Here are some answers to some frequently and some not-so-frequently asked questions...

If you have some questions that are not answered, drop me a line on the page and I will answer and add it.

How did you become a writer?
I have always loved words. They are the most powerful things on earth. Whether fiction or non-fiction, words are the means by which God called something out of nothing! Jesus was the Word of God in flesh and spoke to wind and waves and conveyed the truth through parables. Words can cause great pain and bring great joy; they can inspire and encourage and create meaning out of nonsense (and vice versa). I always loved books—not just reading them, but the way they felt in my hand and smelled in my nose, but I owe my early love of writing to my sister Bennie, who had me writing essays at the ripe old age of six years old. I wrote on prejudice, war and peace, and other social issues especially relevant to 1971. I was no prodigy, for sure, and the collected essays are about what you would expect of a six-year-old essayist. But I learned the power of language beginning just then.

Later, my chosen career (psychologist), and the torturous training required to practice entailed that I do a lot of technical, academic writing and master the art of jargonese. I found those words weakest, though, and returned to a better way of expressing myself, a way that was kinder if not always gentler. I found myself saying, "Can I ever have a thought of my own that doesn't have to backed up with ten references cited in Chicago style?" It was then, in 1991, that I began writing fiction in earnest. I had written stories and poems over the years as an avocation and nothing compared to the thrill of putting words together and getting it...I'm a perfectionist...almost right. So I began writing, and rewriting, and trashing most of it. The Healing of Ryne O'Casey went through a great many revisions. I finished it in 1992. Then I finished it again in 1995. Then I finished it again in 1998. Will this ending do? What's this word doing here? Why did I ever think this was any good? That phrase doesn't work; this one does...and so on. I would finish it and put it away and write something else: a short story, a suspense novel for a change of pace, some poetry. Then I would pull it out of the drawer and have at it again. Finally, in Fall 2003, I had what I can only describe as an epiphany...

What do you mean "epiphany"?
Well, my wife Lena and I dropped the boys off at the grandfolks and headed south for a long weekend getaway on Jekyll Island, Georgia. While we were on the way to dinner on nearby St. Simon's Island, we spotted a hitchhiker clad in faded jeans and with a guitar slung over his back. We don't usually pick up hitchhikers, but it was an unseasonably hot afternoon on the Golden Isles of Georgia, and we said, "Why not?" It just so happened that we had picked up a southern writer and gentleman of some renown... That experience motivated me to pull the The Healing of Ryne O'Casey out of the drawer and submit it for publication. The gracious writer was generous enough to read and comment on the novel. I made a change that really made a difference and went through the final prep and I sent it out.

What is "Christian fiction"?
I've pondered that quite a bit. It's a little like using the adjective "Christian" to modify a word like house. What is a Christian house? A house that Christians live in, or is there something about the house itself that is Christian? Semantics, I know. But I hope by the term Christian fiction we mean writing that is not meticulously sanitized and mannered because that strikes me as—what?—counter-Christian. By sanitized, I'm not talking about gratuitous violence, foul language, graphic sex scenes, and the like. I'm talking mainly about character and circumstance, or plot. Personally, I grimace at gingerbread characters warm from the oven. Without the evil backdrop, which is life in the fallen world, there is no contrast for good, and Christian fiction should be as real as can be in portraying the Christian worldview in stark contrast to that other worldview. Maybe if there's not something disturbing, edgy and challenging, about a piece of work, it's not really deserving of the adjective Christian because Jesus was always edgy and always a disturbing presence, and He always challenged and challenges those He encountered and encounters. I prefer CBA & non-CBA books that challenge me: Anything by Flannery O'Connor or Lisa Samson or Frederick Buechner; James Calvin Schaap's Romey's Place; Linda Dorrell's True Believers. I realize that readers read for different reasons at different times. Sometimes, it's for pure entertainment. A book offers a respite from the madding crowd. Nothing heavy; nothing sad; a happy ending is nice. Other times, it's for enlightenment or inspiration. That's what I usually look for in a book. Something that will inspire me to see things in a different light. A strong voice, realistic characters confronting real challenges, and a plot that shows the grace, mercy, hope, and love in the midst of their opposites is what keeps me riffling through those bookstore shelves...

If you weren't writing what would you be?
I've tried it and can tell you from experience: Miserable.


Copyright © 2015 Scott Philip Stewart