Aaron Pettes

Why I Started Writing:

I started to write because the stories in my head need to get out. I'm joking, but then again ... maybe not. I've always loved creating stories in my head late at night while trying to fall asleep. As a teenager I suffered from insomnia because of a struggle with ADHD, and as a result, I would be up at all hours of the night. I would create ongoing stories in my head that would keep me entertained as sleep eluded me. This process evolved as I got older and spent time in prison. The escape of creation became an outlet that kept me level and gave me peace. I've read hundreds of books and the journey of actually putting one of my "stories" onto paper intrigued me. Once I sat down and began to craft those stories ... I was hooked. Now I can’t stop bringing those stories into the world.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

Authors who have influenced me ... wow, how much space do we have? C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Ted Dekker, Dean Koontz, Donald Goines, Pierce Brown, Frank Peretti, A.W. Tozer, Robin Hobb, Tim Willock. I love authors that create characters that instigate thought, and I love apologists that challenge the status quo. Why read stories that don't make you cringe and feel? If an author hasn’t made me laugh out loud, shout at the pages, or quietly cry (“quiet” because I can’t let my cellmate hear, LOL), then I feel like the ride was incomplete. All of these authors (and many more that I’ve read) have done that. I’ve read their books repeatedly and often.

Books I Have Written:

I’ve written two books so far, Riverside Epiphany and Mourning into Dancing. I’ve also written a play, a few screenplays, poetry, and a multitude of speeches.

What I'm Working On Now:

What I am working on now is adapting a screenplay into novel form—a journey that is challenging me. The story is a favorite of mine and I really want the world to hear it. I am hoping to make that happen soon.

Extra Credit:

For those of you who don’t know, I am in prison. I have been “inside” for over fifteen years and will be released in a few more. My crime was bank robbery, and I am currently in the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Greenville, Illinois. Thirteen years ago, I had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and since then have been moving forward in God’s plan for my life. In 2008, I created Another Option Ministry, a prison ministry started in Tecumseh State Prison in Nebraska and soon overflowed into every prison in Nebraska. A multitude of men, including me, have been radically changed by this ministry. I’ve been a part of the Inside Out Dads program, a Toastmasters Speech Group, graduated valedictorian from the Life Connections Program ( a faith-based program in the federal system), was a GED teacher for over five years, have taken college courses from Greenville University, and have led and been a part of a of myriad Bible studies. I say all that to say this, God is good, and I am not the same man I was in 2005 when I committed my crimes. My experiences in prison and outside prison while living a broken life have influenced my writing. In consequence, my writing has influenced my life ... given me a new path. I hope in reading my stories you enjoy the ride, knowing what you’re reading is the result of God’s reckless love for a broken convict.

Aaron Pettes

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