The Inside Scoop!
and his fantasy novel
New Growth Press
I grew up in…
…the state of confusion. I’m sorry. That’s my dad’s joke.
I feel like I grew up on the road. My dad was in the military. We travelled a lot, criss-crossing the country in a brown Ford Econoline van that my dad decked out with groovy star-shaped windows and a bed in the back. I’d ask what state we’re in, and my dad would reply, “The state of confusion.”
I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and ended up in Merritt Island, Florida when my dad got out of the Army. That’s where I went to high school, but I didn’t do much growing up until I graduated.
I was inspired to write my first published novel by…
…studying theology, getting therapy, and reading Donald Miller.
First, the love of the Trinity compelled me. I’m not talking primarily about my love for the Trinity, rather the love within the Trinity. In seminary, I encountered a love that has always existed between God the Father and God the Son in the shared delight of God the Spirit. It’s a love that has graciously overflowed to me, filled me, and invited me into a divine life that has always existed and will never end.
That’s all some pretty heady stuff, so I thought I’d write a novel for people who would never read a theology book. I wanted to invite more people to taste the sweetness of sharing that divine life.
Second, therapy helped me see things about myself I wanted to express. I wanted to weave my personal narrative into the grand narrative of scripture, not because I’m anything special, but because I’m so common. By showing how my story fits into God’s story, I hoped to help the reader find themselves in that great love story too.
Finally, Donald Millers’ book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story helped me dare to believe I could be a writer.
The books that have most influenced my life are…
…Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel, Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines, Chuck DeGroat’s Wholeheartedness, and Michael Reeves’ Delighting in the Trinity.
Also, I have to say that the Donald Miller book I mentioned earlier, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, literally changed my life. It really will help you live a better story if you dare to create inciting incidents like that book recommends.
The Bible was pretty good too. 😉
My biggest challenge when writing is…
…knowing when I have to stop writing. I love this quote from Winston Churchill:
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
My mentor and friend, Steve Brown, says there are two kinds of projects, the perfect ones and the finished ones.
Deadlines can be my worst enemy and best friend at the same time.
One of my favourite authors is…
I love the uber-comprehensive world building and the themes woven into his books. I especially like how he handles the nature of power and the surprising power of nature to use the “weak things” to confound the wise.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be…
…the VP of Communications and Executive Producer at Key Life Network. That’s my day job (one of them anyway), and I’d just keep doing that.
However, if I could make a living being a fulltime writer, I would.
The superhero talent I would love to have is…
…the ability to make a living as a fulltime writer.
Young Madeline and Roark are desperately running from the shadow that destroyed their home and is threatening their lives. One day, they encounter Tatus, an older man who has sworn to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the shadow, and they form an alliance with him. Tatus promises that he can keep them safe from the shadow if they will help him build a fortress. So they build.
But as fortress-building consumes their lives, Madeline and Roark are increasingly filled with anger and fear, and an unseen evil threatens to ultimately destroy them. When they finally face the shadow, he presents them with an unthinkable offer that will reveal shocking secrets of the forgotten past, the unseen present, and the unimaginable future.
We’ve all had the feeling that something’s not quite right with our lives. It’s bigger than any specific failure or disappointment. It’s bigger than any person. No matter what you achieve or how much you drink or sleep, you can’t shake it. It haunts you-night and day-and propels you to do something. So you build. You build and build the maze that is your exhausting life. Sound vaguely familiar?
The Seed: A True Myth is a journey into the personal labyrinths we create to protect ourselves and those we love from the pain of living in a broken world. Guzman’s “true myth” takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that is, in essence, the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work in the world. This page-turning Christian fantasy tale is packed with mystery and drama, and readers will feel the weight and power of redemption as they journey alongside Guzman’s characters in their epic battle.The Seed deftly communicates the heart of Trinitarian theology through story-without using theological language or Christian terms-and reinforces biblical themes such as God’s character and man’s true identity and calling.
My latest novel can be described by these 5 adjectives…
…compelling, maddening, touching, encouraging, and joyful. Those are some of the adjectives one reader recently used to describe The Seed: A True Myth. He had more than five, so I picked my favorites.
My main character is…
…a young woman on the run from the mysterious shadow that destroyed her home. Even after securing safety within a tower surrounded by a labyrinth, she lives in fear—fear of losing her new home and fear of losing her mind in isolation. She eventually finds the freedom her heart desires by embracing the light that cast the shadow over her past.
My main characters resemble…
…the people who populate the inner world of every reader. We’re all running scared and trying to find safety and freedom in a broken world. We all hear the voices of my characters within us telling us how to escape the emptiness—the shadow—that haunts our hearts.
My story’s spiritual theme is…
…that we only find the freedom and joy we long for by embracing helplessness and trusting Love… because Love never fails.
While writing this novel I was challenged by…
…the realization that I am not the hero of my story. And by “my story” I mean my life and my book. I am the damsel in distress. I am the misguided man who makes things worse by trying to make things better. It was, and continues to be, a challenge to trust that I will ultimately be rescued by Love himself.
The title was chosen by…
…my publisher. I originally wanted to title the book, The Seed of Love: A True Myth. But I guess it’s like David Bowie sang in that Queen song, “Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn … love’s such an old-fashioned word.”
As an author, the hardest scenes for me to write are…
…scenes written from the perspective of a character whose warped perception of reality is radically different from that of the reader (and other characters in the story).
It’s a challenge to be consistent as that character interacts with the world around them. It’s like telling a lie. It takes more lies to be consistent with the first lie, and before you know it you have a tangled web within which you have to write and maneuver. Add to that the effort to convey the thoughts and emotions that come from that skewed perspective and it gets really tricky.
The story I’m currently working on is…
…about an android counsellor serial killer set in a future world where the working class has been eliminated by the elite and replaced with robots.
If I could be a character in any novel, I would want to be…
…a real person.
Erik Guzman is Vice President of Communications and Executive Producer at Key Life Network. He’s the co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show Steve Brown, Etc. and announcer for Key Life. Guzman’s writing has been featured in the organization’s magazine and website as well Liberate.org, Burnside Writers Collective and Sojourners (sojo.net). He has a BA in mass communication and an MBA and is perpetually working toward a Master’s in theological studies. He is also the author of the soon-to-be-published book The Gift of Addiction: How God Redeems Our Pain.
Guzman is also a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a drummer and a fifth-degree black belt in Aikido. He lives near Orlando, Florida, with his wife and their three children.