104.7 THE FISH radio station set up at the store letting people know they could meet the author of THE SHACK.This was the FIRST time for Paul Young to speak at my book clubs. It was an exciting day for the book club ladies and myself.
This is Dodie, a very special friend of mine who was my helper for the book club meeting that night at Hebron Baptist Church's Libray. It was the first time she had ever gone to a book club meeting. She loved it.
104.7 THE FISH setting up and giving away goodies to those who stopped by.
Paul Young signing books at the christian book Store before our book club meeting.
Thanks to Hebron Baptist Church for allowing us to hold our meeting at their library. They have a really nice book store called the Oasis. I came in handy that night when people wanted William to sign more books for them. Dodie keeping watch after I dropped my book club supplies off and went to park the car.
Paul said these things that night but this came from an on line interview. I wanted to use Paul's words exactly.
WPY says: We went through a six month period where my 18 year old brother was killed, my mother-in-law suddenly died of a massive coronary at age 59, and my 5 year old niece was killed the day after her 5th birthday. Having 4 boys and 2 girls myself, this is a situation that moves to the heart of theodicy as an issue. It is not about politics and cannot be easily put aside - it is about pain and suffering and injustice. I didn’t choose it for graphic reasons (as it is not very graphic at all), but because it captures our focus.

WPY: Remember, I wrote this story for my children (not to be published), so I took some liberties I might not have otherwise. In the first draft, I even had Mackenzie Allen Phillips as the author and me as the ghost writer, but after the book got away from me and a couple people almost flew to Oregon to meet Mack, we changed it, while keeping the idea of Willie ghost-writing for Mack. Beyond that the pain, the conversations, the process and the character of God are all real, so the line gets fairly blurred at times.
Paul Young was engaging as he told his testmony of what the Lord has done in his life and that of the book "The Shack". His wife and some friends were in the audience that night. We had 30 people.This was my first book meeting with men and women together.

WPY says: The Shack was a story written for my six children, with no thought or intention to publish. It is as much a surprise to me as to anyone else that I am now an ‘author’. Overall, I am a very simple guy; I have one wife, six kids, two daughter-in-laws and two grandkids on the way. I work as a general manager, janitor and inside sales guy for a friend who owns a small manufacturers rep company in Milwaukie, Oregon, and I live in a small rented house in Gresham, Oregon, that Kim has made into a marvelous home. My time is spent loving the people that are a part of my life. I am not connected, or a part, or a member of, or involved inside any sort of organization or movement anywhere. The truth is that I doubt anyone would want me. From my perspective that is a very positive thing … for both of us. I have lots of incredible friends, and now you are one of those.
(This is from Paul's website - August 17, 2007 - It is what he told us that night. I wanted to use his exact words that is why I copied and pasted it in my blog).
Is the story of THE SHACK Mack a "real" person?
William P. Young speaking:
Okay, now you have to try and understand how weird this is. I am sitting in Eagle Creek, in a rented house, writing a story for my kids. I am not writing a story that I intend or expect will be published. Actually the thought never even entered my mind. I was going to write this thing as a gift, then go down to Office Depot or Kinkos or somewhere and photoshop a cool cover, put it in a spiral bound book sort of thing, and that would be that.
So, I didn’t have to follow any normal rules about writing something. Actually, I didn’t even really know or care about what the normal rules might be…never thought about it. I wanted my kids to enjoy a story and through the story to understand there own father better and the God that their father is so in love with. I even had this brilliant idea to have Willie (me) ghost-write the story for Mack, and so on my very first Title Page, it said, The Shack, written by Mackenzie Allen Phillips, with William P Young. I thought it was clever and that the kids would get a laugh out of it.

This means that Mack, of course, is not a ‘real’ person. My children would recognize that Mack is mostly me, that Nan is a lot like Kim, my wife, that Missy and Kate and the other characters often resemble our family members and friends. So it was no big deal…until the first version of the loose leaf book sort of ‘got out’ (because people kept passing it to their friends), and I find out that somebody in California and somebody in Canada think seriously about buying plane tickets to come to Oregon to meet and talk to Mack. Now that would have been a little embarrassing, don’t you think? So we removed Mack as the author, but I kept the ghost-writer idea as a story element…which is still causing some problems but not near what could have happened the other way.

Is the story ‘real’? The story is fiction. I made it up. Now, having said that, I will add that the emotional pain with all its intensity and the process that tears into Mack’s heart and soul are very real. I have my ’shack’, the place I had to go through to find healing. I have my Great Sadness…that is all real. And the conversations are very real and true. While Mack experiences some particulars that I have not (the death of my niece the day after her fifth birthday was a horrible accident, but not a murder), there are depths of pain and shame and hopelessness that I have experienced, that Mack did not. And I know people who have suffered exactly what Mack suffers in the story.

So is the story true? The pain, the loss, the grief, the process, the conversations, the questions, the anger, the longing, the secrets, the lies, the forgiveness…all real, all true. The story in particular… fiction… but…. Then there is God who emerges so very real and true, unexpected and yet not unexpected, but surprising and…
So… is all this real? Is all this true? I suppose each of us has to decide for ourselves, don’t we?
August 15, 2007
Continued from Background #1 (May Archive)
So…I am riding the Max for 40 minutes each way from Gresham, OR to downtown Portland where I was working. This is during Feb - April 2005, and I start taking yellow legal pads and joting down ‘conversations’. Remember, I am thinking about writing this for my kids, so I am searching for a good vehicle to communicate through. I figure a good story would be great…but I didn’t have one. So I started with what I did have…conversations. So, off and on, for about three months I wrote down conversations; conversations that I was having with God mostly, but which often included friends or family.

You gotta understand something…I had not plan here. In fact, when I first even thought about this project, all I could think about was doing a sort of dictionary of rambling opinions…you know, ‘A’ for Astronomy, and Art, and Aristotle, and Anarchy, and Adultery, and Absolutes, and Anti-nomianism…anything that I had an opinion about…don’t laugh. Actually, it is quite funny…looking back. But I was pretty serious about trying to do something systematic and organized…make my kids proud.

But as soon as I got into these ‘conversations’ all that systematic stuff fell away. I became enamored with these unrelated and intriguing conversations. At one point I was going to call this little book for my kids, ‘Conversations with God’, but then I found out somebody had already written that book and even turned it into a movie. For me these conversations were alive and I found myself waking up in the middle of the night and writing down scraps of dialogue. More often than not, when I looked at those bits and pieces in the morning I couldn’t make heads or tails of what I had written down and it usually made no sense at all…but I remembered vaguely that it had been soooo cool!

So, in May, 2005 I had a few yellow pads pretty much filled up and a whole bunch of scraps of paper; edges of newspapers, parts of napkins (serviettes for you cultured folk), backs of grocery store receipts etc. I was a little concerned that a good wind could blow it all away and so I decided that I needed to input my notes into the computer.

The first Saturday I started working on inputting was the first time I decided that a ’story’ would be the right vehicle for these conversations. I didn’t have one (a story), but I thought it was a great idea. So I began to create characters in situations that would allow my conversations to occur. These conversations were very ‘real’ to me, buried in the experiences and processes of my life…mostly over the last fifteen years.
WPY Said: Writing the book was an amazing and emotionally wrenching experience. At times it felt like stepping into a river that simply swept me away and deposited me downstream. Many of the concepts that are in the book were present in my own experience, but some of it was tentative. It was like standing at the edge of the high dive for the first time. The Shack simply came up from behind and pushed me in. The two biggest transitions from me were learning to live in the present(ce) of God, within only the single day’s grace allotted to me, and second, to have Papa’s affection for me a settled reality.
Question: So what led to your decision to self-publish?
WPY Said: The decision was made for us…nobody would give us the time of day. Religious publishers said they liked it, but it was too edgy. Secular publishers told us they like it personally, but there was too much ‘Jesus’ in it. So Wayne and Brad created a publishing company and did it ourselves. It is all about our relationships with each other. There are no contracts, no letters of intent, no signed anything.
(He also mentioned that one of his partners had been praying that a publisher wouldn't pick them up because he wanted to start a publishing company but didn't let Paul know this. He just prayed).

(Nora and Dodie posing for pictures after Paul Young spoke)
WPY: Other book(s)…probably. I tend to gestate a while before actually writing…so I am working on a something right now…we will see. I don’t feel any pressure to produce, and I am grateful for that. I have a few projects sitting on the shelf that need some re-visiting also. Vague enough? As of today, I still have my 8-5, M-F job, some part time consulting work and a home full of family and friends, and our first two grandbabies. Papa will have to free some time up if there is more writing to come.

( Me with two of my really good friends Dodie and Martha.)
Paul went on to say that night that the Lord was teaching Him and his partners to "WALK" and not run. They had a few movie producers approach him to have THE SHACK made into a movie. They all agreed that this would be running and not walking. Jesus never ran places. We walked. That way he met the people along the road like man waiting for Jesus in the tree and the woman with the issue of blood. He could have run and saved his friend Lazarus but he walked instead.
The only time Jesus ran in the bible was to embrace someone in love. Paul and his partners want to meet all the people that the Lord wants. Paul said we as a people keep eye on the prize. He is learning to walk and not run ahead of God. If the Lord says that he has accomplished all that He intended to with the book there is no need to make the movie. So be it. I will stop at that. This is His work and I'm humbled and amazed he has chosen me to be his servant. This book is so not about me. I have watched the message of this book change peoples lives. I can't do that only He can.
I was honored that both of my good friends could make it to book club. It was one very special night.
Paul took his time and talked and ministered to each person. He gave everyone a hug that night. It was neat to see him interact with everyone.









Jack Clayton Campus Missions office staff member couldn't believe his name was associated with a scandal! How did this happen? Why did people want to know so much about him and his past? He didn't ask to be famous. He just wrote the stories of the poor in Norwood. Why couldn't they accept the fact that he didn't do interviews? In the past Jack had many skeletons. I loved it when Jack says "I don't have a few skeletons. I have enough to build a whole skeleton army, and I'm not about to parade them down main street."

The simple life that's all he ever wanted, a waitress shows him her Time magazine; she wants him to sign it. He takes a look, he's on the front cover - Person of the Year? Him? There must be some mistake all he did was write "Laborers of the Orchard" a non-fiction book that sold 18 million copies. Now Arthur his publisher wants him to write his Memoris; he says this is the thing to do. Arthur is already pre-selling it and it's not even written. Jack felt torn. Digging up the past was not what he wanted to do but he sensed that the Lord had other plans for him. The Lord's ways are not our ways Jack was finding out.Jack Clayton tries to explain this to Arthur when he says "Are there issues in your personal life, things you find particularly challenging that you scarcely have strength to face privately? Things you might speak about with a counselor or a clergy man? Now picture working through your issues in front of the whole world, surrounded by Journalists and cameramen. I don't want to go there, do you?"

A dilemma for Jack the pain of unveiling the past; he'd be reviewing things done in his youthful immaturity, things he would rather forget than announce to the whole world! Yet Jack felt this nudging from the Lord to dig and tell. He wanted to be faithful to do His will. He knew that God would forgive him for what he had done - already had. But can he forgive himself?Then an encouraging word in the middle of Jack's storm. "Do something about today. It's the only day we truly have. And if you'll make this day matter for the things Christ taught us you'll be doing what He wants you to and live with purpose. You won't have regrets". Now that was something Jack could hang onto as he faced writing of this Memories, facing the deep pain of the past, the media and Arthur his publisher.

I loved how Chris Coppernoll quickly drew me into Jack Clayton's world and his circumstances. I really enjoyed the hometown feel of the story. I liked how Chris portrayed his characters in the book. They were believable and honest. I cared about them and the town of Providence right from the start. I was encouraged by the many inspiring messages in this book like the one I just quoted. Chris has them throughout the book. You will love Providence the town Chris created, the people that live there and this book.


Chris almost didn't make the meeting because he was stuck in traffic on 285 - Welcome to Atlanta. "Hi, Chris. Lets get together and take a few picturese before you speak to the group." He was glad to do it, look at that smile. He was so glad to be out of the car and out of traffic.
Before Christcame we had a lively discussion of his book "Providence" I put him to work right away and asked if he would pick the winners of the books I ahd to give away that night.
Here's my Monday night book club meeting. "Book Ends" You can never have too many group shots. :)
The woman sitting down admiring Chris is his mom. It was so nice to meet her.

After he spoke to the group everyone got in line and had him sign their books.
Still more questions and comments as Chris signed everyone's book. He is a good listener.

Chris took his time talking to everyone as he signed their books that night. We were so thankful he did.
Chris did very well handling the tough questions that the ladies asked him. Chris also gave us a BEHIND THE SCENES peek at his book "Providence". You know how they have the deleted scenes from movies as something you can watch on a DVD movie? Chris filled us in on a few deleted scenes from his book "Providence". It was very fascinating. We agreed with him that those scenes didn't need to be in the book. But we were very glad to hear about them. Chris was a hoot!! He said it took him 3 years to write this book. We could understand why when he talked about the deleted scenes.

Everyone listeded intently as Chris spoke to the group.
Chris was right at home answering the ladies questions and describing the process of writing that best suits him. He described how he came up with a few of the situations that Jack had gotten into. (the main character of the book). Chris described how many different authors work and then he talked about his methods.
Chris had everyone's attention as he told some really funny stories about his adventures in getting published. He told of how God's hand was in it all. How the Lord kept telling him the same thing over and over again.
Chris has a radio show in Nashville called "Soul 2 Soul" His first book was about interviewing music personalities and getting the story behind the person. He said that he learned so much and every one was willing to talk to him. He was encouraged.
Chris was a delight to have speak our group. At times he was so funny; he made us all laugh. He told us of how he got started writing fiction books. The book that we read "Providence" is his fourth published book todate. He has written non-fiction books until this point. We are all glad that he has ventured out into fiction. He has a new book coming out this year "A BEAUTIFUL FALL". We can't wait to read it.


The Shack
By William P. Young
Published by: Wind Blown Media
248 pages

Back Cover:
Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!

Review: This book is about so much more than the gruesome details of how this little girl dies. The author deals with this subject tactfully and respectfully. All of a sudden I was reading along and the thought occurred to me that this book might be like a book I read (that really touched me) called “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” by David Gregory; but it was nothing like that book. That book was fun and light hearted. William Young takes you into the depths of Mackenzie’s pain and has God show up.

God wants to heal Mackenzie from the inside out. Mack can’t believe this is happening. Did he die and go to heaven? This can’t be God he doesn’t care about him or love him because he let his innocent daughter Missy be murdered. I don’t want any part of this God he thinks. I don’t know why he came?

I don’t want to say too much detail about this book. I don’t want to tarnish your experience. I don’t want you to be swayed one way or the other on how God wants to use the message of this book to reveal Himself to you in a very unexpected and exhilarating way. But I do want to share this with you; a little glimpse inside this powerful book. The experience of this book is like listening to a song that touches your heart to the core and when it’s all over there is no clapping just silence as everyone reflects on what just happened in their heart, soul and mind.

The glimpse : This is what Mack says to God “ I hate all this – this crying and blubbering like an idiot, all these tears,” he moaned.

“Oh child,” spoke Papa tenderly. “Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”

The Lord has His fingerprints inside this book for you to find and be transformed. This is not only a GREAT book; a must read; but an experience that will alter the way you look at life and God forever.

Reviewed by: Nora Stlaurent
Book Club Servant Leader

Here is what William P. Young has to say about my review:

Thanks for the heart-led review...full of grace and color...much appreciated.'willie'


One more picture before he went on the road. I wanted to make sure it turned out. He was kind enough to take another picture with me. William P. Young went to his next event but not before I confirmed with him the date for his NEXT book signing.

The Shack is a powerful story of hope and a great love!!!

Cindy Woodsmall Author of "When the Heart Cries" (series) stopped by to encourage a fellow author. They swapped stories. It was special to see. Everyone could feel the excitementment and the special thing that the Lord was doing while everyone waited in line to meet William P. Young.

January 31st and I spy with my little eye the newest member of our Thursday, morning book club. She had heard that William P. Young was goingo to be there after our meeting. She grabbed her friend and came back to have her book signed. We are glad that she did.


January 31st
1-3 p.m. William P. Young took a quick break to take a picture with me to show all of my book clubs ladies.
The lines were pretty steady to see him. Many of the people that came told him how much the message of this book touched their hearts.
After he talked with everyone and signed their book he gave each person a big hug, then they left with a smile on their face. I'm sure they were glad they came. It was a very special day. I was honored the Lord allowed me to be a part of it.


Denise Hildreth's April Book Pick in her Newsletter was THE SHACK by William P. Young. With her permission I am sharing this with you. Denise shares her heart about the book THE SHACK .

DENISE'S WORDS: I'm about to be as vulnerable as I can. I've always believed that a man's "gifts make room for him." But this one made me pause and check my own heart. I was having dinner with a friend one night and he asked me if I had read a book called "The Shack." I told him I hadn't heard of it, and he said, "You have to get it." A couple days later I got an e-mail from a friend who asked me if I had heard about this book yet, that it had changed her life. Then at my book club I heard about it again. My first thought, honestly, was "why don't people go around asking 'Have you read The Will of Wisteria yet?'" It really was a moment of envy. Honestly. I just thought, "how is it that some books have people talking and other's of us have to work so hard to get just a few more people reading what we've written." That next morning having a candid conversation in prayer I came face to face with my heart over this matter, and it wasn't that pretty. And once again I was reminded that we each have a specific calling to touch specific people. And where we go is where we have been called to go. So, I apologized for that one quickly and went back to the heart of gratitude of being privileged enough to do what I love. Then I went and bought "The Shack." Let me just say, I'm not sure that any fiction book I've ever read has provoked the amount of emotion in me that this book has. There was one moment, in the tub, drinking a coke, where I had to put the book down and just sit there and ponder what I had just read. Then I called my dad who has been a pastor for over forty years and asked him if he had ever thought about that. (He'd just finished the book) And he said, "No, in all my years, I've never thought of it that way but it makes perfect sense." And it did. Then Thursday of last week, I'm sitting out on my back porch and was reading again and found myself weeping so hard and so loud that I was just hoping the neighbors didn't come to check on me. In no book have I ever seen the beauty of The Trinity with all its mystery revealed, at least as much as the human mind is capable, so beautifully. But it's more than that. It's not for people wanting to know more about what is so hard to explain. But it is for people who just need to know that the questions you have about life are okay. The pain you've been through is okay to question. The God of the universe can handle our questions, our doubts, our fears and our pain. And if you've ever known any of these, or if you just need to know how priceless you really are, pick up this book. My hope and prayer is that God will stop the world for a moment for you, just like he does for Mack. I recommend this book humbly and grateful that my pride didn't allow me to miss what God wanted me to see.