[Archive] 'The Shack' / 'Cross Roads' - Wm. Paul Young

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[Archive] 'The Shack' / 'Cross Roads' - Wm. Paul Young

Post by Aslan_HQ on Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:11 am

“The Shack gave people a language to talk about God and the great sadnesses that they have.”

Originally posted to the Aslan Christian Books blog on January 11, 2013

With sales of over 18 million copies around the world, The Shack is one of just a handful of publishing phenomenons. It is a fictional account of a father whose youngest daughter, Missy, was abducted during a family vacation. Evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his great sadness the father receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. The book takes the reader on a journey with the protagonist through his pain, grief and encounter with God.

The author, William Paul Young, now has a new novel out called Cross Roads which tells the story of a successful and ruthless businessman who, when unconscious in hospital with a brain haemorrhage finds himself with the a fresh chance at redemption.

How do you look back at the success of The Shack?

It is still very surreal. I made 15 copies at ‘Office Depot’ for my friends and that did everything I wanted it to do. The beautiful thing about The Shack is that it ploughed a new track that people didn’t know existed. It gave people a language to talk about God and the great sadnesses that they have. I have received well-over 100,000 emails and messages from all over the world about how this book has affected people. After the first 15 copies everything else has been God’s grace and God’s sense of humour. That even if he no longer speaks through the prophets he can speak through the asses!

What was your feeling when it was picked up by a publisher?

It was absolutely a surprise. You write stuff for your friends and family, and they love it because they are your friends and family! Then it started to snowball and people started writing me these unbelievable emails. There is a real sense of gratitude to just be a part of such a phenomenon. It certainly wasn’t something I was looking for.

I was absolutely content to be working three jobs to put food on the table, and would be very happy to go back, which has left me very free in the middle of this tornado around The Shack.

How did you deal with some of the controversy around the book?

People find ‘issues’ when they’re afraid of something. Religious people, and especially evangelicals, are trained to focus on differences because that is where they get their worth. Evangelicals have bought into a very dualistic universe where the mind is separated from the heart. We’re designed to be whole people yet we are so focused on the intellect, on rationality, so that it becomes a place of safety. This can create such a lens to look through that everything becomes so distorted that people who never even read the book became some of the angriest people. People find ‘issues’ when they’re afraid of something.

Did the criticism affect you personally?

The thing is, ‘pharisees’ are my people. I grew up with a fundamentalist background, which tells you how far I have come. I love controversy, it is better than ambivalence; and some conversation is better than nothing.

The only time it got difficult when people realised that I don’t have any secrets – that there was nothing that people could go and find. When they found that their attack wasn’t working very well they went after my kids, and that was hard – and these were Christians! We had people remove their children from having relationships with my kids in case they were contaminated.

Who are you writing for?

I am writing for people I love, for people I care about. My spouse, my children, my friends. I’m not writing with an agenda – I’m not saying “this is where I want to get to.” I would rather take an idea and explore it; to examine the beauty or pain of something, ask the questions and see what happens. When I write it surprises me as oftentimes as it surprises other people. Writing is like stepping into a river and letting it carry you.

Good creative writing should create space; it should have the respect to say that the reader has the ability to hear for yourself.

What led you to write your new book, Cross Roads?

It’s not like The Shack was the first thing I wrote. I have always been experimenting with ways of communicating that allows more people to enter the conversation.  With Cross Roads, I am just asking a different set of questions: how do opportunities for transformation find their way into a closed world where someone has become despicable in their isolation? What are the golden threads that crack that cocoon open?

‘Cross Roads’ is a great metaphor, because we all face them. And when we face them we see what kind of person we are going to be, how are we going to deal with them. Difficulties in marriage, sickness, loss of business, death, all the things of life – these are cross roads and how we handle them guides what sort of person we become.

Even the smaller things every day matter – do we forgive, do we let go, do we reconcile, do we express kindness? Or do we make the choice to not listen, to become defensive? All of these things have this congealed impact on who we become.

What were your intentions with the main character – it seems like he has been given the chance to right the wrongs he committed?

That’s something of a misunderstanding. It isn’t so much that he can right the wrongs as that he is given the chance to see things differently, and therefore to change.

Is there a link in the book between reparation and salvation?

I think justice requires that things be restored, and that is why I don’t see God in terms of punitive or retributive power. God doesn’t need to punish us to restore balance in the universe – but to see things restored is for our own good. This is what writers and mystics have explored for centuries – C S Lewis, George MacDonald – even Dickens. They are playing with this space where transformation can occur in a broken soul, and what could that look like?

What conclusions do you hope the reader will draw from Cross Roads?

I don’t – I really am not agenda-driven. There are certain things that I would love readers to pick up on. Such as that God’s love for them is so powerful that they cannot change it; that they could see how valuable and significant they are as human beings;  and that transformation is a process, not an event.

Is writing a means or an end in itself?

Oh – it is an end in itself. Like any creative thing it is part of exploration, of asking questions. If you make it a means to an end you co-opted it into something that it isn’t part of. God doesn’t do stuff as a means to an end.

Buy The Shack for just £5.00 (RRP £7.99)

Buy Cross Roads for just £5.00 (RRP £7.99)


Wm. Paul Young's new book 'Eve' is due for release on 15th Sept 2015.

The Shack shattered our limited perceptions about God. Eve will destroy harmful misconceptions about ourselves.

When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside-broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers her genetic code connects her to every known human race. She is a girl of prophecy and no one can guess what her survival will mean. No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her "daughter," and invites her to witness the truth about her story-indeed, the truth about us all.

Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship-yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional misconceptions about who we are and how we're made. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does-complete, unique, and not constrained to cultural rules or limitations.

Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.

Pre-Order 'Eve' for just £11.99 with FREE postage (RRP: £14.99)


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Re: [Archive] 'The Shack' / 'Cross Roads' - Wm. Paul Young

Post by Leona123 on Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:17 am

World's longest interview!!

Eve looks really great though.
How does the pre-order thing work?

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Re: [Archive] 'The Shack' / 'Cross Roads' - Wm. Paul Young

Post by Aslan_HQ on Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:24 am

You're right, Leona - pretty long interview for us as we usually limit the number of questions so it able to fit to a page in our magazine.
This one was originally posted on our blog as a 2-parter; 1 part for 'The Shack' the other part for 'Cross Roads' Smile

To pre-order you simply put the book in your basket on our website and buy like normal, then we send it out to you as soon as it's released - it's the same whether you buy something a day ahead of release or months before!
And if you've got other bits in your basket too, don't worry, we've got it covered - we'll always post out the rest of your order first and then the pre-order as soon as it's in, that way you aren't left waiting for your other books Smile


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Re: [Archive] 'The Shack' / 'Cross Roads' - Wm. Paul Young

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