Today the interview is with Brian Fleming and his non-fiction book, A Life Worth Living. I met Brian on Shoutlife. Since I have a brother named Brian and a grandson in Iraq, I was doubly interested in him.
No, I do not write fiction, or at least I am yet to do so. Generally I do not read fiction either. I am a very “real” person in all aspects of my life and simply don’t enjoy anything that is “fake,” so to speak. I find that somebody who is writing about their life or something else out of their own personal experience is the most powerful way to impact the lives of others. In the little fiction I have read, however, I have found great lessons learned through parables and stories, which I think is probably the most powerful side of fiction itself. It would be primarily for this reason that I would write fiction, if I ever did.
As a fiction writer, I will say that all of my books have spiritual truths lived out, and they have impacted the lives of others. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I am zealous about instilling a passion for living in everyone I meet. This passion for living was given to me directly from God while I went through my life’s second great tragedy while I was living in South Korea when I was nineteen years old. Through that tragedy came passion not only to live, but also to write and publicly speak. I am a combat wounded veteran from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I learned many life lessons while at war, battle methods that apply not only to the war itself, but also to the everyday battles we fight and struggle with.
Tell us about your family.
I was born and raised in Jackson, Michigan. I lived there until I was 16 years old (my parents divorced when I was 13). I lived with my father for three years after the divorce. I moved to South Florida when I was 16 years old to live with my mother. Graduated from high school down there and joined the United States Army upon graduation. About a year and a half into my Army career I met my wife, Jamie, on the internet at a Christian personals site. We emailed each other, we began talking on the phone, and finally met in person. We married a year after our first email. She is one of the most beautiful and faithful women I have ever known. She stayed with me faithfully through my deployment to Afghanistan and was by my bedside ever moment of the day when I was injured, even kissing me on my burned, charred lips when I told her I would understand if she did not want to. We currently have no children but want four someday.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
As of now, I have not published any other books. I have probably three others written but I am yet to publish, and I am currently working on my next book, which is going to include my personal, first-hand accounts of my war story and that of others who have also paid a price, and who paid the ultimate price while at war. It should be published sometime in 2008. Keep your eyes open for it!
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
As previously stated, I have three other books written that I am yet to publish. I am really trying to focus all of my attention on my most current book that I am writing and, therefore, have not gotten around to publishing the others yet.
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
You can visit my personal website, which features my first book, as well as my war stories (or should I say “testimonies”) of how God saved my life in combat, as well as my bio and other news and updates on me. My website is: www.briancfleming.com I encourage all of you who are reading this to visit and be encouraged.
I also have a MYSPACE site at: www.myspace.com/army4all03 and a Shoutlife site at: www.shoutlife.com/army4all03
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I enjoy working out in the gym, running marathons, outdoor sports such as hiking, mountain climbing, and skydiving. Obviously, writing is one of my greatest passions. I enjoy speaking publicly about what I have gone through in my life and my book and how it has all worked out to make a great story (as all of life is a story) so far. I enjoy going to various different churches and making friends everywhere I go.
I did not plan on writing this book. In fact, at that point in my life I hated to read! I had never enjoyed reading and never planned on writing any kind of book for any reason. It began when I was going through my second life tragedy while living in South Korea. I was so stressed and angry and sad and disconnected that I almost didn’t want to live anymore. I began getting these “random” thoughts all throughout the day, everyday for almost 3 or 4 months straight. For some odd reason these thoughts seemed to be extremely important and I had no idea why and if I would begin forgetting them I would go crazy and get upset at myself for doing so. So I began carrying a pen and paper with me everywhere I went and began writing all of those thoughts down that came to me.
One thought would gradually lead to another, which would lead to another, and they would “snowball” off of each other until the original thought became an “avalanche” of thoughts, which later became either sections of the book, or entire chapters! That was God speaking to me. There was a source from which these thoughts were flowing into my mind and then out of me and onto paper. I was not thinking these things on my own, yet I couldn’t stop them from entering my mind.
A very special friend of mine told me at that time that I had a talent for writing and that I should write a book. I sort of laughed at the idea at first because at that time I hated to read, so I wasn’t thinking about writing a book. Somebody who hates to read and then goes through a life tragedy doesn’t think about writing a book that will inspire others and give them hope that they were created for a special purpose. Writing a book was beyond the last thing on my mind, but after a while I looked at all I had written down and saw that I really had something going that could help others.
On top of it all, looking back, it was a therapy that helped me recover that perhaps nothing else could have. Knowing that others can be inspired and helped through the work I wrote during my own tragedy is an enormous help because that tells me that I endured what I did for a reason. There was a purpose for it all, a purpose for the better, despite how excruciatingly painful it all was.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I want the reader to discover a new and profound passion for living. I want the reader to know that no matter what tragedy they may be going through in life, that there is a reason for it. God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I want them to look at the tragedy they are facing and to look at my book and know that this book is the direct product of a tragedy I would never have chosen to go through and never desire to go through again. It proves that for every bad thing that happens in our lives, there is always a good side and I want others to always remember that.
We always look so much at the bad side of things that we never see the light. You see, where there is a shadow, there must also be light because without the light there would be no shadow, only complete darkness. These shadows are random battles and tragedies we face, but there is always hope. My life fell apart and I wasn’t able to do anything but stand back and watch.
This inspiring and insightful book is the direct result of that. God took a twenty year old young man who hated to read and used him to write a book that will forever help others cope with their own tragedies. Without my tragedy I would have no book.
What tragedy are you going through? What great thing could come out of your tragedy? You may not see it right away, I didn’t, but in time you will if you will keep your eyes focused on God and what He has planned for you (read Romans 8:28 in the Bible, as previously stated).
Simply put, nothing is impossible for God. When the shadows of life overwhelm you, keep your eyes open so that you will be able to see the Light through your circumstances because it is always there.
*To listen to me speak about how this book came into existence, visit my website: www.briancfleming.com and click the audio link to listen to me talk about the book and its origin.
Brian, thank you for spending this time with us.
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