There isn’t much to do in the country for a young boy with an active imagination and sixty two acres of pastures and woods unless imagination opens the door to another reality. I spent my childhood chasing dinosaurs, giant robots, aliens from Alpha Centauri, and an occasional cow through this vast land of imagination. And, then I discovered another world — the universe of stories!
My parents grew up during the Depression and would gather on weekends with their relatives. While they shucked corn or shelled peas, these hardy survivors of dustbowls and famines spun wild stories of lightning storms, exploding syrup mills, and haunted graveyards. I would sneak back into the house, turning my back on the other kids playing outside so I could hide in the back hallway and listen to these incredible tales.
In the eighth grade, I saved up my meager allowance and bought a teal blue portable typewriter and began to write down my own stories. They were a mixture of the wild imaginative tales I had played out under the stars and the strong, heroic spirited characters of my parent’s stories. I was doomed; captured; enslaved by Story!
Throughout high school, I wrote for the church newsletter and I had the honor and privilege of being taught by Mrs. Griswold in English who wrote at the top of every creative writing assignment, “Publish! Publish!” in bright, red ink. While a senior in high school, my poem, “Epitaph” won first place in the state of Louisiana. It seemed my writing career was off to a start.
But, God intervened. He called me to another profession and the call was as powerful and undeniable as any call into the ministry. He wanted me to be the very last thing in the world I wanted to be — a doctor. I continued to write through college and medical school trying my best to get my science fiction stories published. My one claim to fame? A rejection letter signed personally by Isaac Asimov. I continued to write for the medical school newsletter under the pseudonym “Grok” and spun out highly sarcastic and caustic tales of robotic instructors and Nazi-esque security guards to the delight of the rebellious student population.
I married Sherry Kidd in 1980 after joining Brookwood Baptist Church. I finished a residency in radiology and settled into private practice in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1983 with every intention of renewing my writing career.
But, God intervened. Again. I was asked to help out with the writing of a drama. As I sat before the computer and banged out dialogue, I discovered I LIKED this! Then, I was asked to direct the drama I had co-written and I was smitten. Beginning in 1989 God took me on a journey through drama. In 1992, I became the drama director at Brookwood and over the next fifteen years wrote dozens of full length plays, hundreds of short dramas, directed, produced, acted, and spoke at regional, state, and national drama conferences. I wanted to start a multimedia Christian fine arts organization.
But, God intervened. Once again. After months of struggling with the fledgling organization I descended into a deep, dark depression. God crushed me. I learned the futility of taking my good idea, holding it up to God and asking him to bless it. “Hey, God! Guess what we’re going to do together!” When all God wanted me to do was put aside my good idea and embrace his God idea. After two years of counseling and therapy, my pastor, Mark Sutton came to me and admitted that he, too, suffered from depression. “Let’s write a book.” He said.
In 2001, Broadman & Holman (now B&H Publishing) released “Conquering Depression: A Thirty Day Plan to Finding Happiness”. This book has continued to be a strong seller and we still receive almost weekly emails regarding how this one little book saved someone’s life. God’s idea, indeed!
And so, it was with great humility I asked God to show me what to do next. I wanted to write my novels I had been working on for twenty years. But, once again, God broke me and reminded me that my good ideas, well, you know the rest! And so, I released it all to God and said, “If I only write one book, then give me the peace to accept the fact that I am blessed to be included in your work here on earth.” And that night, I woke up at 4 AM with the story of “The 13th Demon” in my head. I sat down and finished this brand new novel in 30 days.
That was way back in 1999. Rejection after rejection followed for Christian publishers did not understand this very dark, edgy book. They didn’t understand my desire to include my newest love, Christian apologetics, in the storyline. As Michael Crichton would use science and history, I decided to use evidence for the Christian worldview as a starting point for my fast paced, character driven story. I went through two agents before I decided to step out on faith and self-publish “The 13th Demon”. It was well accepted and won several awards. I then self-published the second book, “The 12th Demon” to very good sales and good reviews. At this point, having a “track record” I contacted a reputable agent recommended by one of my author friends. Jeff Jernigan of Hidden Value Group saw the potential of my work. And, in the spring of 2010 I accepted a five book contract with Charisma House imprint Realms Books.
Now, I am working on the Steel Chronicles, a thirteen book series featuring Jonathan Steel and his spiritual battle against evil. I am also working on a number of other books in other genres. I no longer lead the drama ministry at Brookwood. But, I speak regularly at our state drama festival. I also speak regularly to groups about the evidence for the Christian faith. I currently help out with Brookwood’s children’s program, Kidstuf with script adaptation, acting, producing, and directing.
I am a certified apologist for Reasons to Believe, a science faith think tank. I am a Certified Apologetic Instructor with the North AmericanMissionBoard of the Southern Baptist Convention. I have received the Certificate of Apologetics from BIOLA Universityand I am a graduate of the Dynamic Communication Workshop.
Fortunately, my two children, Sean and Casey are grown and my wife and I are taking care of our aging Jack Russell Terrier, Romeo, and our parents. Oh, and I still practice Radiology full time! So, that’s my story up until now. We’ll see what God has planned for me next!