Saturday, July 19, 2008

Donald James Parker Interview

Our special guest for today is Donald James Parker, whom you may remember from the interview/blog contest for his novel, All the Voices of the Wind. This week, we’re giving away a copy of Don’s newest book, Reforming the Potter’s Clay. Thanks for joining us, Don!

DJP: Thanks for having me.

HC: What gave you the idea to write Reforming the Potter’s Clay?

DJP: It goes back to why I got back into writing in the first place. I had a dream experience where I felt I was being told to write a book about evolution. In the morning when I fully woke, I asked the Lord, "did you ask me to write a book about evolution?" For perhaps only the second time in my life that small still voice spoke to me as clear as an actual voice with the words "And when you're done with that, I want you to go after Harry Potter and the sexual revolution." Potter's Clay is my attempt to be obedient. As far as the content, I wanted to out Potter JK Rowling. I patterned the story after the Potter books with kids being the heroes and getting into adventures, playing sports, etcetera. I do invoke a lot of humor in my work, not something that seemed to be evident when I read the first three books of the Potter series as research for my book.

HC: I can tell from your writing that you care strongly about the subject matter. It comes across in your characters, as well. What do you most want to get across to your readers?

DJP: The goal in this work is to make people see that the Harry Potter books may seem innocent on the outside, but the attraction to witchcraft is a doorway into the occult. Some people want to argue that point. For some reason a vast number of Christians choose to embrace Potter. After I finished the book, I felt strongly that I needed to add one more sentence to the ending – one directed expressly at Christians. I'm not really giving away the ending, so here is the dialogue: "I simply ask them, if Harry Potter isn't evil, what harm will it cause them to avoid him, anyway. And if Potter is demonic, what harm is it going to do to their Father in Heaven and his kingdom on earth if they embrace Harry?" The way I look at it, life is a journey on a treacherous road. If we keep in the middle of the road, our chances of going off a cliff are diminished. So I preach avoiding even the appearance of evil. Of course, I didn't feel that strongly about Potter until my experience that fateful morning that diverted my life. A lot of church leaders have spoken out about Potter and many non-fiction books have been written on the subject. Some novelists tried to diminish Potter power by writing their own magical stories with Christianity involved. I felt the need to fight Potter with miracles and not magick.

HC: I think this story would make a great film, if you could get around copyright difficulties in mentioning the books that formed the idea for the story. Would you be open to having it made into a film, should the opportunity arise?

DJP: I don't believe there is a copyright issue with mentioning books. Copyrights protect the inside of the book, not discussion concerning the contents. I definitely am interested in getting into the film industry. I've reached a point where I don't think my future lies in the world of books. I am not a very good writer of description. My strength is dialogue, and frankly, that is all I want to write. In the near future, I plan on writing a movie script. I have blue prints for several stories, but it's becoming clear to me that video is much more influential over people than the written word. My goal is not to entertain people, but to change their lives, so the movie route looks like the ticket. Obviously, I can't self publish a movie so there is no guarantee that my work will ever be offered to the public.

HC: Some of us who are with you on the American Christian Fiction Writers book club yahoo boards know that you’ve started a publishing house, Sword of the Spirit Publishing. Please tell us the story behind that, what gave you the idea, how you did it, and whether you’d recommend starting a publishing company to others.

DJP: When I discovered Lulu Publishing, the wheels started turning in my head. At the time I didn't want to abandon the goal of landing a contract with a traditional publisher. However, after a trip to the Mount Hermon conference, it became painfully clear to me that my goals were not consistent with the agents and publishers that I encountered. I could see that even if I found someone who wanted to publish my books, it was very likely they would ask me to tone down my John the Baptist approach. I'm not going to do that, just to be more popular and make more money. How I did it was pretty simple. Anybody can start their own publishing company. With Lulu when you buy their distribution package, you can choose to do so as the owner of the ISBN number, making you the publisher and not Lulu. All of their infrastructure is available at your fingertips for creating the book and distribution it across the internet. Prospering such an organization is a whole different story. This is a very competitive industry, and the chances of SOS flourishing are probably similar to a snowman standing next to the fireplace. If success occurs, it definitely will be a God thing. I wouldn't recommend to anyone to get into the writing game in any capacity, unless God has called you to that ministry.

HC: I noticed at the website, you aren’t yet accepting manuscripts from other writers. Do you have any idea at this time when you will open the door to submissions?

DJP: I have to get all of my current books on the market first. That is just about accomplished as I have five done and two to go. However, let me warn your readers that my goal as a publisher won't fit most writers. I'm not looking for the next great mystery or love story. Other publishers can handle those manuscripts. I'm looking for controversial things which apply the word of God. Jesus said that in the latter days men would not be able to endure sound doctrine. I aim to keep man's feet to the fire to hold fast to the rock and not be led astray by deceptive voices. So my hope is to be seriously looking at other people's work before Christmas.

HC: Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today! We pray that Sword of the Spirit Publishing will be a true success, and that the Lord continues to bless your writing!

To be entered in the drawing to win a copy of Reforming the Potter’s Clay, just leave a comment here or at the other blog, or send an e-mail mentioning this interview to hope _ chastain [at] yahoo [dot] com. (Replace the [attributes] and close up the spaces.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Day Till the Fourth of July

I'm thinking about freedom today. Freedom means so many different things to people. To some, it just means setting off some fireworks on the Fourth of July. To others, it means being able to do anything they want, any time they want, any way they want. Is that really freedom, though, or is it selfishness in disguise?

Let me tell you what I think freedom isn't:
  • it isn't a license to do whatever you want regardless of the consequences or who gets hurt
  • it isn't just a slogan
  • it isn't just for Americans, although it certainly is for us
  • it isn't to be treated lightly

Freedom is:

  • a priceless treasure that costs a great deal, in time as well as in the lives of the men and women who fight to protect it
  • a chance to do the right thing because you want to, not because you have to
  • a chance to become whatever you have the desire to become
  • not a right, but a privilege

The ultimate freedom is spiritual freedom, and the chance to live forever. That freedom was purchased on a hill just outside the gates of Jerusalem a couple of thousand years ago. Unlike the freedom of the United States, a person isn't just born into that freedom. You have to choose whether to accept that freedom. It won't cost you anything, but it cost Jesus everything. If you'll let Him, He'll give you a freedom that surpasses anything you've ever known. Just put your trust in Him. Be free this Fourth of July!