Given Robert Allan Young’s stature as one of today’s most compelling and sought after Christian fiction writers, it’s easy to let the reviews and numbers overshadow the essential reason why he’s come so far in the first place. As he says with typical understatement, “I’m just a guy who gets an idea or a story in his head, and I have to write it down, and I have to get them out. I’m just lucky enough that I may be able to make it my life’s work.”
For Robert, it’s never been about a popularity contest or a game of trying to write a financially successful bestseller. It’s about the message in each one of his works. And for Robert, it all comes back to the creative source. “Sometimes I have trouble separating the idea of what I do versus real life. I see a story or an idea in almost everything. Most of the time there’s joy and love but like real life, there’s also so much pain and hurt in this world. But if I can write something and make a reader feel something they’ve never before felt or maybe even just stop and think, then its all worthwhile. It's something that I can do and it just makes sense to me.”
Making sense of his inspiration is what Robert does at an exceptionally high level. “The inspiration is the part that’s completely magical and I really have no control over it. The inspiration is when you’re walking by someone who is doing an everyday, mundane task and you ask yourself ‘what if’. And then story starts to form in your mind. You love it and you can actually picture the story all unfold. Then you realize that this story doesn’t exist yet, that it could be a message that someone may need to read and experience. But that’s also a process that I can’t be responsible for because the minute you start to claim ownership of it, you lose it. Quincy Jones once said,‘The moment that success leads you to say, “I’ll take it from here, God,” that’s when God walks out of the room.’”
And as for the craft, Robert is quite passionate about how that all comes about. “You have those moments when you feel yourself right there with the characters and all you have to do is take notes. But when that feeling stops, you have to walk away at some point, but you also have to go back because now becomes a responsibility. You say, ‘OK, this is where the inspiration took me, now what was it I was trying to say, where was I going with this story? It’s this unbelievable process that when you’re done with it, you feel like the most unbelievably creative person in the world, and then it goes away for awhile. Before you know it, something else comes along to inspire you and the whole process starts all over again. So you keep trying to get that feeling again, that high off of creating, that place that carries you from a blank page where nothing existed to a story that moves people. That’s where the magic is.”
Which brings us to the latest collection of Robert Allan Young’s inspirations. They follow his first book titled, FOR MY SON which made history as the first book released by a local author to debut as number one on the NcNally Robinson’s best seller’s list. THREE DAYS WITH MARY is the story of Brian LeClair, a man broken by his own choices, who is running from the pains of life. Trapped in a historic bed and breakfast by a violent storm, LeClair spends three days with Mary, the innkeeper, where he is forced to confront his beliefs, his purpose and his heart. Three Days with Mary is an emotional journey of one man’s redemption and salvation and his discovery of something we all strive for, perfect love.
In December, Young’s third novel TETELESTAI will be released. Tetelestai is a suspenseful, enduring love story that leads Nicholai Delagado and Danica Harris on a journey through a maze of evil, deceit, and murder to place where they discover each other. Both characters have endured a lifetime of loss and sacrifice but in their journey they discover the true rewards of faith, grace and love.
That gift of turning the personal into a fictional story or character has been a hallmark of Rob’s work. “If I can take a specific moment in my life and write about how that moment made me feel though a character that I’ve created, all of a sudden I’m in a territory where a lot of people can understand. If I can write a chapter about Nicholai contemplating taking his own life, or Brian wanting to run away, or two people who love each other in such a way that nothing else in the world matters and someone else can actually feel those same feelings, then I’ve done it. If I can take a reader who’s delving in the depths of heartache and loneliness and bring them to a place where they can experience that one true love that may have been lost, then its all worth it. But my real goal is to get them closer to God on a deeper level than they were before they turned the first page. And there’s no better feeling in the world when I can do that with God’s help.”
And it’s a world Young views with incredible optimism and passion, despite the occasionally sad paragraph or chapter. “I’m not a sad person and I don’t get any satisfaction in heartache and despair. There’s always hopefulness in anything I write. There has to be; it’s the hopeful part that makes me want to share with people. It’s the hopeful part that says there can be healing in the pain and if I can make it maybe some other people will too.”