Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Interview With Author S.J. Knight

A Time To Act

1. What inspired you to write your book?
 "A Time To Act" is the fourth in a biblical/historical series I began some years ago. As the narrative began in the days of John the Baptist and travelled through to the first years of the early Christian church, my writing about the apostle Paul was clearly inevitable! I've always been drawn to this complex man and wanted to explore the possible reasons how and why he came to be the way he was.

My own fascination with him goes back a long way, to a rushed Sunday school project competition on Paul's journeys. My older brother decided to enter only three days before the deadline, writing furiously all day and night to get it done in time, blitzing through the Bible record, cutting and pasting pictures and drawing wonderful little maps with footprints leading from one strange place to another. Stuck to its brown paper cover was a little gold chain from a bracelet of my mother's, and underneath the words, "For the Hope of Israel I am Bound With This Chain!" I was only nine or ten years old, but I found this incredibly moving, evocative and exciting. I've loved Paul ever since, I think.

2. What is it about?
“A Time To Act” is a fictionalised biography of the life of Paul the Apostle, from his birth to the end of his first missionary journey. Though it is true to the scriptural record, it is primarily about the human side of this man – his intellectual and emotional struggles – because these are experiences common to us all.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
When they think back on my book I hope they remember feeling moved in some way. That they realise Bible 'figures' were in fact real, warm-blooded people who laughed and cried and suffered and overcame. And that they are left with a sense that divine love is the way to real peace and lasting joy.

4. What advice do you have for writers?
I think everyone knows the traditionally quoted 'best' advice:  "Write what you know."  In the case of historical fiction I could add:  "And if you don't know, find out." 
But the best personal advice I can pass on is to spend regular time with your characters, a little and often, just as you do with real people you care about. If they are not real to you – if you as the writer don't care about them – then why should the reader?

5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I think it's heading for eventual recovery and growth once the novelty of E-books etc wears off. I mean, you just can't drop an E-book in the bath and dry it on the towel rail, or scribble random comments in the margin, smell the pages, find crumbs in the pages from your last midnight snack, remember that greasy fingerprint on the dog ear where you marked your place, that sandy bit where you read on the beach.... need I go on? Books are physical and tactile and evocative and personal in a way that electronic media can't be. People will always love 'real' books.

Having said that, I should add that I think the growth of self-publishing through electronic means is a great thing for books in general, no matter what form. Books, which would once never have been accepted by editors with financially-determined, narrow criteria, are now out there finding enthusiastic readers.

6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
Weaving together cultural colour, historical fact and fiction satisfactorily is always a challenge. Staying faithful to the Biblical record makes it all the more demanding, as there are various interpretations of the scriptural text. Accurate timelines can be a struggle. So the research in general is a challenge for me. Sometimes I felt like my head was going to explode!

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
“A Time To Act” is an unusual combination of escapism (to a different time, place and culture) and reality (it really happened) with imagination (it might have happened), which can uplift, transport, and refresh weary minds jaded with fast living. Though it's a story of struggle and redemption, it is primarily one of great hope, which is relevant to our century and vital to each human heart.
The book is 600 pages, with lots of detail, so each time you read it you will probably pick up something new.... so it's good value for money!  Oh, and it has nice pictures! 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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