Today I am delighted to welcome author Terry Barnes. Terry is an award-winning novelist who has written two novels plus numerous articles. He is also an online, adjunct professor of religion with a focus on worldviews. He lives in Kansas with his wife of over 36 years, and is a father, grandfather, and (of course) a fly fisherman. You can visit his website at: http://terrybarnes.us/.
Terry, welcome to Interviews & Reviews! For those who aren't familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a writer and an online, adjunct professor of religion for a couple of universities, with a focus on worldviews. So it should be no surprise that the Christian worldview permeates all of my writing, including this latest novella.
How many books have you written?
As the Leaves Kiss the Stream (eLectio Publishing) is a novella and my third book. The previous two, In Everything Give Thanks (Tyndale) and Whispered to the Heart (Liberty University Press), were both novels. Information can be found on my website: http://terrybarnes.us.
Was there a particular challenge in writing a novella?
Actually this book was much longer in some of the earlier drafts. The result was a great story poorly told. The solution was to cut the bloat, and I found this to be a brutal operation. I deleted scenes and characters, distilled the story to its essentials, then rewrote for style. So I suppose the challenge of a novella is to keep a sharper focus on the story. The prose must be crisp or the novella dies.
What is this latest book about?
This is a story about a father who takes his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter camping and fly fishing in the Ozarks in an effort to win her back to the family. And though the story is driven by father-daughter conflict, ultimately this is a story of grace and redemption.
Isn’t camping and fly fishing an unusual backdrop for a father-daughter story?
Not really, certainly not for outdoors people. But there’s actually a bit more here. The Ozarks is the setting, but it almost becomes a character as the story develops. The Ozarks, the outdoors, the fly fishing, all actually become a rich source of symbols and metaphors found in the book.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
Though the focus of the story is on the daughter, Erin, the story is actually about the father and his growth to a deeper understanding of grace. After all, it’s the grace of God that changes lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
In Luke’s story of the Two Sons (The Prodigal Son, chapter 15), it was the sight of dad running that brought the younger son to repentance. This image generated the initial inspiration for the story.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
This is a story about a father who takes a small but profound spiritual step, where his understanding of grace and redemption deepens. And because of his journey, we too can have deeper understanding in our spiritual journey. After all, this is a purpose of story, to help us see meaning in life. As I’ve noted, the inventor creates so that life might be better, but the writer creates so that we might be better.
This sounds like a very interesting book. Thank you for sharing it with us and for stopping by.