Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interview with Bruce Atchison, author of How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity



Author Bio:
Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind Canadian freelance writer with articles published in a variety of magazines. He has also authored three paperbacks. "When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies" is a memoir of the surprising facts he discovered about house rabbits."Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School" is his recollection of being sent five hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. "How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity" shows how God led Atchison out of a legalistic house church. Contact him at batchison@mcsnet.ca or via Facebook or Twitter. He also posts regularly on his www.bruceatchison.blogspot.com and www.bruceatchison.wordpress.com blogs. Atchison lives in a tiny Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.


When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? 
I've always loved telling stories. During junior high school, the local newspaper was looking for student articles. I wrote a few and one was published. For about 20 years, I set writing aside. Then I began writing for fan magazines of electronic music and the newsletter at work. An employment counselor convinced me to go professional when I was placed on permanent disability. After writing freelance articles, I decided to write three memoirs. Now I want to work on short fiction stories with the goal of developing good characters.

Where did the inspiration for How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity come from?
I've always loved puns. Since "razed" and "raised" sound the same, and since they both applied to my experiences with Christianity, I thought the pun was appropriate for the title.

What made you choose to write a novel?
Though my books are memoirs, they all are more than a hundred-thousand words long. I had no word count goal, just the desire to tell my experiences with house rabbits, at a blind school, and with a cultic house church.

What is the main message or theme that you hope readers of this book come away from it with?
It's a warning to pastors about the dangers new disciples face from cults. It also is my way of encouraging ex-cult members to tell their stories. Nobody likes to admit that they fell for lies, yet telling others about what happened is therapeutic.

 Who is your favorite author?
Without doubt, C. S. Lewis is my favourite. I'd love to write fantasy stories like his.

 Do you have a writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?
I'm very fond of my old MS DOS computer and WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. Both have served me well since 1993 and I know those programs well. As for my weekday routine, I answer e-mails in the morning and promote my books. Afternoons are for writing blogs, stories, and query letters. I'm not a "morning person" so I need several cups of weapons-grade coffee to get my brain out of first gear.

 Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?
I don't enjoy edits and rewrites but computers have made both so much easier. One reason I took so long to get back into writing was the tedium of having my nose almost touching the page as I squinted and printed my prose on paper. Now it's so much easier. Better yet, I have a screen-reading program that speaks the text aloud. I still touch-type but I listen to what I've written. It's handy for catching mistakes, with the exception of homonyms.

Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication:
I self-published all three of my books because I knew that the topics weren't mainstreem. When a Man Loves a Rabbit sold a few hundred copies but Deliverance from Jericho and How I Was Razed didn't do so well. Self-publishing also helped me learn to market my books and to understand the dynamics of readership interest.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?
For me, it's marketing. I'd love to write all day but I need to get the word out about what I've written. Being a sales person has never worked out for me in the past. Perhaps I'll catch on to it soon.

Are there any common themes that you feel are particularly important to write about?
Being a born-again Christian, all I write is filtered through my beliefs. I want even my fiction writing to be truthful and to present the human condition as it is.

When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?
I'm an amateur radio operator with the call sign VE6XTC. Shortwave and AM listening at night are also favourite pastimes of mine. I also enjoy social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. Walking through forests is also an activity I enjoy but I don't get that much of a chance these days to do that.

 Are you working on any new projects?
I'm writing short stories and publishing them on Readwave. It's a site where people can upload 600 to 800-word stories for free. People read and even comment on them. It's good practice for when I shop them around to magazine editors and enter them into contests.

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi? Yes.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Neither.
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? Neither.
Hard Copy or e-book? E-book. My PC reads them out loud and I can preserve what little vision I have left.
Favorite book? The Bible
Last book you read? The Olsteenification of America by Hank Hanegraaff.
What's a quote that inspires you? I can't think of one at the moment.
What's your favorite comfort food? chocolate Easter bunnies.


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