April 3, 2008

*Originally posted on April 3, 2008

I’m sitting here at my desk staring at my screen, lost. For the first time in what feels like years I have nothing to do but sit and stare at the screen and wonder how I got here.

It’s odd, you know, being here, in this unfamiliar place. There are a number of things I could do with my time. I could search for some new music on itunes. Hard to find good tunes, the kind you just can’t stop listening to. I could go outside and stare at the house I’m having built, but it’s raining and I would probably be the only one there, feet in the mud, wondering why it’s not done, why the chimney looks crooked, why the front door is swinging in the wind.

I could listen to One Republic or Muse and write a blog. I choose Muse and decide to write the blog. But neither change the fact that I’m sitting here staring at the screen, lost.


Eighteen months ago I began work on the first of a series of Young Adult novels that I agreed to write two at a time so that all six could be published in the space of one year. The Lost Books series, an extension of the Books of History Chronicles.

I must have been smoking the Christian equivalent of crack that day. As it turns out, writing Young Adult fiction is no easier than writing Adult fiction. My plots always become intense and demanding, and I, like my readers, crave my fantasy strong enough to make my head spin before I reach the bottom.

After writing Chosen, I suspected that I was up against a mountain that could not be climbed at least not by me. All of my novels are due to the publisher 1 year before they are published and immediately following Chosen I was to write Adam.

Adam kicked me in the gut like a panicked horse kicks its well intentioned trainer in the gut. Read it and you will understand. This is a novel for every man woman and child who dares wade through some fright to learn truth. And if your neighbor says they won’t read scary novels, tell them it’s okay to read this one because if they don’t their house might burn to the ground.

I turned Adam in and retreated to the South Pacific to write Infidel and Renegade. Infidel and Renegade were like a dance on the beach with a roaring bonfire at midnight. Magic came out of the smoke and swept me away to the a land far away.

Upon my return I took a day to search for new music and dove into Kiss, a book that a new author named Erin Healy and I are co-authoring for a 2009 release. While writing Kiss I dove into Chaos and approached the Publisher to express my concern that writing six YA novels was simply to ambitious considering the other stories I was dying to write, namely Sinner and Angel. The six book series became a four books series, with two more being moved into 2009.

Nine months ago (half way through my eighteen month sago) I moved to Austin, hunkered down amongst a pile of my landlord’s books in a furnished rental, and coaxed the climax out of Chaos.

Chaos was a special journey for me because it answered a slew of questions the are circling around the Books of Histories and in particular Showdown. It also laid the groundwork for a novel I am desperate to tackle now but must wait a couple years until other stories in my head can get out of the way.

Satisfied with the completion of the four Young Adult books, Chosen, Infidel, Renegade and Chaos, and thrilled with Kiss, the book with Erin Healy, I came up for air, noticed that I had moved to a city in which I literally knew no one, and dove back down into the world of Sinner.

Sinner. What can I say. It was everything I hoped it would be. It made me weep, it made me dance, it made want run around the streets, throwing out copies for whoever would honor me by reading a few sentences. This is it! This is the one I’ve been trying to write my whole life! Dear God let me just tell them what happens and get it over with!

Alas, my publisher would have my head, which, along with my hands, I need.

My wife and I celebrated the writing of Sinner wildly.

Then it was back into the dungeon. Back into a hole in the ground with a killer called Bone Man who is is obsessed with finding the perfect daughter. This is a book I’ve had on my mind for five years and it ran out of me in long sittings. When the women he abducts fail to meet his expectations, Bone Man kills them by breaking every bone in their body without breaking their skin. It’s a very spiritual novel about a father’s love for his daughter. I wish I could give it way. Dear God let me just tell them! This is it, this is the one I’ve been trying to write!

Adam came out April 1st and I’m thrilled to see that some people are buying it. In fact, I went into a B&N and found it on the front table. And a stack of Skin two tables over. When a woman approached me and asked if I knew anything decent, I hesitated then sheepishly pointed to Adam. That one’s pretty good. She snatched it up and opened the back to see my photo. It took her a few seconds to connect the dots, a common reaction readers have to many of my stories.

Now the reviews on Adam are coming in and I’ve scoured the internet to either pump my fist with the readers or scoff at their ignorance, depending on how enthusiastic they’ve been in their review.

But after a couple days I’m done with that and I sit here in front of my computer and I am taking a long two month break, one month of it over seas, before returning to the dungeon and entering the world of GREEN.

That’s the one. That’s the one I’ve been trying to write my whole life. I wish I could tell you what I have planned for Green. There will be some fist pumping and wild, wild celebration on that one, I can tell you.

But for now… For now I feel lost. Too exhausted to write. I need to give my head a rest. I need to find some music. I need to travel the world. I need to laugh with my children all day long. I need to seduce my wife.

I need to see the people who make my world go around, those retailers and readers and co-laborers in this task of unfolding the mysteries of God through story. I need to recharge for a few days at least. Maybe even a week. Or two.

And then, on June 7th, I will go to the GATHERING in Nashville where my comrades in the Circle will join me in the dungeon and I will join them on the surface and together we will celebrate…


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