Andrew says, “Because I was unhappy as a child, I became addicted to daydreams. I became a real daydreamer. And that really taught me how to write.”
Best-selling author Andrew Klavan grew up as an angry young man. That’s probably why the characters in his books are usually tough-as-nails and looking for answers. CBN interviewer Scott Ross sat down for an interview with him.
Scott says, “Here you are, a Great Neck Jew. Great Neck is in Long Island. Right?”
Andrew responds, “Long Island, yeah…”
“And Jewish background…were you religious?”
“Well, we were raised in the religion,” says Andrew. “We were taught and sent to Hebrew school. We would celebrate Passover and Yom Kippur and certain holidays. And we were bar mitzvahed, but the weird thing about it was my parents really didn’t believe in God.”
Learning rules about a God who didn’t exist made no sense to Andrew; so threw himself into literature.
Andrew says, “Because I didn’t get along with my father I looked for male role models in fiction and I found them in the tough guy fiction, in Hemingway and Raymond Chandler, who had this great detective Philip Marlowe, and I modeled myself after these guys. And the more I read, the more I found that Christianity was at the center of almost every great story that I loved. We didn’t have a New Testament in my house, right? We were Jews. So I went out and bought myself a New Testament and started to read the gospel according to Luke, purely as a piece of literature to find out what everybody was talking about. It convinced me that this figure of Jesus was at the center of western culture, which I loved. I mean, it was the center of all the books that I loved. And that was not a religious idea that was a literary idea. I didn’t believe in it at all.”
Scott says, “You were on a search for truth though. That was a thing in your gut that you were out looking for truth and this was all part of it, but you didn’t recognize it then, right?”
“Never,” says Andrew. “And that was one of the things that bothered me about the kind of Judaism I was raised in, that Judaism is a beautiful religion, but when you empty it of God, it has no meaning. And so that-that’s become – been a very intense quest for me to make sure that the things I’m saying have – at least attempt to have a relationship with reality.”
Andrew’s search for truth made him realize that life didn’t make sense without the existence of God. But he still had no connection to Him.
Andrew says, “And so I began, in my mind, to actually believe that there was a God, but I didn’t quite know it yet. There was a little bit of a lack of communication. And so what I did one day, was I did an experiment. I was reading a book and this guy, before he went to sleep, said a prayer. And I thought, ‘Well, he can say a prayer. I can say a prayer too.’ And it sort of seemed random at the moment, it seems like praying to a God who wasn’t there, but in my mind I already had-had come to believe. And I said this three-word prayer, I said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ And I fell asleep. And I woke up the next morning and truly everything had changed. I mean, it was a new clarity to everything. My heart was filled with gratitude, I was experiencing a joy that had been there, that had been locked away. And suddenly knowing God opened me up to my own experience of life. And my prayers got longer and more elaborate and I would pray in my car and all this. And he transformed my life. And so one day I was driving in the Santa Barbara hills and I said the same prayer to God, again, I said, ‘Thank you, Lord. You’ve changed everything, now what can I do for you?’ Like a voice, almost aloud, the words came into my mind, ‘Now you should be baptized.’”
“Baptized?” Scott asks.
Andrew says, “Yes. And I said out loud as I was – I was driving, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ And it really did create tremendous problems. A lot of anxiety in my mind. My father was still alive, and even though he and I had never gotten along, we made a separate peace. He was a good grandfather, and you know, I didn’t want to start that trouble. I knew that would really explode. So I really had to think to myself, ‘Is this voice the voice of God, or is it some kind of delusion, some kind of crazy idea that’s come into my mind?’ After five months of-of looking at it, I thought, ‘Nope, you know, this makes perfect sense. I know exactly why I came to this decision now.’ And so yeah, I really understood that that voice was telling the truth to me.”
Scott asks, “Do you consider yourself a completed Jew? What kind of Jew are you?”
Andrew responds, “I don’t like to use words like ‘completed Jew’ ‘cause I know some Jews find it like they’re incomplete and they find it an insult. All I can say is, for myself, I never knew my Jewish self until I found Christ, and I found my Jewish self in Him.”
Scott asks, “What’s the pursuit now? What’s the dream now? What’s the vision now?”
“I want to remember people like me who are living in a world where atheism is the default setting, especially for people who consider themselves intellectuals, you know? I want to speak into that world that we’re all living in, of broken people, of terrible violence, terrible hatred, terrible sorrow and grief, and say – and speak of Jesus there, you know? Because God is God of the real world. He’s not God of a fantasy world where everything works out for the best. He’s God of this world, of trouble and pain. And so I don’t want to forget the people who are like I was, sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know how to live.’ If I could maybe put the next step in front of them, you know. You can’t cross the river; you can’t jump across the ocean you’ve got to take a step at a time. And I think if I could put a step in front of people that would be great; I would consider myself a very successful guy.”