Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions

I receive some “FAQs” about The Mustard Seed, so I’d like to answer them one-by-one:

1) Who are you?

A) My name is Todd White (actually, that’s my pen name; not my legal name). I am a 29-year old writer living in Arlington, Virginia.

I know this book is fiction, but are the events and characters based on real events in your life?

A) The concept of the book (my intellectual and spiritual journey – as expressed through the lives of the four main characters) – is essentially “real.” Specifically, the book’s purpose is to express my “real” journey through fiction. But the specific events and characters in the book are NOT real. In other words, I am NOT Brian Raines (the protagonist), and other characters (such as Heather) are not based on people I know.

3) Why did you write this book?

A) I wrote this book for two main reasons.

First, as I said above, I wanted to express my spiritual journey through the art of fiction. Through fiction, I can use dialogue and action to interpret and give meaning to some of the most challenging aspects of my life.

Second, at the risk of spoiling the book to some extent, I want to provide a solid foundation for my unique life philosophy – which I call “spiritualism rationalism.” As far as I know, I am the only person who has successfully blended together the two main thoughts systems of our time: traditional religion and modern science – and I did it not by splitting them down the middle, but by using them as pillars to raise up a new, and dare I say, better, life philosophy.

4) What is your goal for this book?

A) My goal is both limited and ambitious.

I certainly don’t expect it to be a New York Times best-seller. After all, I’m a self-published author, and since I also have a full-time job, I don’t have the time or talent to market this book effectively. Having said that, I strongly believe in the power of this book. God knows I’ve poured my heart and soul into it. Therefore, my ambition is not to reach a million readers, per se. Rather, it’s to help my readers (no matter their number – whether they’re 10 or 10,000) build a happier and more enjoyable life.

5) How will you be promoting The Mustard Seed?

A) I will be using the typical strategy for a first-time self-published author – giving copies to friends and family, creating a blog, going to book fairs, and hoping that positive “word of mouth” will create a larger audience.

6) What’s next for you? Will there be a sequel?

A) Honestly, I have no idea. Let’s see how The Mustard Seed turns out. Then I’ll make a decision.


Hello, and welcome to The Mustard Seed blog!

This blog is dedicated to exploring the ideas and concepts behind my first novel, The Mustard Seed: A Story of Life and Faith, which will be published in mid-2009.

I am your host, and humble author, Todd White.

I can summarize The Mustard Seed this way: Catcher in the Rye meets Atlas Shrugged. Basically, it’s a coming-of-age story, a love story, and a story about ideas – the big, overarching ideas about love and faith, truth and morality – and how those ideas shape our lives and control our destiny.

The protagonist is Brian Raines - a smart, decent young man who has just graduated from college, and is having trouble surviving in the “Real World.” As he adjusts to his first job in a strange city, Brian struggles with his identity, and struggles even more to understand what it means to live a “good life.” Like that other embodiment of youthful angst, Holden Caulfield, Brian wins the hearts of readers with his refreshing honesty, deep insecurities, and durable optimism.

At the start of the book, Brian meets two other recent college grads, striking friendships with both of them. Those friendships set the tone for his spiritual journey. The first one is with his new roommate, Mark Williams, who is a kind-hearted, deeply-committed Christian. The second is his new co-worker, Troy Dawkins, who is a brilliant and charming nihilist. Later in the book, Brian meets a beautiful and extraordinary young woman named Heather Manning. After some early mishaps, Brian and Heather start dating, and Heather demonstrates her own life philosophy, which she calls “spiritual rationalism.” As events unfold, each person goes through a spiritual and intellectual journey (although not all of them will survive that journey).

Overall, The Mustard Seed is a gripping, emotionally-riveting novel about some of the most important issues that any human being can face. In light of the recent success of books like The Da Vinci Code, and even TV shows like Lost, there is certainly a public hunger for “big ideas” in entertainment– so long as those ideas are combined with strong characters and fast-paced action.

On all of these fronts, The Mustard Seed overwhelmingly delivers for a waiting American public.