When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am the pastor of Legacy Church here in Naples, Florida, so that takes up a lot of time during the week. I also work with ministry to inmates in our local jail, which is fertile soil for much of my writing.
I also enjoy doing musical theatre locally, and volunteer as a musician and occasional actor.
Do you remember the first piece you ever wrote?
I had done a lot of writing in the past, mainly live theatrical productions. But I was encouraged to write something for our local newspaper about religion. To my surprise, there was a good deal of very positive reaction to the piece. The editor of the paper encouraged me to keep writing and to start a blog on their website.
What is your writing process?
It starts with something I feel passionately about, with something anecdotal that happens to me, or both of these together. I see lessons in the everyday occurrences of life. All I have to do is start writing, and usually the message comes. Like Flannery O'Conner said, I don't know what I think until I start writing...
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read Oliver Twist as a elementary school kid, because I loved the musical when it came out. As harsh a place as Dickens described, it was still a story I wanted to crawl inside of and enter somehow myself.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I love reading C.S. Lewis' theological works. Also the writing of A.W. Tozer has had a huge effect on me. His The Pursuit of God was life-changing and impacts me to this day.
What do you read for pleasure?
Yes, but mainly for inspiration when I'm going through something tough. That's probably why my writing is inspirational and motivational, because that's the kind of material I have needed to keep moving forward in my own spiritual life. Never underestimate the power and importance of just helping someone keep going!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read with my beloved iPad, which is always by my side. And interestingly enough, I also preach from it every Sunday. I believe that's something few preachers do yet, but I think it will catch on as time goes on.
Describe your desk
A total mess, a disaster area fit for FEMA and a HAZMAT team!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama in the late 60s and 70s. This city was a very culturally and educationally advanced area, mainly due to the NASA program there. So I had lots of cultural activities compared to your average kid in the deep south. There were also lots of people there from all over the world, so I was confronted with lots of ideas and cultures most kids in the south never engage. So all these things helped make me the weird mix of things I am today.
What motivated you to become an author?
It was a very natural process. I would see things happening around me and think, "Someone ought to write about that." Since no one else was, I did. Writing has become a kind of thearapy for me. When I'm struggling with an issue about life, I start writing. I'm to the place now where it's basically an overflow of my prayer life. As I struggle to give an issue to God, I usually stat writing about it. That has become a huge part of dealing spiritually with the issue and giving God control in my life.
What are you working on next?
I feel like I'm supposed to write something about setting off in faith to start a second career. I did that a couple of years ago, and it has been the most thrilling/terrifying experience of my life. I know so many people who are working jobs that are not fulling any real calling in their lives. I know that making a living is an honorable thing, but you really need to do more than just put food on the table. And usually the most fulfilling jobs come when you leave your comfort zone and launch out into uncharted territory. So it would basically be a book about faith and risk-taking from a guy with limited faith who hates taking risks. Should be a hoot!
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