Anyone who chooses to write for a living, even an unknown like me, gets asked at one time or another where book ideas come from. I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me they pop up and grab me when I least expect them. Something triggers a thought; the thought gets turned over and over in my mind, and at some point, I realize there’s a story.
On my desktop right now are five story ideas in various stages of development. One is almost half-finished and will be in your hands this summer, I hope. It’s about a one-armed man in a dead-end life who decides to run away from home and become somebody else. His name is Pete, and lately he and I are spending a lot of time together.
Then there’s Dusty, a one-hit disco wonder from the 1970’s who won’t accept the fact that he’s been old news for thirty-five years. You’ll meet Dusty in 2018. Another project is about Mitzi. She and her husband own the Imperial Diner and are huge baseball fans. Their life-long love for each other and baseball will be the object of Mitzi, The Imperial, and the Boys in Blue, also due out in 2018. Also in the works is a Harvest of Thorns sequel many of you have asked about, and a book about a vigilante preacher that is pretty dark.
Then there’s Shunned, which debuted today. Have you gotten Shunned yet? Pastor Miles Traynor, Shunned’s antagonist, came to me after reading about the fall of a megachurch pastor out west several years ago. I won’t use his name or the name of his church, but you can find them online easily enough. The preacher’s downfall came when he started believing more in himself than he did in God. One thing led to another, and the church he started asked him to leave.
I’ve always been fascinated by high-profile preachers and large churches, even though I’ve not spent much time around either. Many of you remember the televangelist era of the 1980’s, when men like Bakker, Swaggert, and Falwell dominated the overnight airwaves. Believe it or not, it was while watching Jim Bakker, famous for his PTL ministry, that I came to know Jesus. Sadly, many of the leading TV evangelists of that era, Bakker included, experienced falls from grace, brought on by the worship of wrong things. They went from being sought-after by Presidents and world leaders to fodder for comedians and Saturday Night Live. At home we watched, and were outraged by what we saw. We shouldn’t have been. They weren’t saints; they were human. Humans fall. We do.
The story of that megachurch pastor stayed with me long after it fell from the front pages of the newspapers. I wondered what it was like for the people in his church; how they reacted when they saw things that just didn’t seem right. Adam Overstreet grew out those musings. Adam’s just a guy, like many guys – fairly successful, married with a young son, a small group of friends – who gets rocked by the accusation of a one-night stand. That’s when he runs headfirst into trouble at church. And that’s Shunned.
I hope you’ll read it. I hope you’ll like it!
And now you know…