Writing as a Christian author, leading readers rather than appearing to coerce them, provides a challenge to any writer. How to approach the subject without immediately putting off the non Christian reader?
Here, in today's how to be an author guest post, Robert Zinnecker rises to the challenge with gentleness and aplomb.
The Christian Author: How to Write With Faith
As a teenager, I aspired to be a newspaper reporter and took all the journalism, typing and English courses that I could. When that career didn’t happen, I studied accounting and went into the business world. I took a management position in the telecommunications industry and spent my career as a “turn around man”, leading failing or under-performing organizations to success. I never lost my desire to write and satisfied it by writing devotionals and articles for religious and business magazines and trade journals. Along the way, I tried very hard to prioritize my life around my faith, my family and the company that I worked for.
What's Really Important in Life?
In both of my novels, “Acquisition” which was published in 2011 and its sequel, “Sell Out”, published in March of this year, I seek to answer questions associated with acquiring what is really lasting and important in life and with how an individual should live out the commitments that he or she makes to their faith, their family and their career.
The stories are set against the background of the telecommunications industry where I spent over fifty years managing diverse operations in multiple states. The location of the stories is in a small town in Michigan’s “Thumb” area similar to the one where I spent my youth on a one hundred acre farm. The characters are based on people from my home town and from my working life.
Throughout my career I saw many talented people seeking to acquire power, position and wealth at the expense of their faith, their families and their companies. Acquisition tells the story of an executive who has done just that and now is driven to his knees in search of life’s greatest acquisition, a personal relationship with God.
In Sell out, that same executive finds himself struggling with priorities and keeping commitments as the country slips into the recession of 2008 and he watches the effects of this economic collapse on his friends and business associates. He must cope with the question of what it really means to sell out to his faith, his company and a very special woman who comes to stand beside him.
We often use the term “sell out” to describe the betrayal of one person by another. I think a more positive meaning of the term would be that a person is willing to give all of themselves to a cause another person, their faith or their profession. In other words, they are “sold out” to trying to build deeper more meaningful relationships . People struggle with making a commitment to their faith, their spouse, their family or their job because they are not willing to try hard enough to make the relationships work. They don’t “sell out” to what they say is important to them. It is in the trying that real progress is achieved. When we try with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind to love God, our families and our work, we usually achieve deeper and longer lasting relationships.
About the time that Acquisition was published, I taught a class based on John Wesley’s “Plain Account of Christian Perfection”. This caused me to begin to ask myself what it meant to love God with all my heart soul, mind and strength as the Bible directs in both the Old and New Testaments. Just as the characters in Sell Out do, I began think about this and develop a new-found commitment to my faith. Through study, meditation and prayer, I, like the characters in the book grew closer to God. A significant medical problem, followed by major surgery and a lengthy recovery period gave me both the opportunity to test the strength of this greater faith in God and to complete the manuscript for the sequel.
I chose the self-publishing route when it became clear that an unknown author such as myself, regardless of his or her life experience, would have a difficult time securing representation by an agent and a relationship with a publisher. My primary goal was to tell stories that would have a positive impact on people’s lives and not to make money. By controlling the price of my books and participating in the self-publishing process, which was a new and exciting experience for a man in his 70’s, I was able to direct both the production of the books and their distribution process.
Outskirts Press has done an excellent job of meeting my objectives for the books and I am very happy with the results of our relationship. Their people were both professional and responsive to what I wanted to accomplish. Their cover designs and scribing created an attractive presentation for both of my books. Readers have told me that the books have had a positive impact on their lives and that is what I set out to do.
The Christian author who wants to write in a way that opens a space for the journey to faith to inform his story is writing a tale with a quest at the centre of it - not unusual in the fantasy genre. You can find his book, Sell Out, at Amazon.
What do you think about faith as quest? Give us your thoughts below in the comments - and share this post with your friends using the very handy buttons on the left of the screen!