Ted Dekker interview on Focus on Fiction

Christian fiction author Ted Dekker
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Focus:   Ted, can you tell us how many books you have in print in the Christian market?

Ted Dekker:  Seven

Focus:  You've received tremendous positive response about your most recent book, Thr3e, but rumor has it you're pushing forward to even greater things next year.  Can you tell us why 2004 is being called your "Year of the Trilogy"?

Ted Dekker:  The Trilogy, Black, Red, and White, is a huge step for me creatively.

It's my masterpiece if you will allow me that term. When I first received my call to writing fiction, it was for this story which brings to light salvation history in a very unique way. The reason the publisher is calling it the "year of the trilogy," is simply because no one has ever brought an entire trilogy out, all in hardcover, in the same year before. Needless to say, I've had my head buried this year.

Focus:  Your father is Dutch-Canadian, your mother is from Montana, you grew up as a missionary kid in Indonesia, and now you live and write in Colorado.  How has this incredible background affected who you are today?

Ted Dekker:  I've never been rooted in any particular culture, and this has allowed me to peer into various cultures from the outside. They say that a good writer is first of all a good observer -- my background has forced me to observe well. What insight I have comes in part from being bounced around the world as a child.

Focus:  Our lives have all been touched and challenged by various people.  Is there one person who has most influenced your life?

Ted Dekker:  My father, whom I really didn't know well until I was in my twenties since I went to boarding school. He is a true follower of Christ.

Focus:  What motivated you to become an author?

Ted Dekker:  A specific calling to write stories that reveal the character of God. I was in a time of worship and I felt God impress on me his desire that I write a particular story that filled my mind. I've been learning how to do that ever since.

Focus:  Can you describe your average writing day?  Do you have a set schedule, or just work like crazy when the "muses" strike?

Ted Dekker:  I believe that inspiration comes on the back of discipline. My day starts at about seven. After a quiet time and some reflection on what I will write that day, I spend an hour editing the previous day's writing. I then write roughly 3000 words, which usually lands me at six p.m. The evenings are for family only.

Focus:  Is there a particular book among those you've written that you would especially recommend to our readers?  If so, why?

Ted Dekker:  If you want to sink your teeth into a story that will challenge your notion of God and his love, try When Heaven Weeps -- but I warn you, it's not for the timid. If you want a lighter read, try Blink or Thr3e. If you want traditional Christian Fiction, there are plenty of other gifted writers to choose from.

Focus:  Your book, A Man Called Blessed, fueled my longing for a deeper walk with God in a way few stories ever have.  Can you tell us a little about what God was doing in your heart as you wrote this story?

Ted Dekker:  A Man Called Blessed is a story of an adult rediscovering child-like faith. It's one thing for us to watch a child and see what we might want to emulate, it's another thing to watch a man uncovering the passion and faith resident in most unspoiled children. Like all of my novels, this was a journey of my imagination, an ideal drawn in full color. Honestly, it's one of my favorite novels. It's one I would do well to read frequently.

Focus:  What do you feel is the greatest message with which God has entrusted you, and why have you chosen fiction as the medium for that message?

Ted Dekker:  In essence, my books boil down to God's pursuit of man, and man's pursuit of God. My protagonists are rarely Christians, but rather people thrust into extraordinary situations that ultimately lead them to God. Fiction allows me to put flesh on dogma and make this pursuit real.

Focus:  What response do you hope to stir in the readers of your stories?

Ted Dekker:  I would like my readers to close the cover at the end and say, "Wow, I never thought of it like that before." I would love to give readers fresh ideas of God's incredible love and the struggle we all face in receiving that love.

Focus:  The Christian fiction field has rapidly expanded over the past few years.  What would you like to see happen in this field in the years to come?

Ted Dekker:  I would like to see the tag "Christian" fiction fade away. When a novel is given this tag, it's automatically put into a very narrow and often misunderstood box that does it and the gospel of Christ no favors. In general, the term "Christian" has much less to do with following Christ and much more to do with being part of a social institution. So it goes in the literary world as well. Most Christians don't even read "Christian" fiction, preferring instead general market fiction primarily because of the stigma associated with the Christian fiction tag. They think of Christian fiction in terms that no longer accurately represent it.

Focus:  We've heard tales of starving artists and writers selling their cars to fund their careers.  Did writing have a negative impact on you financially, particularly at the beginning of your writing career?

Ted Dekker:  I wrote for three years, full time, living off of our savings before I was published. We sold the Suburban. We sold my motorcycles. We sold anything we thought we could live without. And then we sold my first book. You have to understand, writing was a calling for me and I followed it religiously.

Focus:  Many writers are also avid readers.  Do you have any favorite authors?  If so, could you name a few?

Ted Dekker:  Philip Yancey. John Piper. Dallas Willard. Dean Koontz.

Focus:  How can readers and fans encourage you as you pursue what is sometimes a challenging and solitary job?

Ted Dekker:  Hearing positive feedback through my website is the highlight of each day. Connecting with readers through my stories is what my life is all about. Nothing is more encouraging than knowing I've done so.


Focus on Fiction is pleased to feature

Ted Dekker

Ted is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil.  He is the #1 best-selling author of Blink as well as the critically acclaimed Thr3e, Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, and Thunder of Heaven and the co-author of Blessed Child and A Man Called Blessed.  Raised in the jungles of Indonesia, Ted now lives with his family in the mountains of Colorado.


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