Bill Gray has been with Paley, Whatley, & Greenleaf Press since 2015.
Q1: Why do you write?
I write because I want to share what I’ve learned. When I was an Education professor preparing future teachers, I co-authored two books (out of print) containing Learning Activities I used to teach students important concepts and skills. After some 25 years gaining expertise as a developer of formalized mentoring programs (over 150) and as a trainer of mentor-protege partners (over 20,000), I wrote two eBooks: Mentoring Relationships that Work and Situational Mentoring that describe how to equip and empower proteges using four Mentoring Styles I discovered via research and development. As I approached the seventh decade of my life, God hounded me to reflect back and start writing down thoughts flashing through my mind. After several re-writes over more than three years, incorporating critiques by pastors and others, my story became His Story about me as I realized God’s sovereignty over all History – including mine. While writing Why Become a Christian? I described my understanding of God’s omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence in causing all things to work together for my good in accordance with His purpose (Romans 8:28), I recalled Lessons Learned from life and Spiritual Insights gained from God. This ultimately became my spiritual memoir and retitled book: Why Become a Christian? A Spiritual Memoir.
Q2: How would you describe your writing method?
Because of my Analytic Style, I typically plan very carefully (e.g. detailed table of contents) before starting to write – because I learned long ago that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” The 150 formalized mentoring programs that organizations asked me to develop were successful because each one was carefully planned by answering these questions: 1) Why needed? (purpose, goals, business case) 2) Who for? (who are the proteges and mentors) 3) What to focus on? (usually competencies to be developed) 4) How? (1-to-1 mentoring; group mentoring; reciprocal mentoring; etc.) 5) When? (during or after work) 6) Where? (long distance; face to face). Ironically, I did NO planning for Why Become a Christian? A Spiritual Memoir. It just grew from two to four to 22 chapters as I wrote down thoughts and memories from my past – because I did not answer the same six questions to guide my writing before starting. After several rewrites, I realized I was writing a spiritual memoir and used these six questions to guide my writing from that point to completion. I also decided to include in my book how these six questions had helped me, which I describe in My Writing Process and Insights at the end of each chapter (now only 13 instead of 22). I also include Tips and Questions for Writing Your Spiritual Memoir to provide further guidance. These two additions are meant to inspire and aid readers to Write Your Spiritual Memoir – which is the second main purpose (Why?) for my book. The main purpose is discuss answers to this life-transforming question – Why Become a Christian? – answers that involve understanding what a saving faith in Jesus Christ means along with answers that provide a defensible intellectual faith, so that a Born Again Christian cannot be accused of blind faith in mere beliefs.
Q3: How would you respond to the classic question, “Is there Christian art, or artists who are Christians?”
I would say there are “artists who are Christians” if they function from the perspective of these Self-focused Existential Questions: Who am I? (an artist) Where am I going? (my goal is to become a better artist) How am I going to get there? (by creating the best art I imagine). In contrast, “Christian art” results when created from the perspective of these God-focused Eternal Questions: What is God’s purpose for the artistic talents He gave me? How can my artwork glorify Him? Who does God want me to become?
Q4: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?
Yes – before starting to write, answer the six Basic Questions I describe and answer in Why Become a Christian? A Spiritual Memoir: 1) Why write? 2) Who for? (audience) 3) What to write? 4) How? 5) When? 6) Where? I describe my answers in My Writing Process and Insights at the end of each chapter. I also include Tips and Questions for Writing Your Spiritual Memoir to provide further guidance. Aspiring authors – especially of spiritual memoirs – should also participate in my Write Your Memoir Workshops being offered through churches and aboard cruise ships. Visit my website for details: www.christianmemoirs.com. Or contact me via email: ChristianMemoirs@shaw.ca Doing these things will reduce re-writes, time and frustration. In my Workshops, I teach participants how to use my 6-Step Mentoring Process to help one another afterwards (I trained over 20,000 mentor-protege partners to use this in the workplace).
Q5: Which of your creations has brought you the most joy?
Finally completing Why Become a Christian? A Spiritual Memoir after several major re-writes over several years brought great joy – first, because God stopped hounding me to write this, and second, because I think this book will glorify God by telling His Story about me instead of my story. I hope God is planning more joy in the future because now He is hounding me to teach others to “Write Your Spiritual Memoir.” Why? To share with younger generations what it was like to live when a Judeo-Christian culture prevailed and provided the foundation for morality, civility, integrity, character, hard work, marriage and so many other aspects in life that are quickly becoming atheistic and proactively anti-Christian. This Judeo-Christian foundation provided a “good soil” for morality, civility, integrity, character, hard work, marriage, etc. to flower and bear “good fruit.” If Christians stand by and allow this foundation to be replaced with atheism (humanism, new age, secularism, or any other “ism”), the resulting “poor soil” will bear “more evil” fruit than is presently occurring. Writing your spiritual memoir can slow this slide. I have a heartfelt call to aid this process.
Q6: Which has brought you the most heartache?
Writers should write; only flounders should flounder. I experienced a lot of “heartache” while floundering. My “heartache” was the wasted time contacting agents who did not reply, or publishers who instantly rejected my manuscript because I lacked a “platform,” or critiques that sometimes opposed one another, or lack of courses to guide me. Christian authors need a “go-to source” to get comprehensive help with all aspects of writing: starting, finishing, getting an agent and publisher, self-publishing, pricing, marketing, etc. Such assistance will enable Christian authors to spend more time on successful writing that glorifies God.
Q7: Is there anything you’d like to say?
I invite Christians who want to Write Your Spiritual Memoir to contact me so we can help “one another” as Jesus said. Declaring His Story about us will glorify Him, as we declare how “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) and “thank Him in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18). Email: ChristianMemoirs@shaw.ca Website: christianmemoirs.com
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