between the world and God, between what we want and Who we need. It also deals with spiritual warfare, addiction, and the perception of love.
Tony is working on his third novel and has plans for a fourth in his current series. He’s also considering a series of short ebooks featuring characters from his novels. Any projects beyond that point are uncertain, but Tony trusts that God will lead him to the next story when it’s time.
Fun Facts about Tony
- Tony writes every novel with a distinct soundtrack in mind. “I hear the songs in my head as I’m writing, almost like I’m watching a movie. Orion was tough because silence is a big part of that book, but eventually I found music that fit.”
- Contrary to what he writes, Tony enjoys peaceful, quiet country living. “I’ve got four acres on a dead-end road: woods out back, deer, turkey and foxes for neighbors. I’ll have bonfires on the weekend under the stars, listening to frogs and cricket chirps. It’s nice.”
- Tony enjoys outdoor sports and even taught himself to pitch so his sons could practice baseball. “I’m a football guy, but if my son wants to do baseball, I’m going to help him. I’m not saying I’m any good, but I’ve got a fastball, a nice sinker that might be my best pitch, one or two others. It gets me some exercise if nothing else.”
- Tony has always been a fan of comic books and would like, at some point, to produce his own series of Christian graphic novels. “I’d probably tell the same kind of stories I’m telling now. A little more sci-fi, maybe. Showing visuals of the supernatural would be fun, too. My problem right now is time. It’s tough to do the writing, layout, art, etc., on my own. Down the road, maybe, I’ll find some people who can work with me and we’ll make it happen. Whatever God wants to do. It’s all up to Him.”
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