Author Interview 2: Foy: On the Road to Lost by Gordon Atkinson

FOY:ON THE ROAD
TO LOST
by
GORDON ATKINSON
  Genre: Literary Fiction
Date of Publication: March 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 194

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

Gordon Atkinson, of the popular blog RealLivePreacher, brings us Foy, a recently- divorced, recently-resigned pastor in the midst of redefining personal meaning. As Foy travels to New Orleans, hoping to find a new identity separate from the church, he keenly observes the everyday, rendering ordinary moments unexpectedly significant. Atkinson’s own background as a preacher and blogger inspires Foy’s confessional voice, the voice which characterizes this story about how our own experiences impact the universal search for meaning. 
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PRAISE FOR FOY: ON THE ROAD TO LOST:

“If the magnitude of difference between the stars and humankind is the purest of religions, reminding us of our insignificance (so thinks Foy), then that magnitude is collapsed in the hands of Atkinson, whose words elevate the most insignificant of objects, acts, and characters to startling heights. A key shifted on a desk, a communion cup offered to an old woman despite a philosophical mismatch, a baby’s bottle first ignored and then retrieved for a frazzled stranger on a bus. Each commands, each arrests, each persists. And we suddenly remember that what we create with mere words can be as lasting as the luminaries.”
— L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, twice named a best book of 2011


“Few writers can match Gordon Atkinson’s ability to tell stories about the sacred in our everyday lives. Foy is a work of power, beauty, and clarity–I saw myself and the world more clearly after reading it. I think you will too.”

— Greg Garrett, author of The Prodigal and Entertaining Judgment

“I really, really like Gordon Atkinson’s Foy. I like the character Foy himself. He’s Everyman and he’s me and he’s Gordon, all at the same time. Nice trick. I like Gordon’s writing — straightforward, but with a simple elegance. But what I really like is the no-holds-barred honesty. This feels real because it is real. Foy at his worst, Foy at his best, Foy at his most wonderful/awful. It’s an on-going series, just like life. I look forward to the next chapter.”
— Robert F. Darden, author of Nothing but Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-Ins to Resurrection City

 

AuthorInterview

Gordon Atkinson Author Interview 2

Your writing contains beautiful messages. Does the story come first, or the underlying message/theme?

Story first or the beginning idea for an essay. Most of the time I don’t know where things are going to end up when I begin and am as surprised as anyone when I’m finished. This is especially true of fiction, where I consciously seek to avoid directing the writing in hopes of pulling from the unconscious, which is where all the best stories live.

Do you have any kind of ritual you engage in before you write or during the writing process?

The first task is to get every idea down on paper, even if you write it on a napkin. And save those. The next step is to start a piece and gush without thinking onto the paper. In step two one hopes to capture magic from the unconscious. The third thing is to organize and think through the structure of the piece. This is the one I enjoy the least. The last thing is polishing and it’s more like creating poetry. You don’t have to think about structure anymore. Just listen to the sounds of your words and play with them until they sound right.

How much of Foy is based on your own life? Did some of these stories actually happen to you?

I tore my life down into little blocks and used those blocks to build a new life for Foy. There are a few stories that are very close to something that happened to me. Others are based on events from my life but are skewed or lead the character in the opposite direction that I went. And a good bit of Foy is just made up. I’d say Foy resembles me if my life had turned out differently.

Foy has daughters. Will we meet them at some point?

Yes. There are currently two stories that feature his daughters. They just aren’t in volume one. And I have a story planned for Foy’s mother and father. So in the future we should learn a little more about his family.

Foy sure curses a lot for a minister. Is that realistic?

Most ministers know that the scriptures have nothing to say about coarse language, if that language isn’t being used to hurt people. But ministers also have a certain reputation to uphold. So most of them watch their language in public. But I promise you, many of them cut loose when they can do so safely.

What does “On the road to lost” mean?

It is a play on words based on something my wife said when we left the ministry. She said “I once was found but now I’m lost, could see but now I’m blind.” You might recognize that as a distortion of words from the song “Amazing Grace.” I liked what she said. It describes many people who grew up in insular religious communities. It’s as if never having been lost, their journeys inevitably lead them into the wilderness. That’s Foy. He was safe and secure inside the mythic religious world  of Fort Davis. He takes a journey into the larger world, where he feels lost indeed.

You mention a volume two at the end of the book. Have you started it?

I have, and I am well on the way. There are forty-one stories so far. There are only twenty-five in this volume.

How has Texas influenced your writing?

I don’t know. But it makes sense to me that I wouldn’t know. Your own culture is invisible to you. Its influence is always strong but rarely recognized. I’ve always lived in Texas. My family is from Livingston. I was born in Fort Worth. I spent my early years in El Paso and my adolescence in Houston. I graduated from Katy High School and went to college in Waco. When I was in seminary my wife and I lived in a mobile home in Burleson. And I’ve been in San Antonio for almost thirty years.

I assume, therefore, that the scent of Texas rises gently from out of every sentence I write.


 

Atkinson is the author of the books RealLivePreacher.com (Wm. B. Eerdmans), Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You’ve Never Heard.  He was a contributor for the magazine Christian Century and founding editor for the High Calling website, which brought together hundreds of independent writers and featured their work. 
His writing career started on Salon where he was among the most read bloggers on the site.  One of his essays was chosen to be included in The Best Christian Writing 2004 (Jossey-Bass) and his book RealLivePreacher.com won the Independent Publisher Book Award in the creative non-fiction category.

  —————————————
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! 

 

Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Foy: On the Road to Lost, Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You Never Heard
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of Foy: On the Road to Lost

3rd Prize: Signed Copy of RealLivePreacher.com
(US ONLY)
March 1 – 15, 2017

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
 

3/1
Video Guest Post 1
3/2
Review
3/3
Excerpt 1
3/4
Video Guest Post 2
3/5
Review
3/6
Author Interview 1
3/7
Review
3/8
Video Guest Post 3
3/9
Excerpt 2
3/10
Review
3/11
Video Guest Post 4
3/12
Author Interview 2
3/13
Review
3/14
Video Guest Post 5
3/15
Review

 

 

 

 

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