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Know Jack #380 Oh, the Horror!

“How can you call yourself a Christian and write all those horror stories?”

Not a-fan.

I’ve been asked this question repeatedly over the years and the answer is twofold. One part is philosophical/theological. The other part is practical. The former I am always quite ready to share. The latter, not so much. At least I have not chosen to share it in a public forum such as this before. However, I will do so this once.

I will start by saying that I am not ashamed of my faith in any way. I think that no matter what I am writing, my faith is not hidden. However, I think my faith, as expressed in my writing, tends to be more overlooked than sought out. It happens in the same manner that f-bombs are skimmed over by readers who don’t like their use. But on to the question at hand.

First, the philosophical aspect of the answer. It’s really quite simple, for me, horror reduced to its elemental parts, is nothing but a battle of good versus evil. Sometimes good struggles while evil seems to gain the upper hand. This is done not to glorify evil, but to paint a realistic picture. Being “good” isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes the narrow way is paved with tribulation and pain.

Goodness always comes at a price. It is a price not everyone is prepared to pay which is what separates true goodness from the “I’m good enough as I am”. Spoiler alert—in my stories, good wins every time. That, to my way of thinking, is not fantasy, but fact.

The second part of the answer always leaves me feeling let down. When I say let down, I don’t mean disappointed, more a kind of bittersweet sadness. I said this part was practical, and so it is. The bottom line is that people buy and read my horror stories. They do not buy my faith-based work. I’m not complaining, I’m just telling it like it is.

Would I quit writing horror and write only stories of faith if the opposite were true? No more than I have quit writing my faith-based novels. I will say this though, for the last eighteen years I have written for readers. However, while I write for the reader, I write whatever inspires me at the moment. As a chef who cooks, because he likes to see people eat, I write to see people read. If that were not true, I wouldn’t be publishing books in the first place.

Few people buy my Christian stories, which means few people read them. Numbers don’t lie. The strange part is—it doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing them. Hope springs eternal. So, there it is, the mystery unraveled. Christianity is not a roadblock to life. It is the superhighway of real life that gives meaning to everything else.


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