Gayle: Is writing hard or easy for you?
Frank: Sometimes the planning stage, planning and outlining, that’s the hardest part. That’s all work. I admit I’m a slow writer. I take about two years to do a book and for the first year I spend planning and researching and outlining, laying the whole thing out. That’s just nuts-and-bolts work and it’s not a whole lot of fun. But then the second year when I’ve got it all planned and I can just write it, that’s a whole lot of fun.
Gayle: Why do you write?
Frank: Because that’s what God made me to do. It’s really hard to explain other than that. God makes you to do a certain thing. You’re just made to do it. You love it. It’s the one thing that brings you peace and joy in your life. I was a carpenter. I was a printer. I tried a lot of different things. I was a minister — a pastor of a church — but I was never truly happy and fulfilled unless I was writing. And so it took me until I was turning thirty before I finally zeroed in and said God wants me to be a writer. And once I made my mind up about that — oh man, the joy, you just feel this race in your heart. It’s almost like that guy from Chariots of Fire — Eric Liddell — he said, “You know, God made me for a purpose, for China, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.” When I write, I feel his pleasure. That’s what God made me to do so it’s this back and forth. I can feel God saying, “Go get ‘em Frank. Write away because that’s what I made you to do, and you pay attention now because I’m going to give you an idea for your next book. You keep your eyes open.” And check this out: It’s working. Because God called me to be a writer, and so I write, and guess what: it works. Because God has reached a whole bunch of people with the writing I’ve done. And so I sit at home getting my books written and then he takes care of the rest. So, wow, what a deal! Works great.
Gayle: I really enjoyed your book and I can just see someone trying to make a movie about it because it’s got such amazing scenes in it. I don’t know if they’d be able to be faithful to the original work that you’ve done, but it’s really a gripping novel.
FP: You read the book, and it just cries out to be a movie, but I like to write cinematically anyway. It’s kind of bridging those two worlds I guess. I try to write visually and give the eye of the mind a lot to look at.
Gayle: Thank you so much for speaking with me about your new novel, Illusion, Mr. Peretti.
Frank: Oh yes.