Book Writing (Behind the Scenes)

The Story Behind The Book of Evie 


Often we creatives get visits from the muse. Sometimes it brings with it ideas so powerful they completely floor you. I remember one afternoon I was in the shower and a pivotal part of Evie's story entered into my mind. I saw the scene taking place as if I were watching a film. And the harsh reality of the story point shocked me to my core. I remember shutting off the water and repeatedly saying to myself "Holy crap!" I was in such shock at the power of the details I almost couldn't think straight. I grabbed my phone and began writing in the Evernote app. I did my best to describe and capture what I had seen.

This wasn't the first time I had gotten ideas for this story. I had been nurturing it for a while now. The first idea I ever had for The Book of Evie was while I was in Peru on a missionary trip in the late 2000's. We were in the middle of a conference and my ADHD mind began to wander. I saw in my mind a scene from near the end of the book. It was so strong and emotional for me, I struggled to contain my tears while sitting in the crowd. I tried to play it off and hide my emotions from everyone else. I don't think anyone noticed me or cared for that matter; but I was seeing for the first time a scene from The Book of Evie, and I knew then that this book would be important in some way. That it was a story that many should hear and that lives could be impacted and maybe changed somehow by hearing it.

So like always, I wrote down my ideas and saved them until the time was right.

(It's difficult to share these testimonies without going into detail of what I saw. If I do, I run the risk of spoiling the book for those who've yet to read it)

When I had that "Holy crap" moment in the shower, I was about halfway through writing That's Prayer. All that was within me wanted to jump straight into writing The Book of Evie instead. But I knew I needed to wait. In my past I had always been one to get inspired and jump from project to project. In the end, I'd always find myself with nothing accomplished and a bunch of unfinished works. I knew that I was meant to write That's Prayer first. That was my commitment and dedication to God. The Book of Evie could wait. So I disciplined myself and whenever the muse hit me with Evie ideas, I wrote them down so I wouldn't lose them. But I worked hard on finishing That's Prayer and putting it out into the world first.

After the first edition of That's Prayer was released, I dove in head first into writing Evie and man, was I excited! 

I managed to write The Book of Evie fairly quickly. In just a few months, the first draft was done. It wasn't too difficult to do, since I had so many ideas written down. I remember one day letting my mother read the book. She said, "I don't know why but I feel like I'm going to need this," and she grabbed her box of tissues. When she finished reading several chapters, she came out of my office wiping her eyes and said, "I knew I was going to need those."

I saw that my story was impacting her just like it was impacting me. 

The Book of Evie is a really personal story. I found myself gripped emotionally as I wrote. I found myself laughing, crying, feeling dread and fear... I guess this is something that many authors experience as they write. We pour ourselves into our books and love our characters deeply and feel their pain. It becomes a living world to us and we hope that as others read, they can feel what we feel. 

As I hear people's impressions about The Book of Evie, it moves me to know that my story is touching others.

God bless.

The Story Behind "That's Prayer" 



I remember one particular Sunday, I was absorbed in the morning worship and a strange thought went through my mind. "Work on your prayer book first." I was taken by surprise by the thought. I wasn't thinking about writing at that moment, I was only focusing on singing and praising God. Yet, there it was, clear in my mind. These were instructions.

At the time, I had been working diligently for two years on a mystery thriller. I had finished a rough first draft and was working on the second draft of the book, and yet, when that very specific thought popped in my mind, it also hit my heart. I knew then and there that God wanted me to put down the mystery thriller for now and to work on a book on prayer. 

All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind at that moment. I thought about the blogs I had been planning to do. I wanted to do a short blog series on Christian basics. I opened up the Evernote app on my phone and began looking through notes and ideas I had written down previously and found I had quite a few ideas already jotted down.

I prayed and told the Lord, "If this is what you want me to do, then yes, I will do it. I'll put my first novel to the side and write this book as an act of obedience to You." I felt that in doing this, I was making a declaration: I'm putting God first. 

Over the next week, I dedicated myself to writing down ideas for chapters. I thought I wouldn't have many, but the Lord kept throwing idea after idea at me and soon I had an outline for the entire book. 

I had never released a book before, so the self-publishing side of things was an interesting challenge. God only knows how long I spent researching and studying how to do it.

My father had started a small publishing company years before; and while I could have done it through his publishing house, I knew things had advanced in the self-publishing world. There were much better and easier tools to do it than there were when my father was alive. Plus, I felt this was a journey the Lord wanted to take me through on my own.

So I worked for several months on my book of prayer. I remember going through the process of finding a graphic designer for the cover. Yes, I could have done it myself. I had experience with graphic design, but I knew I'd never be satisfied with it if I did try to do it myself. So I paid a freelance Austrian designer to come up with the first cover design.

I released it under my birth name and the book was pretty successful, especially in my mother's church. My mom was very excited and proud of this book and she let everyone know about it. People were curious and gave it a read. Many ended up loving it and buying more for their friends and family. 

Since the release of this book, I also published my first novel. No, it wasn't the mystery thriller. It was another book. A fantasy story entitled The Book of Evie. With The Book of Evie, I went with a different cover designer. I went with Damonza, a graphic design company from New Zealand. Yes, they charged more, but the book cover I got for Evie was everything I wanted and more.

With That's Prayer, while I liked the original cover design, a small part of me always felt it could have been better.

Now coming on two years since the original release, I was asked if I could do anything in regards to my books, what would it be? My answer was to have audiobooks created and also re-release That's Prayer with a new cover design.

So, I came up with the plan to take That's Prayer, add a new subtitle and give it a new cover design. I also wanted to remove the confusion of having two different author names for my books. "Jean Pascal" was the pen name I wanted and so I would re-release the book under that name.

I went back to Damonza and once again, they knocked it out of the park for me and gave me a design I truly love. 

I've been working hard on recording an audiobook for it as well. I can't wait for that to be finished so you can hear it.

When I take a moment to look back at what God has done with the book so far, it only makes me excited about what He will do next. I've always felt this was God's book more than mine. I mean, most of it is just Bible quotes so it "kinda" is His book. I pray that the stories, examples, testimonies, and Biblical truths impact those who read it. Is it simple? Yes. Is it deep? I believe so. As someone who's struggled with ADHD my whole life, I wanted to write a book that wasn't too complicated or boring for people like me to follow. I wanted to write a book that was inspiring yet fun to read. I'm really proud of the book and this re-release.

 I hope you enjoy That's Prayer: A light-hearted, insightful look at talking to God and that it speaks to your heart.  

God bless.