Interview and Book Giveaway with Jason Cross

  

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.

I actually came to Jesus kicking and screaming.  My wife (Lydia) – who was my FiancĂ© at the time – was attending an ALPHA program – which is an introduction to Christianity.  Now I was a total Agnostic at the time.  I felt Christianity – as well as all religions – was just a way to control and exhort money out of people who are hurting.  I was not an Atheist, because to say there is no God was completely ridiculous.  There is just too much evidence that there has to be a Creator – but that is a different conversation.  While attending this ALPHA Course it brought up some interesting questions and I decided that if I was going to be against Christianity then I had to come up with a better argument than just saying “I don't believe in it.”  So I researched it – thinking I would find a world of information and logic that completely disproved Christianity – and what I discovered was there was so much proof about the Resurrection that it was undeniable.  I was so surprised cause I only assumed that the proof against Christianity would be easy to find that I never bothered to really look into it.  Now I try to encourage people to look at the facts – outside of the Bible – and they too will find that there is no way to deny the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
I wrote a number of novels, short stories and scripts before I came to my first “published” novel - “His Calling!”  I started writing when I was 17 but didn't write this novel until I was 36.  Before I wrote this novel I have spent many years writing and filming my scripts and “His Calling!” was suppose to be a short comedy film that turned into something so much more.  At the screening of our short film “Alleyway” - Which you can see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAORPnIgc9Y – 

The actress – Eleni Leli – her sister and a friend made a pose of their Christian version of “Charlie Angels.”  I thought this would be a perfect short film.  I was trying to write a short funny film on this but all I was able to think about was this longer more serious version and I felt God was telling me to write it as a novel.  I kept trying to fight it because I was looking at the story from a filmmaker's perspective.  All I kept thinking about was how could I afford to film what was in my head.  Thankfully, my wife pushed me to give up the script and write it as a novel.  At this time I had just purchased five Christian books from the Leadership Summit we recently attended.  While I was writing the novel I kept coming to a point – because I was looking at it as something I was going to film and not a novel – where I wanted to give up on the idea.  I wanted to write something I could film and the way the idea was going it wasn't looking possible.  Five times I was determined to put the story to the side and work on my next short film and five times I came upon a line in five different books which was, “You do what you do best and let God take care of the rest.”  So I finished writing the book and it was published.  I love this story and this book but I do feel like it wasn't everything it could have been.  I limited the story because of thinking like a filmmaker and what I could afford to film.  Since I loved the story and the characters so much I decided to write a sequel novel - “His Calling 2: Inner Demons” - and this time not get stuck on how it was going to be filmed.  The result: a far superior story.  The first novel you get a great introduction to these awesome characters and a great story.  The second novel is where you have to fasten your seat belts and prepare for an awesome ride.



Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
When I heard from readers how much they loved the characters and the story from “His Calling” I knew I had to write a sequel.  In my mind I felt the story of the first one suffered because I held back because of my filmmaker frame of mind.  I wanted to write another story with these characters without that limitation.  When writing a sequel – in my opinion – you have to up the stakes.  The bad guys have be badder and the situation has to be grimmer.  I started thinking, what if you were these girls and you were given this power – from the Holy Spirit – to defeat your enemies so easily with every encounter, how long would it take before you got a little prideful?  How long would it take where you stopped doing certain things – like praying before an encounter – because you got so comfortable and it just slips your mind?  And what if the Devil has a demon watching you – on the sidelines – waiting for that moment before going on the attack?  “His Calling 2: Inner Demons” is about these 3 girls called upon by God to make a difference in people's lives start getting too comfortable and relaxed that they face a situation where the Holy Spirit is not with them and they have to handle it on their own.  Then they must find a way to get past their fears and trust in God in order to save a young girl from evil men.



What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
I want my readers to come away from this story knowing that we are always in spiritual warfare and we should never be relaxed with our walk.  I want them to know that the enemy is always waiting for that moment and then attacks us with our own fears.  And, most important, that if we fall in our walk, we can always get back into God's light by not listening to the lies of the enemy, getting over our fears and trusting in God.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
My favorite part of the book is toward the end when Debbie meets up with certain people that puts her life and her fears in perspective.  Can't say more without giving it away.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
Matthew 7:1-2.  This is a verse that I think a lot of Christians forget, yet it is so important. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
CHOCOLATE!!!!

What are your hobbies other than writing?
Animation.  Before the birth of my twin girls I spent all of my free time working on film making.  I work a full time job, so my time was divided between my job, film making and being a good husband.  Now that my beautiful girls have come into the picture I have to take it out of my schedule.  With film making you have to schedule time with locations and actors.  With animation and writing you can do it when ever you have time.  I prefer this because I always want to spend time with my girls and my wonderful wife.  With writing and animation, I can do it whenever I have time without scheduling a place and other people – except actors but that is easier done with just needing to record voices.

How does your faith play into your writing?
I need my stories to have a message that glorifies God.  The first story I have ever wrote – never published - called “Demoncracy.”  I keep coming to this story, trying to figure out a way to re-write this story with a Christian message.  I haven't figured that out yet so I won't work on it.  If there is not a message that glorifies God and the Kingdom then I don't want to write it.

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
Ellen Maze.  She figured out a way to write a story with vampires and made it Biblical.  Very jealous.  Wish I thought of that. 

Favorite childhood book?
I have always been a reader.  I am sure there were many childhood book that I read but the earliest one I remember was “Cujo” by Steven King.  My father is a big horror fan so I grew up with horror movies and stories.  I remember being afraid when I was younger and how my father pointed out that they were fake and how much fun a horror story can be once you make that realization.  Again, I am sure there were plenty of child books I read but the first one I remember is “Cujo.”

Which movie has inspired you the most and why?
Recently it would have to me “Courageous.”  First, and more importantly, it inspires me as a father.  It really touched me and showed me the kind of father I want to be.  Second, it inspired me as a story teller.  I have been following Alex Kendrick's films – From “Flywheel,” to this one and I have been impressed on how he – and his team – keep improving on their art.  Very inspiring.

Where do you get most of your ideas for your books?
I get my ideas from many different sources.  Mostly I just look around me and story ideas are all over the place.  Inspiration is all around us and I thank the Lord for that.

Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?
That is a hard one.  I love all my work but I am partial to a short story I wrote called “Promises,” which is available as an eBook on most on-line stores.  I really loved how it worked out and how the ending came out.  Most people are surprised at the end, which is a good thing.


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