AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life by John R. Wallis Recognized as a Finalist in International Book Awards Contest

AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life is recognized for its outstanding writing, design and overall market appeal out of thousands of books submitted into the Book Excellence Awards.

Dr. John Wallis is the multiple award-winning author of AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life, a gripping psychological crime thriller loosely based on his own life. The book received glowing reviews from BookLife and BookTrib and several international literary awards including a Book Excellence Award and B.R.A.G. Medallion Award. His short story, Helen’s Birthday, was published in Volume IV of the Short Story America Anthology and was a finalist in the Short Story America contest.

John has been a pastoral counselor for over forty years. A United Methodist minister, he graduated from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1975, where he began his association with Samaritan Counseling Centers. He has served as Clinical Director, Executive Director, and Director of Operations. His professional writing credits include an article entitled A Theology of Psychotherapy which was published in the Journal of Pastoral Care and being published in the journal, Lectionary Homiletics three times.

John lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

This one-on-one interview shares John’s background and experience writing AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life.

Tell us about AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life.

AFTER CLAIRE is an ambitious, suspense-filled novel that adds a psychological twist to the standard crime genre.

The book has four main characters: Paul, a psychotherapist and single father; his daughter Allie; Paul’s psychotherapy patient, Angela; and Angela’s lover Ricardo, who is the head of a Colombian drug cartel.

Beginning with a fatal car accident that happens when Paul’s wife tells him she wants a divorce, continuing through Paul’s fraught relationship with his nine-year-old Allie, who knows her mother’s death was Paul’s fault, and climaxing with Ricardo’s threats to Paul when he learns Angela wants to leave him, AFTER CLAIRE tells the story of Paul’s struggle to overcome events that push his competence and personal safety beyond their limits.

What inspired you to write AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life?

When I was working as a psychotherapist, one of my patients was a young woman who wanted to break off her relationship with the head of a Colombian drug cartel. One night, he broke into my office, looking for patient records in order to blackmail her into abandoning treatment. He also threatened to harm me and my family if I kept treating her.

As one of the most dramatic and unforgettable moments of my career, I wanted to share this event as part of a larger narrative, to help readers experience what it was like living through this moment—with all of its drama, suspense and the ensuing consequences.

How did you feel when you found out you received a Book Excellence Award?

I have always been passionate about writing and reading suspense novels, so it was an honor to have my own novel, AFTER CLAIRE, recognized as a Book Excellence Award Finalist in the Suspense category.

How did your background and experience influence your writing?

With years of experience as a psychotherapist and couples’ therapist, I wanted to give readers an authentic look at the psychotherapy process through Paul’s journey coping with guilt, grief and dangerous threats.

Through suspenseful twists and turns, the book offers a realistic look at the skills a therapist needs to possess, the conflicts a therapist may encounter, and the intricate nuances of a doctor-client relationship both during and after therapy. In addition, readers will also see Paul seek therapy himself, highlighting the importance of seeking mental health support in processing pain, trauma and relational challenges.

What is one message you would like readers to remember?

I would like readers to walk away with two key lessons:

For one, to feel the importance of holding fast to your principles. In the book, Paul must find ways to separate his personal issues from the issues of his patients. Even in grave danger, he tries to make the best professional decisions that will keep his daughter safe, while meeting the ethical standards of his profession.

Secondly, to see how fractured relationships can be healed. After the death of his wife, Paul struggles to connect with his daughter, watching her transition from child-like innocence to great loss and heartbreak. As the book progresses, Paul maintains a sense of responsibility towards his client Angela, but knows he must put his daughter’s safety above all.

Purchasing the Book

AFTER CLAIRE: In Search of a Habitable Life has received positive reviews from well-known literary organizations, authors, and reviewers around the world. Booklife writes, “Wallis’ ability to grab the reader’s attention from the very first page deftly propels the story forward…a thoughtful literary thriller.” In addition, BookTrib writes, “A tight mystery novel centered around a believable and enthralling depiction of a man overcome with grief…this psychological crime thriller…will captivate readers throughout.

The book is available for sale on Amazon. Readers are encouraged to purchase their copy today:

To connect with John and receive updates on new book releases, visit: You can also find him on social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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