We had the opportunity to sit down with Charles and have him share some of his thoughts on the creative process, stewardship, and the challenges of writing a book series. He is the author of five books in the Steward series: Chosen, Intervention, Damaged Goods, Homecoming, and Exclamation!
The genesis of the series came from taking a class at a small seminary for lay people in Baltimore, Maryland, and having the final exam that required Charles to write a story based on what he had learned during the class. The short story took on wings and grew, and suddenly a whole other part of his life, that he was not aware of, came alive. Suddenly the facets of life exposed in the Scripture, the stories of those very real people, and the applications to my life and experiences drew him to write the stories.
The name for the series, stewardship, evolved from the first chapters in the Bible, in Genesis, you will discover that we were created with a purpose. We were created to be the stewards of the magnificent creation that was seen as being “good”. God planted a garden, to serve as a template for our first parents to mirror throughout the world. He brought the animals to Adam to name and, in so doing, showed in that act of naming a special relationship between the man and the creation. That is why our naming of our children is also so significant. The act of naming shows a special bond between the name giver and the name receiver. We were designed to care for the creation. Man’s fall into sin did not change the purpose of man but now the ground would produce thorns and thistles, and we would sweat as we worked. And the fear of man would be placed into the animals. But all of this did not change our purpose.
Ephesians 6:12 is the theme verse behind the series. The Steward Series is about the spiritual struggle behind our daily experiences in life. The series is historical fiction.
The first book in the series, Chosen, starts with the Vietnam war and follows the experiences of a young American soldier who serves in that war and the people impacted by his presence at that time and place. The soldier is given the opportunity to see behind the veil of the physical reality and see the very real spiritual struggle playing out in the war. He learns that there really are spiritual forces, protecting him in his role as a Steward and other spiritual forces desiring both his destruction and the destruction of all he is charged to care for. It is a love story between the soldier and a Vietnamese woman who is touched by the young soldier’s character and care. The story ends with the fall of Saigon and the beginning of the boat people migration
Interventione second book, is a continuation of the boat people migration from Vietnam to Thailand. The spiritual struggles that were present in the war become even more focused, as the refugees flee the physical war, only to find that a major part of the war accompanies them on the trip. Once again, another love story about two of the people fleeing on the boats and the impact of the spiritual conflict on their physical experiences. The book is dedicated to Allan Tibbels, a very real person who “Stood In the Gap”. His story is a part of this story.
Damaged Goods, looks at the life of a North Vietnamese commander, who is wounded grievously during the war, but like the American soldier is given the gift of seeing the real enemy behind the scenes. It is his love story and experience as he comes to the country he once considered his enemy, the US, and learns to love and serve an American woman and her family. Restoration is the theme of the book, that everyone of us is flawed, that we are all damaged goods, but there is a purpose to our lives that calls us to serve one another, and, in doing that, we begin the process of returning to what we were purposed to do.
The fourth book, Homecoming, is the story of the return of the American soldier to the US, and the continuation of the spiritual war that is threatening to consume his brother. It is the story of a pastor, who feels abandoned and a failure, only to discover that his ministry has an impact far broader than he imagined. It is a love story of a mother for her son she thought was dead and for her other son, who appears to be headed for disaster. It is at times an ugly story, as evil appears to prevail, but in the end the battles lost are a prelude to the war that has already been won.
Exclamation!, concludes the series, tying together the history of the fifty years since Chosen and passing the baton of the spiritual battle to the next generation. It is the story of redemption, the saving of characters many would see as impossible to accomplish. That is what is so amazing about Christ, and the work of the Spirit and the Father. They came for the lost.
Charles is the founder of the Scribblers Christian Writers Club and will be a presenter at The Southern Pen Bookshop's writers conference. He will share how collaborating with other writers can be beneficial to helping promote and market your books.