Why I Started Writing:
Many years ago, I was fortunate to be invited to contribute to the writing of several books that help explain concepts of the Christian faith. The project involved answering questions provided by people from around the country, including many teens and young adults. I enjoyed the work and was honored to be a part of it. Some of those books included Did Jesus Have a Last Name?, and A Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions About the Passion of Christ which came out at the time of the release of the blockbuster film The Passion of the Christ and became one of the highest rated Christian books ever to hit the New York Times religious best-seller list.
Several years later, I began teaching at a private Catholic all-boys prep school where the oldest building on campus was said to haunted. Up to that point, I had never seriously thought about writing fiction. But the more I began hearing about ghosts and other strange phenomena connected with the school, the more I became convinced that a story was there that needed to be written. One summer, with my wife’s encouragement, I decided to put pen to paper and wrote my first book, The Ghosts of Westthorpe Academy (eLectio Publishing) which came out in 2018. The sequel to that book, Miracle at the Mission, is in the final stages of editing and is due to be released by Elk Lake Publishing in early 2022.
The opportunity to write fiction has allowed me to create stories that are thrilling, suspenseful, faith-based, and fun to read—the kinds of stories I have always enjoyed. In addition, as someone who appreciates history, I also like to weave elements of history into my writing.
Part of my motivation to write also comes from my experience as a parent. My wife and I have been exceedingly blessed with six wonderful children, each of whom were strongly encouraged to develop a love of reading. Fortunately for us, we were able to provide books for them from such accomplished authors as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, Brian Jacques, John Flanagan, and Christopher Paolini.
As our kids got older and entered their late teens and young adult ages, I discovered how increasingly difficult it was to find quality books written specifically for those age categories. Unfortunately, books of fiction for teens too often include dark elements and adult themes that may not be appropriate for those ages.
I believe there continues to be a great need to produce high quality fiction for teens and young adults that is compelling, gripping, and dramatic, while at the same time upholds virtue, is value-oriented, and doesn’t offend our young people’s sensibilities.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
There are several worth mentioning. Among the ones I have already provided above, here are a few others (in no particular order):
Michael O’Brien, Louis de Wohl, Edward Irving Wortis (Avi), David McCulloch, Eric Metaxas, Paul Kengor, G.K. Chesterton, Fulton Sheen, St. Therese of Lisieux, Scott Hahn, Emily Dickenson, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, H.G. Welles, Robert Louis Stevenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Matt Pinto, Theresa Linden, Leslea Wahl.
A special mention goes to my brother John Lewis, who is himself a published author. John wrote a fine book entitled Radio Master: The Life and Times of Sports Broadcaster Ted Husing which helped inspire me to write.
Books I Have Written:
My first book, The Ghosts of Westthorpe Academy, is the story of two high school friends newly arrived at Westthorpe Academy, a private Catholic all-boys prep school located in the prestigious Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia. It doesn’t take long before they are captivated by the tales of ghosts and strange goings-on within stately Moreau Hall, including the story of how a large stash of old money may have been hidden away long ago somewhere on the school property. Following clues given to them by two mysterious yet saintly visitors, the boys find themselves involved in an exciting and mystifying search for the money which they hope can be used to save their school from financial insolvency and possible closure. What they don’t know is that a group of unscrupulous fortune hunters using sophisticated equipment is also looking for the money and plans to steal it for themselves.
What I'm Working On Now:
The long-awaited sequel, Miracle at the Mission, picks up with the same two friends (Joe Pryce and Pete Figueroa) travelling to California during a summer vacation where they meet up with Pete’s older brother Luke who is a Marine. While visiting the chapel of one of the historic California missions founded by Saint Junipero Serra, Joe meets an old and mysterious Franciscan monk who warns him that the President of the United States and other world leaders, who are meeting in nearby San Francisco for a G-7 Summit, may be in imminent danger. Drawn into a fast-paced and exciting series of events involving car chases, assassins, and Russian oligarchs, the boys find themselves entangled in an international conspiracy as they desperately seek a way to save the President while also proving their own innocence.
As mentioned, Miracle at the Mission is in the final stages of editing and is scheduled for release in early 2022 through Elk Lake Publishing!