I've always had a light and dark side, both of which revealed themselves in 2007 as I wrote Fireproof, about a marriage going up in flames, and Field of Blood, about the power of the Nazarene Blood over temptation and addiction.
Though my 7th book, Fireproof, was squarely in the Christian market, it dealt with tough subjects of divorce, adultery, and pornography--an addiction with which my wife and I had already wrestled.
I loved working with the Kendricks, two fun and humble brothers. Fireproof became a NY Times bestseller and I had Christian bookstore employees and readers wanting to take photos with me. Go figure. The story contained the romance many dream of, even if hard won, and it promised a world where God's principles are victorious.
Released beforehand, Field of Blood, was a much darker take on that world. As a teenager I had devoured The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis. I loved the idea of reading the enemy's mail, just as intrepid spies tried to do during World War II. I aimed to do the same thing, taking on the historical and biblical origins of vampires and their desire for blood, even the Nazarene Blood on a Roman cross. My Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy kicked off with my Field of Blood, and it was a deeply researched, dark and gritty, extremely spiritual book. It dealt with death, addiction, sexual temptation, and religious hypocrisy.
Not everyone got it, but many loved it. Pastors wrote me, saying it was the most powerful symbolism they'd ever read in fiction. Non-Christians told me it was the most original vampire series they'd come across. I also had people tell me I was "consorting with demons," "flirting with the devil," and "in danger of losing my salvation." One man, whom I had financially supported in his work with Romanian orphanages, refused to receive my money any longer because it was "gained by evil means."
When we as writers create stories, we can explore questions, enlighten, entertain, or offer escape. Sometimes we manage to do all at the same time. Whether you preferred my "safe" story, contained in Fireproof, our my "risky" story called Field of Blood, you encountered characters dealing with addiction and destructive unforgiveness.
What can I say? I love tackling the thorny subjects. If you've read the trilogy, you know exactly what I mean.