Authors find inspiration for their books in various places. T. Alan Martens found his in a dream.
“(That was) weird for me,” the first-time author exclaimed. “I don’t remember my dreams that often. I wrote it down because it was such a vivid dream. Then I just left it there.”
That was 20 years ago.
“Then I just felt the pull of the Holy Spirit,” the Briercrest alumnus said explaining how he was recently drawn back to revisit the dream. “I had some time on my hands so I just started writing. I thought, ‘Let’s see how this works out.’”
The result was Martens writing his first novel, The Staff of Ramah, a Christian fantasy.
“Pilgrim’s Progress has always been one of my most favourite books, and when I was young, The Chronicles of Narnia,” the author said. “I’ve always loved the spiritual stuff that’s strewn throughout those books.”
Like his favourite books, Martens work is also allegorical. The story’s main character, Rose, represents the Church.
“My (main) character is actually a prostitute that wakes up in prison and is utterly destitute at the end of her rope,” he explained. “(She) has an encounter with the character who I would say represents the Holy Spirit.”
It’s a story of grace where Rose, who’s lived a life of misery and shame and has been used and forgotten, becomes this chosen healer to change the world and to spread a message of grace and love.”
The North Battleford resident says the book, which took a year and a half to write, seemed to unfold as he wrote it.
“I’d keep thinking of things that Rose and her companions would encounter along the way,” he explained. “I thought, ‘Well, we need another person here’ and I would introduce another character. I’d run into people at work or in my life and their character or their traits would stick out to me and then I would right away put them in my book in some form.”
“I was excited to see it unfold myself because I prayed about it quite often,” he continued. “The things that were on my heart in a spiritual way were brought out in the book. It’s sort of like an outpouring of what I feel the church should be doing in a sense.”
The book is currently available in e-book format and is distributed through Apple, Kobo, Sony and Barnes and Noble.
“I’ve set my book at quite a low price,” Martens said. “It’s $2.99. The best-selling eBooks are doing that right now. They’re all under $5, so that’s why I’ve chosen that.”
The creative process continues in Martens. He is currently writing another book which he hopes will become part of a series of books to accompany The Staff of Ramah.
The author is clear about what he hopes his writing will accomplish.
“My hope is that it would minister to the church,” he said. “(It’s) not to be famous – not even to become a full-time author. But just that a message of hope and grace and love would spread through the book. That people would be inspired. That is wouldn’t just be another book they’d read. That’s my biggest hope.”