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Wendy Alec's plans for Chronicles of Brothers TV Series - Author Interview

Wendy Alec's plans for Chronicles of Brothers TV Series - Author Interview

In the July issue of Together Holly Bird reviewed Wendy Alec’s Chronicles of Brothers series, in this issue she speaks to Wendy about her life and future plans.

Your ministry has impacted many around the world; can you tell us a little about how you came to faith? 

I grew up in South Africa from the age of 8, and as a teenager I was a musician, writing my own music and performing with my band. When I was 17 I was performing in a club, we were singing a cover of a Debbie Harry song, followed by ‘Cocaine’ by JJ Cale. I was very much a “goth” back then, dressed in black leather, the whole lot. I had come to the Lord more than once in the past as a teenager, and each time my commitment would only last a few days or weeks before I drifted back to my old ways. However, I had this wonderful friend at the time who was very different to me; she never wore make-up and reminded me of an Amish person, she stood there at the back of this club while I sang this cover of ‘Cocaine’. I nearly fainted as she walked up to me, grabbed me and said ‘What are you doing to Jesus?’ Usually I’m a real softie but just then I felt like punching her! I was on a high from doing the gig and I felt annoyed at her for killing my buzz. It really impacted my heart. I made my way to the loo, thinking about this, and suddenly I felt God’s presence. I was expecting Him to be cross and upset with me... but I sensed He was crying with compassion. Jesus was crying for me and it really affected me. I had to do something about how I felt so I went to a pastor’s wife that I knew who understood how I felt as she had a daughter who had turned away from her faith. She loved me right where I was, there in my leather. That’s when I truly came to faith. I don’t know what would have happened to me if she hadn’t just loved me then.

“I was determined that the branding of our Christian TV was to be fresh, youthful and on par with secular programming.”

Not only are you the author of a number of bestselling books, you’ve also had a successful career in commercial media and TV broadcasting. How did it all begin and how did your faith impact your career path?  

I was a copywriter in advertising and then my ex-husband, Rory, and I started our own production company. When we came to London I got an offer from the publishing imprint Mills and Boon to publish some of my writing. This was really tempting, but I felt God telling me ‘not now’ and reassuring me that I would do stuff for Him. So instead I went to Dorset to stay with my parents, where the Writer’s Circle was hosting a workshop on screenplay writing, for which I had a passion. There we met Ron Suppa, a respected teacher and author of books on screenplay writing. He agreed to have lunch with us, despite commenting that he wouldn’t usually socialise with students. He began tutoring me personally and taught me everything I know about story. I wound up being trained by an absolute master of the genre, which was truly an opportunity from God. That had a massive impact on my life and my writing.

But then God said to do Christian TV. I had quite negative views on American Christian TV as, from what I had seen, it seemed very old fashioned. And it seemed to us that nobody in the church grasped that you could be a Christian and still be a part of the secular world. So I was determined that the branding of our Christian TV was to be fresh, youthful and on par with secular programming. We had two very hard years trying to launch God TV, and eventually convinced Sky to give us two hours of air time. It was a real mandate from God. 

You clearly have a passion for reaching an unchurched audience; how do you envision your work, particularly your writing, will impact those who read it?

I’ve had wonderful testimonies from readers; one girl wrote to me saying she hates anything religious but she’s completely addicted to the Chronicles series. One guy who ran a comic book store in New York said he had read The Fall of Lucifer 33 times! It has also been passed around on two or three marine ships and been read by lots of hardened marines! Even my children’s school peers have been reading it. It seems to reach every age. The head of Waterstones at the time even got hold of the book, and he loved it so much that he put it on the book tables in Waterstones. And there were times that it went up to number two in the sci-fi fantasy genre. And this just makes me feel like the Christian faith is coming out of the box and reaching people in the secular world. Although I know that people do come to Christ through Christian TV, I have found that it is more for equipping the church, and may not necessarily appeal to or draw in people who don’t already know God, whereas with something like Chronicles of Brothers you can cross divides, and that is why I’m passionate about it. It reaches people in the secular world. When I watched the film The Lord of the Rings, I saw the impact it had on all four generations, and I felt the Lord saying that this is what will happen with Chronicles of Brothers. That is my great hope for this work. I want it to reach people who might never go to church, or who might have been hurt by religion, or put off by religion, or whatever it might be, and who will never watch Christian TV. But a TV series on Chronicles of Brothers has the potential to engage with young and old who have faith or none. I believe that we, as Christians, should be leading the way in creativity, particularly in the media.

How do you see your career and ministry developing in the years ahead?

In the last year or so I have stepped away from God TV so that I can concentrate on my books and on developing the Chronicles of Brothers TV series. I’ve just finished book five of the series – End of Days – which ends on a big cliff-hanger for the fans! Books six and seven are still to come. My two producers and I are currently putting together the deck (proposal) for the TV series, and – excitingly – will be pitching it to Amazon and Netflix in the next couple of months. I also love that my two children, Samantha and Christian (both grown-up now), are also in media. Samantha is an amazing television producer at God TV and Christian is a successful conflict journalist and so I love that Christian media isn’t just my calling, but part of my family’s future. My main focus is on the Chronicles TV series. That will be the most exciting thing, and will reach people that will never set foot inside a church.

Chronicles of Brothers series is published by HarperCollins under the Inspire imprint. Wendy Alec is a guest speaker and signing copies of her books at this year’s Retailers & Suppliers Retreat.

Born in London and brought up in South Africa, Wendy Alec has pursued successful careers in advertising and television production as well as writing books and screenplays.  She is the co-founder of a leading global broadcasting network, GOD TV.

 

Together Magazine

Together is the window to the UK Christian retail and trade. Providing the very best in product information, trade news, publisher and retail store profiles and much more

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