Is Rushing Creativity Ever the Right Choice?

Wednesday was one of those days. I had a comprehensive copyedit of a 120,000-plus-word novel due by 8:00 p.m. With evening prayer meeting scheduled, I knew I had even less time than usual. By 3:00 p.m., I was doing a reread of the last fifty pages on my Kindle, just double-checking my work. By suppertime at 5:15, I was still at it—and feeling pressured and getting hot and bothered. Ask my family. I literally devoured my wife’s wonderful salmon pie, flew upstairs to get dressed for church, and dashed back to my basement office to wrap up the last few details and e-mail the file . . .  just ten minutes before we had to leave for church. And on top of that, I was in charge of leading worship. Gasp! Quality Suffers Yes, I met my deadline. Barely. But by cutting it so close, I wasn’t a happy camper. Why?…

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Book Review: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Several years ago, I discovered Erik Larson’s engrossing book Eric’s Storm about the 1900 hurricane in Galveston, Texas. When I read his The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (which weds the 1893 World’s Fair and serial killer H.H. Holmes). I was hooked. So it was with great expectations that I recently read his latest book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. Once again, Larson didn’t disappoint. Since college, where I minored in history, I’ve always loved books that wed history with suspense. Perhaps that’s why history has always played a major role in the suspense novels I like to write. If you think history is boring, you’ve never read Larson, who is a master at writing engrossing historical suspense. What adds to the intrigue is that his novels are true. Every line of dialogue in his…

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