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A Way with Words

By Bryson Gordon, November 28, 2023


Known for her authentic, faith-driven storytelling ability across the genres, Angela Hunt (’80) has traveled a path from being a member of a touring singing group to becoming a prolific author — a story that belongs in a book of its own.

Her journey, she said, has been one of obedience and openness to God’s will.

“It’s always been a thing where somebody opens a door, and I’m like, ‘OK, unless the Lord tells me no, then I’m going to go through it,’” Hunt said from her home in Florida in September. “It’s been a life of walking through doors that the Lord has opened for me.”

The New York Times bestselling author said her story of becoming a writer dates back to her time touring with The Re’Generation, a popular singing ensemble, from 1976-77. Stuck in the heavy snow for several days in Colorado, Hunt said the group would fill up their time writing in journals, and, after they had gotten off the road and caught up with their director, Derric Johnson, he would read the journals. Johnson asked Hunt one day what she wanted to do after the tour, and she said finish her music degree. But Johnson lauded her writing and told her she had a way with words.

“I really believe God speaks to us in three ways: through the Bible, through that still small voice that speaks to our heart, and through the voices of our spiritual authorities,” Hunt said. “Derric was our spiritual authority that year, so when he said ‘Write,’ I said ‘OK,’ and I changed my degree to English.”

After graduation, Hunt stayed in Lynchburg for several years, working for one year as a high school English teacher at the then-Lynchburg Christian Academy (now Liberty Christian Academy) before writing curriculum for the youth department at Thomas Road Baptist Church and eventually working for columnist Cal Thomas at the Moral Majority, which provided her an early experience in writing books.

Alumni Angela and Gary Hunt (’80, ’82) at their home in Clearwater, Fla.

“You know, it’s really amazing how God used all of those in-between jobs to teach me many things,” Hunt said. “I typed Cal’s book manuscripts, I learned how to handle the press. In everything in those jobs, I learned something for my future, and so I finally decided if I was ever going to be a freelance writer that I needed to step out and do it.”

After five years of freelancing for various publications, including Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell’s “The Fundamentalist Journal,” Hunt’s break came in 1988 when she saw an ad in a magazine.

“The ad was seeking unpublished children’s picture book writers for a contest, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m an unpublished book writer of any kind,’ so I went to the library and got a book on how to write a children’s picture book.”

After sending off a script, she found out a couple months later that the book had won first place, launching her career as an author.

From children’s books, Hunt branched out into writing books aimed toward preteens, using situations that her husband, Gary (’82), encountered in his job as a middle school youth pastor.

Jesus said, ‘I ask not that you take them out of the world.’ So even my secular novels, they are parables. There’s always a deeper meaning for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. A Christian’s worldview is going to be reflected in anything he or she does.”

– Angela Hunt


“After writing about 40 middle-grade books, my editor said, ‘Why don’t you try an adult novel?’” Hunt recalled. “It’s always been that over the years so many topics have come to me. Again, it’s just about going through those doors that the Lord wants to open.”

Now 35 years later, Hunt carries a familiar name in the book world, having written over 165 books — from picture books to nonfiction to novels, including many biblical fiction series. She has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Her books have won the Christy Award, several Angel Awards from Excellence in Media, and the Gold and Silver Medallions from Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Romantic Times Book Club and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Some of Hunt’s most notable work includes the bestselling children’s folktale “Tale of Three Trees”; “The Nativity Story,” a novelization of the major motion picture; and “The Note,” a novel that was featured as a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel. She has also collaborated on many autobiographies, including Deanna Favre’s (wife of pro football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre) “Don’t Bet against Me!: Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer and in Life.”

No matter what genre she has entered, Hunt said her faith has remained an element in all of her books, even when they haven’t been directly defined as Christian.

She remembers returning to campus years after her writing career took off to do a TV interview with Falwell. He asked her a poignant question: “Are you a Christian writer or a writer who is a Christian?”

“That question caught me off guard,” Hunt said, “but I finally said, ‘I’m a writer who is a Christian.’ Because I write secular novels, and there are some people who think that’s horrible (and say) ‘How could a Christian do something secular?’ … But that’s my whole point. Jesus said, ‘I ask not that you take them out of the world.’ So even my secular novels, they are parables. There’s always a deeper meaning for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. A Christian’s worldview is going to be reflected in anything he or she does.”

That interview eventually helped form what she called the “theme of my life.”

“Jerry put that question to me and that really made me formulate my worldview as a writer,” Hunt said. “I try not to ever violate my convictions or Scripture or do anything that would reflect badly on Christ.”

Because she knew Falwell personally and understood his vision, she said she is not surprised to see her alma mater grow into the large, world-class institution it is today. She said it wouldn’t surprise him either.

As part of the Liberty Baptist College Chorale, Angela Hunt joined Dr. Jerry Falwell on a tour of the Holy Land with 480 American Christians in November of 1978.

“I just think it’s proof that God can honor a man’s vision, and even he (Falwell) would say that God gave him the vision, but the moral of the story is if you expect miracles, you can get miracles,” Hunt said. “Not in a prosperity gospel kind of way, but we just have to be willing to say yes to Him.”

Although she has a vast catalog of books to her name, Hunt said she’s particularly proud of her latest work, a recent Christian Advent devotional, “Star of Wonder: An Advent Devotional to Illuminate the People, Places, and Purpose of the First Christmas,” that landed on shelves in September. It is special to her because it opened her eyes into the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.

“It’s for Christians, but it pulls out a lot of things that the Jewish people did and believed that point to Christ. They are things that we just never learned, and I think it’s important for Christians to realize these things,” Hunt said.

Hunt (second row, white dress) was a member of the Miss Liberty court in 1978.

The book also carries a special tie to the university. One of the people she dedicated it to is Gordon Luff, the university’s first youth ministries director and a former dean of students.

Hunt said Luff would often join the Liberty singing groups on the road, giving the college students lessons on life, love, and faith.

“He is the reason I married the man I did,” Hunt said. “But one thing I’ll never forget is that he gave us the definition of what love is. He would say love is a decision to make someone else precious to you, and you do that by doing things for them and caring for them and serving them. And that’s been a theme of so many of my novels. He was very much a mentor to all of us who were in the LBC Chorale back then.”

She said the lessons she learned during her college years are still applicable today. When asked what she would tell Liberty students who are walking where she once walked, Hunt said: “The key things you have to choose are your master, mate, and mission. Your master, make sure God is the center of your life. Your mate, be serious about finding a godly person to settle down with. And then your mission, why you were put on earth. God has a purpose for us all, so figure out what those three things are for you.”

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