CBP: What is the concept behind Shoofly Pie: A Bug Man Novel?
TD: Shoofly Pie is a fictional story, with a Christian worldview intertwined in the character of Nick Polchak. In the story, Nick deals with death on a purely clinical level, but he’s forced to come to grips with the inadequacy of life and death when he loses someone close to him.
I used concepts from my book Finding Common Ground in Shoofly Pie, specifically ‘sowing vs. reaping’. Sowing is all the behind-the-scenes work you do to make someone or a nation ready to hear the gospel.
CBP: You’ve already written nationally syndicated comic strips and three other books, but Shoofly Pie is your first fiction novel. Will you continue to write fiction?
TD: Yes, fiction is a way of staying “sane”. I am currently working on the sequel for Shoofly Pie.
CBP: When did you become a Christian and how did your life change after that?
TD: I became a Christian at Indiana University through the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) ministry and felt that God was calling me to do evangelistic speaking. I got my first job speaking on the college campus via Campus Crusade after I graduated in 1976, and eventually spoke at over 100 college campuses across the nation.
In 1975 I began to write and draw a comic strip called Downstown for my college newspaper. In 1979 I sold the rights to Universal Press Syndicate, which also marketed Cathy, Ziggy, Doonesbury and The Far Side. Downstown appeared in newspapers all over North America until 1986, when I decided to retire the strip and devote myself to full-time ministry. During that time, I established the Communication Center for Campus Crusade to help teach Christians the most effective ways of communicating with non-Christians.
CBP: You and your wife are speaking at “Weekend to Remember” conferences across the nation. What is the concept behind those conferences?
TD: These are weekend-long marriage enrichment conferences. My wife and I speak about marriage and parenting skills. We cover effective communication, conflict resolution and similar issues. We also have written two books on marriage and conflict resolution entitled The Seven Conflicts and Fight Fair.
CBP: Thanks for giving us a sneak-peek of your newest book, Shoofly Pie.