Why I Started Writing: The answer is pain. My first novel Wisdom Hunter was not born out of a long-held ambition to write a bestselling novel. Rather, it was born out of a therapeutic need to put into writing the painful lessons I was learning as a young legalistic missionary in Norway. I focused on the confusing thoughts and feelings that were hijacking my life at the time and forced myself to describe those thoughts and feelings in words, terms, and phrases that finally made sense to me. I then wanted to shout those newly-learned insights at the pastors, teachers, and evangelists whom I felt had misled me. So I wrote a novel that highlighted those insights. The novel was an attempt to illustrate in a true-to-life drama just how destructive hardcore legalism is in one’s life, one’s family, and one’s congregation. The writing of the book was absolutely cathartic. And, yes, it did get me fired.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me: Initially, I was inspired by an unpublished American author living in Norway as an expatriate. The man had just completed a hefty manuscript when I first met him. He was totally unaware I was secretly pondering the idea of writing my own novel. Anyway, he asked me if I, as an American, would test read his story and give him feedback. As I read the unfolding adventure, I was truly impressed. Here was a great story created and written by an ordinary guy. “If he can do this; I can certainly do it,” I convinced myself. It was this particular manuscript written by this particular guy that gave me the impetus to sit down and write my own novel. Later, I was influenced by the British novelist Ken Follett. His first few novels centered around WWII adventures. In those stories, Ken described the thoughts and feelings of his characters in a way that brought them to life for me. Inspired by Ken, my goal as a writer was, and is, to present characters in such a descriptive, legitimate way that my reader will, at some point, strongly suspect I am writing about people who are real.
Books I Have Written: Spurred on by the success of my first novel, I continued to write.
My second novel, Jordan’s Crossing, was an attempt to illustrate the destructiveness of liberalism, swinging too far in the opposite direction of legalism. This novel was also born out of personal agony—as was my third novel, Brotherhood of Betrayal.
My fourth novel, Forgotten Road (being released by Elk Lake), was born more out of a creative need to fashion an adventurous and compelling story with dynamic characters who learn the life-changing truths that I’ve learned in recent years.
My first work of nonfiction is 46 Stones (also being released by Elk Lake). 46 Stones is a compilation of dangerous and misleading notions, tendencies, and beliefs in the evangelical community that I am calling out one-by-one. The book can be used as a resource for Bible studies, a devotional, a conversation starter for home groups, a teaching aid for discipleship-making, or a go-to-book for personal reflection.
What I'm Working On Now: I’m currently working on my fifth novel, Kathleen Rose a controversial story that takes place in rural Georgia. I’m creating this story for the sole purpose of provoking emotional and healthy debate.