Why Do I Write Novels?

Winter                                     First Moon of the New Year

So, why do I write novels?

In a writing group some years ago, maybe 20, a writing exercise turned into 120 pages of Even the Gods Must Die, a novel inspired by the Norse Ragnarök.  The doom of the gods, Ragnarök foresees the end of the nine worlds, the death of the Aesir and the Vanir with plenty of teeth-rattling battles.  Fenrir fights with and kills Odin.  Thor fights the Midgard Serpent, kills it, but dies later from its poison.  What’s not to like?

The exercise came in the midst of a writing group I formed to help me as I wrote my dissertation for McCormick Seminary.  My dissertation on the decline of the Presbyterian Church satisfied the writing requirement for a Doctor of Ministry which I received in 1991.

By that point I had met Kate and discussed with her leaving the ministry. If I left the ministry, what would I do?  The skills I’d learned didn’t transfer readily.

Well, there was that 120 page story.  Hmm.  Maybe I’ll write.

Not a big stretch, really, since my Dad had earned his living as a journalist and columnist.

Early on I decided to focus on ancient religions as a fundamental component of my novels, fantasy novels all, so far.

So, in one important sense, I wrote novels to escape the ministry after it had become a swamp.  Do I write to overcome existential alienation or do I write so that others can overcome their existential estrangement?  No.  I write because the process and the stories fascinate me.

At some point I hope I can make some money, too.  And, if you read my work and find your angst or your anomie lessened, all the better.  But I’m not counting on it.