The Christian Fiction genre crosses the young adult/coming of age market with Christian Choice Writing Contest Grand Prize winner Josh Baker. “Please Don’t Remove MarGreat’s Glasses!” is an inspirational story that follows the trials and tribulations of privileged teenager, Timothy Clement, as he prepares for his first year of law school. The Black Caviar Book Club is proud to present another exhilarating interview and an author we hope you support.
Christian Fiction Interview Question 1: Can you explain how long it took to write this inspirational coming of age novel, and describe the feeling you had when your book won; how did that come about the Christian Choice Writing Contest?
JOSH: It took me a total of fourteen months to complete the book. It was a short story of mine, “Easter Plans” that won the Christian Choice Writing Contest. That accomplishment opened the door for me to publish, “Please Don’t Remove MarGreat’s Glasses!” I was surprised and delighted to win. It was a great honor to take the Grand Prize in that contest. That experience gave me the inspiration and incentive to finish up MarGreat’s Glasses.
Christian Fiction Interview Question 2: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult; if so can you explain why?
JOSH: I’ve always been a fan of Michael Crichton’s work. I actually wrote my first book (unpublished – in deep freeze storage) after reading ‘Sphere’. I was so inspired by his fresh storytelling that I thought, “I want to do this!” His contemporary pacing, attention to detail, natural dialogue and morally provocative scenarios sucked me in. I was sad that he passed at such a young age.
Christian Fiction Interview Question 3: I interested in Timothy Clement and how life took a sharp turn for him. If Timothy missed out on this final adventure would he have still remained an atheist?
JOSH: It is a good question to ponder – what if? One of the main themes of the book is that God has a plan for each of us, and that opportunities to embrace that plan present themselves throughout our lives. I believe Timothy would have eventually answered his calling.
Christian Fiction Interview Question 4: If you were somehow lost for words and had to rely on one page, is there a particular segment you could share with the reader right now to sell your narrative?
- Book Excerpt:
Steve nodded and asked, “So what kind of trouble you in?” Timothy didn’t say anything. It was too embarrassing to say it out loud, much less to some stranger. “Look, I’ve seen it all. Drugs, gangs, stealing. Don’t need be ashamed to tell me. Everyone breaks a law now and then.”
“Laws were made to be broken right?” Timothy pulled the phrase from his father’s repertoire.
Steve grimaced, “Heck no, what are you talking about? That makes no sense. Why have laws at all then.” Steve produced a flask from his inside pocket and took a swig. He offered some to Timothy but he declined. “Nobody is perfect. Man just ain’t built that way. We’re sinners, every last one of us.” Timothy rolled his eyes as soon as he heard mention of sin. “It’s true”.
Timothy shook his head. “That’s a bunch of nonsense. My mom used to try to sucker me into believing that stuff.”
“You should have paid attention to her.” Steve shook his finger at Timothy. “It’s never too late for redemption.”
Timothy stretched out his arms and looked about the dirty rail car. “Yeah, looks like it’s working out really great for you.”
Steve just smiled. It wasn’t the first time he had heard that. “I’m not perfect. Done plenty I ain’t proud of, that’s for sure. I lost a fine woman along the way. Lost my kids and my career too. I was in a pretty dark place when the Holy Spirit came to me.”
Timothy’s lip contracted cynically. “Isn’t that how it always is? God doesn’t show up until you hit rock bottom. Only when everyone else has abandoned you do you find God.”
“For some folks, sure.”
Steve’s affirmative reply encouraged Timothy’s rant. “God never comes to a man who has his life together.”
Steve could smell a foul odor and wondered if it was coming from Timothy or himself. “Now just a minute, that’s not true. God is knocking on your door your whole life, some folks just don’t answer. Sometimes it takes losing all distractions to really hear his call.” Steve sniffed his armpit. “What about your God fearing friends and neighbors who have been faithfully raised in the church?”
Steve wasn’t changing Timothy’s mind. “They’re either brainwashed from an early age or just too uneducated and weak minded. Life scares them and they can’t cope without some supernatural explanation for all this.” Timothy waved his hands around. “But there aren’t any explanations. People like me understand that you’ve got to get what you can in this life. I’m doing just fine without your God.”
Timothy’s vigorous tone didn’t dissuade Steve. “So was your own mother weak-minded or was she brainwashed?”
Timothy stood up. “Leave her out of it. I know I look a little messed up right now, but I’m from a very influential family; a family of leaders. We have money to buy all the chili we want. I’m going to law school in the fall. Does that sound like someone who needs to be saved? My father’s house, a really nice two-story house with a pool, is not far from here and that’s where I’m headed.”
Steve smiled. “You should see my father’s house.”
Timothy shook his head. “Yeah, whatever.”
Steve stood up alongside Timothy. “Look around - all this is temporary.”
“I hope so.” Timothy sighed.
“Anything you own returns to dust in the end. Leading a life of service, not clutching onto material things, is what matters.” Timothy scoffed at him openly. “Someday you may see what comfort serving the Lord brings.”
“I don’t need the Lord for comfort.”
“Is that so?” Steve asked. “What brings you comfort then?”
Timothy thought about it for a moment then answered, “Drawing brings me comfort. It helps me get focused and think straight.”
Steve nodded. “What kind of drawing?”
“Just some funny pictures of my brother Stephen.”
Steve picked up a jagged piece of rock and scratched the inside wall of the railcar with it. A thick white line trailed his hand. “Show me.” Steve passed the rock to Timothy. Timothy spent a few minutes drawing “Stevie the Great” on the wall. Stevie was standing on top of a train wearing a conductor’s hat while being chased by a flying saucer. “Not bad! Kind of weird, but not bad.” Steve remarked.
“He’s being chased by aliens.”
Steve nodded. “I can see that. Still kind of weird.”
Timothy noticed the rain had slowed to a drizzle and so he moved toward the open door. “Drawing is just a hobby. I’m going to make plenty of money someday with my own law firm. As I get bigger I’ll hire more people, so don’t lecture me on a life of service. How many jobs can you and your spray-painted Jesus railroad car create?” Timothy was surprised at how good it felt to sock it to him bluntly. “Jesus can’t help everyone. Sorry you messed up your life, but I’m not like you. I don’t need to be saved from anything.”
Steve shrugged nonchalantly and smiled. “My life ain’t messed up at all. Each day is a blessing.”
“You live in this dump!” Timothy reminded him with a laugh.
Steve reached outside the railcar and brought in two plastic bottles filled with rainwater and handed one to Timothy. “I’ve got a roof over my head. I’ve got fire, food and clean water on most days. Best of all; I spend my days in service to the Lord. No distractions.”
As he took a long drink from the water bottle, Timothy became uncomfortable with this new relationship. “He’s not a friend.” Timothy told himself. “Not even an acquaintance – just some guy.” Nourished and revitalized, Timothy’s arrogance returned, and he felt his departure was long overdue. “Thanks, but I have to go now.” Timothy hobbled out of the railcar and sloshed through the muddy ground toward the main highway.
From behind him Steve yelled, “God will keep knocking”. But Timothy just walked faster not looking back. Then Steve yelled, “When I was hungry you fed me. When I was thirsty you gave me drink. When I was a stranger you took me in!”
Timothy was now thoroughly unsettled. “Freak.”
- End excerpt
Josh, BCBC would like to thank you for taking the time to share a little about yourself and your book; we all wish you the very best with this and future book projects.
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