Dear Readers: I love to hear from you! Below are links to four video interview clips, where I answer some of your frequently asked questions. I’ve also included a list of additional questions I’ve been asked recently, along with the answers I provided, that I thought might be of particular interest to you.
What inspires you to write?
What three books should everyone read?
Who is the most influential person in your writing career?
Describe a typical work day.
1. What compelled you to write about the Shroud of Turin? While researching The Secret of the Shroud, I became interested in the mysterious Shroud, particularly the three-dimensional, life-like, negative image. No one has ever come up with an explanation for how that image was created. The most recent scientific research raises again the question whether the Shroud might really be the burial cloth of Jesus. So the Shroud of Turin provided a natural vehicle for the conflict and mystery in The Secret of the Shroud. Unfortunately, Archbishop Wesley Bright’s view that Jesus was merely a sage, a historical figure and not divine is not unusual in many academic and religious circles today. In recent years, even some Christian clergy advocate secular views of the story of Jesus, teaching that the resurrection is metaphorical, based on myth and legend. But if the Shroud is real? What then! As the mystery unravels in The Secret of the Shroud, the reader might find the answer to that question.
2. What do you hope readers will get from this book? In The Secret of the Shroud, Wesley Bright, Archbishop of the fictional Apostolic Church of God, attempts to destroy the church from within, using the institution, the language and symbols to corrupt Christianity. I hope readers will find this book to be a page-turner, that they will enjoy the story, the characters and their relationships, and unraveling the layers of mystery while discovering up-to-date information on the Shroud. But I also hope that in the process, readers will recognize the subtle methods used by people who hold themselves out as religious experts and scholars, even as pastors or priests, while denying the cornerstone of Christianity, the divinity of Jesus and his resurrection. Wesley represents these public spokesmen who purport to speak with the authority of the church or scholarly credentials and teach that the Gospels are fabrications of storytellers.
3. What do you think of the idea that absolute truth-and an objective measure for good and evil–do not exist, that human goodness or evil should be judged only by standards that are different for different cultures? Secular philosophers have wrestled with this question for thousands of years. Some, like Kant, have reduced the idea to one rule for moral behavior-treat others as you would want them to treat you. Sound familiar? Some popular writers like Ayn Rand back in the 1960s and ’70s took the blatant position that the only objective standard for good or evil is human selfishness, or to put it another way, the instinct for survival. But The Secret of the Shroud points out that all of them have missed one point. It is agape-the ancient Greek word for the type of love and sacrifice for the good of others that exceeds self-interest. Great heroes exemplified agape on 9/11: the firefighters, police, and ordinary citizens who risked their lives for strangers with nothing personal to gain and everything to lose. In many cases they could have saved themselves instead. What keeps soldiers going in the face of battle and hardship and pain when one has a choice? In the book, the beggar, TeeBo, shows that right and wrong exist outside of our ‘selves’, outside of our physical world, and that truth is absolute-no matter how we feel about a thing, like squares are squares, and one plus one will always equal two. As the mystery unravels in The Secret of the Shroud, Wesley’s moral relativism is confronted with the secret that he learns about the Shroud. The final choice confronting Wesley is one that often accompanies driving ambition-whether to acknowledge truth and lose everything, his power, wealth, and fame, or to live on with a lie.
4. You practiced law for twenty-five years and were a partner in a major law firm. What made you give that up to write? I loved practicing law, working toward common goals with teams of lawyers and clients, putting deals together, traveling, and solving problems. But sometimes over the years a thought would arise-as quick as the beat of a wing-just a stir in the air while I rushed through airports, hotels, conference rooms. Why are we here? That question began to loop through my mind after the tragedy of 9/11. I realized that everything that I had accomplished as a lawyer was temporary-interest rates go up or down, business deals are modified, people change, goals change. When my son was grown and happily living on his own, I decided to find the answer to the question: what is the purpose of life? Is this now all there really is?
My energy now is focused on writing, not law. If anything that I write has a lasting positive impact on someone else’s life, or provides for him or her a moment of joy or hope, that will make me happy.
Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Submit it via Pamela’s Contact page. Your question, and the answer to it, may be featured on this page sometime in the future.