Joshua J. Masters is a pastor, author (American Psalms), Christian speaker and artist. He currently serves as an Associate Care Pastor in South Carolina. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), Josh is also comfortable working both in front of and behind the camera. Joshua lives with his wife, Gina and their dog, Franklin.
Welcome Joshua, please tell us about your most Recent Book:
My most recent book is American Psalms: Prayer for the Christian Patriot. I was really moved by the scriptures reminding us to pray for our leaders and that God has a purpose in every leader he places in authority—even when we don’t agree with them. The result was a book of worship-based prayers for our nation with teaching components to help the reader learn how to pray for the country without political bias. There are 52 weekly prayers, additional psalms for special days of prayer like holidays, and worksheets to help the reader focus their prayers. Through writing American Psalms, God changed the way I look at prayer, our country and our leaders.
Why do you write what you do?
Writing is one of the ways I connect with God. Eric Liddell, the Olympian depicted in Chariots of Fire, once said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” I’ve never been much of an athlete—actually, I wince if someone throws something toward me, but I’ve always identified with that quote because it’s how I feel when I write. God changes me, and often explains things to me as I write. So when asked, “Why do you write what you write?” It’s usually because God is trying to tell me something. That’s why I primarily write Christian non-fiction, but even my occasional adventures into fiction are about something God is trying to teach me.
What are you currently working on?
I’m actually working on a book focused on the life of our dog, Franklin. He was rescued from a puppy mill and faced a great deal of adversity before coming to us. The trauma he faced as a puppy left him with a lot of struggles to overcome. In the book, the events of Franklin’s life serve as lessons about our own faith. Each chapter ends with a Bible reading and questions for spiritual growth that you can gnaw on with the rest of your pack. Franklin recently started his own Twitter account and gives frequent updates on the book: @FranklinThePup. I also have an ongoing blog at www.joshuajmasters.com
How does your work differ from other work in its genre?
My prayer is for my writing to be relatable and challenging at the same time. The simple story of a rescue pup need not be limited to simple themes. I want my writing to be enjoyable, even fun but still lead the reader into a deeper relationship with Christ. My goal is to share what some consider difficult Biblical truths in a way that is encouraging. I want to build a relationship with the reader that makes it safe to explore the parts of their faith where God wants them to grow.
How does your writing process work?
I have a tendency to write things that can be broken down into sections—works within the greater work. In American Psalms, each prayer can stand alone, but they’re woven together to intentionally create a larger theme. The same is true with Franklin’s book. Each chapter is a unique lesson of faith, but the story is continuous and connected.
Because of that, I tend to work on each section as an individual work. I’m always thinking of the larger story, but I focus on what each individual piece is teaching. As for the process itself, it starts in my head. I will go round and round with a section in my head long before I put anything on paper. I usually get 2-3 key sentences that I jot down (often the last sentence) and build the piece around that.
Once I’ve written a section, I will leave it alone for a few days and go back to it with fresh eyes. That’s usually where I more specifically tailor the piece to work with the other sections of the book. To be honest, I’m always a little surprised how God orchestrates it all to fit together.