Updated: Apr 13
I can’t speak for every author, but I think I can say with certainty that writing any book is a journey in itself. There’s a backstory to starting it. There’s emotional highs and lows. The pace of it goes through lulls and sudden speeds. I’m pretty certain most authors might even say producing their masterpiece changed them just as much if not more than the characters they create. I’d say that happened to me. In fact, I had zero idea that taking on an artform I had little interest in for a side-project was God’s plan for enriching our relationship and maturing me. And now that my first book, Celestial, is getting very close to publishment, I can’t think of a better time to start sharing my own author journey. This is the first entry of the story behind Celestial’s story from conception to completion.
Like any proper story, a good beginning informs the reader what to anticipate and sets up the characters for the parts they’ll be playing. God enacts His plans no differently. Study any person in the Bible, and it becomes obvious how God ensured their origins prepared and equipped them for the destinies He chose them for. It’s funny how some think God no longer works that way. I guess it’s just easier to see spot in historical figures, who’s beginning and ending have already been spelled out. If we stood in their shoes, though, we probably would be just as blind to God’s early planning as we are now with ourselves. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed my origins would prep me for book writing either. Now I look back and wonder how I didn’t notice.
Let’s start from the beginning then. Personally, I don’t like writing articles about myself. It feels kinda self-indulgent to me, but let’s face it. How and what an author writes stems from their background. Besides, most avid readers want to know where their authors came from. Well, I’m the middle child of a Christian home, and even as a little squirt, I was the bullheaded oddball. My family would say I tended to live in my own little world. I’d ponder the wildest things and proudly marched to the beat of my own drum. My dogmatic individualism did get me into trouble...a lot (and rightly so). Still, I thirsted for adventure, and the allure of discovering the unknown fueled my love of learning and my frequent daydreaming.
You know how the Bible says everyone in their heart of hearts knows the Biblical God? Well, I’m just another case study for how true that is. No one had to tell mini-me that there was more to this world beyond my senses. I innately knew it and wanted to see it. Becoming a Christian later on only amplified that desire. As soon as the Holy Spirit officially took His place in my heart, He supernaturally directed my inquisitive hunger toward His mysteries. No longer was reading my Bible a chore. I’d read it on my own to grow in knowledge and learn how to apply it in my life. All because He put it in me to recognize that His book revealed more about the heart and our past, present, and future like nothing else could. I can’t take any personal credit for the change He enacted on me. It was all Him.
Of course, every growing teen has their hobbies. Mine included gaming. I loved defeating badguys, saving the day, and doing the impossible. Thing was, gaming was just for fun. It helped satisfy my adventure craving, but I figured video games wouldn’t lead to anything real important. Then in 2011, I had a gaming experience I’d never forget. The Professor Layton series had always been one of my favorites, but finishing the third game for the first time did something to me I never expected. Its story made me cry, and if you knew anything about me, you’d know it takes a lot (and I mean a lot) to make me cry. I was so rattled by my own tearful reaction, I hid in my room from embarrassment. I just couldn’t believe how an unrealistic plot like that managed to hit me so hard. It was incredible! Then I began to question. If video games held this kind of power, why hadn’t anybody effectively used it to further God’s Kingdom yet? Attempts had been made. Still, no one succeeded in developing a fun, faith based video game. It was right then I determined I’d be that person. I’d become a game designer.
Now, some of you might be thinking, ‘This sounds like a game developer’s origin story, not an author’s.’ I’ll grant you that. This sounds jarringly off topic to me too, but hey, how many stories didn’t have plot-twists? My past self certainly was in for one. Because sometimes, even if your passions are in the right place, God just says ‘no’. Nothing I did could get my designs off the ground. It wasn’t from lack of effort. I watched videos on game design for hours. I asked for curriculums for Christmas. I attended a gaming conference, acquired a software engine, and even acted as writer and composer for a couple projects. God just didn’t provide the time, people, or money I needed.
Still, hoping I’d one day get my shot, I listed idea after idea after idea, and the one I considered my potential magnum opus was an epic RPG I called the ‘angel project’. It occurred to sixteen year old me that angels were quite literally our real life invisible superheroes. A faith centered action game based on them made too much sense. In fact, the idea thrilled me so much I threw myself right into it. However, because I wanted my product to be God honoring, I couldn’t in good conscience just do whatever I wanted with my angels. So I grabbed my Bible and the real, life-altering work began. I was on my way to making the first, amazing Christian game! Or so I thought....
I hope you liked this first entry of Celestial Diaries! There’s more to come! Please consider liking, sharing, and leaving a comment. And if you’d like to see more of what I do and my book, Celestial, visit my Celestial book page for info and shopping links and consider subscribing for my free, non-spammy newsletter below for updates and possible prizes! Thank you!