A few months ago I was approached to be a part of really cool project – the “Ask Frank” Blog Tour. From March 26 to April 4, 2012, nine authors, pastors, book reviewers and bloggers will post answers to questions they’ve asked New York Times best-selling author Frank Peretti.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Frank.
Interview with Frank Peretti
ME: Which author would you consider a mentor?
FRANK PERETTI: Francis Schaeffer, Ravi Zacharias, and CS Lewis have been strong influences in my intellectual life.
Michael Crichton has been a favorite author of mine because of the way he can put together a technothriller. He’s always been a really great model for structuring a story.
Besides these, I like to read other fiction authors to learn from them, to see how they craft their stories, develop their style, and work with words. You never stop learning, growing, getting better at what you do.
ME: What advice would you give to upcoming writers?
FRANK PERETTI: Know what you’re doing. It’s not enough to want to write a book. You have to devote yourself to learning the writing craft, knowing all the nuts and bolts, rules and fundamentals of good fiction writing. I’ve often heard would-be writers advised to “never give up,” but that’s the worst thing you can tell somebody who has no skill, no knowledge of how it’s to be done. That person can never give up, and consequently waste his/her whole life producing unmarketable material. Know what you’re doing.
ME: It has been seven years since you last wrote a book. What have you been up to during that time?
FRANK PERETTI: First of all, you can attribute two of those years to writing Illusion, so that leaves five years of my doing something else which was tinkering, attempting, hobnobbing, learning, and venturing into motion pictures. Sometimes the leading of the Lord is hard to figure. With all my heart I believed He wanted me to go in that direction and so I did, learning all I could learn about directing and acting. I took classes and workshops, read tons of books, got to know people in the movie business, wrote screenplays, talked deals, developed some video projects just for the experience. I did everything my hands and mind could find to do and after five years came away satisfied that I had failed. That doesn’t mean I’m no smarter. Overall, I’ve had quite an education not only in how movies are made but in how the business works, and of course I’ve had a very illuminating glimpse into the heart of man. Suffice it to say, I’m back to doing what I know I can really do, and that is write novels.
ME: What kind of research did you do for Illusion?
FRANK PERETTI: That was a lot of fun. Because Dane and Mandy are stage magicians, I had to find out all I could find out about the magic business, performance, stagecraft, and of course lots of magic illusions. Tony Brent, a comedy magician who works at Wonderworks in Orlando, Florida, became a friend and mentor. He let us watch his show several times and explained to us everything he was doing. He spent the day with Barbara and me, answering all our questions and telling us what the life of a stage magician is like. He recommended classic books on magic and lots of other resources, including plenty of really great sites on the Internet where I could learn about the magic business and buy books and videos. I also subscribed to Magic Magazine for 2 years. That magazine is full of secrets and advice for magicians, a remarkable resource. I even learned how to do a few magic tricks, but of course that skill has quickly faded because to be a magician takes devoted practice.
ME: What is the main idea you want people to take home after they read Illusion?
FRANK PERETTI: I guess you’re asking me, what is the story’s central theme? I would call this story a celebration, a depiction of love, marriage, honor, and commitment such as God purposed them to be, and on a deeper level, a parable about Christ’s love for his bride and how his bride longs to be with Him in intimate relationship.
And guys, this is not a “chick” book. It’s a story for everybody. We could use a few more Mandys with tenacious devotion to their man and a few more Danes who give themselves for their woman as Christ gave Himself for His church.
Have you read any of Frank Peretti’s books? If so, which one(s)?