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Resources: Writing

Writing Safely Home

Safely HomeWithout a doubt, in terms of their global impact the two most significant countries on the planet are China and the United States. As recent events have shown, the countries have a profoundly uneasy relationship. Safely Home is a tale of two countries, embodied in two men, Ben Fielding and Li Quan. These characters and their families came alive for me, and I pray they will for readers too.

You include a lot of Scripture in your books, sometimes even in your fiction. And you also talk about different doctrines and theology. Is that necessary?

Yes, it is. There are a lot of doctrines (beliefs/teachings) in this world, including doctrines of cultures, institutions and personal opinion. There’s a lot of false doctrine, and good doctrine is the only correction to it.

What has been the most challenging work you have written so far?

The most challenging nonfiction has been Heaven. The most challenging fiction has been Dominion.

What inspired you to write Deadline?

DeadlineQuestion from a reader:

Why did you start writing fiction? What inspired you to write Deadline? Did you ever think you’d write a novel when you were my age (14)?

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

I wrote it because I wanted readers to see that at the heart of life is the choice of what we believe. Doc and Finney represented two conflicting world views, and Jake would have to choose between them. I also wanted readers to get a picture of eternity, a sense that the afterlife is real. I’ve written six novels now (Deadline was the first ...

Which authors have most impacted your life and work?

The big three are C. S. Lewis, A. W. Tozer and Francis Schaeffer. Others include J. I. Packer, C. H. Spurgeon, John Piper, Eugene Peterson and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Why did you start writing fiction?

Some Christians view fiction as the opposite of truth. But sometimes it opens eyes to the truth more effectively than nonfiction.

Why do you refer to Elizabeth Taylor in your book Safely Home?

The Liz Taylor reference ties to the earlier one in which, on earth, Ben Fielding has no clue who Hudson Taylor is, and Li Quan has no idea who Elizabeth Taylor is.

When you write, do you try to work each day until you’re “done,” or do you have certain hours or a daily word count goal?

Randy Alcorn


I have no certain hours or word count as a goal. Once I get going on the writing, which is always a monumental struggle because of all the other things vying for my attention, I work until my brain shuts down, or my fingers stop moving on the keyboard. This is the sign that I’m done. Often I work very late, into the wee hours of the morning.

When you write, what sort of theological “puzzles” have you had to sort through to your own satisfaction before you could continue with the story?



One example would be the problem of evil and suffering that plagues Ollie in my novel Deception. Of course, I didn’t resolve that problem, and none of us will, but I had to really ponder it, and think of it in terms of the confusion and anger it might instill in someone like Ollie. Why did his wife die? Why did someone else close to him die? (Not saying who to avoid spoiling the story.) Why do the bad guys sometimes get away with it, and why do the good guys sometimes suffer and die?  Ollie’s road to ...

Where did you get the ideas for the “chair of honor” and the reverence for the Bible box in Safely Home?

Safely Home

Question from a reader:

I know that Safely Home is a work of fiction though some aspects of the life of the persecuted church in China are true. I’m wondering if the “chair of honor” and Li Quan’s wife’s deep reverence for the box the Bibles came in, though, were based on some family’s real experience.

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

The box was based upon an experience a friend of mine had in Moscow back in 1990 where they were passing out free Bibles to people. They had run out of Bibles and a man saw ...

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