Buck Storm is a recording artist and touring musician, as well as the critically-acclaimed, award-winning Christian fiction author of eight novels, including The List, Truck Stop Jesus, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, Miracle Man, and Venus Sings the Blues, among others. His books and songs have made friends around the world. A native of Yuma, AZ, he now makes his home in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
In this interview, Buck talks about the new expanded edition of his Biblical fiction book, The Light, which is part of his First Century Series.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
The Light is certainly outside the Literary Americana genre my readers have come to expect from my books. But when I was approached a few years ago about writing a story that was biblically, culturally, and historically accurate following the spiritual awakening of Nicodemus (a Pharisee) and Joseph of Arimathea (a Sadducee) to the truth of the Messiah I was intrigued. Here were two men as different politically—and even religiously—as night and day. Yet they came together to remove Jesus’s body from the cross and bury it. Their differences crumbled in the bright light of Something Higher. What was their journey? I knew it had to be fascinating. I started with a book called The List, the Christ story from the perspective of two men pulled—kicking and screaming at times—to the truth of prophetic scripture. It’s a tale not only of friendship, but salvation.
But for me the story wasn’t over. While The List followed an intellectual pathway to Jesus, this isn’t everybody’s experience. Sometimes we’re just too broken to think. I know this has been the case in my own life. My road has not been smooth and tidy. So, I wrote The List both as a continuation, but also a novel that definitely stands on its own. While The Light still addresses the intellectual case for Jesus, it also meets readers in a deeply personal way. It is an insistent pressing in of love. A rescue mission. A great read for believers and doubters alike.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
The rumor is Yeshua has risen, but where is He? Rome still holds power. The Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem is viciously persecuting anyone who dares vocalize support for Yeshua.
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are essentially running for their lives.
Longinus, a Roman centurion with more than a finger in the Jerusalem underworld is walking a tightrope, balanced between his grudging admiration and growing friendship with Joseph and pressure from his Roman superiors to put and end to the Yeshua insanity.
And then there’s Sister, a prostitute from the lower city slums so inconsequential she doesn’t even warrant an actual name.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
When I first wrote the book, I was told by some that Sister—being a prostitute—was an unacceptable character given this book would be read by Christians. This surprised me. After all, the Bible is hardly G rated. Not even PG 13. Humanity from the start has been a messy proposition. But I believed deeply in her story because, in some ways it’s my own. Maybe it’s all of ours. I’ve had so many communications from readers who identified with Sister. She is truly a beautiful rescue mission, and her story has had a profound effect on readers. I absolutely loved writing her.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
We are creatures of story. Humans always have been. From verbal tales around the fire to written language to film and television. We will always relate to one another through story. And connecting with characters is key. Take Sister for example. She has no name, no real identity. And isn’t that the case with so many in our culture today? We are relegated to votes, tithing units, a number at the DMV. Our identity is stripped at every turn. But we want to be noticed. Noticed for who we are. We want to be someone. We want to matter. You see it with our younger—and even older, I guess—generations, feeling like they have to post every moment of their lives on social media. Our daughters giving away their virtue on TikTok in the name of likes. And worst case—our sons carrying guns to school. I am here! See me! But we are seen. And we are loved. The best stories meet us where we are. They resonate with our souls. I hope that’s what The Light does.
FF: What can you tell us about your next book?
I’ve had so many requests for a continuation of this series. The obvious choice would be to jump in and follow along with the Apostle Paul. But I’m not sure about that. When the book comes, Paul probably play a part but watch for new characters as well.
In the name of A.D.D., I’m also currently working on a heist novel called Fake Book. Jazz musicians, an eccentric billionaire, aa yacht in the Caribbean. So much fun to write, it’s going to be a ride!
FF: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Keeping the content accurate biblically, historically, and culturally obviously took a ton of research. I started with a copy of The Harmony of the Gospels. For the Temple Mount scenes, I leaned heavily on Randall Price’s Rose Guide to the Temple. I’ve met Randall a few times and have great respect for him. I’ve traveled through Israel extensively many times but digging into 1st century Jerusalem took me by surprise (I hope readers will feel the same). What a magnificent setting! So different from what we see today. I poured over old maps, found some fascinating articles and writings going back centuries. Jewish culture at the time of Christ was an interesting dig. Especially getting deep into the hierarchy of the Jewish elite. Of course, the Romans came into play. We also ran the manuscripts by some of the best Biblical scholars out there. Dr. Dave Reagan and his staff at Lion and Lamb Ministries were a huge blessing and wealth of information as well as encouragement and inspiration.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
Simple—God is the foundation of love. And His love won’t be denied. The world is on fire, true, but our God is not stressed. His only concern is chasing us down (each one of us—a thief on a cross—as if we were the only being in existence) and taking us to the mat with His love. In Him we have identity and purpose. In Him we have eternity. Peace and joy are ours for the asking.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
For The Light, aside from the research, I would say the biggest challenge was marrying the mind and the heart, the factual case for Christ with the fact that some people are simply to burned by this world to hear a rational argument. Facts and figures are easy, but the Spirit works at a much deeper level. For some, the path to Jesus is an intellectual one. The Old Covenant prophecies are clear. The odds are too great. Jesus has to be the promised Messiah. I have friends like this. Two plus two equals four so Jesus is who the Bible says He is, end of discussion. But then there are others—I confess I’ve been there and still feel it sometimes—that have been run over by the freight train of life. Too wrecked to see the page let alone add the numbers. Thank God Jesus can be found along the dark parts of the road. God delights in meeting us in the broken places.
As far as my writing in general goes, my biggest challenge is simply finding a niche. My books tend to be a little out of the norm in the Christian market. They tend to either be loved or, not necessarily hated (with the exception of a cantankerous critic or two, ha) but maybe a bit misunderstood. But if I’m an outsider, that’s all right. I’m a self-admitted lousy cultural Christian. I wrestle with things. I grope in the darkness a whole lot. But Jesus has been the constant. He has been my North Star. What I don’t know. He does. And what I love the most about the sacrificial Lamb story is He is the star, not me.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
Oh, man, so many. C.S. Lewis takes never fails to pull me into a Heavenly mindset (I pick up The Great Divorce probably once a year). I never get tired of O. Henry. Salinger either. Some might not agree but I think Louis L ‘Amour was one of Americas most underrated poets. Larry McMurtry’s work is brilliant. Hemmingway could relay fifty years of backstory in a line or two of dialogue and no one has done it since. I’m also a huge sucker for Irish fiction.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
In absolutely every way. Real art should mirror the heart of the artist, be that art music, painting, writing, etc. My life is full of questions. But God has always been the answer. I never start writing with a theme in mind because I know what the theme will wind up being in the end—love. Because love is what God has demonstrated in my life at every turn. If this can resonate in the heart of a reader through my work, I’m happy.
First Century Series
Humphrey House Books
Genres: Historical, Biblical Fiction
Release Date: December 15, 2022
When Joseph of Arimathea took Yeshua’s corpse off the cross and placed it in his own tomb he risked everything. Now, Yeshua’s body is gone, and Joseph is running for his life. Sister has never known anything but the Lower City slums. A creature of the night, so inconsequential she’s never even warranted a name. Welcome to first century Jerusalem, where rumor and deceit rule. Walk the ancient city side-by-side with the very first believers. Feel what they felt. Risk what they risked. And find with them one unshakeable truth—Yeshua changes everything. And everything is never what you expect.
Buy The Light from Amazon HERE!