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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
While I started out writing what I thought would be a mystery novel, by the time it finished, it was obvious that it is a romantic suspense story. Except instead of the usual female heroine in such stories, I had a male hero! A flawed male hero who had lost everything that gave value to his life. That happens to many people who find themselves going through a divorce. All the things that provide emotional anchors for people in life get wiped away when people experience separation and divorce. It is only in going through the grief process, and the search for new relationships to help find new anchors, that people can find their way back to wholeness.
And to be honest, like the lead character in the television show, “Ed,” I am a hopeless romantic! I wanted to portray the fact that men can experience the desire for romance, just as much as women.
I’m a pastor deeply devoted to my faith. I’m a preacher! I can no more ignore my beliefs than can my dog ignore meat left out for her! Plus, my faith, and my own experience working through a divorce, taught me that absent a deeply held religious faith, most people can end up lost and hurt. This is a story of how one’s faith helped the hero, and the love interest, back to wholeness.
Absolutely! The plot from this story is freely and admittedly taken from the prose portions (beginning and ending) of the Biblical Book of Job.
I think the story is very Christian. However, this is not a story that will likely reach the market served by the “Christian Booksellers Association” (CBA). That market reaches out to one particular theological point of view within Christianity: the Evangelical Protestant part of the Christian faith. There are many other theological points of view within Christianity. I happen to come from the more “progressive” or “liberal” mainline Protestant theological point of view. The theology expressed in this book portrays that theological .viewpoint.
If one drives by and looks at the building located on the southwest corner of Sunset and Martel, in West Hollywood, a viewer will see just what gave me the inspiration for the design of the Burger Barn building in The Burger Barn on Sunset.
Yes, that church really exists, on the southeast corner of Fairfax and Fountain. I had the privilege of serving as pastor of Crescent Heights United Methodist Church in West Hollywood for eleven interesting and tumultuous years. In that time, the church came back from near-closing, including an arson fire that destroyed three small buildings on the back of the property, and virtually no congregation, to being a small and faithful core congregation. We also had lots of visitors, more than I’ve ever had in any other church. Our worship attendance almost always exceeded our membership. This is the last, remaining mainline Protestant church in the City of West Hollywood--all the others abandoned the city. Given that over a third of the city’s population openly admitted that it was homosexual, and one out of every eleven people was already HIV+ or had AIDS, we openly stated we welcomed all people to worship--including those who were gay, lesbian or bisexual. It was here that I learned something of the meaning of grace.
Let’s face it: most writers have to have some sort of “shtick,” some sort of gimmick, in their titles if they hope to convince publishers that their intention is to write a series of books. Sue Grafton has her “alphabet” series; Kate Charles has her “Book of Psalms” series; Rhys Bowen has her “Evan” series; the late Charles Merrill Smith had his “Reverend Randollph and....” series; and the list could go on and on. I’m no different!
I came upon the idea of a “Streets of Hollywood” series because in the eleven years I was a pastor in West Hollywood, I became acutely aware of how much difference there is on the differing streets there. Hollywood Boulevard, from the new Kodak Theater east to Gower Street, is for tourists. All the businesses there are tourist-oriented. East of that, Hollywood Boulevard is the main drag of an economic ghetto. Sunset Boulevard is a street of businesses that serve either the local residents or the other local businesses. Highland is a major artery to and from the Hollywood Freeway--it’s always busy. So the businesses there are ones that require easy access, but are not geared toward residents. Vine is more a street of memories from the days when radio was popular: the businesses are mostly older ones that have somehow managed to survive, without the announcer’s voice intoning, “From the corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood....”
It struck me that utilizing the different character of the streets in Hollywood would give me a broad field to create a setting that would be appropriate to the story I wanted to write. Future books either in process or outlined, for this series, are The Convalescent Home on Cahuenga and The Phony Friar on Fairfax.
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By Thomas H. Griffith
Copyright © 2005 Thomas H. Griffith. All rights reserved.
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