This last week, I completed final edits on The Former Things, my Christian fiction novel told from the perspective of an atheist. Now, it goes to formatting, cover creation, and a date for publication will be selected (there's more than that but this addresses the basics). For the last few days, I've had this feeling that ranges between elation and exhaustion.
As I've mentioned before, The Former Things was not a work I planned to do. In the midst of the Texas lockdown in April 2020, the Lord gave me the concept and main character for this story all at once during a prayer. It was emblazoned within me as something I had to write. And I did.
This tale took me way outside my comfort zone and made me exercise my faith in new ways, all with help and inspiration from the Lord. After all, it's not every day that a Christian fiction author writes a sympathetic atheist as a main character.
You might wonder how does a Christian author even qualify themselves to do such a thing? Does a Christian relate to an atheist or vice-versa? Not usually. This project required a lot of research and taking many perspectives into account. It took reading papers and viewing videos from a variety of sources, which was sometimes uncomfortable and even hurtful. But from that effort, I learned there are many kinds of atheists. And just like Christians and peoples of other belief systems, atheists have a wide variety of personalities, each shaped by their own experiences.
Most of all, it took prayer and persistence. In the midst of all my research and preparations, one idea kept shining through to me: The Lord loves everyone. And the Lord has a special compassion for atheists. He knows which ones will accept Him (and when) and which ones won't. God's love knows no boundaries. We can't fully comprehend it. The depths of God's love and compassion continue to fascinate and inspire me daily.
Sean Winter is a complex man who's been through a lot in his twenty four years. And yet, he is aspiring to improve himself and grow in spite of his past. But the past is a dangerous adversary. Memories haunt and dig scars into his psyche. It's made worse by not being able to tell anyone about it.
Writing Sean was another outside-my-comfort-zone experience. Sean is an introvert while I'm an extrovert. And Sean is pretty jaded at times while I'm pretty optimistic most days. As an author, I wanted to get inside Sean's mind and really bring him to life. It was an emotional journey for me as a writer and I had to convey viewpoints that I don't ascribe to for the sake of making an authentic character and experience. And at the same time, I had to trust in the Lord that this would end up glorifying Him. He wouldn't have given it to me to write if it wasn't for that purpose. God is consistent and He deserves every bit of the honor and praise due Him.
Now, I feel good about Sean's character development. And I'm confident that this is the story the Lord meant for me to write. I received much input, assistance, and encouragement from my wife. And when I tell people about this story, it immediately intrigues them. Sometimes it even floors people. And that's without even reading one word.
This is a special story. I feel that it's truly one-of-a-kind.
The Former Things may sound like a depressing story, but it's really not. It is cautionary, but it's ultimately about hope, redemption and finding peace with God.
I believe you will find The Former Things relatable, thought-provoking and enjoyable. I'll keep you up-to-date on its upcoming release.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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