Karen sent in several comments and questions, which I’ve condensed below:

Did you take flak from churches – or para-church organizations, for that matter – for shining an unfavorable light on them or their practices?

No. I think that all organizations who raise funds “professionally” need to be careful that they state nothing but the truth in their fundraising. I know that professional fund raisers tend toward hyperbole in their letters (everything’s a crisis), but we owe truth to one another. I can see that it’s important to raise funds in a large ministry, but I also believe that God honors truthfulness and honesty.

Emma’s actions seemed to border on disobeying her husband – and her pastor – and that surprised me. What was the reader or critical reaction to that?

I don’t recall that Emma disobeyed Abel . . . but it’s been a long time since I’ve read it. Even if she did, I know I wrote it that way because few women would be able to walk away from an opportunity to meet with their own child.

Abel’s change of heart, resulting in his calling off the campaign and
changing the focus of the ministry overnight, seemed to echo Charles
Sheldon’s classic In His Steps. Was that planned? Even so, the change seemed
too fast and abrupt. Can you explain how that would come about, based on the
Myers/Briggs typing?

No, it wasn’t planned because I haven’t read In His Steps. And Myers-Briggs typing tells how we’re bent, not what we’ll do. We are all capable of doing things outside our typical responses. Abel came around because he realized the truth after a profound shock. Such events tend to rattle our worlds and leave us open to new possibilities.

Finally, how did Chris get the picture of Eunice Hood?

I don’t know. Chris was a Christ-figure (obviously), and I meant for him to be shrouded in an element of mystery. He had the photo of Eunice (and probably lots of others), and neither I nor Emma understand exactly how that came about. But it did.

Thanks for coming along on another BOM journey!



  1. Karen

    And thanks for answering my questions and sharing from your heart! GBWY

  2. Dana

    I just remembered something that bothered me. Wasn’t there a part where the young man went into an adult bookstore? I don’t know. We’re to flee sexual immorality – but then stand in the face of it too? What a struggle for men and then to purposefully get so close to it… I want to minister to people where they are in life but you won’t find me going into a strip club or something to do it. You know what I mean? It’d be like a recovering alcoholic hanging out in bars to help those there. Probably not a good idea. That’s what I struggled with most in the book but I do remember learning a lot and coming to the end with a new perspective. It’s good to wrestle with things sometimes I think. That’s what I love about your books. 🙂

  3. Angela

    Yes, Chris goes into the adult video store, but there’s a half wall between a legit film developing place and the nasty stuff . . . and Chris doesn’t go there. He’s there to talk to the store owner, period. Yes, I wrote that scene very carefully.

    And we have to remember that not all of us are prone to the same sins. Personally, I’d be far more tempted to sin in a bakery than in an adult bookstore . . .


  4. Dana

    LOL! I know that’s right!! MDH and I took a road trip last weekend and we’d pass billboards that were tempting for him (you know the ones) and then we’d pass Cracker Barrell billboards that would tempt me. I made the statement that we never think of those as tempting or bad but for some of us they are!

    Oh and it was a legit place too… I couldn’t remember the details. It was definitely a challenging subject – the whole book was. Very interesting… For various reasons my hot button issue is that “adult” stuff (magazines/videos – the whole industry) so my emotions really surfaced during that scene.

    Thanks again for writing things that make us ponder, think, struggle, wrestle…books that challenge and cause us to analyze our current beliefs. 🙂

  5. Suzanne

    After I lent this to a friend we discussed the places that we’d go in order to witness to people. She mentioned that she’d be willing to go into a bar to talk to people and that she’s often thought about it. After talking to her I realized that before she was saved she was into the bar scene and so she would know what to expect and could relate to the people there. I on the other hand have never even been in a bar and wouldn’t know what to do (besides looking around wide-eyed…LOL) I think our pasts give us insight into so many things and opportunities to reach people that someone else might not have. The adult bookstore thing didn’t bother me at all, I think because it was so well written. Besides, who was Jesus Himself ministering to? Prositutes and the like.

  6. Athol Dickson

    “We are all capable of doing things outside our typical responses. Abel came around because he realized the truth after a profound shock. Such events tend to rattle our worlds and leave us open to new possibilities.”

    Thanks for the reminder that writers don’t have to know EVERY motivation for every action in a novel. So often we ourselves don’t understand what drives us to make certain choices. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and explanations on how THE DEBT came together. Give us more!


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