What I asked and what Frank answered:
ih: What is the main idea you want people to take home after they read Illusion?
FP: I guess you’re asking me, what is the story’s central theme? I would call this story a celebration, a depiction of love, marriage, honor, and commitment such as God purposed them to be, and on a deeper level, a parable about Christ’s love for his bride and how his bride longs to be with Him in intimate relationship.
And guys, this is not a “chick” book. It’s a story for everybody. We could use a few more Mandys with tenacious devotion to their man and a few more Danes who give themselves for their woman as Christ gave Himself for His church.
ih: What compels you to write about the supernatural, the mystical?
FP: I suppose because it makes for such great story material. A good story always takes the hero from an ordinary world into an extraordinary world, and the supernatural and mystical present an endless source of ideas.
You can go anywhere, create anything. There are no limits. Plus, the supernatural and mystical always have one element that is highly effective in fiction, and that is the unknown. If it’s supernatural or mystical you can always hide it and make it mysterious. Bingo, you have a story.
ih: Of all the books you’ve written, which one would you consider your greatest work, and why?
FP: Well, that’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is.
All my books are different, and each has its strengths and its weaknesses. Each book appeals to different sensitivities among my readers in its own unique way.
This Present Darkness could be considered my greatest work because it has touched the most readers and has endured the longest; Tilly, on the other hand, has always been a very quiet, slow burner, a little unsung book working in the background. The Visitation is perhaps the first book in which I depict through my lead character my personal struggles in my faith; Illusion is my expression of awe and wonder at the love God has granted me.
Novels are like any other art. You pour your soul into them and they go where they go and do what they do. The outcome is from the Lord.
ih: What interests do you have outside of writing?
FP: Music. I have played the 5 string banjo for over 20 years and now I’m seriously studying the guitar. I lead worship at my local church which means I lead a worship band including musicians and singers. That’s a lot of fun, and always a creative challenge. It’s also a marvelous environment for learning how to work with people.
I love flying and still have a current pilot’s license, but alas, flying is getting too expensive and I don’t do much of it anymore.
I also love motion pictures and I’ve done some video production, but I guess that’s going to remain at the level of a hobby. Well, okay.
ih: What advice would you give to upcoming writers?
FP: Know what you’re doing. It’s not enough to want to write a book. You have to devote yourself to learning the writing craft, knowing all the nuts and bolts, rules and fundamentals of good fiction writing. I’ve often heard would-be writers advised to “never give up,” but that’s the worst thing you can tell somebody who has no skill, no knowledge of how it’s to be done. That person can never give up, and consequently waste his/her whole life producing unmarketable material. Know what you’re doing.
Thanks, Frank, for the interesting and informative answers!
One reader (today only) will win Peretti’s newest release Illusion. Here’s how: either (1) leave a comment below telling us which Peretti book is your favorite and why OR (2) leave a comment on something that caught your attention reading today’s interview.
Winner will be chosen at random by the most amazing, intelligent, and handsome man alive: my husband!
(Book shipped within 2 weeks, continental U.S. address only).