Q&A with Loren W. Christensen on his first novel: Dukkha: The Suffering

Loren’s first novel came out a while ago and I finished reading it not so long ago. I enjoyed the book and asked him if he wanted to do aquick Q&A. He graciously agreed and here’s the result. Enjoy!

Q&A with Loren W. Christensen on his first novel:

Dukkha: The Suffering


Q: What made you decide to write a novel after well over 40 books of non-fiction?

A: I’ve written 45 nonfiction books, all the while itching to try fiction, in the same way some actors want to direct. However, I’ve learned in the writing biz that certain projects are all about timing. For example, I co-wrote ON COMBAT with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in 2003, a complex book that I couldn’t have written in the ‘90s, probably not even in 2000. But in 2003, the experience I had gained from previous writing, such as interviewing, researching, and creating readable text out of transcripts, made it possible to tackle the 31-month project.

Likewise with DUKKHA: THE SUFFERING. I couldn’t have done it in 2000. By the time I began writing it in 2009, however, I’d read lots of how-to-write fiction literature, studied the styles of just under a kuhzillion novelists, and had matured to a place where I was comfortable creating a storyline. With those things under my belt, the novel just fell into place. Okay, it didn’t “fall into place.” It came out of my pores along with buckets of sweat and blood. And tears. And curses.

Q: Was there a specific event that triggered the idea for the story?

A: There are three shootings in the story. The one that triggers all of Sam’s emotional turmoil (duukha) was based on a real incident that happened here in Portland, one that shook the PD to its core and traumatized the citizens for months. I think I started writing with that incident in mind and built around it.

Q: What are the similarities, if any, between you and Sam?

A: There is a little of me in Sam, though he’s 30 years younger. He’s a police officer, as I was for nearly 29 years, and he’s a martial arts teacher, as I have been for the last 47 years. Also, Sam is a good cop, but not always. Sometimes his martial arts work wonderfully and other times not so good. That was my experience as well. [Read more…]