The Story behind ‘Secret Agent Angel’ by Ray Sutherland

I began to write stories when I was in grade school, just for my own entertainment. The earliest I remember was in the sixth grade. I wrote that one on a stenographer’s pad-one chapter per page. I remember being disappointed that when I typed it, it didn’t fill a whole page.

front cover finalI continued writing, off and on, until I began teaching. Nearly all of those stories are gone now. I have a couple left and while they aren’t embarrassing, they aren’t very good. But I had fun writing them.

I have always been a reader of fiction with wide ranging tastes: science fiction, mystery, thrillers, historical fiction, whatever caught my fancy. Once as I was reading a Matt Helm secret agent novel by Donald Hamilton, it occurred to me that if angels are God’s secret agents, as Billy Graham said, there must be some really good stories that could be told. So, in Secret Agent Angel,  I told some of those stories from the point of view of the angel. While that turned out to be an interesting challenge and a lot of work, it also turned out to be a lot of fun as well. I also thought that it turned out rather well. I began writing for my own entertainment, and Secret Agent Angel certainly entertained me and my first readers. I greatly hope you will be entertained and uplifted, too.

A standard writers’ adage is to write what you know and in Secret Agent Angel, I followed that advice. I haven’t yet met any real angels, but most of the situations in which Samuel the secret agent angel finds himself  are very similar to things I have done in my own life. I was assigned to tanks in the army. My first job was loading and unloading trucks. The owner of the truck company also owned a truck stop  so I spent some time in it and other truck stops as well. I have visited many hospitals in the course of my pastoral duties. One part which does not come from my own experience is the chapter about porters on the Ho Chi Minh trail just before the Tet offensive. I had to do a lot of research for that, but I enjoyed that challenge.

My hope is that you will have as much fun reading my book as I had in writing it.


Ray Sutherland is a Kentucky native who grew up on a farm outside of Bowling Green. He served in the Army, spent two years in Germany, received his B.A. in religion from Western Kentucky University, and his PhD in the Bible from Vanderbilt University.  Ray has served of Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke for over thirty years, pastored a small church for nine years, and is retired from the Army Reserve. He and his wife Regina live in North Carolina. They have two sons and four grandchildren. Visit him at Find out more about his book on Amazon.


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