Writer's Notebook: Pastor Mike

I've been kicking around a story idea in my head for awhile now, and this morning I woke up with what I think is a good introduction to the character and concept.

"Pastor Mike was a pastor named Mike, and this was just one of the many things that made him an insufferable bore. He was an average American in the dreariest sense: white, middle-class, middle-aged, overweight, balding, and Protestant. He had a plain wife and two plain sons, and their family portrait was so unexceptional that Walmart accidentally gave them another family's photograph on two separate occasions. Pastor Mike was kind and took easy to laughter, but even his joviality was so bland that some listeners occasionally mistook it for indigestion. If you were to reach into a very large sack containing all of America, more likely than not you would pull out something resembling Pastor Mike. You would be unsurprised, but you also be somewhat disappointed.

He was uncommon in only three ways. First, he was a genuine believer in the Incarnation and the Resurrection. This made many moderns uncomfortable. Second, he was a Calvinist. This made many Christians uncomfortable. Third, every Thursday night Pastor Mike led a Bible study for vampires. This made Pastor Mike uncomfortable."

I was always a sucker for dark/urban/horror fantasy, like Stephen King's stuff or Sergey Lukianenko's superlative Night Watch books, and doing a similar series is one of my dream projects. I'm not interested in scares or gore, but fun stories, genuine folklore, and ordinary people making sense of extraordinary ideas. Further, a lot of recent sci-fi and fantasy has been pretty ham-fisted and preachy with its social commentary (mostly dealing with gender or marriage equality), and I'd like to use Pastor Mike's reluctant ministry to the supernatural world to explore more than just that particular corner of contemporary thought.