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Monday, March 4, 2013

Interview with Author Josh Baker

Today I have the priviledge of hosting another great Christian author, Josh Baker.  He wrote a fantastic book called: Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses!

Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I was raised Catholic, but like many young people I abandoned my faith after high school. I went on to embrace an agnostic worldview and accompanying secular lifestyle. For years I was a harsh critic of organized religion - Christianity in particular. By the grace of God, and the intervention of His spirit, I experienced the gift of renewal approximately three years ago and returned home.

Which book or books are you currently promoting?

I am promoting my young-adult Christian book, “Please Don’t Remove MarGreat’s Glasses!”

Can you tell us what the book/books are about?

The book is an inspirational coming of age story that follows the trials and tribulations of privileged teenager Timothy Clement as he prepares for his first year of law school. Timothy and his two closest friends embark on one last adventure before entering adulthood which puts them in the middle of Miami’s seedy nightlife - complete with parties, wild girls, and various illegal activities. Things go horribly wrong when Timothy crosses the wrong people and his younger brother Stephen pays for Timothy's reckless behavior with his life. Stripped of his status, abandoned by his friends and family, and incarcerated, Timothy is forced to reevaluate his life, and in particular his atheist beliefs. In isolation, only his amateur comic drawings bring him any solace. His comics play an important role in his self-discovery, rehabilitation, and poetic penance.

How did you come up with the idea for this book series?

The “MarGreat” comic character came from bedtime stories I had been telling my daughter over the years. The idea for Timothy’s faith journey came to me while meditating on scripture one night. Union of the two concepts fleshed out over subsequent late-night brain dumps.

What can you tell us about your main characters?

The main character, Timothy Clement, is a teenager from a wealthy family who is expected to pursue a legal career like his esteemed father. Losing his mother to cancer, he is no longer under her protective wing and consequently has adopted his father’s atheist views. Like many teens, Timothy’s longing for an adult identity paired with weak spiritual foundation has left him ill-prepared to defend his faith when challenged. He has been seduced by glamorous rebellion.

During his journey, Timothy meets many colorful characters; the most important of which is Brother Jude who takes an interest in helping Timothy when everyone else has turned their back on him. It’s a thankless endeavor at first, leaving others to question why he bothers. As the layers of Jude’s character unfold, we gain insight into his motives.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I don’t know that I ever “decided”, I just have always been. Since I was a child I’ve loved developing interesting characters and then constructing stories to showcase their unique personas. Writing allows me to channel my creative streak in a way that is very rewarding.

How long does it usually take for you to write a book?

The writing of, “Please Don’t Remove MarGreat’s Glasses!” spanned fourteen months. I didn’t begin writing it with the intent of publishing a book. I had this idea and wanted to get it on paper as a short story, and possibly convert it to a screenplay at some point. As I worked on the, ‘short story’ it grew until one day I realized that I had a book on my hands. As soon as publishing became a real possibility, I aggressively tightened my writing schedule. The second half of the book was written during the last four months of that scope.

Do you have a general idea of what direction you want the plot to take ahead of time?

Most definitely. When I was younger I could afford the joy of free-wheeling it, but with family and career, my opportunities to write are limited. I meticulously outline my characters, plot, sub-plots, and emotional pacing from the start. Within the margins of a chapter I know that X, Y & Z need to take place – I have some freedom then to make it happen, which is the fun part.

Have you ever had second doubts about a story you’ve written?

When I go back and read my older writing, sometimes I cringe at the quality or subject matter. Inevitably, I come to the conclusion that there are still parts – either style, dialog or characters, which still hold up. I see improvement, and so I don’t regret what has made me who I am today.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I have been busy writing and drawing new MarGreat comics for children and teens. I’ll be uploading them to my website on a regular basis. I’ve also begun writing my next book which is a Christian themed mystery/suspense thriller dealing with the moral dilemmas of genetic engineering. It will keep readers guessing right up until the end.

What is different about your books from other books on the market?

There is a deficit of young-adult Christian books that deal with secular challenges to the faith. Daily devotionals and inspirational reads are great – but we could do a better job addressing the secular positions our young people encounter daily in the media, on campus and among their peers. My book reaches out to young people in contemporary language addressing arguments they likely grappling with internally – wrapped within an entertaining story, not a sermon.

How long have you been writing?

Answered in previous question.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us that we have not already covered?

My short story, “Easter Plans” won Grand Prize in the April 2012 Christian Choice Writing Contest.

Where can the readers find more information about you?

I encourage your readers to visit my book’s official website: where they can view a video trailer for the book, download sample chapters, join my mailing list, and much more! While there, be sure to click on my social links up top to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ me!

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