Author Spotlight Interview: John Christopher Frame
Today’s interview is with author John Christopher Frame. John’s passion is combining his interests in theology and social concerns to help Christians become more aware of global issues so they can better live out their faith. We were honored to chat with him about his life, writing and exciting upcoming projects.
HG: How would you describe your writing?
JCF: Before I wrote my first book, Homeless at Harvard, I shared some of my writing with a journalist. We sat upstairs at a small Middle Eastern-themed café near the Harvard campus. That day, my understanding of how to write began to change.
The journalist told me what every future author will hear at some point: show don’t tell.
I also shared my writing with a professional editor. She told me the same thing.
For years, I had written papers for professors at college. What I was learning was that writing a book for a non-academic audience required a different kind of writing – one I really knew nothing about.
So, I studied and learned and tried to master this “show don’t tell” advice I kept hearing.
As a writer, I want to be engaging. My writing is often story based, and I like to center it on meaningful concepts. I enjoy guiding readers through parts of my own journey while, at the same time, digging down into my soul and sharing a few things that can help readers be better at who they are becoming.
I’ve lived outside the United States for over 10 years. Naturally, this has helped shape who I am. I like to take concepts related to living out the Christian faith and blend them with my own experiences, creating something meaningful. You might even call it devotional. And I write in simple language. So, I’d say I aim to share words in everyday language that speak to both the mind and heart.
HG: What made you decide to write in the non-fiction Christian Living space?
JCF: I feel alive when I write. I guess you could say that it’s part of my calling, my purpose. One of the things I feel led to do is help Christians become more aware of global issues – including the realities of those experiencing poverty.
I find that writing allows me to peer into who I am, tap into my theological self, and put onto paper some things that help me think more deeply about my faith and the world around me. My writing is very much related to my journey in life. I like to take readers on bits of that journey.
HG: Where do you write? What does your writing life look like?
JCF: I write in the early morning hours, sitting on a small yellow couch with a cup of coffee an arm’s reach away. I have a morning routine that I follow every day that ensures I prioritize some of the most important things in my life. That means that each morning I’m sitting on that yellow couch doing something related to my writing life.
HG: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what’s on your playlist?
JCF: I don’t listen to music when I write, as I prefer the stillness of the morning hours. But I enjoy listening to worship music at other times. Sometimes, a song will remind me of some experience or time in my life that was particularly special. And this kind of music can also serve as a realigning experience – something that calls me to a closer relationship with God. Realigning experiences are moments that re-adjust us spiritually. They’re like a spiritual tune-up. So, listening to this type of music helps me on my journey of who I am becoming. Realigning experiences remind me of who I was, who I am, and who I want to be.
HG: Let’s talk a bit about your most recent release, 7 Days to Upping Your Prayer Life, Loving Others, and Having More Joy: Quick-Start Action Guide. What can readers expect from this eBook?
JCF: This is a free prayer workbook available as a pdf or eBook. I’d say readers can think of it like a simple, one-week Christian devotional. It probably takes about 10 minutes, or so, to go through each day. It includes brief readings, reflective questions, Bible passages, prayers, and daily challenges. It’s ideal for people who either already have a daily quiet time or would like to begin having a time in their day when they can develop their spiritual life.
So, it’s for anyone who wants to feel closer to God. It’s available here. The pdf version can be printed, or people can type directly into it on their computer.
HG: How does it differ from your earlier book, 7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart: How to Live Out Your Faith and Care for the Poor?
JCF: The one-week devotional eBook briefly covers what I call the seven Attitudes of the Helping Heart (Gratitude, Humility, Empathy, Compassion, Generosity, Holiness, and Hope). Growing in these areas, I believe, helps us live out our faith and care more about the needs of others. My earlier book, 7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart: How to Live Out Your Faith and Care for the Poor, is a deeper dive into the topics covered in the one-week devotional.
7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart is for those who feel like they should do more for the poor but aren’t sure where to start. It’s for those who want to feel closer to God by helping those in need and are interested in putting their faith into action.
This book is particularly unique because it includes mini-chapters featuring first-person narratives of three people I met in Cambodia when my wife and I lived there for a short time. These narratives help readers better understand a bit about life for people who are poor, in their own words.
Furthermore, there’s a free companion study guide that goes along with 7 Attitudes of the Helping Heart. It’s for those who want to think more deeply about the seven Attitudes of the Helping Heart and further develop them and put them into practice. The book and study guide are also great for small groups and Sunday School classes.
HG: What do you hope readers take away from your books? What feeling do you want them to be left with?
JCF: My hope is that, after reading my books, readers will be one step closer to feeling nearer to God, having a clearer idea about how to better live out their faith, and having a little more knowledge about the world around them.
HG: Switching gears, what do you like to do when not writing? What’s an average day look like for you?
JCF: My morning routine, that I mentioned earlier, is extremely important to me. And I have a full-time job, online.
I live in Istanbul, Turkey. There are hundreds of cafes in our neighborhood, including two of the largest Starbucks I’ve ever seen—tall enough that you have to tilt your head way back in order to see the top floor from the sidewalk. But I usually like to go to the local cafes to sit with my laptop.
Out and about in town, I speak Turkish, but my Turkish is very basic. I know enough to get by. But the people here are kind, and they always say things like, “Your Turkish is very good.”
HG: So, do you have a new book coming out? And will it be available on Hidden Gems?
JCF: Yes, my next book is Increase Your Leadership Impact: 6 Simple Strategies to Connect with God’s Wisdom, Make Tough Decisions, and Inspire Those Around You. It’s short and easy-to-read, walking through simple strategies we can all put into practice to better impact the world around us. It’s for people who love to serve and inspire others—and are willing to start by first improving themselves.
It will be available on Hidden Gems on January 22, 2022. Anyone interested in learning more about its release can join my reader community.
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your books, where should they go to connect or learn more?
JCF: People can find my books, including the free prayer workbook you asked about, here.
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