By Deena Adams
Help me welcome author, Steven Rogers to the blog this week. Steven is a fellow ACFW Virginia writer, and his contemporary debut novel, Into the Room, releases this month! He’s graciously offered a paperback copy to one person who comments on this interview by May 25.
Welcome Steven! Congratulations on your upcoming debut novel release! Let’s start out learning a little about you and your family.
My wife, Kathy, is my best friend and the most honest person I know. We’ve been married for thirty-five years. Our three children are grown and live nearby. We also have an incredibly lucky son-in-law. The family loves to gather for Sunday dinner and, when the schedule permits, take vacations together.
Sounds like you have a wonderful family. Share with us how and when you started writing.
I’ve always been fascinated by the writing process and have dabbled with writing fiction for as long as I can remember. However, in 2016 I retired from my career as a business executive to focus on writing and discovering the craft. I began by composing short stories, experimenting with genres, styles, and story structure. I attended conferences and worked with a writing coach. Eventually, I moved on to novels and into the Christian fiction genre.
What a blessing to be retired and have time to focus on your writing. Why did you decide to write contemporary novels? What unique challenges does writing about today’s culture present?
After experimenting with different genres and time periods, I gravitated to contemporary settings because I want to tell stories about how God is present and works in today’s world. As your follow up question indicates, this can be complicated. In our current environment, there are a wide range of social, political, and faith issues dominating the conversation.
For me, the primary challenge revolves around how to write the story I want to tell within the context of those issues. I’ve addressed this dilemma by focusing my writing on the individual. While the culture may be impacting my plot, I don’t attempt to address wider societal concerns. Instead, I consider how my characters are interacting with God and the influence their faith (or lack of faith) has on their daily lives.
Are any of your stories inspired by true events or personal history?
Absolutely. Everything I’ve written has originated from some experience I’ve had. Into the Room is a deeply personal work, inspired by a trip to Israel and my personal experiences observing individuals suffering from drug and/or alcohol abuse.
I had the idea for the story on the plane heading to Israel and quickly outlined the character before we landed. I then kept a journal in the character’s voice throughout the journey.
How cool! A trip to Israel is on my bucket list. What did God teach you through the writing of Into the Room?
The list of things God taught me while I wrote Into the Room is long and, in some cases, too personal to list here. However, one prominent lesson was to trust God’s plan and accept the life he puts before me.
I originally did not want to take the trip to Israel that inspired the book. Not because I didn’t want to see the Holy Land, but because the timing was inconvenient.
As a result of the trip, I have fully settled on my genre, published a novel, and strengthened my faith. In addition, writing Into the Room, reinforced my belief that God is present in every situation.
Writing a novel is a lonely task and is a breeding ground for personal insecurities. Throughout the process, I received encouragement and reinforcement at the times they were most needed.
I love how God shows up despite our humanness. What do you hope your readers take away from the book?
For readers who are searching for a faith, I hope they see themselves in some of the story’s characters and events. I would like these readers to understand God will meet them wherever they are in Iife. Perhaps Into the Room will encourage them to take the first step toward establishing a relationship with him.
For readers with a strong faith, I hope the book will reinforce the presence of God in their lives and help them to continue to strive for a closer relationship with him.
For all readers, I’m hopeful the book will inspire them to visit Israel.
Wonderful goals for your story. Which character in Into the Room was easiest for you to write and why?
The character of Ruth was, by far, the easiest to write. I’ve met many women who are similar to her. Heck, I’m married to a Ruth.
These women are strong and unyielding in their faith, individuals who shepherd others through their presence and quiet conversation. Ruth’s personality and role in the story were clear from the first moment I envisioned her.
Which character presented the biggest challenge?
The most difficult character to write was Ben, the protagonist. While I knew Ben had a good person buried beneath his addictions and related actions, telling his story was an expedition through a diseased mind and a life in crisis.
Additionally, the story is narrated by Ben, a construct that planted me firmly into his mindset and psyche every time I worked on the book. His journey was exhausting and, at the same time, rewarding.
I love the descriptions of your characters. What’s next from you?
I’m beginning work on a sequel to Into the Room. In the story, Ben will continue his faith journey and work to restore his prior life.
Besides posting comments on your website, how can your readers and fans support you?
Most importantly I ask for prayers that Into the Room finds readers who would benefit from Ben’s story. In addition, I would be grateful if people purchase a copy of the book, post a review on Amazon, and, if they like the story, recommend it to other readers.
Also, I’d love folks to follow me on Twitter or Facebook and subscribe to my column on steven-rogers.com.
Thanks so much for sharing about your life and writing with us, Steven. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Congratulations again on your upcoming book launch.
Join the Conversation. Have you visited Israel? If not, would you like to go? Does Steven’s story sound like a book you’d be interested in reading?
Be sure to comment by May 25 for a chance to win a paperback copy of Steven’s novel, Into the Room!
Into the Room by Steven Rogers
Can a journey across the Holy Land redeem a reluctant pilgrim?
Ben Cahill’s life is an alcohol-saturated mess. After an insincere effort in a rehab facility, he is alienated from his family, out of work, and determined to continue his habit. To make matters worse, he finds himself on a tour of Israel, along with, as he calls them, a bunch of Holy Rollers.
As the trip progresses, Ben experiences the Holy Land’s major historical sites and is exposed to God’s word. He interacts with his fellow travelers, gradually learning about their faith and their lives. Along the way, Ben becomes embroiled in a spiritual war, reinforcing his guilt and, in turn, forcing him to recall his past actions and behaviors. He also begins a different journey, one that leads him to redemption and a place in God’s family.
If you’d like to preorder a copy, contact Steven at SRBooksforHope@gmail.com and he’ll email you a link as soon as the book is available.
Steven Rogers is a retired business executive and contemporary Christian Fiction novelist.
Steven loves the process of writing, especially exploring characters that are either broken or facing unfamiliar situations. They are usually ordinary people, confronting their own internal demons and the challenges of day-to-day living, being pushed to their limits. He also enjoys bringing his stories to a happy, or at least hopeful, ending.
After attending The College of the Holy Cross, Steven became a Certified Public Accountant and filled various roles in public accounting and private industry. A lifelong lover of books and literature, over the years he dabbled with writing fiction. Since retiring from the corporate world in 2016, Steven has fully committed to learning the craft. His short story “Deep Waters” earned an honorable mention award in the 2020 89th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. His novel Into the Room will be published in May, 2021.
Steven, a proud father of three adult children and one incredibly lucky son-in-law, is happily married to his wife of thirty-five years, Kathy. They live in Richmond, Virginia.
Please share Steven’s interview on social media to help promote his book.
If you missed last week’s interview with Audra Sanlyn, find it here.