Today I take a step away from the fiction authors I usually interview to speak with a Christian writer with many titles under his belt. Help me to welcome John Rataczak.
IDI – Good morning, John. Thank you for joining me today.
JR – Thank you for having me.
IDI – John, what works for you? Can you give us a rundown of your writing process?
JR – Before writing a book, I come up with an outline. For instance, The Ramifications of Our Salvation is in four sections and thirty-five chapters. The outline kept me on track throughout the process. Each chapter required considerable research. After gaining a good idea of what to write, I began to type. Considerable thought was given into word choice (diction) and how to develop an idea. Once a chapter was completed, I checked carefully for grammar, spelling. readability, and relevance. When the book was nearly ready for print, I checked carefully for accuracy in indentations, pagination, and consistency in listing Biblical references. In other words, I do my own editing.
IDI – What is the most important thing you have learned about writing? How has this helped you as a writer?
JR – Anyone who has written a dissertation knows that it is the most challenging project one undertakes in his/her education. Anyone who writes non-fiction books also learns that they can be just as challenging to complete.
IDI – Is there a particular area of your writing (ideas, revisions, editing, et cetera) where you seem to struggle the most and what do you do to overcome it?
JR – When I began writing, I knew very little about word processing and editing. In addition, I had no idea about where to go for book covers, websites, a publisher, so many things! I found that the answers came through considerable prayer and just as considerable hard work.
IDI – Tell us, what does an ordinary day in the life of John Rataczak entail?
JR – I don’t know if I have many “ordinary” days. An ordinary week involves ministry at a Gospel mission, Bible studies at nursing homes and a public library, visits with people in hospitals, counseling, and considerable work on Eleutheros Books.
IDI – What do you think of Amazon and the reviewing process they use? How much trust do you put into a review for any given book?
JR – Every author I have come into contact with has an unfavorable view of Amazon. To put it simply, it is good to the customer but unfair to the author. I do not shop on there; so I cannot give an honest opinion of how valuable anyone’s review of a book might be.
IDI – I agree with your assessment of it being good to the reader and unfair to the author. I recently worked with an author who told me she had several reviews removed due to her personal connection with the reviewers. She said the six reviews they removed were from people she had never spoken with, but Amazon left the reviews from acquaintances intact. Go figure.
We all like to read positive reviews. What is your reaction to a negative review? Be honest.
JR – I have received a number of positive reviews concerning my books and appreciate the kind words. Negative reviews? Actually, I haven’t received any that were actually written. On occasion a reader disagrees with my theological perspectives and says so, but I allow them to say what they have to say and move ahead with what I am convinced is the truth.
IDI – One last question, John. Do you have a blog and what type of questions would a reader find on it?
JR – I do have a blog. John’s Blog
IDI – Thank you so much for appearing with me and I wish you continued success in your writing endeavors.
John Rataczak was born in Columbia, Missouri, and raised in the St. Louis area. He was saved at an early age through the ministry of the Chatham Bible Church. His father was a chemical engineer and his mother was a housewife. Both were saved during John’s early childhood years. God led John to become involved in full-time Christian work during his freshman year at Bob Jones University. Since that calling, he has earned a B.A. in the Bible, an M.A. in Pastoral Studies, and Ph.D. in New Testament Text (Greek). He has taught in three Christian colleges and two graduate schools, and his pastoral experience includes ministries in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Presently, he is the founder and sole proprietor of Eleutheros Books.