Few authors are as well known to the Christian community as the one who first put Christian fiction on the map. Crosswalk.com sat down with Frank Peretti at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention last month to talk about his upcoming books and movies. He also spoke on the state of Christian fiction today, and how much the market has changed in the last 20 years…

Crosswalk.com: You are releasing a movie based on your book Visitation. Tell us about that. How is the book different from the movie?

Frank Peretti: Entirely different. The movie … I’d say it is that they basically abstracted all the spooky parts from the book, made it a little spookier here, and made a story out of it. There’s a whole parallel universe storyline and message in the novel that’s not in the movie; the novel has a lot deeper subjects to address and the film is down to a pretty simple storyline.

Crosswalk.com: How much day-to-day involvement did you have in the making of this movie?

Peretti: Well, not enough. To explain that, I was busy working on my book Monster at the time, so I wasn’t even there for the film shoots, which I wouldn’t let that happen again because I really like being involved in this process. I was all set to go down there but I was working against a deadline and I just could not do it. And so, they pretty much did the movie without my being there.

Crosswalk.com: You are about to release a new book coauthored with Ted Dekker entitled House. How did that come about?

Peretti: I was thinking about it, because [my publisher] WestBow has done some of my books and some of Ted’s books, and they figured what better combination, Ted Dekker writes thrillers, Frank Peretti writes thrillers... [Partnering authors is like] having a super pizza or critical mass or something, let’s get two of these guys together and have them do a book together. Seemed like a really good marketing idea and Ted had a good idea for a book. He pitched me one idea and I didn’t like it, he pitched me a second idea and I said, “oh, okay,” an idea about a house that folks enter that just seems to have some very special characteristics all of its own.

Crosswalk.com: How did the writing process work between you and Ted, practically speaking? Did you take turns writing chapters or did you meet and write together?

Peretti: What it boils down to is Ted has the overall concept and the story idea, and I’ve pitched in a little bit of work here and there in forming some of the characters up and so forth. But what it really boiled down to is that I wrote the first nine chapters, just getting the story set up, and then Ted finished it out from there. We figured out where we were going and I set it up and he just took off from there and finished it.

Crosswalk.com: So this is the first major project like that you’ve done with somebody else ever. Would you do it again?

Peretti: [Laughing] Never.

Crosswalk.com: Never?

Peretti: Absolutely never. Ted and I chuckle about it. After we worked together we realized we couldn’t ever work together again. The problem is you have one creative genius who's passionate about his work trying to work with another creative genius who's passionate about his work. We write from totally different directions and we didn’t find that out until we got together. So, it was pretty painful.

Crosswalk.com: What’s the next project in store for you?

Peretti: One thing I know I can do for sure is write another book. It might be another “Darkness” book after 18 years. In the meantime, right now I feel a real strong leaning to write and direct a motion picture, so that’s what I’m working on right now. I’m working on a screenplay for Monster. I’m like Abraham, just stepping out and going… I know not where, [but] I feel this is what the Lord wants me to do. So that’s what I’m preparing for, and they’re many pieces floating around out there that the Lord still is going to have to bring together. A movie’s a big deal, so we’ll see. 
Crosswalk.com: Let me switch gears here and ask about This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. When you wrote those books in the 1980s, the Christian book marketplace was very different than it is now. Can you talk a little bit about that? Christian novels are everywhere now, but that wasn’t always the case.