My friend Karen Kingsbury once told me a story about two of her kids, Kelsey and Tyler. They were on their way home from church, where they’d just heard a rip snorting sermon on heaven and hell, and Kelsey, age six, was really giving it to Tyler, age three, in the back seat. “Heaven or hell,” she said, looking her brother in the eye, “you have to decide! Where do you want to go?”
Tyler looked at his sister, then pulled out his pacifier and said, “Disneyland.”
I often use that story when I’m speaking about Christian fiction because it beautifully illustrates that not all stories have to be heaven-and-hell kinds of stories. But as I worked on my master’s degree last year, I studied basic doctrine and was impressed anew with the importance of the doctrine of hell. It’s an awful place, a terrible destiny, and I think we may be doing our readers a disservice by writing so many Disneyland books . . .
Combine those thoughts with my attempt to watch the TV series LOST. I caught it here and there, never really enough to pick up what was going on (and it was before they ever got that strange hatch opened), but the idea of a desert island intrigued me. And I’d been reading about ensemble casts, and had never really written one . . .
So: take one ensemble cast, add the doctrine of hell, and set it on a desert island. Toss in the parable of the four seeds (a parable that continues to impress me today), and you have what I began with as I began to outline the novel that became Uncharted.
I also wanted to try and write something truly frightening. I love scary books and horror movies, but the closest I’d ever come to writing anything “scary” was The Awakening, with its horrific dreams.
And so began Uncharted . . .
Tomorrow: the research