Paperback Writer would like to introduce our author for today, Chet Galaska, author of the Christian nonfiction book, Finding Faith in a Skeptical World (Triad Press), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in April and May on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Finding Faith in a Skeptical World covers subjects that once stood between him and faith. As he searched, he found that his skepticism was based on shallow perceptions he’d accepted at face value. One by one, troublesome issues were explained and they became reasons for belief instead of doubt.
It was as though he had a scale, with reasons for skepticism on one side and reasons for belief on the other. When he started, there was far more weight on the “skeptical” side, but it gradually shifted and became counterweight on the “belief” side. Eventually, the evidence for faith far outweighed the arguments for disbelief, and the case for faith became overwhelming.
Some chapters deal with matters of faith such as prayer, redemption, salvation and sin. Others address issues like Christian hypocrisy, why bad things happen, miracles, Satan and the Christian view of war. Some are about the seemingly contradictory relationship between science and religion that are discussed in chapters on scientific perception, creation and evolution. Other subjects like the sometimes violent and cruel history of Christianity, “Born Agains” and the Christian view of the Jewish people don’t fit neatly into any category. The common denominator is that each addresses an issue that can be misunderstood and create a distorted, negative view of the faith.
The book was written with the intent of providing brief shortcuts for curious unbelievers, those seeking faith, those new to it, and for Christians who may not be familiar with some of the ideas covered. The author realized that a book like this would have been valuable in helping him come to faith. Since none was available, he wrote Finding Faith in a Skeptical World to share the things he learned in a reader-friendly, direct and concise way.
Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
I didn’t believe in Christianity until I was in my early 50’s and had my interest in it aroused by my physician. Over several years I learned about issues that had stood between me and faith and found that I had misunderstood most of them. In the end, the evidence supported faith and I became a believer.
It took lots of time and effort to glean the information from various sources: independent reading, sermons, Sunday school classes, mentoring by knowledgeable Christians and participation in a Bible study group. There was no source I found that touched on the issues that I needed information on, so I wrote one to help others.
Was it a light bulb moment or something you though about for a very long time?
I’ve worked on it for so long it seems as though I always had the idea. Obviously, that isn’t the case. I guess it was more of a light bulb moment. With all time it took to put my thoughts together on my beliefs it dawned on me most people who might be interested in looking into the Christian faith wouldn’t have the time or motivation to investigate it I did. And even if they did, they might not have access to the great sermons I heard or the mentors I had.
It was clear that a short, readable book that touched on these topics would be unique and useful.
How did you come up with the title?
Until it was ready to be published the working title was Stumbling Stones, because each chapter represented a hurdle to be overcome. The terms “stumbling stone” or “stumbling block” are used in the Bible to describe such things. But as appropriate as the title might have been, it didn’t describe what the book was about. So I added a subtitle: “Finding Faith in a Skeptical World.” With feedback from others, I realized that the original title was weak and confusing so I just went with the subtitle.
I’m glad I did, because it enabled us to come up with a cover that illustrated the title strikingly.
How did you find an agent and publisher?
Looked in the mirror. As an unpublished non-celebrity I learned how daunting it is to find either a good agent or a publisher. I asked a well-known author in the same genre how he got started, and it turned out that he was also unknown at first. He printed his first book and did speaking engagements where he sold the book and got it out in the public. After a time, it wound up in the hands of an agent who asked if he could shop it around. It was picked up by a major publisher and the rest is history.
He suggested I do the same.
A word of warning: in order to make this work, the author must keep ownership of his book’s ISBN – it’s not enough to have the copyright. If you contact a co-publisher make sure you ask who owns the ISBN and you’ll find that most of them won’t deal with you if you insist on keeping it.
Who reads your work in progress?
A variety of people have read parts: my wife, kids, pastor, friends. But mostly I do. I find that re-writing multiple times helps to pare it down and make it clearer. It’s a strange thing, but I’ll write something, come back to it a couple of days later with fresh eyes and frequently come up with a better way to say it.
I also had a professional edit the text before printing.
Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
Valley Sharpe from United Writer’s Press was of great help with the editing and design work. She suggested various interior designs and also did the graphic design work for the cover.
How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
About four years, but only because this was a part-time project that I worked on in fits and starts.
How long did it take from start to publication?
It took about a year from the completion of the manuscript to getting the book printed, so the total was around five years. During that final year, the publishing company had to be legally established, a designer and editor found, the ISBN and copyright obtained, a printer contracted, distribution set up, a web site established (http://findingfaith.us) and other elements worked out.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I wish I was a wizened old author who could offers pearls of wisdom, but I’m not. All I can offer is the one thing that has always worked for me: persistence. It seems to be working for Finding Faith in a Skeptical World. I’m speaking, selling the book and getting good feedback. I’ve had some people come back and buy copies to give away and I know it’s been recommended to others by those who have read it. I get charged up each time I hear these things, and the more books that get out there, the more they happen.
THE FINDING FAITH IN A SKEPTICAL WORLD VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09 officially begin on April 1 and end on May 29. You can visit Chet’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in April and May to find out more about this talented author!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.