Monday, June 8, 2009

A View from Travis Thrasher's Window - Ghostwriter!

Isolation was not only my introduction to Travis Thrasher's work, but to a genre that seemed mutually exclusive to me - Christian horror. Well, Travis Thrasher does this very well, and his latest story, Ghostwriter takes the genre to a greater level of thrills and fear than ever before.

Because of Travis' faith, there is a definite underlying message to his fearful tale, but it is subtly woven into the tale and leaves the reader with a sense that there is much taking place around us in the spiritual realm - much we need to be aware of. Again, I was left feeling challenged to share the gospel with those I come in contact with for the days are growing darker, and each day brings us closer to eternity.

Please welcome Travis Thrasher to my Window!

Ghostwriter explores many things, but to me what seemed to leap from the page was the absolute horror of unbelief. Dennis lost his wife to cancer, and that seemed to be the event that cemented his unbelief of God and anything spiritual within his heart and mind. Can God redeem events like death and cancer in the life of the unbeliever? Can God use these same types of thing to strengthen His children?

God can use anything to get the attention of both a believer or an unbeliever. In this story, Dennis is closer to believing than he realizes since he's angry at God for allowing his wife to die. In circumstances like that, we have to totally let go and rely on God. But we live in a fallen and a broken world, and bad things happen. When they do, sometimes our faith is the only thing we have left.

Everyone seems to struggle with the fact that evil/terror/ bad things happen in the lives of good people. Why do you think it is so difficult for people to understand that these things are the result of the sinful fallen world we live in? Why is it so hard to grasp the hope that still exists in spite of the evil?

I feel a lot of people hear about a loving God but then see horrible things happen and they can't connect the two. God does love us, but we live in a world where evil is present everywhere. I write these stories to try to make sense of this myself. I don't have a problem believing that God is in control or that He loves us despite the bad stuff that happens. Again, I think that in extreme darkness, all you can do is cling to the light.

Spiritual warfare is yet another area where believers and unbelievers alike become uncomfortable. While I don't think it's healthy or necessary to dwell upon the details of this warfare, certainly we need to be aware that the battle around us is raging - especially as Christ's return draws nearer. Do you view your stories as an avenue to bring about spiritual awareness? To challenge people to recognize that there is a battle raging for their eternal souls?

Good questions--deep questions. I want to explore flawed characters (which are all of us, whether we're a believer or not) and take them on journeys toward hope. With these supernatural thrillers I'm writing, I'm exploring things like spiritual warfare and evil. The nature of good and evil comes out in a major way in these stories. Ghostwriter is less about spiritual warfare than my novel, Isolation. But I'm still exploring things like that. The thing I'm trying to do is not teach or preach about certain topics. I'm trying to tell compelling stories that are both harrowing and that also offer hope. I get a lot of questions about the nature of evil and such because of these stories, and I'm certainly no expert except for being a sinner. My job is to tell a story that hopefully moves readers.

Lucy and Audrey represent belief in this story - belief in God and His call to an eternal home with Him. This is very subtly stated, but done in a way that is also powerful. You stated in the interview printed at the back of Ghostwriter that your goal as a writer is "not to build a broad readership in one category, but to build a readership that follows me wherever I go." That said, will your work always include spiritual undertones and truth? Is it important to you that your books are published by a Christian publishing house? Why or why not?

I think that my Christian worldview is always going to come out in the stories I write, whether I'm with a Christian publishing house or not. I don't like the term "Christian novelist" because of the box it puts me in. I'm writing about real people. Sometimes their story ends with them finding faith, sometimes it doesn't. That's life. I love stories about second chances and redemption, and this theme is following me throughout the novels I'm writing. I'd like to think that they will continue to be there regardless of whether I'm writing for the Christian market or the general market.

Does the genre of supernatural thriller seem to define your work completely, or are there other, tamer book ideas floating around in your mind?

I spent nine months last year writing a love story that's dedicated to my two and a half year old daughter. I'm still trying to find a home for that story. So yes, there are many other ideas floating around in my mind. I've written forty novels even though I've only had eleven of them published (with a few more coming). I've already been all over the board in terms of genre, so publishers want me to stay in a box. For now it's the supernatural thriller box (which I do enjoy).

Do you ever fear arriving in the place Dennis Shore finds himself - unable to write? Is that one of the obvious horrors that faces any writer?

I write out my fears. Fear of death, fear of losing a loved one, fear of failure. You name it--I channel those fears and put them into my novels. That would be a horrible thing to happen, feeling like I couldn't do the very thing that I so love to do. I've never had writer's block, yet I never want to be as bold as to say it could never happen to me. It's a scary thing for any writer, especially when that's how you make a living.

What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Any words of encouragement you'd like to share with your readers?

I just finished my next novel which is coming out next spring, Broken. I feel that I'm really on the cusp of some really great things happening with my writing. Readers continue to encourage and motivate me. The story idea I have that I hope to start writing in the fall is going to be a monumental work for me. I can't wait to get started on it and see what happens.

I'm like a lot of other people, taking one day at a time in terms of trying to make a living. The difference for me is that I'm doing something I so love to do and something that not a lot of people get to do. I never want to take writing for granted. I appreciate anybody who devotes their time to one of my stories. I continue to love hearing from my readers--that really fuels the fire. I continue to see God's hand in a very real way in my life, and my hope is that my writing continues to honor Him.

1 comment:

studiosmith said...

Thrasher is someone to be admired for his tenacity, fitness, discipline, and giftedness. He is a rare blend of innovator, business man, teacher and friend. He's always willing to help a young writer, and is about 10 books ahead of his publisher(s).

I am fortunate to call him one of my best friends, and I so appreciate your insights and observations, and your interviewing him in your great blog.