05 PM | 28 Jun

Why I wrote The Tuning Station

The Tuning Station has been out for nearly a month now. And while it hasn’t exactly shaken up the world, it has sold slow and steady, and found readers in four countries so far. The reaction, at least from those who have either reviewed the book or contacted me personally, has been satisfying and often humbling. But most gratifying is how many have felt a personal connection to the story.

Some comments I’ve received:

“The story made me cry, and nowadays barely any novel does that anymore.”

“The discussion is not a whole lot different than the constant introspection, self doubt and fears of an Asperger’s host. Personally, I read my life in this account”

“By the time I reached about 30% I still was not quite certain yet, if the story was written from Christian or an atheist perspective.”

“I think you did a great job, portraying both sides in quite a fair manner to the point where you even gave the atheist a few points of advantage in the beginning. This might allow a non-religious person to identify with Ted. “

“Not only does the novel avoid caricatures and glib answers, but it tells the story of two versions of the same life in a manner that is profoundly moving. “

“(the main character) seems to me a lot like my oldest son. He was never diagnosed with Aspergers or anything else, but he was always considered strange by other kids and by his teachers, and he was therefore constantly bullied in school, badly bullied.”

As the comments indicate, it’s definitely not light summer reading.

The topic of Aspergers is one that is near to my heart. My oldest son was diagnosed with it as a small child, and he’s exactly like me. It provided a way to explain how our minds work, and why we have difficulties connecting with others, especially during our formative years. This theme made the book extremely personal for me, despite the character’s difficult past that I do not share, and the obviously fictional sci-fi elements.

It was my intention to write a book that presented the atheist characters fairly and respectfully, in a way that feels real. In doing so, it has proven to be an uncomfortable journey for some Christian readers. My opinion is that the best way to communicate with someone is to truly understand him or her; to go beyond the obvious exterior and figure out “why”. The book sets up a circumstance where the two main characters know each other in a way impossible in the real world. Up to a point in time, everything about them was identical – events, actions, feelings, and even the exact thoughts in their head. More alike than any two people could be, even identical twins. Thus, how they could possibly end up at two dramatically different points of view is a mystery that can only be revealed by delving deeply into their lives and reactions to each other.

The most humbling comment I’ve received so far is this one:

“I finished the Tuning Station last night. Whew, what a ride. I’m praying that God will show me why, at this time in my life, all this stuff from my past was dredged up again. Stuff I haven’t thought about in a long, long, time. I almost put it down it brought up so many bad memories. But I finished it and now I just will keep asking what am I suppose to do with it?”

I wrote this novel because of what I see in the world around me these days. Young people are losing their faith, and so many of our actions are counter-productive; from severing relationships to preaching apologetics, both sides seem to talk around the issues. Why, exactly, do we see the same things so differently? Why does something so meaningful to me leave another person unaffected? When something turns us against God, what is it that brings us back?

I want us to find ways to truly understand each other, so we can more fully be expressions of God’s love towards all humanity.

06 PM | 25 May

Four Books that Influenced The Tuning Station

No idea comes out of thin air, and mine was no different. Listed below are the books that were most important to developing The Tuning Station.

Ender’s Game

Ender's Game (The Ender Quartet series Book 1)

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”

Ender’s Game is one of the most popular books of all time, and was even made into a major motion picture in 2013 (that did little justice to the novel, I’m afraid). The story’s themes of empathy and understanding had a huge effect on me, and I’ve incorporated those ideas into the very fabric of The Tuning Station.

Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.”

Reading this book was a life-changer; seeing Miller’s gentle treatment of people damaged by religion set the tone for what I wanted to accomplish myself. The idea that a person who is angry at religion, rails against God and openly disbelieves, is a loved child of God, worthy of our own love and respect, is sadly controversial – but expresses the very purpose of Jesus Christ as well as I’ve ever heard.

The Shack

The Shack

“Anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. But don’t let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving him and removing your hands from around his neck.”

While I don’t agree with many of this novel’s proclaimed theologies, I’ve always loved it for its approach to a difficult topic in a way that generated untold thousands of worthy discussions among Christians. It is, at its core, a beautiful depiction of grace.

Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances

Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances

“…we think being a Christian means to go to church on Sunday and trying to be good through the week. Now I see it means suffering, being willing to let the hard things happen to you, so that God can use us to do His work on this earth!”

This is the incredible true story of Kimberly Smith, a normal woman who risks her life as a missionary in war-ridden Sudan. The stories she tells are heartbreaking – sometimes, so tragic they’re hard to read. Her tale shows exactly what it can mean to give oneself to God’s calling, and inspired two chapters in The Tuning Station.

 

05 PM | 07 May

Announcement: The Tuning Station is coming!

small cover

I’m excited to announce that my début novel has a release date!

On June 1, 2015, The Tuning Station will go live on Amazon, iTunes and other select sites. It will be available in both e-book and trade paperback. Price is TBA.

For current news, and I promise there will be some posts this month, check my website, Facebook, or follow me on Twitter via @crawwriter.

I also encourage you to sign up for updates on my Mailing list.

It’s been over two years since I started my book. I never expected it to take this long. But I’m really proud of the results. Thank you so much for your interest in my blood, sweat and tears, and I hope you enjoy it.

Chris