When I tell my friends, or even casual acquaintances, that I’m going to have a book published, the immediate and natural question is: “What’s it about?” Then more questions follow: “Why did you write it?” and “How did you get the idea” and so on.
At that point, words inevitably fail me and I stand there hemming and hawing like a twelve year old boy asking someone to dance for the first time.
So, I decided to answer all the questions I get in writing. That way I can tweak, edit, revise and rewrite until I feel like I’m saying something intelligible (not intelligent, mind you—there is a difference).
So, in the interests of not stammering like a fool, and for the convenience of everyone involved, I have summarized all of the frequently asked questions. I thought today, I might start answering some of the questions I am frequently asked about The Road Show. I’m also going to start posting a few of the chapters in the next few weeks. If you are highly impatient and don’t want to read this post, then scroll to the end and hit the link to the prologue.
(Hey! If want to ask a question and make it a FAQ, click here.)
The most frequently asked question is:
What is your book about?
The Road Show is the story of five broken souls—contemporary members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—each struggling with a spiritual or emotional challenge: pornography addiction, post-partum depression, ill health, loneliness, feeling excluded, and spiritual numbness.
For various reasons, they all end up participating in their ward’s road show. Most of them do this against their will, and it is not something they are looking forward to.
The conflicts, internal and external, that arise from their reluctant participation are what drives the plot forward, and their participation takes them to ultimate healing through the Atonement.
Given the nature of some of the issues in the book, I want to emphasize this isn’t a self-help book or a sermon—it’s a story about people. And it’s not all serious and solemn and depressing. A few of the endorsements have noted that the book is hopeful and even funny, and I’m glad. I thought it was when I wrote it. Often, I’d be typing on my laptop in bed late at night, giggling to myself while my wife tried to sleep. Especially when I was writing about just how bad some of the road show ideas were, or the interactions between some of the members of the ward
Why did you write this book?
Mostly because I had a story I wanted to tell—characters I wanted to follow and write about. Essentially, I had a movie in my mind that I wanted to get on paper.
However, the book is informed by my experience as a bishop. In that calling, I have seen people who carried terrible burdens healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. So, while this story is fictional, everything in the book is based on analogous experiences I have seen in real life: sick people made well, pornography addictions overcome, bitter people softened, and burned-out spirits rekindled through the Atonement. And, I have seen this happen as regular people quietly participated in what were apparently trivial, routine programs of the Church.
The thematic foundation for the book is found in Isaiah 61: 1-3. Verse 1 is the verse that the Savior read on the synagogue on the day he began his public ministry, and the whole thing is a beautiful explication of what the Messiah and His Atonement can do.
I wanted to be realistic, but I also wanted to be optimistic. I have tried to write about the problems the characters face realistically. At the same time, I have tried to be restrained in describing the struggles with pornography and depression, especially. I’ve tried to show people struggling with these issues without slapping the reader in the face--and I wanted to show that there is always hope.
But mostly I wanted to tell a story.
The prologue of the book introduces the characters and the problems they are struggling with.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it here.
And then I hope you'll tell me what you think here.
Check back--over the next few weeks, I'll be introducing characters and posting more chapters.
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