Welcome, Buck. Tell us about your book, Truck Stop Jesus.
An eccentric, damaged actress and a washed-up ball player collide in an epic road-trip story. Throw in a couple oddball bounty hunters, a forgotten movie-star boat captain, a cowboy priest, and a dashboard Jesus that’s more than meets the eye. It’s a quirky, heartfelt ride!
With a setup like that, I can’t wait to read it. What inspired you to write this book?
The story basically came to me in full on a road trip from Idaho to Seattle. The characters that showed up entertained me immediately. It was a fun book to write start to finish. And, I hope, encouraging and meaningful. While I never set out to write a sermon or grand lesson disguised as a novel, I pray my relationship with Jesus comes through and speaks naturally and gently.
What is the primary focus of your book?
God’s relentless pursuit of the damaged soul. Something I know a lot about!
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
The simple and wonderful fact that no matter how big or important our dreams seem to us, in the end, Jesus is all we need to be happy.
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
I strove for years as a songwriter. But even a modicum of success didn’t fill me. Now the road is an arm-in-arm walk with my Friend and forever Companion. I’ve found real joy.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
I hope I share Christ in my writing by walking with Him in my life every day. Personally, I find spiritual lessons cloaked in bad (or even good) fiction a little condescending. I never set out to teach. I think when it comes to art it’s the story shining through the cracks that has the most impact. If a writer is honestly giving themselves to their work—not just trying to mirror the latest popular track—his life will be evident in it. If that life is one of genuine faith, then it shows and it moves.
I like that – the story shining through the cracks. Why do you love writing?
I’m addicted! After years of songwriting—telling a story in three minutes or less—it’s a joy to relax and lay back in the rhythm of language. The marathon pace of a novel is a lot of fun. It’s a constant challenge. Like any craft, there’s always so much to learn and improve on. Also, much like music, prose is such a great way to communicate the love of Jesus in our lives to those who might not be exposed any other way.
Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
I spoke at a book club once where a woman in her late nineties approached and asked me to sign her copy. She’d covered my book in a brown paper cover because it was precious to her. It wrecked me!
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I’ve been a touring singer/songwriter for a lot of years. Though writing is slowly taking over my time, I still tour often. When I’m not on the road I enjoy leading worship on Sundays at our local church.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read everything! I usually have three or four novels going. Lately I’ve been trading books with a friend and I just finished The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham. Right now I’m enjoying the dark rhythm of A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle about the Irish War of Independence. I’ve got John Grisham’s A Painted House going. I almost always have a Louis L’Amour or three lying around. Louis breaks every writing rule there is but I’ve learned a lot about life from him. For spiritual growth—outside the Bible—I love writers like A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald.
What’s your favorite bookstore—and why?
The Well Read Moose in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (my home town). One of the last of the indies and they do a great job promoting local authors.
Tell us about your next project.
I just finished a nonfiction manuscript for Worthy Publishing about some of my off-the-beaten-path adventures in Israel and the Middle East. Kind of Anthony Bourdain meets A.W. Tozer. God’s love knocking down social, political, and religious walls. It’s yet untitled, but I’m excited to see it come out next May.
That sounds like another winner. Thank you, Buck, for giving us a peek into your wonderfully imaginative life and writing.
Davalynn Spencer | Davalynn’s website