Occasionally readers ask me why I chose to insert a religious element into my thrillers. I take issue with using the word ‘religious’ to describe what I’ve written. For me, the word religious or religion implies sitting in a house of worship, following along and reciting the correct things at the appropriate times.
My relationship with God is anything but that. It’s cultivated in long walks, exhilarating drives in the Mustang, illuminating conversations, music, or myriad other ways. Sometimes it withers while I slog through woundedness, grief and righteous anger. Other times it flourishes like a wildflower, spreading its fragrance everywhere.
For those who haven’t yet read my stories, the protagonist is Rowan Milani, (portrayed on the cover of my books by Nicholas Guilak) an über-confident man who’s been betrayed and wounded beyond belief. He’s filled with grief and rage. Over the course of the series, Rowan has several encounters with an enigmatic ‘presence,’ offering him unfathomable kindness, healing and redemption.
These experiences, coming when Rowan is in desperate need, haunt him. He can find no rational explanation for what he senses is being offered. Of course, that’s the thing about the spirit realm. Rational explanations don’t apply.
My goal is to write as accurately and believably as I can and Rowan’s encounters reflect elements of my own brushes with the spirit realm. Dreams and Visions, by Tom Doyle, was a valuable resource as well. This book shares the experiences of Middle-Eastern people who meet the person of Jesus Christ in dreams and visions.
It’s fair to say Rowan has a deep-seated and sometimes outright antipathy toward God. It’s also fair to say God has a habit of pursuing the most unlikely people. (Take a few minutes sometime to read about Saul who became Paul). God is pursuing Rowan, in the fictional sense of course, as He pursues all people.
One thing I’ve discovered in the process of working out my own Christian faith, is that God does indeed reach out. I’m always free to respond – or not. Whether Rowan will choose to respond remains to be seen. Stay tuned. My characters write the story and I follow along, so we’ll figure it out together.