As co-author of Tyndale's Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, Jerry Jenkins is one of the most commercially successful Christian novelists of all time. But he has written much more than end-times fiction: among his 150+ other books are the high school football novel Hometown Legend (recently made into a movie, which Jenkins produced with his son), and as-told-to biographies of Hank Aaron, Brett Butler, Bill Gaither, Orel Hershiser, Luis Palau, Walter Payton, Nolan Ryan, and others. He is also the owner of the Christian Writer's Guild.

Today, Tyndale releases a new futuristic novel, this time by Jenkins alone: Soon: The Beginning of the End.

Before we talk about Soon, let's talk about the success of Left Behind. Did you have any idea that this was going to take off like it did?

Oh sure. We thought it would sell 55 million copies.

Doesn't everybody when they sit down and write a book?

Actually, we thought that we had something pretty good, and that it might do 100,000 or 200,000 copies. And we would have been thrilled with that.

But one thing this phenomenon does is to make it impossible for us to try to take any credit for it. After a while you just have to admit that Somebody Else is involved.

But now you've thought about the success of the series, read the articles about it, and have heard the different theories. Obviously, Left Behind was not the first, nor will it be the last, end-times series. Why did the public, both Christian and those outside of the faith, find something absolutely captivating about Left Behind?

There is a God-hunger out there, and people are looking for things beyond themselves. They're buying books by the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and healing gurus.

But, as you say, there are other series like this. Part ...

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The Dick Staub Interview
Dick Staub was host of a eponymous daily radio show on Seattle's KGNW and is the author of Too Christian, Too Pagan and The Culturally Savvy Christian. He currently runs The Kindlings, an effort to rekindle the creative, intellectual, and spiritual legacy of Christians in culture. His interviews appeared weekly on our site from 2002 to 2004.
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