Learning From Fiction

In an interview after I’d published Into The Light, I was asked, What would you like readers to take away from your book?

This is a difficult question for me to answer. I could list a dozen things I’d love readers to take away from any one of my books. Each has underlying themes, sometimes intentional, sometimes not. While important aspects of the various plots, I hope these issues never come across as preachy or overpowering. The best themes are always subtle.

The reason this is a difficult question for me is because fiction is a personal venture. Each reader approaches a book from a different vantage point. Their own experiences in life give different shades of color to all they see, hear, and read. Telling someone what I’d like him/her to get from a book takes away their crayons. I want them to color the pictures along with me.

People who know me won’t be surprised to learn I’m interested in social justice – or the lack thereof. These issues pop up in much of my writing. For instance, with Beyond Salvation a reader might rethink the homeless situation here in the U.S. With Enemies and Playmates, a reader might get a different perspective on domestic abuse.

Into The Light is less subtle in its themes because they are woven into Max’s character and his journey. To follow Max’s story means taking in and examining the things he learns about himself. In part, this book is about loss, regret, and what happens when we allow other people to shape our opinions of ourselves. I would love for readers to learn from Max and maybe shed a bit of the baggage we all carry with us.

That being said, the primary goal of fiction should always be entertainment. Ultimately, my answer is simple: I hope my readers take away a feeling of time well spent.

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