1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I am the author of False Roads to Manhood, What Women Need to Know; What Men Need to Understand, and my new book is titled, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? I am a native of Baltimore, Maryland and lived there until I was 19 year-old. I consider myself a miracle because at birth I weighed only two pounds and lived when the doctor’s didn’t think I’d make it. To publish my first book after getting many rejections, I started my publishing company, FC Publishing, LLC, which I am the president. In career I’ve worked for the government as a senior aviation writer for the Department of the Army. I am a four-year veteran of the United States Army. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology from Washington State University in 1989. Later on down the roads because I like education, I pursued a BA in Biblical Studies and a Master of Arts in Theology from North Carolina College of Theology (NCCT) and went on to earn my Doctorate in Theology from NCCT in 2009. I have authored and published numerous religious articles for newspapers, online magazines and print media along with appearances on Local Huntsville Alabama television and radio programs for my first book. As an Alabama resident, I live with my wife Teresa and one child Sarah at home. I am a grandfather of 8 grandchildren.
2. What drove you to write this particular book?
Well, that’s a long story encompassing 30 years. When I first got into the church, tithing was the first thing I was taught to do as a Christian. At first, I just followed the practice but as the years progressed it became more and more difficult to keep up with paying over ten percent of my income to the church. It got to a point that I really could not afford it. When I got married and began having children, tithing became more of struggle knowing that I had to feed my family and pay the bills. Then I started to question the practice in my heart but still tried to pay my ten percent to the church. Well, thirty years past and then a major event took place in my life, which forced me to research the Bible more deeply concerning tithing after graduating from theology school. Prior to discovering the true biblical tithe, I was paying ten percent of my gross pay to the church. And behind the scenes my finances were heading into bankruptcy.
One day I began to research tithing and ran into an article written by a rabbi that explained the tithe. I wept through the entire article because for the first time in my life I found out that tithing was not money. Elated about the news, I shared the information with my pastor. Needless to say, my new was met with disappointment. He did not agree with the theology that tithing is not a requirement. Well, from that point on, I was removed from church leadership and eventually had to leave my church. In a way, I was indirectly dis-fellowshipped. Wanting to know the real truth about tithing is what drove me to write the book so that I could share my findings with believers to help them know the truth. So I researched the subject for three years and compiled a 117-page power point study on tithing. Once that project was complete, I decided to turn all my tithing research into a full-fledged theological book on tithing. That’s pretty much how the book became a reality. Basically, it all started over a disagreement on scriptural interpretation about tithing. In fact, I almost did not write the book because of fear of how people would respond to me. In the end, I followed my heart and published Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
3. What’s your writing regimen? Where do you do your writing?
Most of my writing is done at home. I’m a writer for my regular job as well. I follow the same pattern as I do at work. Most writers use an online to write their books. I always write without an outline. I guess that’s the more difficult way to write. Outlines are probably good but I seem to think they are restrictive. I don’t have a special writing place, but all of my writing is done in my man-cave . Whenever I’m working on a project, I tend to write after I’ve done research on the subject. And I go back and forth from researching to writing.
4. How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
I tried going the traditional publishing route for my first book, False Roads To Manhood: What Woman Need to Know, What Men Need to Understand. After I received many rejection letters, I knew that self-publishing was the route I would go if I wrote more books. It was difficult to accept rejection and strangely rejection is one of the roads I write about in my book, False Roads To Manhood. I would say that if you are publishing your first book, try the traditional route and if that does not pan out, the self-publishing industry is replete with companies. But do your research to make sure you get the right self publishing company.
5. What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
Now that’s a sore subject for me. My first printing was a disaster, because the person who I hired to work work on my book was not what she claimed to be. In fact, the internal layout of the book was incorrect, and the ISBN number for the book could not be verified. Needless to say, I found out later through sources that the person was not reputable. My experience with this mom and pop outfit left a bad taste in my mouth. After that debacle, rehired another person based on a recommendation of another author I knew and I republished my first book with a differ cover and title. I was satisfied even though it turned out to be another mom and pop outfit.
6. Would you self-publish again?
I believe in self-publishing but there are drawbacks to not having a traditional publisher and one of the obvious ones is that traditional publishers have the distribution and marketing. In any case, I did not even thing twice when I wrote my second book. I knew I was going to self-publish it.
7. Any words of advice for those looking to self-publish? Any big missteps/successes?
The best advice I can give about self-publishing is that you must do your homework when investigating what people claim they they can do to publish your book. There many internet self publishing companies but just because they can hang out a shingle in the net, doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. Everybody who hangs out a business shingle on the internet saying they are the best, you might want to check them out thoroughly. Investigate everybody with a fine tooth comb. One of my big missteps is editing. They are good editors and there are bad editors. I can say I paid a lot of money for bad editors and so I would advise that every author request sample edits from all so-called editors and if they refuse, you might want to look elsewhere. And to be frankly honest, I have not found a good editor yet. In self publishing, you can save a lot of money if you’re willing to do everything yourself but that will take away time from your writing career. So pick your battles carefully in the self-publishing world.
8. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I discovered I was a writer when I was in high school. I used to listen to a radio show called mystery theatre and I would often remark to myself that what I heard were truly good stories. So I started trying to write short horror stories, myself. I submitted my stories to the radio station, but I never got any of my stories accepted or broadcast. Even after rejection, I still tried to write short stories. One of my earlier stories was titled, The Transylvanian Electric Knife Slice Up. It was a horror story about a mad doctor who would kidnap people and remove limbs, then allow them to heal and remove another limb. It’s kind of morbid isn’t it. Back then, I watched a lot of horror movies growing up. My other short was about the tallest technical, computerized high school in the world. One the first day of opening during the celebration, the computer center collapsed on the ground level, trapping students in various calamitous situations throughout the 100-story structure. The story lines was about finding out who faked the survey reports for the land survey and allowed the school to be built.
9. What is your favorite part of writing?
I would have to say that researching is my favorite part of writing because it allows me to think about what direction I’ll go in when putting words from the heart of research to paper. Writing for me is like an archaeological journey. I get to discover and reveal what the general reading audience does not know or was never aware of before the subject was put on paper. Nonfiction books are really great to write because you get to offer different perspectives to readers and to challenge them to think on other levels and outside of the box.
10. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing?
The most most challenging aspect of writing is getting started. I tend not to like the first words I write or type, so I rewrite the first words more than once until I think I hit gold. I also think reading what you wrote with a critical eye can be a challenge too because you are so invested in your own words and that’s tough, especially when you go through the editing phase. Editing is another area that is challenging. When it’s time to cut, you really don’t want to loose anything in your manuscript. And I’m the type of writer who will fight for every word. However, in reality, letting go of words can make for a better book. And as a writer, I have a tendency to say the same thing in a different way.
11. Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release, Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway is book that take you on a journey into the annuals of biblical history concerning what the Bible teaches about tithing and giving. I deem the book a proverbial archaeological quest to uncover the true meaning of biblical words that deal with money. The book examines whether or not the doctrine of tithing ten percent of your income is a requirement in the New Testament. I meticulously examine the word tithe in both the Hebrew and Greek language to explain what the means in context of scripture. Kleptomaniac also explains the concept of giving from a New Testament perspective without the mandate of ten percent and explains why the Apostle Paul never mentioned tithing to any of the New Testament congregations. From Genesis to Revelation, this book is about how to properly interpret biblical terms to arrive at the proper interpretation of a biblical text that refers to money or tithing. I also theologically examine the pros and cons about tithing and non-tithing and present analysis and conclusions so that the reader can make an informed choice as to how they will give in the future. Since money is vital in every part of society and the church, this book spends a considerable amount of time detailing how money was used in the Bible to help readers know the difference between tithes and money. The tithing phenomenon has been around for centuries and this book is an expose’ into the how the current doctrine came into existence and who the culprits were who played a major role in what churches teach today concerning monetary tithing. KLEPTOMANIAC is a back to the past look at Israel’s history and how they practiced tithing in a theocracy based on the land, language and literature of the Hebrew people.
12. How did you come up with the title of your book?
That’s a good question. So, in most churches on any given Saturday or Sunday, pastors all over the country talk about tithing and that all members are required to pay a tenth of their income to God. The title of the book comes from that fact that when people do not tithe as required, they are often called names like God robber, thief, sticky fingers or are told they steal God’s money. I took those words and came up the title Kleptomaniac by virtue of its actual meaning, which is someone who habitually steals and can’t help themselves. So the point is, people who don’t tithe can’t help but pick pocket God of his money. So the book’s title seeks to have readers determine if they are kleptomaniacs who really rob God.
13. Who are some of your favorite authors?
My first favorite author is Stephen King of course. Then I would have to say T.D. Jakes and Gordon Dalbey.
14. Who do you think has influenced your writing style the most?
I would have to say that Gordon Dalbey and T.D. Jakes probably had the most influence on my writing style because of the way they put words together that just make you say, “now that’s good.”
15. As a writer, what is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Although, I am I would have to say publishing my first book, False Roads To Manhood: What Women Need to Know; What Men Need to Understand is an accomplishment, but I would have to say that I’m most proud of my second book, Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? Writing about tithing allowed me to study and go places in the scriptures I’d never been in learning about land, language and literature of the Hebrew people. And most of all, I learned a great deal about Jewish customs that are counter-intuitive to most people. Writing False Roads to Manhood may have taken me seven years of research and writing and then to finally publish is a good feeling, but to write so extensively on a biblical subject that is really counterintuitive to most people and finally become a book is greatly rewarding.
16. What motivates you to write?
Well, I started being motivated to write by movies. I loved going to the movies growing up and some how looking at people reciting lines on the big screen made me want to write stories. Also, listing to mystery theatre on the radio fueled my passing to want to write. As I got older, I became interested in research and discovering the unknown. I’m motivated to write when I am impacted by opposing questions. For example, if someone says, Mary and Jesus was married or Apostle Paul in the Bible was not married, I like to write about those kinds of issues to answer the theological questions to see what the truth is from history. So anything that people question, I am motivated research and write to help them understand the facts and what is historically accurate and what is simply a tall tale.
17. Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?
The advice I’d give any author is to spend lots of time researching self-publishers and make sure you know what they can do. Everybody who hangs out a business shingle on the internet cannot always do what they say they can do. I would also say, don’t be afraid to do it yourself. Self publishing can be a challenge but the reward you gain in learning the business pays off later. For example, my first book was expensive, my current book not so much. As for editors, be very careful with anyone who say they can edit. There are many people out there who claim they can edit, but I would say get samples from everyone and editorial references to judge their work. But then if you know a good local editor with an excellent reputation, that should be your first choice.
18. What is that you want the reader to learn or “get” as a result of reading your book?
Readers will learn about the original purpose of the tithe. They will gain an understanding of how biblical words need to be researched and defined in their original language to get the true meaning of the text. When a person reads my book, they will feel like they are on an archeological biblical trek of a lifetime to uncover the biblical truth that’s been covered by time history. The book will light a path to how biblical text should be handled and they will walk away saying, “I’m glad for the heads up and now I can engage on this subject because I have scholarship, theology, and hermeneutics to back me up!”
19. Are there projects you want to work on that you tried to write in the Past?
Oh, yes! I want to go back and finish the book about the tallest high school in the world because I think that would be a blockbuster movie one day. I have another project in mind that deals with book of exodus, but modernized it and bring it more into our current political environment. I would love to get my first book, False Roads to Manhood scripted into a stage play. Right now I have another book finished, but don’t have the funds to publish it. So I hope I can do that in the future.
20. Can you share a reviewer’s book review comments with us about Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
Of course. One of the first book reviews was done by D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review. “Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? The Untwisted Truth About the Centuries Old Tithes and Offering Deception examines the history of church tithes, a practice from the early days of Christianity which takes a darker turn as its history and connections to actual Scripture are probed from its original applications to modern times. But if readers expect a supportive Scripture-based emphasis on the value of tithes, it should be advised that Kleptomaniac does not toe a party line of religious propriety but offers a sobering and critical examination of the notion of tithes and how it has changed over the centuries.
Church-goers who struggle with the idea of tithes and Church donation processes will discover that there’s reason for their concerns. There is an ongoing battle for truth and orthodoxy surrounding these matters, and this too is covered as Kleptomaniac analyzes the Biblical roots and intention of tithes and how the Church has applied them over the centuries.
Despite its fiery contentions, Kleptomaniac’s approach rests firmly on a combination of historical precedent, experience and analysis, and Scriptural quotes that back Dr. Frank Chase Jr.’s scrutiny. Chapters thus adopt a scholarly tone as they pull quotes from Scripture to analyze them: “I will examine the different tithes as separate items for context. The Bible gives specific instructions on how to distribute the tithe and to whom the tithe belonged. Who did God command to receive the tithe and who paid the tithe? Numbers 18, lays out the legal legislation on tithes under the law. However, before we look at this text, let’s jump forward to the New Testament. Hebrews 7:5 is the nail in the proverbial coffin that says who can collect tithes.”
From keywords and comparing Bible references to how tithes were (and are) being stolen from early to modern times, Dr. Chase’s scholarly analysis is precise, well detailed and reasoned, intricately researched and referenced, and yet is very accessible to lay audiences.
Dr. Chase’s attention to detail in covering the history of tithing and his analysis of what constitutes an authentic tithe in keeping with God’ Biblical directives includes a great deal of research into early Greek and Hebrew writings, creating a weighty yet authoritative, accessible piece filled with empirical evidence and discussions central to the tithe’s place in Christian theology. Although its research-backed history is not light reading, its attention to well- researched detail is impeccably presented, and represents a breath of fresh air to a topic typically laden with more emotion than reasoned inspection.
The result is a thought-provoking read which is very highly recommended for any Church member interested in the history and ongoing debate over tithes, their mandate, and where and how they are spent.”