Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Dee Henderson Means to Me

By Kelly Bridgewater

This is the ninth month of me writing about the authors who have influenced me as a writer. If you missed any previous posts, please return to them and read up on how these certain authors influenced me. There were C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexandre Dumas, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Steven James, and Robin Jones Gunn.

This month, I will be discussing Dee Henderson.

From Amazon
During high school, I worked at the Meijer grocery store in Avon, Indiana, which was right around the corner. It was fine for a high school student who needed to earn money, but when I graduated high school, I wanted a better job with higher pay. I wanted a job with more value for what I could see myself doing for a long time. I attended IUPUI downtown Indianapolis and earned the job at Light and Life Christian Bookstore. Unfortunately, the bookstore doesn’t exist anymore, but I worked there for two years.  I still think of it as my favorite job. What was better than being surrounded by Christian employees who had a prayer time every morning before we opened and could talk about God to the customers?

Another perk I loved was being able to borrow books. As soon as a book came out, the employees were allowed to check them out and read them, then return them to the shelf for customers to buy. I read a lot of Christian fiction at the time. Still do, but that’s beside the point. When I quit and moved to Terre Haute, Indiana with my husband and six month old son, who is thirteen now, my husband joked that he would be broke from all the books I would now have to go buy. Luck for him, I visited the local library, so no loss of income there.

But as a child, I gravitated toward Nancy Drew books and the mystery collections of The Baby-sitter Club and Sweet Valley High and University. When I was reading books at the bookstore, I was introduced to Karen Kingsbury, a contemporary romance writer. I loved her books. Not her recent ones, but her first one we’re great. I was a true mystery and adventure girl, but the Christian genre didn’t have a lot of suspense authors at the time (it was only 2001), so it wasn’t that long ago. Yes, there was Frank Peretti, and I read all his books, but there really wasn’t much else.

Dee Henderson
From Dee Henderson's Amazon Author Page
One evening, when I had to work the evening shift with a high school student, he sat behind the register and read The Protector by Dee Henderson. I asked him what the book was about. He handed me the book and allowed me to read the back. I couldn’t believe it. A suspense book. For the next couple of days, I couldn’t wait to borrow those books, which I did and loved.

I read everything Dee Henderson had written up to that point. By reading Henderson, I started to find more suspense authors, Terri Blackstock, Kathy Herman, DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble. I still read and love this genre a lot.

Dee Henderson taught me the love of Christian suspense, mysteries, and thrillers. Without her, I would not have been introduced to the genre, and I thank her for that.

What author defines the genre you read and/or write in? How did you become introduced to the book?


  1. I agree. Dee Henderson help raise the bar and bring Christian fiction into a place of prominence in the book world.