Friday, September 12, 2008

These Books Are Made For Walking

On any given fall day, there are three types of walkers one might find circuiting the park. The first are the strollers – these people are in no rush and have no greater purpose in mind but to saunter along filling their lungs with the cool afternoon air while they enjoy the beautiful sights of the changing leaves.

The second are the exer-walkers – easily identifiable by their steady pace, these folks take pleasure in their surroundings and their companions while never forgetting their overarching goal of getting the legs moving and the blood pumping.

The final group are the power walkers – these are the funky ducks-on-speed-looking people who don’t really care where they’re at as long as they’re keeping up their 5.5 mph.

If you transfer this to the book world, the first group is made up of those who are primarily out for a good story – a wild ride, a steamy romance, a well crafted who-dun-it. The third are the literary equivalent of Sergeant Friday’s, “Just the facts, ma’am!”

The second group, however, is a blend of the two, and this is where you’ll find most successful fiction written. In these books are great stories that have the added benefit of educating, challenging, and changing. The reader will experience new cultures and new situations. They will go to the front lines and behind the scenes.

Many people have asked Jason and me why we write our books. Unashamedly, we answer that our primary reason is to tell an exciting, frightening, and, often times, humorous story. But that’s not where our vision ends. Along the way, we want our readers to confront truth – this is who the real Jesus is, this is what true sacrifice means, this is why we don’t grieve like others grieve, this is why we have such hope. There is no hidden agenda – we’ll come right out and tell you our motivation. We write fiction with purpose, and our hope is that our readers are changed as a result of reading our books.

So, to the strollers we say, “Pick up the pace a bit. Enjoy your environment, but stretch yourself while you’re at it.” To the power walkers we sing (along with Simon and Garfunkel), “ ‘Slow down, you move too fast.’ There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to laugh, gasp, or even shed a tear.” And to all we say, “Grab a book, kick your feet up, take a ride, learn something, and, most of all, have fun along the way!”

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