Friday, April 18, 2014

Interview Friday: Bruce Atchison, author of How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity

Author Bio:
Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind Canadian freelance writer with articles published in a variety of magazines. He has also authored three paperbacks. "When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies" is a memoir of the surprising facts he discovered about house rabbits."Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School" is his recollection of being sent five hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. "How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity" shows how God led Atchison out of a legalistic house church. Contact him at or via Facebook or Twitter. He also posts regularly on his and blogs. Atchison lives in a tiny Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.

VS: What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Bruce: What family life? I'm single and my birth family is scattered.
VS: How long have you been writing?

Bruce: I started in Junior high school and later at work. An employment counselor encouraged me to write professionally so I did.
VS: What inspired you to write your book (if this is a personal story about you, please share about the decision to open up about your life)?

Bruce: After June Hunt, of the radio show Hope in the Night, helped me ditch the emotional baggage I had from being in a cult, I felt I should share my story of journeying from cultism to Christianity. I hope June's Bible-centred technique will help others who suffered as I once did.
VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Bruce: I answer my e-mails after breakfast. Once the weapons-grade coffee begins to work, I post blogs or check my Rebelmouse front page. Afternoons are for book promotion, research, and querying. I usually don't work on weekends unless somebody has sent in a payment for a book.
VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?

Bruce: My sister Linda and half sister Jentien support me but nobody else does.
VS: If this isn’t your first publication, what was the first thing you ever had published?

Bruce: While going to junior high school in 1971, I had a free verse poem published in the school newspaper. Too bad I lost the print copy. It would have been nice to show folks.
VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book(s)?

Bruce: How I Was Razed shows how easily I fell for a cultic house church and how the Lord providentially led me to understand his true character and the Bible. I show, not tell, how absurd the lies I was told proved to be and how excellent apologists helped deprogram me of the poisonous lies in my mind.
VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing your book(s)?

Bruce: Facing the pain of my past was the hardest thing to do. By admitting my feelings to Jesus and turning the pain over to him, I was able to write the book and ease the emotional pain caused by cruel church elders.
VS: What part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally? 

Bruce: The beginning is particularly strong since I start with my departure from "Thee Church" and my reflection of how I came to join it. I had planned on just telling my story but one person who looked at the manuscript suggested starting it at a dramatic point. Leaving the church was the most dramatic part for me so that's how I rewrote the book's beginning. 

VS: If this is a work of fiction, what character is most like you? 

Bruce: It's not fiction so I can't answer that one. 

VS: If this is a nonfiction book/inspirational book, what event do you feel was the turning point to your story?

Bruce: I believe it was when I began to understand the providence of God. I had been taught that if I just worked up enough faith, I could be healed of my poor sight. When nothing kept happening, church elders blamed me for lacking faith, having hidden sin, lusting for sight, and having ancestral sins. The knowledge of the heavenly Father's providence and the ninth chapter of Saint John's gospel made me realize that faith means trusting in the Lord. It isn't some force a person can whip up to make God's power flow, as many preachers still claim today.
VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Bruce: I'm working on short fiction stories in the hope that I can learn character development. One of them became rather popular on recently.
VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Bruce: Point the way, not the finger. My mom was always the sort who had to emphasize what I did wrong rather than advising how to do things right. I once got eight out of ten correct on a spelling test. All she noticed were the two words I misspelled. That really crushed me.
VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Bruce: It needs to be one that readers want to live in. Characters who face challenges and overcome them are easier to relate to, as far as I can tell.
VS: What do you feel as parents we need to do to help our children see success?

Bruce: Encourage them. Point out changes and corrections to their stories so that it will sound like a great idea to them rather than nagging.
17 Have you received any awards for your writing?
I received an award from The Writing Show and my biography was printed in their 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading anthology.

VS: Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about your writing?

Bruce: Check out for info about me and my first two books. It's also part of my blog page where I publish posts twice a week.
VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama or Dad”?

Bruce: Though I'm single, my bunny is like a daughter to me. Deborah lives in my kitchen and gets all excited when she sees me first thing in the morning. I love her happy dance when I feed her. Lying on the floor and petting her is something both of us love. After a stressful day, there's nothing like petting the head of a beautiful bunny. Even watching her toss an iced tea lid from side to side is a pleasure. Same goes for her chewing on her cardboard box hideaway and seeing her shred an old phone book. She does so with such determination. Rabbits are excellent adult companions but not for children. Bunnies like order and quiet, not rough handling by kids.

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