Recently a book was published by an East Texan named Luke Boyd, a 17-year-old (at the time of publication) student who lives in Smith County. The topic of his book was what caught my attention; this teenager was not sharing insights on video games or music or girls...at least not in the usual sense. Instead, he was saying things like, "I was tired of the life I was living, like most others my age. Most importantly, I felt completely alone in my struggles," and "We need to address the fact that our selfish selves are the problem. In order to do that, we need people to stand up and admit that we aren't all that great and fail a lot."
Intrigued, I thought I'd ask him some questions about the book, entitled Freedom From Myself, to find out exactly what inspired a teenaged boy to write about being different in a culture that encourages students to do whatever pleases themselves.
Luke, tell us about yourself, first of all.
I just recently turned 18, and I'm currently a senior in high school. I go to a small homeschool co-op called Venture. I love basketball, football; really most sports. Rap music and music in general is also a big part of my life. That's mainly where I get my inspiration to write. From artists such as Lecrae, J. Cole, and Logic, to name a few.
Who would you consider the audience for your book; people your age?
For the most part, this book is for whoever will listen. But the main audience is teenagers and young adults. It doesn't matter if they believe in a God or not, because this is something that I wanted to write to tell people; they aren't alone in struggles they have. It's for the people who aren't perfect...in other words, all of us.
At a time in our culture when most people your age are thinking about college, money, relationships, and having fun, what was it about your life that caused you to want to address this topic?
I think that question can answer itself, almost. Personally, I struggle with everything teenagers struggle with. Back then, I was tired of the life I was living, like most others my age. Most importantly, I felt completely alone in my struggles. I felt like our culture wasn't asking the tough questions we needed to. We kept everything bottled up and we weren't being honest.
I say, in order to make a change and start doing something, we have to address what's wrong. I believe that we are the problem. All the sin that we desire. There is a wound in our society and culture. We need to address the fact that our selfish selves are the problem. In order to do that, we need people to stand up and admit that we aren't all that great and fail a lot. So that's what I'm doing.What was your writing process like?
At first, I just started writing down what I was dealing with. Every time I would feel something, I would just start writing about it. It helped me kind of sort out my thoughts on subjects I had pushed aside for a long time. Sort of like a creative release. Doing that, as well as discovering books like Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke, helped to inspire and prepare me for what I felt God might be calling me to do. Once the idea of writing a book came up in my head, I just wrote down some chapter ideas and started.
How'd you come up with the title, Freedom From Myself?
To be honest, I hadn't even thought of the name “Freedom From Myself” until about 6 months after I finished writing it. For some reason it seemed to fit perfectly with what I wanted to say. I had all the ideas in my head; it just took me about a year and a half to write it all out.
As I said before, writing serves as a creative release for me. Kind of like writing a song about a break-up or something. It lets me convey what I'm feeling. I'm already working on a second book, actually. I'm just tossing around ideas right now. It won't be a sequel to this book, but it will definitely be something that's on my heart. As long as I keep God as my main focus, I feel like He will lead me where He wants me to go.Most book authors go into it knowing they're not going to get rich, but usually that's not why they write, anyway. What are you hoping to achieve with this book?
I want my generation to realize that the enemy is ourselves and our desires. Satan's job becomes a lot easier if he can convince us that our sin is justifiable. Or that it really isn't sin at all. I think we as a society are too worried about material objects, our career, relationships, etc. Not that those are all bad, but taken out of context, they can surely be destructive.
I wanted to discuss these topics in a deeply honest way. I wanted to talk about them as an average teenager, because nobody else was. I don't know what God has planned for this book, but my hopes are that it causes people to think and ask the tough questions in their own life. I feel like I play a very small role in all of this. I want Freedom From Myself to be a conversation piece between the reader and God.Did it take long to write this book? With busy school and sports schedules, I'm sure finding time was difficult.
I know I spent many, many days writing when I should have been studying! (laughs) This book became very personal to me. When I want to accomplish something personal, I usually become obsessed with finishing it and making it the best I can make it. So for about a year and a half I slaved over every little word, making sure it was saying exactly what I wanted to get across.
Usually it was stressful having to juggle everything in my life all while trying to write a book. But hey, I did it, so it wasn't impossible!And you were even in on the cover design, weren't you?
I am a complete perfectionist, so I like to be involved in every aspect of my creations. I already had an idea for the book cover in my head. That, and the fact that my mom is a graphic designer, allowed me to bring all my ideas to life. I was basically like, “Hey, it would be so cool and artistic if I could like get my signature on the cover. Can you do that mom?”
I guess I'm never too old to have help from my mother.
I want you to realize that you are not defined or confined to the number of times you fail. You are worth so much more and God wants to use you. I attempt to show you that in this book, by being totally transparent and open with you about myself, life, and fighting sin.
If you'd like to find out more about Luke and his book, check out his website by clicking here. You can also order the book on Amazon. com, or visit with Luke on his Facebook page.
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