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Jerome Paul

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Member Since: Mar, 2007

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007  2:52:00 AM

by Jerome Paul

Interview with Jerome-Paul about his new book, Amazing Grace.

Q:        When did you first start writing?

A:         Iíve been writing every since I can remember. I remember riding in the car as a kid looking at houses and making up stories in my head about what was going on behind those closed doors. I would also write short stories that always seemed to be floating around in my head. I wrote my very first short story when I was in high school. It was a fairytale of sorts. My goal is to publish it someday. Even though that fairytale was written many years ago, I still feel it would be of interest to children today.

Q:        Do you have a special place you go to write?

A:         Yes I do, but I donít know how special you can call it. I have a makeshift office that I share with my wife, April. Iíve sort of taken over the space with my clutter. When I write I work in a sort of an organized clutter that only I can understand. It drives my wife crazy. Sheís a bit of a neat freak. I, on the other hand, need the clutter or I canít think straight.

Q:        What motivated you to write the novel Amazing Grace?

A:         I was sitting down one evening flipping through the four billion channels on my cable box and I came across a faith healer. Iím not going to say who it was, because I believe this particular man (as I do with most if not all) is a total fraud. But I did start to think, if someone actually were able to heal another person with a single touch why does the other person have to have faith in God or even in the healerís ability? It seems to me that you can either heal someone or you canít.

Q:        Did you do any research into the subject of faith healing?

A:         Yes I did. I watched other faith healers on television and compared them to faith healers in the Bible. The one story in the Bible that really stood out to me was the story where Jesus was in a crowd of people and wondered who touched His coat. In that story, Jesus actually felt a presence leave Him. If Jesus was affected in such a dramatic way when He was caught unprepared, wouldnít a mere mortal have an even more profound experience? In the Bible when Jesus cured the blind man, there was no faith involved on the part of the blind man. Jesus healed the man because He could, not base on the manís faith or lack thereof.

Q:        It doesnít sound as if you put much faith in faith healers?

A:         I donít discount miracles or even that God could or does give select individuals the power to heal others. I do have a problem with so-called faith healers. I feel that either you can heal a person or you canít. I mean, can you imagine going in for a life saving operation and the surgeon comes in just before they put you under and says, ďNow this operation will only work if you believe, itís totally out of my hands.Ē Would you let that person near you? Of course you wouldnít. Yet millions flock to faith healers and demand no proof. I guess what Iím saying is that when a so-called faith healer can walk into a room filled with atheists with life threatening illnesses and heal everyone, only then will I say yes that man or woman is truly a faith healer.

Q:        In your novel Amazing Grace what was your motivation for the character ZoŽ?

A:         I feel that the matter of faith is an internal and very personal struggle that everyone faces, even atheists. I feel it takes more faith to be an atheist then it does to believe in God. I mean if Iím wrong in y faith in God who will ever know? But if the atheist is wrong Ö well, you get the picture. ZoŽ has to face an internal struggle over what she has been told and what she has to go through in her day to day life. The question of faith has nothing to do with ZoŽís abilities to heal. That is a given. Her faith is purely internal and between her and God, as I believe it is for all of us.

Q:        Do you see Amazing Grace as a religious based novel?

A:         Despite the title, I didnít set out to write a religious based novel and I donít think I did. It definitely has a religious element to it.  But it also takes place in the real world. ZoŽ and her friends face real problems, which call for real solutions. I donít believe that you can simply open the Bible and find a Biblical solution to all of our problems. We have to live our lives in the real world and that requires a balance between our faith, beliefs and everything else that happens right here in the real world.

Q:        What is it you want the readers to take away with them from this novel?

A:         I want the readers to think about weather or not life's blessings and curses come from others around them, or do they come from within themselves? Also, how far are you willing to sacrifice for another? This story isnít about faith in God or anything else. Itís about faith in ones self. Itís about what you see when you look deep inside of yourself.

Q:        Any words of wisdom you wish to impart upon your readers?

A:         I donít feel that what I have to say, or what I believe is any more important then what anyone else has to say or believes. But, I do feel that Amazing Grace is a story that everyone will enjoy, regardless of their beliefs. Itís a story about one girlís struggle to make sense of her life in a way that fits into her beliefs and faith and not the beliefs and faith of others.

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