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Knowledge Base .: Meet The Author .: Fiction .: Clayton Dunham, PH.D Author of Crosses: A Christian Executive Story As Told By Angels Interviewed

Clayton Dunham, PH.D Author of Crosses: A Christian Executive Story As Told By Angels Interviewed

Author: Clayton Dunham, Ph.D

ISBN: 1598002007

 

The following interview was conducted by:  NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. Here are More of  Norm Goldman's Reviews:

To read Norm's Review of the book CLICK HERE       

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Clayton Dunham, Ph.D, author of Crosses: A Christian Executive Story As Told By Angels.

Good day Clayton and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm 

As many of our readers are unfamiliar with the terms Christian fiction and “faith based authors,” could you please define these terms?

Clayton:

Christian Fiction is the same as mainstream fiction in its broad variety of subject matter, potent use of imagination, dynamic writing styles, and its power to hold the reader captive to its drama and passion. In these stories you find no lack of intrigue, romance, adventure, mystery, comedy, sensationalism, or cliff-hanging suspense.

However, the faith based author gives energy to the story by fueling it with healthful messages, life-building counsel, and sobering admonitions drawn from the principles that under gird the Christian faith.

The faith based author synchronizes faith with real life, and pulls Christian principles down from the high air of platitudes into the daily soil of practical living. It is writing to entertain in a clean and wholesome style, while using the story to reveal beneficial truths.

Norm:

As a follow up to the last question, to what do you attribute the popularity of Christian Fiction that has evolved over the past several years?

Clayton:

For one thing, I think our president and the way he has openly professed the place of faith in his life has brought more attention to the Christian message. Next, besides the spiritual aspects of Christian Fiction, it is also dependably clean and decent. The world is full of parents looking for “G” rated entertainment for their families and it is getting harder each year to find.

There are many who want to read rich stories of romance and intimacy, but have them told with language that does not offend. Also, faith based authors introduce an element of balance into the universe of novels, which for years has primarily had a secular bent.

There is a fairly large populace that hungers to see Bible stories translated into modern realities and Christian Fiction fills that need. For those of us who enjoy stories with a message, there can be none better found than what is available in the body of literature labeled Christian Fiction.  Christian writers are emerging because we have discovered our lives can be just as fascinating and exciting as 007, and the world deserves to hear our stories.

Norm:

Do you agree that to have good drama there must be an emotional charge that usually comes from the individual squaring off against antagonists either out in the world or within himself or herself? If so, please elaborate and how does it fit into you novel?

Clayton:

I doubt the basic principle of protagonist versus antagonist will ever be toppled because it is pervasively woven into our existence. The entire world exists as it does because there are principles and forces in opposition: hot versus cold; high versus low; weak versus strong; wet versus dry; good versus evil; and God versus Satan.

Sometimes there is a squaring off between us and antagonistic spiritual principles behind those conflicts we face with peers in the workplace. CROSSES draws heavily from this reality to show that while we go merrily along about the business of living, there are opposing spiritual worlds competing for our allegiance. 

CROSSES demonstrates how invisible spiritual pressure exerts tremendous stresses upon our daily choices, and it impacts everything from our marriages to our corporations, and even nations. 

Norm:

What was your main reason for writing your book and do you feel it is an important book to write at this time?

Clayton:

The idea for this book emerged from years of conversations with Christian business persons about their parallel struggles in the boardrooms and office spaces of large corporations.

Analysis of their stories revealed a theme of the place and challenge of faith in the daily operations of firms. Simultaneously I became aware how little is known about the work of the corporate Chief Information Officer (CIO).

This role is relatively new in corporate America, having only emerged in the last twenty years of growing dependence upon information technology among businesses to compete successfully in the global marketplace. Because this role has newly emerged, it has special challenges that make for interesting reading and can even be educational for those who work in, for, or with this technology centric chief executive.

Norm:

What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?

Clayton:

I had to balance a triangle of major themes into an integrated story with no jagged edges. The three major themes were: 1. The world of the corporate CIO; 2. The world of demons and angels; 3. The workplace intrigue and conflict experienced by the main character.

My imagination was tested to conjure up descriptions of interactions, places, names, and conversations in the spiritual world, without violating the biblical validity of their existence. Finally, seasoning the main story with sub plots and surprises required a lot of work and attention to detail.

I overcame these challenges by losing myself and letting the story tell itself. When I quit struggling with it, the story told me what to write at each twist and turn of the plot. It was an enthralling experience.

Norm:

Claude Lowery, the CFO of Canterbury Health System is a real handful. How did you approach writing this character? Did you plan him out or did he evolve as you wrote the book?

Clayton:

Great question. I had the most fun with Claude. He is a synthesis of characteristics from CFOs I have heard about or known. I planned his character carefully, because I wanted to highlight the typical conflict between CIOs and CFOs.

It is almost comical how common and predictable it is that there will be conflict between these two executives. The people who migrate to both jobs are cut from such different cloth it takes something as powerful as Christian principles for them to overcome the predisposition to conflict.

Through Claude I was able to show how abandonment of Christian principles makes the bad, worse. I used Claude in many ways. He represents the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, an earthly ambassador of the spiritual dominion, the hidden metaphysical danger in boardrooms, and he represents all of us when we are tempted by self-interest.

Norm:

You include some very detailed dialogues in the book. Where did that dialogue come from?

Clayton:

As I said earlier, the story began to tell itself; therefore the dialog emerged and evolved and I began to imagine the interactions. No doubt, many stories I have heard over the years from hundreds of colleagues influenced the content.

Norm:

What would you say is your principal protagonist Peter Stone’s biggest strength and his greatest weakness?

Clayton:

Peter’s greatest strength is his honesty with himself, which he translated into honesty with God about himself. He recognized he needed strength outside himself to succeed. He was always willing to own his culpability and his tendency to hypocrisy. Self honesty is the first necessary step to change and recovery. His weakness was his appetite for sensuality which led to his addiction to pornography and the crushing weight of his own hypocrisy.

Norm:

Did you initially have a difficult time fleshing out your characters?

Clayton:

Yes, I did struggle initially with the characters, but after a while, I gained momentum and was able to visualize their personas. I struggled most with Peter’s family. What kind of family should I give him; a perfect one, a flawed one, or something between the two? The next challenge was Peter’s fellow vice-presidents.

There were so many directions I could have taken, it was hard to decide. Finally, the complexity of Peter’s boss took some work. My goal was to build characters any executive, especially CIOs, could identify as having had experiences with, howbeit with different names. I think I was able to achieve that.

Norm:

How much real-life do you put into your novel? Is there much “you” in there?

Clayton:

As a rule, I try to divorce myself from the characters in my stories. But since I am a CIO and was writing about the experiences of a CIO, I am sure some of Clayton seeped into many of the characters. When I consider your question, I have to say, there is some Claude in me as well as some Peter. When I find myself showing up in stories, often it is as I wished I could be or in some situation imagine myself responding.

As far as real-life goes, I think it defines my writing. I want the reader to leave my stories remembering similar events in their experience, or seeing them emerge in their lives later. But want them assessing those events in different ways than they might have had they not read my books.

Norm:

What has been your experience with self-publishing? Why did you take this route?

Clayton:

I chose self-publishing because of the unbridled freedom it gives me as an artist and business person. I am happy about the growth of this publishing sector. Without it, many wonderful stories would not have been told.

Norm:

What is next for Clayton Dunham?

Clayton:

Glad you asked. I have a couple of other projects I am finishing up that I could not be more excited about. The novel “Unadulterated Love” will be available before Christmas. This book deals with the timely subject of platonic relationships, affairs of the heart, and workplace romances.

My wife wanted to scratch the eyes out of the main character, so I expect it to stimulate a lot of great conversation and healthy dialog about love and marriage. I will follow “Unadulterated Love” with a book called “Eighteen Wholes” about a man who finds God through the game of golf.  Golfers and non-golfers alike will enjoy it. Later in 2007 I will release an action packed thriller called “The Greater Good”; a story about a 007-like character that saves the city of Atlanta by making some difficult and controversial choices. I have a half dozen other projects in the creative factory, but these are the imminent releases.

 Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Clayton:

A mentor of mine once quoted me these words: He who reads much will live man lives; and he who reads little walks through the world wearing a blindfold. I promise you that if you take the time to live new lives through a Clayton Dunham book, you will be enriched and rewarded. Thanks, Norm, for the opportunity to share my work with you and your audience.

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your books. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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