24 October 2011

Book Savvy Spotlight on Richard Bradbury



Bringing you exclusive interviews with authors featured in the Book Savvy Newsletter.

Our Guest is Richard Bradbury*
Enjoy the interview.

Q1. Can you tell us about yourself and your book 'Losing my Religion'?
I am married with four grown up children and have had a lifelong passion to make the Bible accessible to everyone. I am a Christian and my faith is a very important and central part of my life. C.S. Lewis said, 'Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important'. My beliefs are the foundation upon which my reality is framed. When bad things happen in my life God helps me through the hard times and I trust in his goodness to see me through the future.

My new book 'Losing my Religion - The Radical Message of the Kingdom' examines the main theme of Jesus' teaching - the Kingdom. I attempt to explore it from new perspectives, applying it to life in the 21st century. The reason for the title is that, if we really understand what Jesus came to teach, following him is not a matter of religious practice but of transformed lifestyles.

Q2. Why did you decide to begin writing? What sparked the desire to pen your first book?
I have always had a deep love of books. In many ways they have always been my best friends. When I was younger I wrote poetry, and then I started a novel (still unfinished). But then I realised I had something to say in terms of my understanding of the Bible that I thought others might benefit from reading. Two books down the line I still have something to say, but maybe one day I'll return to writing poetry or finishing off my novel!

Q3. How do you approach your writing?
So far my approach has been to gather notes and material concerning the subject that I want to address and then to 'blitz' it over a short period of time. I wrote the bulk of my first book (It's the End of the World as we know it!) over a three week period, writing each day from 8:00am until 12:30pm. My second book I wrote in 1 week and then spent a few weeks refining it. I find that once I get into the 'zone', the words flow quite easily. The hard part is the research.

Q4. What are your favourite aspects of writing? And the most challenging?
I love the satisfaction of getting down in words those ideas and thoughts that have been floating around in my head for weeks or months. The most frustrating part of writing for me, however, is remembering where I read that quote that I want to use. Sometimes I can be stopped for a couple of hours looking for one quotation that I must find in order to illustrate the thought I am developing. That I find the most challenging aspect.

Q5. What are your interests when you are not writing?
When not writing I run a church, a shop and a consultancy business. Leisure activities include motorbikes, football and reading. As well as this, I am doing a part-time degree in theology. Any other time is spent with my wife and four grown-up children. Some might say I am a little bit busy, but life is there to be lived!

Q6. How do you find the time to write with all your other responsibilities?
I travel out to India twice per year. Often while I am there, I have a lot of free time between responsibilities and that is the ideal time to write. My first book I wrote whilst on a Call Centre project out there. Since the Call Centre didn't open until 1:30pm each day, to fall in line with UK opening times, I had every morning free and used the time to work on my book. I think the only way writing can happen is when you are away from your daily responsibilities.

Q7. What are you doing to market your book?
I launched my book at the Grapevine festival this year in August. Since then I have been promoting it at speaking engagements I have taken up. I am also planning to approach some Christian distributors to see if they are willing to carry some copies. Finally, I am sending out a few free copies to people in order to gain some recommendations which, hopefully, will result in many more sales.

Q8. If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you've used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
The book launch at Grapevine has been the best so far because it gets it in front of a lot of people who I would not otherwise have access to.

Q9. Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?
I do most of my promoting offline as I believe a personal recommendation is better than a written testimonial.

Q10. Are you concerned about the effect of e-publishing on traditional books?
No, not really. Personally, I love to have a physical book in my hand, but many of my friends who are avid readers have invested in a Kindle. I think the most important thing is that people read and don't just listen to sound bites and that is a much broader issue than the medium in which a book is published.

Q11. What is your target audience for this book?
Primarily, this is a book aimed at young people who want to know more about Jesus' teaching and its application to daily life. However, anyone who is interested in an alternative approach to society would benefit from reading it.

Q12. What kind of reactions and reviews have you received about your book?
So far people have been very positive. Parts of the book may challenge entrenched views and make people a little uncomfortable but for the most part that is positive. My mum thought it was good anyway!

Q13. What would you like people to take away from reading 'Losing my Religion'?
My greatest desire is that people will gain an understanding of what Jesus meant by 'the kingdom of God'. As I recount in my introduction, when I talked to one young curate preparing to be ordained what he understood by this term, he had no idea. If there is such ignorance among the clergy, what hope have the rest of us? My aim is to dispel some of this ignorance and at least get people thinking even if they don't agree with me.

Q14. Do you have any further books in the pipeline?
Some of my audience will notice that I am following a theme in the choice of titles which arise out of REM songs. So maybe the next book will be Shiny Happy People (on Christian Joy), or Answers From The Great Unknown.

Q15. Are there any authors that have been a strong influence on you?
Many - e.g. C.S. Lewis cited above, also Arthur Wallis, David Rohl, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, Aldous Huxley, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen, to name but a few.

Q16. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers or even fellow authors?
Just do it! Don't wait. Don't prevaricate. If you've got something to say or a story to tell, get it on paper. As someone has said, there is a book in all of us. The worst epitaph I can think of is 'he had lots of stories but never got around to telling them'.

Thank you for your time. We wish you every success in your writing career.


*Richard Bradbury is based in Beverley in East Yorkshire and leads Beverley Community Church, part of the Groundlevel Network of churches. Married with four children, his prime gifting is as a teacher to the global church.

Richard Bradbury is the author of 'Losing My Religion - The Radical Message of the Kingdom' and 'It's the End of the World as we know it'


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