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Stay Strong During Challenging Times

Author Interview
John Bartell Author Interview

The Pilgrim’s Progress Desert Experience tells biblical stories with a modern twist making them more relatable to today’s readers. Where did the idea for this novel come from and how did it develop over time?

I went to a conference where I learned about the desert experience. It is a time in our lives when we are spiritually dry, and life is hard. Israel had to escape from Egypt and go through their desert experience before they could enter the land of promise. We need to go through a desert experience before we can enter our land of promise, which is when life is easier.

A few years later, I went through a desert experience. I decided to write a nonfiction book called The Desert Experience. I did not think it was good, so I stopped writing.

Years later, I watched a Pilgrim’s Progress movie, and the idea came to me to write a modern Pilgrim’s Progress book. I made the pilgrim progress through a desert experience to enter the Kingdom of Promise. It is better to show people the desert experience rather than talk about it.

It is well overdue for a modern Pilgrim’s Progress book for the modern times in which we are living. Many of the challenges we face today are different to the challenges people faced hundreds of years ago. People need to learn how to overcome these new challenges.

I made the pilgrim progress through Bible stories because they are hard to understand from our modern culture. Many people misunderstand the Bible because they think it is the same as their culture. I wanted to show that the stories are as much for us today as they were thousands of years ago. The stories are more enjoyable to read in the form of a novel.

What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?

One thing that surprised me was that it had a veiled critique of modern life. We do not know the full impact of how modern technology affects our lives and how it can be used against us. I do not think we should throw it out. We need to learn how to use it for our good without it affecting us in bad ways.

Technology can be addictive, but if we limit its use, we can avoid becoming addicted. Modern entertainment makes our bodies release dopamine more often than in everyday life. It is easy to become addicted to the dopamine hits in our bodies. Drugs make our bodies release dopamine, which is one of the reasons why people become addicted to drugs.

What George Orwell wrote in his book 1984 has happened. Big Brother is always watching us. Governments are watching everything we say and do. People need to watch what they say and do because computers pick up certain words that we use. Governments have changed their values. Good is called evil and evil is called good. We are not allowed to stand up for our values anymore.

In the last days, many people’s hearts have become cold. One of the reasons for this is because people are viewing more violence than they normally would. It makes them think violence is normal.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of the themes that was important to me was how to stay strong during challenging times. The tribulation the world is going through at the moment is different to any time in history. When one trouble ends, another one begins. Viruses, wars, natural disasters and plagues come at us one after another. We have a psychopath making war at the moment. People need to know how to cope so they can have good mental health.

Another theme was that just because something bad happens to people, does not mean they have done something wrong. Sometimes people are falsely accused of doing something wrong when something bad happens to them. Many times, that is the reason but not always. People need to be careful not to assume it is because of that.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book that I am working on is a sequel to this book. The main character is the pilgrim’s wife. It is a journey with a woman’s point of view. Men will enjoy it too because they can have a better understanding of women. It will be available early next year.

I plan to write many books in the series. The pilgrim’s children will also make the journey one at a time.

Author Links: GoodReads

The pilgrim breaks out of an Egyptian prison and makes a journey through the desert in search of the Kingdom of Promise.
He goes through tests and trials and meets people who help or hinder him on his journey.
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