Stephen King + Ted Dekker + James Rollins = Happy Reader, Inspired Author!

Writers are readers. And storytellers inhale stories like oxygen, believing they’ll die without them. I’m no exception.

I read at least a story a week, and many off them and their tellers have impacted me in large and small ways—especially my own work. They’ve helped me empathize with others, broaden my perspective on life, solidified and confirmed my cherished beliefs, and taught me a thing or two. They’ve also helped me unwind and have fun and relax—which is something I struggle with!

Here are a few of the writers I enjoying reading and who form a backdrop to my own storytelling.

  • James Rollins – I’ll fully admit that the Order of Thaddeus and SEPIO in my new thriller series stationed under the Washington National Cathedral are inspired by Rollin’s own covert special-ops Sigma Force group similarly situated under the Smithsonian Institute in DC. I’ve been reading Rollins for years, and books like Map of Bones that exploit a detail of history—a relic, a moment, a person, a conspiracy—has similarly inspired my fiction to center on an aspect of history and belief in order to drive a thrilling story that entertains, informs, and inspires.
  • Ted Dekker – As one of the most prolific religious fiction writers who is also writes some of the most compulsive and well-spun reads, I fell in love with the worlds he creates early on with his Circle series. Rare is the story that is able to capture both the heart and mind; rarer still is the one that can grab ahold of the soul and leave it transformed! He does all three admirably in ways that don’t preach but simply tell a compelling tale that entertains and inspires.
  • Brian McLaren – A decade ago this former pastor made a splash with his New Kind of Christian series exploring important questions of faith and doubt. It was a fictionalized account of a pastor questioning his Christianity—and I totally got what he was going through! At the time I myself was wrestling with my faith, and I found in Pastor Dan a kindred spirit. I’ve since disagreed with many of McLaren’s conclusions, but I still appreciate how he engaged the Big Questions of Life through story. It was the inspiration behind a forthcoming spiritual coming-of-age story about a young adult wresteling with similar questions of faith, life, and everything in between.
  • Stephen King – This may seem like an odd addition to the library of a former pastor, but it’s precisely because I’m a former pastor that I appreciate his stories and his perspective, or at least one aspect of it: humans have a unplumable capacity for evil, with an equal measure of longing for justice. Intuitively, we know that things aren’t the way they are supposed to be, and we aren’t either; we’re bent as much as the world is broken. And we long for a fix to make things right. His Bill Hodges Triology is one of my favorites that fully explores this tension.
  • Dan Brown – Of course, who could write religious conspiracy thrillers and not be inspired by Dan Brown! When The DaVinci Code took the world by storm I was fascinated by how compelling people found the yarn he spun and how effective this alternative story was in distoring the truth of the Christian faith. I want to do that with my own Order of Thaddeus series, but in the opposite way: tell compelling, propulsive stories that take readers on an action-packed adventure, delighting and thrilling along the way—but with a twist: offering a dose of inspiration for the journey of faith, as well, in a way that’s helpful and informative.

Perhaps something in this list resonates with you. What do you like to read? What stories stir your soul, as much as raise your pulse? Feel free to share 🙂 Click here to see the full list of what I’ve read and what I’m reading at Goodreads.

Get the book inspired by the facts

Holy Shroud

Order of Thaddeus • Book 1

An ancient threat. A sacred relic. A belief that hangs in the balance.

Ex-Army Ranger and professor Silas Grey is on the verge of proving a central belief of the Church that will rock the religious and non-religious worlds to their core: scientific proof of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. But before he can, a series of devastating blows not only threaten Silas and those close to him, but the Christian faith itself. 

Coming to his aid is an ancient religious order, the Order of Thaddeus, that has been battling an ancient cultic threat, Nous. Spanning the globe from Washington to Paris to Jerusalem, Silas and the Order combine forces to embark on an urgent mission for the very survival of the Church. Can they save the Church’s most important sacred relic before the memory of its central belief is destroyed forever?

Holy Shroud is the first book in the Order of Thaddeus action-adventure thriller series that combines the religious conspiracy suspense of Dan Brown with the historical insight of Steve Berry, and wraps it in the special-ops muscle of James Rollins and inspiration of Ted Dekker.

Explore this innovative new adventure by emerging author J A Bouma that straddles thrill and thought, faith and doubt.

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