Personally, I think every person’s life has a story, but it takes a certain level of skill, panache and courage to make that story interesting enough to be a book others will read. Roger Deloach’s He Calls My Name is just such a book.
My path crossed with Roger’s at two intersections. He attended the same church we attended when our kids were teens. And he raced stock cars at the same race tracks that I frequented here in the Northland.
I know what’s involved with writing a book of any kind, having written two unpublished manuscripts myself, but telling your own personal story is a special challenge. As Annie Dillard once noted, the most difficult part of any memoir is deciding what to leave in and what to leave out.
He Calls My Name is an autobiography about a man who loved racing, but came to love his Lord even more, putting even his greatest passion on the altar for a higher purpose. Roger’s story is a fun, fast read and even has a bit of romantic tension in it.
I found it amusing that he felt a little unsure about having me read his book because writing is my profession. I assured him I would overlook any shortcomings. After a thoroughly enjoyable read, I felt his book worth sharing with a wider audience, hence this interview. Thank you, Roger, for making an effort to assemble in words your experience and the things that were in your heart. And thanks, too, for the great advice you offer here to other beginning writers who desire to tell their own stories.
Ennyman: Your passion for racing appears to have grabbed you quite early in life. How did you become an author?
Roger: My desire to write grew out of wanting to share with my grandchildren. They are too young right now to sit down and share the kind of spiritual truths I would like to share with them. I felt this would be a great way to be sure I could tell them some things that were on my heart in case I wasn't around when they are of the age that it would mean something to them.
Ennyman: You write in a style that makes the story easy to get into. Any tips for others who want to write their own personal stories?
Roger: This was my first attempt at writing a book. I didn't really think about how I should write, I just sat down and began telling some stories. The first draft flowed rather easily and developed the story line. I was not concerned about producing a literary work of art. I wanted to tell the story as if I were speaking it. After I was finished Susie sat me down and put me through school. She introduced me to Roget's Desk Thesaurus and the Handbook of Grammar & Composition. She explained some simple truths about the art of writing. We worked together on some sections and then she left me alone on others. Of course I consider myself a real novice, but once I understood some simple techniques it became a welcome challenge to rewrite the original text.
The only advice I can give someone else about writing their story is to first tell it from the heart. Share it in a way that you desire to share it. The next ten times you go through it, write it in a way that you believe will make it something someone else will want to read. I have found that writing is like anything else, you get better with new found knowledge and practice.
Ennyman: In this book you are uncommonly transparent about the things that were going on in your life. Were there other things you felt you could not write about?
Roger: There were many other things in my life that I chose not to include in this book. I have always had the philosophy of "leaving them wanting more". We do that with Christina's music ministry. Her concerts are never over an hour in length and we try very hard to do the best we can do within that hour. I felt the same way with the book. I wanted to share just enough to get across the simple spiritual truths that I believe God wanted me to share in the book. Time is valuable, and if someone is willing to spend some time out of their life on something I have done I don't want to waste their offering.
Ennyman: What was the biggest challenge for you in writing He Calls My Name?
Roger: Being willing to say "it's not done yet" was my biggest challenge. The entire project was far more work than I ever thought it would be. Susie kept me on track by leaving notes like, "rewrite this", "find another word to describe this", "I don't understand this, make it more clear". Being willing to have someone you trust edit your work and be honest with you is half the battle. There is no question that her honesty has made me a better writer.
Ennyman: What will your next book be about?
Roger: I told myself the entire time I was writing this book that I was sure there was only one book in me. I couldn't imagine what else I would write about. With the passing of time though I realized how much I enjoyed the process. I asked God if there was more to do and He gave me an idea. I have begun working on that idea, not knowing if it will end up being a book or a writing exercise. All I can say about the next venture is that it will be fiction and will share more spiritual truths and insights I believe God has laid on my heart. I have a lot to learn about this craft and I will take the time needed to try and learn it well.
To purchase a copy of Roger Deloach's He Calls My Name, or for more information about theministries he is passionate about, contact:
P.O. Box 161401
Duluth, MN. 55816