Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Interview with Robert Liparulo

DeadFall has what some would consider minimal Christian content. Was this intentional, or are you purposely trying to reach the general market? If so, what is your message?

I’m not writing to a “market”. I’m trying to write for the type of reader that I am. I like action thriller books, and I had grown frustrated with the lack of well-written thriller books anywhere except in the general market. I previously did book reviews for New Man magazine, and I could not find fiction in the CBA market that entertained. In order to read what I enjoyed, I had to wade through over-the-top language and explicit sex in the general market to get a satisfying read. I wanted something realistic with a lot of good action. I’m trying to write books that anyone can enjoy without having to put up with clearly immoral language/scenes found in the general market.

Before I signed my last book contract, I had bids from both Thomas Nelson and a large mainstream publishing house. Even though I really felt God wanted me to go with Thomas Nelson, I knew that I might be pushing the limit of edgy to a new level for them. When we talked about it, Nelson understood my vision for good, action-thriller novels, and so I chose to go with them. I am very happy with that decision, because even though I want to write for Christians and non-Christians, I don’t want to write for both markets.

As I’m working on a project, I have a prayer team that prays for me as I write. My pastor always reads my manuscripts before they are published, and Allen Arnold, publisher at Thomas Nelson, constantly looks at my work and asks if I can say something a different way. I feel like it is important to have these checks and balances in my writing so that I never cross the line and write something that isn’t pleasing to God.

Where did the idea for DeadFall come from? What was the “what-if” question that got the story started?

One of the primary characters in DeadFall is modeled after my best friend of 30 years who works as a game warden in Cheyenne. He is a very grounded, thoughtful Christian, but he is also very rugged. I asked myself what kind of situation would make a person like my friend have to reach really deep to find the strength to face a very difficult situation. DeadFall’s main character, Hutch, finds himself in a situation that makes him reach deep very quickly.

What other projects are you working on?

There will be a continuation – not exactly a sequel - to DeadFall where one of the primary characters explores the behind-the-scenes forces that were at work in the first novel. There are characters in this story that I want to get to know better, and that will be explored in the next book.

I am also working on a Young Adult 6-book series. The first two books in this series are scheduled for release in the Summer of 2008 with a working title of the Dream House Kings.
I am also working on a joint project that is scheduled to be made into a political thriller movie. I’m having to move my schedule all around to try and get it all done in a way that makes sense and that will make my stories timely.

What are you afraid of? Is that fear something we see in your novels?

I’m afraid of things in the dark and the concept that there are invisible forces at work, both good and evil, all around us. I’m not afraid of how that affects my faith, because I know I am secure in my faith, but the thought of those forces at work is kind of scary.

Fear of losing my family is probably the theme you will see in many of my books. I lost my sister when she was 23 years old and I was 28. At the time, I was father to a one-year-old and a four-month-old, and it made me very aware of how truly fragile life can be. I tend to be overprotective sometimes, and no matter when I pray, I always ask God to protect my family. I have been married 23 years, and we now have four children. Family is very important to me.

What is your favorite family activity?

I love the beach! I love burying my children up to their neck in the sand, digging holes on the beach, playing in the surf, getting sand in your picnic food…I love time on the beach with my family! I don’t get a lot of that in Colorado, but any time we go on vacation, I try to go to the beach.

I also love watching movies and discussing them with my wife. In college I was a movie production major before switching to English, and I love to look closely at a movie and try to figure out how it could be better, what was done well ect…It took a while for me to convince my wife that this was fun, but now we enjoy it!

Bob Liparulo is a delightful man to talk to! There is so much more than just questions and answers when you interview him, because he likes to “ramble”. I have learned that he is a man who prayerfully seeks what God would have him to write. When he was writing his first novel, Comes a Horseman, he really struggled and prayed over whether or not to have an overt Christian message in his work. One morning, as he started his day, he looked out his window and viewed the beauty of Pike’s Peak. God placed the question clearly in his mind and heart:
“Do you see me in the Mountain?”
“Yes, Lord, I see you in all nature, just as the Bible teaches,” Bob’s heart responded.
“But do you see My name written on the mountain?”
“No, of course Your Name is not written on the mountain,” came the reply.
“Write like that!”

Through that experience, Bob gained peace and confidence in his heart and mind about the direction God wanted him to go in his work. He has published three novels so far, and they are all edgy, but carefully thought out and prayed over works. While Bob knows he can’t please everyone and that there will be some in the Christian market that find his work to be offensive in one way or the other, he wants to write stories that will be pleasing to God, and he wants to continue to seek God’s direction as he continues to write. He has had people write to him that have seen God’s imprint on his work in ways even he wasn’t aware of! He knows that God is there in the stories. Right now, he’s writing some of the most exciting thrillers in the Christian market!!!


Scrambled Dregs said...

Great interview, Kim. And Bob.

He really seems like a cool guy. That's the best thing about reviewing Christian fiction - all the cool, down to earth people you meet.

Anonymous said...

Robert Liparulo sounds like a great author. I'm interested in checking out DeadFall from this post. I am impressed that Robert stands his moral and spiritual ground when it comes to publishing. The readers of this blog may also be interested in Paul Mark Tag. Paul is not a Christian author per say, but his writings are full of depth and thrill. His latest book "Prophecy" his sequal to his first eco-thriller novel Category 5 is one of the better books published recently. Check it out. And give me some feedback if you liked his writing. Thanks.