Best-selling author of The Shack (Windblown Media, 2007) William Paul Young is releasing his highly-anticipated story of creation, Eve (Howard Books), later this month. PW caught up with the innovative storyteller to learn more about Eve, the much-maligned first woman of the Bible and the supposed architect of humankind’s downfall. He speaks of inspiration and challenges, how his previous works influenced Eve, and accusations against him of heresy for, among other things, his portrayal of the Trinity in The Shack.
Where did your inspiration for Eve originate?
Because this project has truly spanned over forty years, the influences have been myriad, some positive and others negative. Negative influences include growing up in a world that was obviously male-dominated and hierarchical, and a religious sub-culture where that dominance was codified and justified theologically.
Ultimately, the inspiration for Eve is the Scriptures themselves. The more I studied and pondered and conversed, the more I was driven back to Genesis and the iconic saga of Beginnings, and it was there I began to find answers to the big, system-shaking questions I was asking. Eve is my attempt to express some of what I discovered.
How did The Shack influence this book?
Probably the greatest influence that The Shack and Cross Roads (FaithWords, 2012) had on Eve was that writing them gave me the confidence to consider attempting this novel. The only reason Eve became part of the conversation was that I tossed it onto a list of nine other potential publishing projects in order to round out the list. It was quite a surprise when she shot to the top immediately and became the one project everyone wanted to talk about.
What response have you received so far for Eve? Do you anticipate controversy similar to what occurred with The Shack?
The initial reviews from those who have actually read Eve bear out that each reader will respond deeply and personally to this novel. Eve will catch you by surprise and then you won’t want her to let you go.
There are also some who will read it and won’t ‘see’ her, sometimes because the timing isn’t right and their life’s journey has not granted the gifts inherent in suffering, or because their assumptions are too overwhelming and powerful to allow them to hear.
So yes, similar drama to The Shack, and perhaps even more intense [reactions] from some quarters. Human beings have much invested in the status quo, and some of us would rather [have] a quick apocalyptic fiery end of the universe than embrace change.
Some might argue that you are recasting Scripture from a more feminine perspective.
Yes, some might argue and others will likely insist, but I reject the notion. I am not trying to recast the Scriptures from a more feminine perspective. I am doing something much more sinister than that. I am recasting Scripture from a more "human" perspective. How sad is it that any conversation about the emergence of true humanity in the world, which includes submission, generosity, kindness, strength, integrity etc., is seen as a feminist conversation?
The movie The Shack releases some time next year. Where are they in the process?
Principle photography is complete and Stuart Hazeldine (director) and his craftspeople are hard in editing and post-production. Being invited into the creative process as The Shack was filmed was an unexpected and surreal surprise, and it was so fun!
The translation of a novel onto screen is always a difficult and sometimes thankless task, especially with a story like mine that is so dialogue heavy. I believe I can speak for the intentions of the entire cast and crew and Lionsgate/Summit. Their heart is that the movie will have the same profound impact on the hearts and minds of moviegoers as the book did for readers, and will impact the world for good.
What are your next projects?
On the writing side is a little book tentatively titled Words You Will Never Hear God Say. I have already been accused of putting words into God’s mouth so I thought it might be wise to take a few out.
Elsewhere, there are serious talks about possible movie versions of both Cross Roads and Eve. I would be thrilled to participate in either or both projects. I also have several other book ideas.