|Soul Tracker, Soul Tracker Series #1|
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What if you could visit the afterlife . . . without ever dying? That question haunts David Kauffman, who is devastated by the death of his teenage daughter and desperately wants to contact her. When he meets Gita Patekar, who works for a shady organization called "Life After Life," a suspense-filled game of cat and mouse begins---on earth and beyond the grave. 336 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
Our Interview with Bill Myers
How did you go from studying dentistry to screen-writing?
I made a commitment in my freshmen year in college to always say yes to God. The catalyst was a broken heart. I had dated a young lady for three years in high school, then she felt it was time to end the relationship which made no sense to me; that was the catalyst that got me to reevaluate everything. So I made that a promise to always to say yes regardless of how foolish or how stupid I thought the request was.
Just a few months later at the University of Washington, I was watching the fourth movie of my life, “The Godfather”. It was so powerful, not necessarily positive powerful, but powerful to the point where my friends were standing up and cheering when people were getting massacred in the end. I left that theater just numb and I said, “Lord, you need to get people involved in the media, there’s so much power here. Imagine what it could do if you could get people worked up for doing good.” The impression I kept getting was that he wanted me to be one of those people. Now I didn’t see any burning rose bushes or get any angel-grams but it was just this still small voice that I couldn’t quiet.
|So after weeks of arguing with God, I changed my major to film directing. The only problem was that there was no film major at the University of Washington. Several weeks later I found myself in Rome, Italy, studying film directing. Evergreen State College was the only school in the area which offered a film degree and that school was going to Rome for the year. |
But the joke is my language skills are almost non-existent. My language skills are terrible. So here I am in a country with a language I could not speak, studying a subject I knew nothing about. I mean I didn’t even know how to watch a movie; let alone make one; let alone be in a country with a language I would never learn. That’s when it began to dawn on me that this saying “yes” business wasn’t always comfortable, but always exciting.
I moved down to L.A. after that to become a rich and famous film director, and discovered they already had plenty of those and didn’t need anymore. I said, “Lord, I’ll do anything for you in the communication business but write. You and I both know that I got C’s and D’s in my one writing class in college, my communication skills are really poor, so anything but writing and I’m there.” A few months of being experts with macaroni and cheese and the phone rang. This man had seen a play I was directing in Hollywood for free, asked me if I would write for his TV series. I thought was a very strange request and I asked a very important question at that time in my career...”Do you pay?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “No problem,” then hung up the phone and had a good cry because I had no idea what I was doing. I thought again that that’s what the Lord wanted so I wrote a terrible TV show.
Then a publisher back east heard of a famous Christian T.V. writer and decided if they could just get him to take time out of his busy schedule and write a book for them they would really be excited. I made sure they had the right number.
|And I asked the important question, “Do you pay?”
They said, “Yes.”
I said,” Sure no problem.” so I hung up and had myself another good cry because there’s no way I could write a book. I didn’t even know how to write a TV show. Writing a book? That’s what writers do. But I said. “Yes” and once again I entered it trembling and fearful and wrote the world’s worst book. By the grace of God it’s out of print and you’ll never know what it is. I discovered something; even though I was a terrible writer I kind of liked it. That’s how we made the transition. I still write screen plays; I still direct from time to time, but I really, enjoy writing because that’s how I’m wired. I’d never had known that if I had insisted on doing things my way. So that’s a long answer.
What generated topic laboratory?
I love how modern research is discovering aspects of God. To me, that is so intriguing, mathematicians are beginning to prove the existence of higher dimensions. I love how they keep describing aspects of God. I’m beginning to understand that science is not an adversary of Christianity. They’re just about a hundred years behind the curve. I love when I bump across things like that God spot, that little section of the brain that seems the most sensitive to the moving of the Lord. Science says it just happens to be a bunch of neurons that censored those kinds of thoughts but you could also flip it around and say, “or.” It was designed to be a receptive… a place for part of the soul to reside. So that’s how all that started. I try to make the science as light as possible so people do feel like they’re sitting through a science lab but at the same time give it validity so when we finally jump off into the fiction part you can’t tell when one stops and the other one starts.
How much research did Soul Tracker take?
With The Face of God, the book just before this one, I think I read 70 books, went to Turkey, went to Israel, France. This is an accumulation of my research from other projects which included things such as interviewing the head of the CIA psychic research division; talking to people who had been demon possessed; talking to people with near death experiences. I like research! What a great way to keep growing!
You live in southern California?
Yes, we just started a film company so it’s important that I be close to the industry to keep my eye on the industry. I miss the forest.
How did you think up your characters?
Some of it comes from my background as an actor so I understand how to get into a character pretty deeply. But with most of my characters, what drives me to write is to draw the reader into the heart of Christ, draw my audience closer to God, wherever they are, Christian or not. I design characters that represent aspects of us, people who struggle with certain things; with shameful pasts; this whole reincarnation garbage. One out of three Americans believe in reincarnation and it is such a dark ugly thing, but on the surface it’s whatever you want to believe.
|How did you choose the setting?
I was tired of traveling all over the world for The Face of God, and wanted to do something at home, so it takes place in Southern, California. I worked at a halfway house on Hollywood Boulevard years ago so I hope the audience really sees the need to get our hands dirty in ministry. I hope that when you set down the book you think, “You know maybe I’ll take the risk of getting my hands dirty, because that’s what Christ wants me to do.”
What is your writing preference?
I love to play and love to laugh; writing kids’ books is a great way for me to do that. The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle Series and The My Life As Series sold 1.6 million. It’s great fun and relaxing, almost like a vacation after I’m done with one of these “brain bruisers”. I’m able to do both because they’re so different it refreshes me. When I’m done being goofy and silly and I’m done laughing, then I’ll go and write another grown-up novel. Going back and forth is healthy for me.
Are there any new projects on the horizon?
The next book is the sequel to Soul Tracker, “Through a Glass Darkly”. With kids books, I’m always doing a couple of the "My Life" series. We have a motion picture company now and we’re gearing up to film three of the “My Life As,” three sixty-six minute videos this coming year. It’s the same market as the “Mcgee and Me” and “Veggietales.”
Who is the person who most influenced your life?
The disciple, John. As I read his work and his writings, he writes so simply that a first year Greek student can understand what they’ve read. He writes so profoundly and so multi-layered that everytime you read it, you get something deeper out of it.
What were your favorite books as a child?
I didn’t read as a child. Books didn’t hold my interest. I should have known there was something different about me in high school when I found it a lot easier to make up a story for a book report than the read a book. To this day I remember giving an oral book report on a story that I made up and all the kids going, “wow” and they ran to the library to get the book…and there’s no book like that.
What message would you like your readers to take from Soul Tracker?
To draw the reader closer to the heart of Christ; that is actually the mission of our film company too. And that can be the Christian into a deeper walk or a non-Christian into Christ.
What is your favorite bible verse?
Probably John 10:10…the whole verse.