His new novel, The Turning (River North, Apr.) may bring exactly that for T. Davis Bunn: a turning to a new platform and new audiences for his Christian suspense fiction.
Bunn, a three-time Christy Award winner, is offering a series of lessons based on The Turning on Moody Radio, which is owned by the same parent company as River North. He will be the first fiction author to create such lessons for Moody Radio, which usually features the teachings of pastors, scholars, and other Christian leaders. The teachings air from March 17 to May 9 on weekdays, with 2-minute segments repeating 5 times each day. Archived programs can also be downloaded.
“It is almost indescribably high, the barrier Christian novelists find when being considered for radio or television, because they are not considered teachers,” Bunn says from Florida, where he lives when he is not teaching writing at Oxford University. But when Deborah Keiser, associate publisher for River North, met Bunn at a conference, she knew that if anyone could break the barrier, it was him.
Says Bunn, “I decided if they were going to do this, I was in.” In The Turning, five people hear God asking them to do different, simple things. They obey, and see a pattern emerge that links the actions together, coalescing in a cultural movement toward moral renewal. But darker forces align against them, challenging the belief that they can really know and hear from God.
The novel features many of the themes Bunn is known for—global politics and intrigue interwoven with the moral, religious, and ethical choices of individual characters. He will draw on those themes, as well as the book’s plot and situations, to create his series of radio lessons.
“The whole structure of the lesson plans will be based on the discipline of attentiveness,” of listening to God, Bunn says. “The goal will be for the reader and listener to make room for the movement of the spirit in whatever fashion this takes place, and to understand the power of spiritual gifts and the discipline of making them into something real.”
This message grows out of Bunn’s own experience. He converted to Christianity when he was 28 and gave up writing as a kind of sacrifice, but later came to feel that God wanted him to use his writing as a means to serve. Now, having sold six million books in 16 languages, he writes a book a year for Moody and another for Bethany House.
“By being still enough to listen and give God a chance to speak, I was also making room for the gift to grow,” he says.