Brad talks big questions and big decisions

Dr Brad Watson.

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Author Dr Brad Watson returns to bookshelves with the third and final book in a series telling the story of a boy and the challenge of adolescence.

He first introduced readers to David Matthews in Finding David, a schoolyard story dealing with bullying, romance and a mysterious family tragedy. The David’s Revenge sequel tackled rescue, relationships and revenge in an action-packed adventure. Now David’s Triumph completes the series with a story of shattered hope, love, loss and finding the strength to carry on.

Dr Watson answers questions from Signs Publishing book editor Nathan Brown about the book, its place in the series and its influence on readers.

Why is David’s Triumph important to this series?

As the third and final book, this one sees David making the biggest decisions. Will he give up on his best friend? Will he betray his girlfriend? Most importantly, will he give his life to God when God is allowing someone he loves to die?

You suffered for your writing, with a broken body part of yours appearing in this story. What is the story behind that?

I fell into a “hole” while canyoning with friends in the Blue Mountains. Somehow, I became pinned between the wall and a boulder. If I’d fallen further, I could easily have died on the rocks below. It was that close. I broke my shoulder, so it took several hours to get out of the canyon and back to the car, with a lot of help from mates. It made a big impact on me and I decided to include that story in the book.

What first inspired you to write this kind of story?

I feel it’s something God wanted me to do. Life throws a lot of curve balls at us but we have to dig deep, be courageous, trust in God and live with integrity. I also ran a mentoring program for boys when I taught in high school and wanted to write about all those things. [pullquote]

Why are sports such as surfing, mountain biking and triathlon such key parts of your stories?

I’ve tried and liked all of them, even though I’m not good at any of them. They’re metaphors for life. We all have races to run. The point is finishing well and learning that the outcome is less important than our attitude. And it’s true that a lot of boys love competition—it sort of shows what we’re made of.

How has life evolved for young adults in the nine years since you wrote the first book?

More and more research is telling us young adults are becoming lonely and suffering from epidemic levels of depression and mental illness. Their relationships are breaking down and they lack community. Many struggle with feelings of isolation and anxiety. Social media seems to be part of the problem.

What influence do you hope the stories have on their readers?

I started writing the series for boys but have been surprised at how many girls write to say they like it, too. I hope readers will be inspired by David. So much is going wrong in his life, but through it all he decides what is important. The idea of RiskMEN is a powerful one. Real men lead by living with resilience, integrity, self-control and knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses.

How would you suggest these books might be best used?

Some primary and secondary schools use Finding David as an English text. And just the other day I met a tertiary student who read it with her Pathfinder club. Bible teachers could use the books because the issues get deeper and deeper as the series goes on. But mostly the books are for young adults aged 12 and over who love a good story with Christian values.

You’re a Christian author writing stories for teen boys. Is it hard to get your books out there?

Yes! It’s hard to get the books into public schools because my writing has Christian themes—I think librarians are afraid to stock it or don’t know the series exists because they buy only from the big suppliers.

So, how can readers help?

Buy a copy for a young adult you know. The messages through the series are super positive and the issues are real. The books remind young adults of the enormous value found in friendship, faith and family.

Finding David, David’s Revenge and David’s Triumph are available from Seventh-day Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.

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