Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"The Baggage Handler" by David Rawlings ... and a GIVEAWAY! (JustReads Blog Tour)


Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings with JustRead Publicity Tours!


9780785224938Title: The Baggage Handler  
Author: David Rawlings  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson  
Genre: Magical Realism / Christian Allegory Fiction 
Release Date: March 5, 2019

In a similar vein to The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews or Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory, The Baggage Handler is a contemporary story that explores one question: What baggage are you carrying?

When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever.

A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.

A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister's house before her niece’s wedding.

And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.

When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.

In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.

LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Christian Book | iTunes


Q: What message do you hope readers take away from your story?
A:  Reflection mainly. The Baggage Handler was written to start conversations or open doors that had been tightly jammed shut. I'm less interested in the emotions generated, and more interested by what readers will do with the story once they've put it down. One of my review readers that she finished the book two weeks ago and yet was still thinking about the baggage in her life. To me, that's a win. The message of The Baggage Handler is: What are you carrying, and could you benefit from putting it down?

Q:  A great message and a definite win!  What character in the book do you most identify with and why?
A:  The obvious question to ask – and one I get asked by readers – is “which character are you?” I’m not, although I did call one of the characters David just to mess with people. Maybe that’s my Australian humor coming through. 

David, Gillian, and Michael kept refusing to hand over their baggage until the stakes were too high or the consequences too great. They could have saved themselves so  much pain by dealing with things far earlier. This mirrors the experience of many people, including some I see around me.

Q:  What would be in your bag?
A:  Probably the things that I’m carrying, that I’m still processing and dealing with.  Just like everyone else.

Q:  What's the "story behind the story"? 
A:  The Baggage Handler itself was borne out of rejection. My first manuscript, Pastor Swap - about reality TV and churches - was a finalist in a range of fiction awards, but I couldn’t get industry interested in it. Someone suggested for my next novel maybe I should focus on “life lesson” stories. I widened my reading and then one night at 9 p.m. The Baggage Handler arrived. It pretty much downloaded into my head – one moment I was reading in bed, the next I was furiously tapping away at my laptop. When I next checked the clock it was 1 a.m., and I had the story, the characters, plot, twists, structure - almost everything.

That hasn’t happened before or since with books two and three, but I’m glad it did with The Baggage Handler. 

I’m the type of person who wants to talk about the deeper things in life rather than just wade around in the shallows with small talk, so issues like the concept of dealing with baggage have always been a part of conversations I have. I guess it was just there not too far under the surface.

Q: It's certainly awesome how God works! Now for some fun questions. What is something about you that would surprise your readers?
A:  Two things. I used to be a goal umpire in the Australian Football League, and I’m a serial caterer. 

Firstly, the umpire. If you watch Australian football (which is different to America’s NFL, with more kicking and a lack of helmets), you’ll see some umpires that stand between the goal posts waving flags. That was me. It was great to be a part of our nation’s great game.

Secondly, I love to cook. And by cook, I mean cater. I love nothing more than being in the kitchen, catering for dozens of people, throwing my creativity into creating delicious and great-looking food. I find it relaxing. Weird, I know.

Q:  I don't think that's weird at all. It sounds great! What are three books in your TBR pile OR who are three authors who've inspired you?
A:  I’m going to go with three authors who’ve inspired me:
·       Jim Rubart. Jim’s my mentor and manages to inspire me with his great writing and his enthusiasm for mine. He’s played a key role in my writing journey in terms of finding an agent, and he even endorsed my debut novel. That’s daunting, but flattering, to have someone like Jim in your corner.
·       Robert Ludlum. The author of The Bourne Trilogy (among many other titles) taught me a huge lesson in how to approach writing. I met Mr. Ludlum at a book signing when I was a teenager, and his advice was invaluable. He talked about how he plots a novel but writes a story. He wire frames his plot while still allowing room for creative writing.
·       Frank Peretti. I’ve read Frank’s books for years, but at last year’s ACFW Conference I was given the privilege of hosting his earlybird session. Meeting Frank was like shaking hands with lightning caught in a bottle. His energy for life was infectious, but the bigger lesson was his love of getting the words right. He genuinely cares about good story and great writing. If the biggest name I could meet feels that, then it’s inspiring to make you care too.

Great choices! David, thanks so much for sharing and taking the time to share a few things with my readers.

Here's the link to my review of The Baggage Handler.



David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.  

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: website | facebook | instagram



We're collecting all the Baggage Passport Stamps to get rid of! Collect them all and enter the giveaway below. Each stop will have a unique stamp. Just enter the word(s) you'll find on each stamp for more chances to win!

(1) winner will win:
  • a hardcover copy of The Baggage Handler,
  • a book tote from the publisher, Thomas Nelson
  • and a $15 Amazon Gift Card!
Be sure to check out each stop on this tour for more chances to win. Giveaway begins at midnight April 1, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 8, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

The stamp you're collecting from this stop is:

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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  1. To lighten the load is a great message. I would love to read this book and see how maybe I can lighten my load. Thanks for sharing this today!

    1. You're welcome. Yes, it's definitely a great message!

      Good luck, Bernice.