WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION DRIVING THE STORY IN THE SERPENT’S GRASP?
My inspiration was two-fold. First, I am a science thriller lover. However, there are not very many of those floating around in the Christian fiction market—the Christian thriller market is growing, but is nothing close to the secular market. So, for people like me, we have to venture out into the general fiction arena to find books from such authors as Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston, Robin Cook, etc. Then, we cringe and squirm when the language gets foul and the scenes get steamy. The Serpent’s Grasp was my attempt at filling that hole a little. The Serpent’s Grasp has been described as “smart fiction” (not by me) designed to get the reader thinking about things from angles their worldview may have never allowed them to use before. The other inspiration behind the book was a trip to a theme park in Florida with the family. Hanging from the ceiling in one of the stores was a replica of a dinosaur—a marine reptile. As I read the placard on the wall, background knowledge from a myriad of studies and lectures I had experienced flooded my mind. Over the next few weeks, I started piecing together a story. About a month into it, while sprawled out on the balcony of a condo during a spring break, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I pictured a boat out on the water. Grabbing a legal pad and a pen, I started to scrawl the first words which later became the heart and soul of chapters 2 & 3 of The Serpent’s Grasp. The more I researched, the more the story deepened. The deeper the story became, the more questions about science it addressed. Hence, the bibliography. I didn’t want people to think I just made it all up. The science is rooted in real science. Much of which evolutionists and creationists can both agree. The book is based on Romans 1:25 and revolves around the question, “What is truth?”
OVER THE COURSE OF WRITING IT, WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST DURING THE JOURNEY?
How much is involved in publishing one book. As a first-time author, everything is new. The entire process is a little mind-boggling. Writing. Re-writing. Editing. Re-editing. Submitting. Re-editing. Re-submitting. Re-editing. Resubmitting. Double-checking. Waiting. Marketing. And waiting. Networking. And waiting. Finally, publication. Marketing. Networking. More networking. Writing something new. Marketing old book(s). Networking. Writing more new stuff. So on and so forth. Then, just when you think you’ve read enough books on writing and attended enough writer’s conference workshops to feel like you have a good handle on the business, you go through the publication process only to find that you are still quite naive. Terms are used that make you ask more questions. Those questions make the novice in you shine bright for all to see. God bless those publishers and agents. The stories they must tell each other when they are alone.
WHAT PARTS WERE INSPIRED BY REAL-LIFE RESEARCH OR EXPERIENCE?
I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was growing up. However, motion sickness (and I’m talking violent vertigo-like symptoms) makes it difficult to pursue that line of work. The sea has always intrigued me. You always hear people at writer’s conferences say, “Write what you know.” Well, “write what you like” is also something you need to do, too. I could probably make a great deal of money writing historical romance novels. However, I wouldn’t get to enjoy it because I would have to jump off a cliff. Money isn’t everything. If it’s jobs, we tell our kids, “Find a job you like doing. You can make all the money in the world, but if you’re miserable in the process, money will never make you happy in spite of the job.” Why doesn’t that axiom apply to writers and what they write? You have to enjoy what write. You just hope there’s a career in it somewhere.
WHY DO YOU THINK STORY IS SUCH A POWERFUL WAY TO COMMUNICATE TRUTH?
Story resonates with people at an emotional level. Non-fiction probably conveys truth more directly (and effectively) into the mind and soul, but fiction has a way of addressing truth at the level of the heart. I believe this has never been more true than today in our movie, television, and theater-saturated society. Non-fiction works better in cultures where things can be portrayed in a more philosophical, lecture-like fashion—kind of the way Socrates did with his Academy blueprint. I think missionaries can attest to this. Reasoning with cultures who have never seen a TV or movie is easier than trying to act out biblical truths to those same people groups. In our culture, it’s getting harder and harder to reason with people. “Absolute truth is being denied absolutely” without any problem at all with the flawed thinking needed to agree with that statement. That is the norm nowadays. So, how do you reach such hardened hearts? Through story. If it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. “The kingdom of Heaven is like…”
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I’m working on an international thriller designed to be the first in a series which deals with the issue of “What is true peace?” I have the first three books mapped out and expect the series to be 4-6 books long. The first installment (title is yet to be determined, but it is based on Jeremiah 8:15), is scheduled to be released fall 2012 with the subsequent books in the series coming out one each fall. I also have a paranormal inspirational sitting on the back burner entitled The Letters. It deals with the issue of abortion. And of course, I am playing around with some ideas for a sequel to The Serpent’s Grasp.
I’ve also been asked to submit some ideas for articles to a major magazine’s online platform pertaining to my role as an assistant principal. Such things as “tips for mothers of high schoolers” and “how to safeguard your kids in the public high school” are some of the topics I’ll address. They also asked for an article related to the science of The Serpent’s Grasp. So, I’m trying to fit those in somewhere as well. It’s like having two full-time jobs right now. Amazing and exhausting, all at the same time.