Craig von Buseck
Why I Started Writing:
When I was a senior in high school, the members of our church youth group sat in the balcony of during the services. As I listened to the pastor’s sermons, I could see the biblical events in my mind’s eye as though I was watching a movie. That was the beginning of my calling to share God’s message through media. I started my writing career as a songwriter for a Christian band I traveled with. My desire to write grew as I penned op eds for the newspaper, articles for the church newsletter, and worship songs for my church praise team.
After entering seminary at Regent University, I enrolled in a class called ‘The Craft of Good Writing,” taught by Bob Slosser, a former New York Times reporter and former president of Regent University. Bob exhorted his students to make an impact with our craft. “Don’t just make writing a career or a hobby,” he implored. “Make writing your ministry.”
I set an appointment to speak with Bob about switching to a joint degree program between journalism and divinity. His response was like a prophetic word to my heart.
“There are a lot of right-thinking pastors out there (meaning biblically-thinking),” he said with a gentle passion. “There are a lot of right-thinking missionaries and Bible school professors,” Bob continued. “But there are NOT a lot of right-thinking writers and communicators. If this is what you believe God is telling you to do, I want to support it however I can.”
I enrolled in the program, started writing nearly every day, and I have never looked back.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
While I admire several writers, if I had to choose a favorite it would be David McCullough, author of such books as John Adams, 1776, The Wright Brothers, and his Pulitzer Prize winning biography, Truman. I admire his narrative style and have adopted some of his storytelling techniques in my own writing. I also appreciate the choices he has made in choosing his subjects. Having followed his career and watched documentaries on his life, I am also a fan of his writing methods. He has a writing cottage at the far end of his property on Martha’s Vineyard. That cottage is separated from the main property by a short brick wall with a gate. Only David and his wife are allowed past that gate. I look forward to having a similar writing space in the future—right now, my main writing space is my camper, which works nicely for the time being.
After the success of the Broadway show Hamilton, based on the book by Ron Chernow, there was a buzz about a new book he had written on Ulysses S. Grant. I bought the book and couldn’t put it down. He has become one of my favorite writers.
I was mesmerized by the melding of the natural and spiritual worlds in Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. I had been raised to believe in the reality of good and evil, the natural and the spiritual, and angels and demons, so it was fascinating to see those things come to life in this wonderful novel.
Honorable mentions include Doris Kearns Goodwin, C.S. Lewis, David Teems, Frank Peretti, Ken Gire, Bob Slosser, Jamie Buckingham, Jeff Shaara, and Max Lucado.
Books I Have Written:
In addition to The Peter, Paul, and Mary Principle …
Victor! The Final Battle of Ulysses S. Grant
Forward! The Leadership Principles of Ulysses S. Grant
Living the Christian Life
I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel
Jesus at the Well
Praying the News
NetCasters: Using the Internet to Make Fishers of Men
Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story
7 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice
What I'm Working On Now:
I’m currently writing a book on how to write effective narrative nonfiction, biography, historical fiction, and memoir—the working title is Telling the Truth. I’m also writing a children’s book about kids who magically enter a world of wonder called “Lion’s Field.”
My son, Aaron, and I are adapting my biography, Victor! The Final Battle of Ulysses S. Grant into a TV miniseries. I believe the tale of Grant fighting back from bankruptcy and racing against death from throat cancer to write his memoirs and restore his family’s financial stability is one of the most heroic and inspiring true stories in American history—and it will make a great miniseries!
I am also adding the finishing touches to a musical theater adaptation of my book, Nobody Knows: The Harry T. Burleigh Story. A musicologist named Dominique-Rene de Lerma said on NPR, “In Harry T. Burleigh, you have the birth of American music.” Since Harry’s life was dedicated to music and to giving the Negro Spirituals to the world, I believe his story will make a dynamic Broadway-style musical.