When one considers fiction writing apologists, no name more readily comes to mind than C.S. Lewis. Of the practice, he said,
In the Author's mind there bubbles up every now and then the material for a story. For me it invariably begins with mental pictures. This ferment leads to nothing unless it is accompanied with the longing for a Form: verse or prose, short story, novel, play or what not. When these two things click, you have the Author's impulse complete. It is now a thing inside him pawing to get out. He longs to see that bubbling stuff pouring into that Form as the housewife longs to see the new jam pouring into the clean jam jar. This nags him all day long and gets in the way of work and his sleep and his meals. It's like being in love.
Now, it remains to be seen if I’m much of a novelist, but Lewis’ words describe my experience.
About four years ago a growing annoyance began to swell within me regarding the sad reality that two major obstacles stand before lay Christians equipping themselves with Christian apologetics knowledge. First, a lot of them don’t care. Second, a lot of them kind of care, but feel the material is too difficult. I had just released my non-fiction book, Core Facts, which represented my best attempt to make apologetics easy enough to learn. This resolved the second dilemma, but didn’t remedy the first. I hate to be cliché, but you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him learn apologetics. People have to want to know how to defend the faith. Core Facts was successful in a lot of ways, but not in the way I’d hoped. Back to the drawing board.
I had about given up on the mission until one day I began to experience the “bubbling up of a story” Lewis described. For some unknown reason, I began to write. The more I wrote, the more engaged I became. I was on an adventure with my characters and wanted to know how it would all turn out as much as they did (or would if they were real). This will sound terribly sappy, but I felt more like I was discovering the story than creating it. Nobody, least of all me, thought I would ever finish. I did. In fact, I went ahead and wrote the follow up. The third in a trilogy will be done before Christmas.
I hate what can only be described as edutainment. Too many Christian writers, as far as I’m concerned, force a clunky story only so that they can create a moment for their protagonist to give a ten-page sermon. Preachiness is in the foreground and the dull story is in the backdrop like a dated baptismal mural behind the pastor. I didn’t want that. I wanted a story in which worldview issues would not be out of place. My goal was to have the story in the forefront and have the characters trip over, or be jarringly confronted with truth. Chapters pass with no attempt to infuse Christian defense principles into the storyline.
It’s not perfect. In fact, the critics of Christian fiction, so offended by straightforward bare theological explanation, will be offended once more. There are obvious and forthright diatribes, but . . . those happen in real life too. I don’t masterfully use only the subversive way of Ted Dekker, the imagery of C.S. Lewis, or the in-your-face obviousness of Tim Lahaye. Hopefully, the book has a little of each, ebbing and flowing in and out of devices like those. I’m not like those authors, and I could never be.
My aim is tell a great story that presents the truth in a compelling way. I want to kindle an interest in apologetics and stir the imagination of the reader. In a few days . . . you can tell me whether I’ve been successful.
 Lewis, C. S., and Walter Hooper. On Stories, and Other Essays on Literature. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. Pp. 45, 46.