Q&A: Tom Pawlik
Some things weren’t meant to be discovered. Three people are each drawn to the small town of Beckon, Wyoming. A young anthropologist researches a Native American legend and makes a terrifying discovery. An ex-cop investigating her cousin’s disappearance finds herself in grave peril. And an aging businessman is lured by the promise of a miracle. One by one they discover the town’s ghastly secret. The only question is . . . will any of them make it out alive?
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE BECKON?
Beckon is my third novel to date and for some reason was especially difficult to write. I wanted it to be similar enough in style to my first two books (Vanish and Valley Of The Shadow) so readers would get the creepiness they expected, but I also knew I needed to delve into new territories. The basic idea had been tumbling around in my head for several years but I struggled with exactly how to tell the story. Since my first two novels dealt largely with the supernatural, I wanted to keep this one grounded in the natural world. The final plot structure is a little different than most novels but I think adds to the suspense and uniqueness of the story and I think readers will like how it all plays out.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Gordon R. Dickinson, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. I would say these are some of the authors who inspired me growing up. And they are still the authors I strive to be like, while trying to carve out a unique niche and a style of my own.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
I have to be honest. Sometimes it almost feels like a hindrance in some ways. Not that I would ever write something that would be dishonoring to the Lord or lead a reader into sin. But it often feels like Christian authors are expected to obey certain rules, or only write about certain subjects. It seems like other topics are sort of off limits in the CBA market. But I grew up loving science fiction and fantasy and there was a real paucity of these types of stories from Christians. But I try to look at it as a challenge. How do we get Christians to expand their scope of tastes beyond historical fiction or prairie romances. Or the Amish. Especially in this economy where Christian publishers are more apt to stick with what they know sells. I'm just trying to focus on telling a really good story. If it's compelling enough, people will want to read it.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
Since I was a wee lad. Third or fourth grade at least. I remember my teacher reading us The Hobbit and Charlotte's Web, and I was always trying to make up my own stories about fantastic creatures and talking animals. I was never a very stellar student, but I always did well in creative writing. I just never pursued it as a career in any serious way until I was much older. It just seemed like it was too unattainable of a dream.
WHAT DO YO MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
Every reader is starting from a different place in their lives. Some are believers of varying levels of maturity, and I also hope to reach many who are not. But wherever the reader happens to be spiritually, my goal is to bring them a step closer to God. To entertain them with an exciting story, but also get them to think from a Biblical worldview.