ORLANDO, Fla. - Francine Rivers has been a writer for more than 20 years and has found success in both the general market as well as the Christian. After a born-again experience in 1986, she dedicated her life to creating works that glorify the Lord and help others understand the life of Christ.
Rivers has won many awards including the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion. She even is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Hall of Fame.
One of her most well known works, “The Last Sin Eater,” was recently translated into a movie rendition released by FoxFaith on Feb. 9.
The Christian Post was able to meet up with this acclaimed author during the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) National Convention, and talk to her about her newest developments. She was able to share her experiences as a writer as well as what her stories try to convey to her audiences.
CP: First off, can you just tell me a little about your book, “The Last Sin Eater,” such as the plot and the theme?
Rivers: It’s based on this little girl named Cadi, and she has something horrendous and you don’t know what it is. And she’s looking for a way to clear away her sins.
The story opens with her grandmother dying which leads to a “sin eater” ritual, where a man comes and eats a meal representing the sins of their lives. The little girl sees him and she decides to find the sin eater, so he can eat away her sins while she’s alive. And of course, that doesn’t work. It’s a false gospel.
So it’s a story of all the secrets of this valley and the secrets of the individuals and the guilt that imprisons us. Conviction sends us running to the Lord. Eventually, that’s how God brings atonement to this valley of darkness.
CP: The Last Sin Eater just got released by Fox Faith and went into theatres.
Rivers: It went into theatres Feb. 9, and it’s had a run through the 13th, but for the area I’m in, it stayed some extra days. A theatre there has taken it and it’s playing a little longer.
CP: What do you think about it going to film? Is it encouraging for you? Is it something you expected?
Rivers: It’s not what I expected and not what I was looking for, because I hear about what happens to books when they become movies and how the message can be completely taken out of the story. But when I met Michael Landon, Jr., and Brian Herd, I knew that they were very strong Christian men and they had a desire to glorify the Lord too. They wrote a wonderful script that kept the gospel in the very core of the story.
CP: Do you think - because you said it’s difficult to carry a book and translate it into a movie - that they caught everything as well as they could?
Rivers: I think they caught the essentials. The basic story of Cadi is in there very strongly. They can’t bring in all the peripheral characters that you can in the book, but they really kept the core of the story with Cadi.
CP: Do you have anything new coming out?
Rivers: I have the last “Sons of Encouragement” novellas coming out this summer. It’s called “The Scribe,” and it’s about Silas. Those books are all about men that were behind the scenes working with great leaders, such as Aaron, the brother to the great Moses or like Caleb was to Joshua. Jonathan was a friend to David. And I wanted to put a prophet in there that speaks things people might want to hear. There’s the prophet Amos and then Silas. We don’t know anything about their personal life. It said he traveled with Paul. He traveled with Peter. He worked with Timothy for the sub-Jerusalem council. He was a great man, but we don’t know anything about him.
CP: As a Christian writer, how has your experience been? What is something you really try to catch people with?
Rivers: Well, I start first with questions that I don’t have answers to. I became a Christian late, in my late 30’s, so I had a lot of things that I was bringing into my Christian life that I regret. And I had a lot of questions about faith, so that’s where I start when I write. I use the characters to voice all the different points, and there’s one strong Christian that speaks from Christ’s perspective. The idea is to find the answer to the question.
You could say it’s kind of self-centered writing. Tyndale has allowed me to write historical Christian, contemporary Christian, novellas, and really given me freedom with whatever I need to do.
I actually worked in the general market for many years writing steamy historical romance, and I had more freedom in the Christian market than I ever did in the general market to write about any issue that I needed to write about.
CP: It’s been a pleasure to talk with you. Is there anything else that you really wanted to add?
Rivers: Well, just that if Christians don’t check out these movies, we won’t get any more. We have eight of them coming out this year, so there should really be some entertainment available out there. I hope that the audiences show up.