Spreading hope, peace through literature
If there is one message that W. Paul Elgie hopes readers take away from his new novella “His Sandals,” it is to have hope for the future.
And it is hard for one to not walk away from the book without noticing this intention as the story chronicles the journey of Jesus Christ’s sandals from the hands of one ancient historical figure to the next, and with the holder being changed for having come into contact the humble foot ware.
From his Goderich living room, the retired F.E Madill Secondary School teachercum- author said he was inspired to write narrative following a trip to Sulpice, France, specifically to a 12th century abbey.
“So I walk into it and the roof was missing and the grass floor, one wall at the back, one wall with a door that has been frozen over for a couple of centuries, and a small alter at the front and the big alter beside it and a small alter over here. And I knelt down and I prayed and it all came to me,” he said.
That was three years ago. And since then he has spent his mornings researching and writing, editing and researching and with a little bit more writing thrown in for good measure.
Thebook’s creation wasn’t simple, though, he said, and it might not have come to completion if he didn’t have the support of his wife, Marilyn Elgie.
“Many times you get frustrated and you think, ‘ah it’s too difficult.’ And then I prayed and I got help and then I would continue. And I also have a wonderful wife, Marilyn, who inspired me and sort of kicked me in the pants when I got down,” he said.
Though it is his second published book, it is his first tale of fiction so it wasn’t as easy as his rookie effort “Choices: Love, Give, Serve.” He compared the writing of the story to a journey and that you travel a great distance in writing it but eventually you come to a place in the narrative where you realise you still have more distance than you realised to go.
And being a book heavily influenced by h i s t o r y required that he do a lot of research.
“I had to do a l o t of research. Research after research,” he said into topics such as the CircusMaximus, ancient slavery practices and even into love and marriage customs.
“Thank heaven there’s Google,” he said.
The 80-year-old said, what he learned from writing the book is “it takes a lot of time, a lot of concentration and hard work. A lot of hard work, believe me. It’s over and over and over again. You edit it and you edit it and you edit it and you edit.”
However, it’s all worth it in the end, he said, if readers not only enjoy the book but take from it his theme of helping people.
“I totally believe … if everyone helped everybody else there wouldn’t be any wars, and that’s my theme. It’s from the ‘Bible,’ ” he said.
“His Sandals” was published by Christian book publishersWord Alive Press in late 2016 and is available in Goderich at Fincher’s and Radiant Li f e Christian Bookstore.
W. Paul Elgie poses with his second book and first historical fiction novella “His Sandals” in late 2016.