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It's Not Too Late To Come Home

HOW GONE IS TOO FAR GONE?

Charles was speaking at an event about 2 years ago.  There was a mom in the audience whose son was reading Charles’ novels while he was in prison.  She asked Charles about her son, “When is gone too far gone?”  Charles says, “She was asking me if there was anything that could bring her son back.”  Charles is quick to remind us of the prodigal son in Luke 15 where a man had 2 sons and the younger one squandered all of his wealth in wild living.  When the son in the parable came to his senses, he went back to his father’s house.  When he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.  “That’s my favorite part of the story. It struck me that the father, standing on the porch, saw his son and was still looking for him,” says Charles.

Charles reminds us there is hope for the broken and for those who have been hardened by failure and disappointments.  “We all walk with a limp,” he says.  “But there’s hope for the broken, even if it’s our own choices that broke us. There is no place where the blood of Jesus can’t reach.”  That concept of God’s unconditional love bubbled in him and is what formed the basis for Charles’ latest book, Long Way Gone.  “I get letters from guys in prisons,” he says.  “Those are some of my favorite.  They all ask the same question, Have I messed up too much? There’s one thing I know: there’s nothing you can do to disqualify you from the love of the Father.” Long Way Gone is set in Nashville.  Charles spent time there and interviewed musicians.  “It was a great experience,” he says.  While he is not a musician, he says his middle son, John T., plays guitar well.  The novel is a story of Cooper O’Connor who is in pursuit of a musical career.  He travels from his home in the mountains of Colorado to Nashville, TN and turns his back on his preacher-father for the glimmering face of fame.  Cooper falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song and soon Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens not only his career, but his life, which sends him back to the mountains searching for answers in the only place left for him to go.

REGENT AND WRITING

Charles has been writing since he was 15 years old.  He grew up fishing and playing football.  Charles found that writing helped him get out on paper what he was not able to get out of his mouth.  He attended college and played football at Georgia Tech but was injured.  Charles transferred to Florida State and after graduation, moved to Atlanta to save up money to buy Christy a ring.  In 1993, Charles and Christy married then moved to Virginia Beach where he attended Regent University.  He loved his experience at Regent.  “I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says Charles.  In 1997, the desire to write bubbled to the surface. 

After graduating from Regent, Charles moved back to Jacksonville with his family and began selling insurance for 3 years while writing Dead Don’t Dance.  His manuscript was continually rejected.  “It was painful,” he says.  While waiting to be published, the insurance company offered Charles a 6-figure bonus and a 6-figure income.  “I didn’t want anything to do with a job,” he says.  “I needed the money, but I had this manuscript.  Charles prayed, “Lord, is this You?” He knew writing wasn’t lucrative but he also knew God called him to do something other than sell insurance.  The next week, Charles took a step of faith and resigned from his job. For 14 months, Charles built decks.  The lowest point for Charles (and a turning point, too) was getting his 86th rejection letter.  Three weeks later, his manuscript got picked up by New York House.  “And that’s where the story changes,” says Charles.

His novel, The Mountain Between Us, which was published in 2010, was given to 20th Century movie scouts.  Contracts have officially been signed with Kate Winslet (Titanic), and Edris Elba (Luther).  Filming starts in Vancouver, BC this December.

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Guest Info

Credits

New York Times Best-selling author (Where the River Ends)

12 novels, his latest Long Way Gone, Nelson 2016

Books are available in 20 languages in 25 countries

MA Journalism and Ph.D. Communications, Regent University

Enjoys bow hunting, fishing and has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do

Wife: Christy

Three sons: Charlie, John T. and Rives

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