Ernie Hunt: Priest turned novelist

His books are nothing like his sermons. His first book, "Paris Under Siege," is a novel about an American man and Algerian woman thwarting a terrorist plot to bomb American landmarks in Paris.

As an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Ernie Hunt spent his career writing sermons, providing pastoral care and researching Christianity and other religions.

Today he spends his time writing international mysteries and researching gang wars in and how to escape from the Sahara on camelback.

When Hunt retired from the Episcopal Church, he became an author. And his books are nothing like his sermons. His first book, Paris Under Siege, is a novel about an American man and Algerian woman thwarting a terrorist plot to bomb American landmarks in Paris.

Hunt’s second novel, Death in Dallas, hits a little closer to home. Released this summer, the story takes place in East Dallas and is about human trafficking between the and . It opens at an auto garage on Ross, and the trafficking family resides on Swiss. Many of the characters are based on people he knows and works with.

“I’ve read a lot of international spy stories,” Hunt says. “A lot of mysteries. It’s interesting. I just started writing; then it developed.”

As a priest, Hunt published a book early in his career, Sermon Struggles, and wrote numerous sermons and newsletter articles. But never wrote fiction.

“There’s a lot of writing in ministry,” Hunt says. “It’s eclectic. You read things and pull it all together. I don’t want you to think my sermons were fiction.”

He began his career as a rector in New York. He moved to Dallas and was dean of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral on Ross before moving to Paris and serving as bishop of the American Cathedral for 10 years. When he retired, Hunt moved back to Dallas with his wife, Elsie. He spends a few hours each day writing in his office at St. Matthew’s, which is filled with boxes and piles of research papers.

The St. Matthew’s Gift and Book Shop sells both books. Jim Hollifield, manager of the store, says most of its adult books are nonfiction. It is rare for a priest to write a novel.

Hollifield says people tell him they enjoy the book, and he recently ordered more copies of Paris Under Siege and Death in Dallas.

“I’m still a novice,” says Hunt, who has begun work on his third novel. “As one publisher said: ‘We want to publish people who will make us money.’ I’m more, I have things to say.”

THE REV. ERNIE HUNT’S BOOKS can be purchased at the St. Matthew’s Gift and Book Shop, open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. The books can also be ordered at amazon.com.


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