Question & Answer with the Author
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries and the author of over 50 books, including Safely Home and six other novels and my nonfiction works The Treasure Principle, The Grace and Truth Paradox, and Heaven. My wife Nanci and I are the parents of two married daughters and we have five wonderful grandsons. I enjoy hanging out with my family, biking, tennis, research and reading.
What was your motivation behind this project?
Deception had been on my mind, off and on the back burner, for ten years. It was fun—but a lot of hard work—to finally write it. The many letters I got from those who’d read my previous novels Deadline and Dominion served as a big encouragement to write this semi-sequel. It’s really fun to have the end product now, and to feel good about it. I’ve enjoyed the encouraging responses.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project?
First, a story that entertains them. If that doesn’t work, the theme or underlying message won’t work either. That underlying message is that there is an unseen realm and that things are not as they appear. I want to leave my readers with the sense that to follow Christ is not only right, but it’s smart and ultimately in their best interest. To not follow him is a form of self-destruction, even though we don’t typically think of it that way. If we have eyes to see, we’ll realize that God’s calling to us, the life he wants us to live, and the rules and principles of Scripture are like guardrails. The purpose of guardrails on a winding mountain road is not to mess you up; it’s to prevent you from being hurt. So if you dent your fender on a guardrail that kept you from going off a cliff, you don’t curse the guardrail – instead you say, “Thank you to whoever put that guardrail there, because it just saved my life!” I think readers of Deception are left with a sense of God’s providence and protection, and also a sense of the choices he leaves us with, whether we’re believers or nonbelievers.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project?
Though publishers and readers have asked me to, I’ve never in my previous six novels felt I wanted to go back and use the main character again as such in a subsequent book. I know it would be easier in some ways, but I’ve felt like each person gets one book on center stage. Ollie Chandler is the first character that has made me feel different about this. When I started Deception, I thought this would be it, no more stories centered on Ollie. But once I got inside his head, things slowly changed. I thought, I like this guy, I like his quirks, his sense of humor, the gruff exterior and the soft heart, the head-butting toughness and the vulnerability of a lifetime of hurts. So, depending on the response to Deception (because I’ll find out whether readers really like Ollie), Lord willing, there may well be one or more other Ollie stories to come.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?
Those who read Deception will see that I have a special love for Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories—every chapter begins with a Holmes quote. In Deception, I also pay tribute to the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout. I've read or listened to most of the forty-seven Nero Wolfe books. Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know? On the New Earth, I want to meet people whose lives were touched by my books, and hear their stories. And I want to thank all the people whose writing touched my life. On the present Earth, I want to be remembered as one of God’s grateful errand boys. I want my life and my writing to have said, “It’s all about Jesus, not about me.” I won’t leave behind much of an inheritance to my children and grandchildren, but I hope my wife Nanci and I leave a deep and abiding heritage.