Cliff Lea, senior pastor of a local church expressions in Leesburg, FL, describes the book he co-authored with Rob Peters in this way:
Trevor Williams was just like any other 11-year-old kid. The gift he received for his 11th birthday, however, quickly changed the pace of his common, average life. After suffering some very foolish choices of his own making, Trevor found himself working with the FBI in an attempt to bring down a very mysterious man who was out to get him. The journey took him on an adventure he would never forget. Children and parents alike will enjoy following Trevor through the ups, downs, twists, and turns of The Dangerous Gift.
I asked Cliff a little bit about why he wrote The Dangerous Gift, why parents should both read as well as encourage their kids to read the book, and who some of his favorite fictional characters are in the following interview:
ME: So what prompted / compelled / inspired you to write a kids novel?
CLIFF: My co-author, Rob Peters, has done a ton of research on internet dangers for young people. Last year I wrote a teen novel called Web of Deceit that explored the dangers of pornography and predators for teens. As Rob and I talked one day, we realized that sometimes reaching teenagers with the purity and safety message is too late. So we thought of the idea of combining humor, action, and adventure to teach 8-12 year olds about the importance of making wise choices early on when it comes to technology. I also have two kids in the 8-12 year old range that provided some personal motivation for the story. They helped me create some ideas along the way.
ME: What’s the “Cliff” Notes version (pun intended) of the story in 6 sentences or less?
CLIFF: Trevor is an 11 year old boy that finally gets a cell phone for his birthday. It is a high-tech phone, that basically functions as his computer. Trevor is a guy that you want to like, but he has penchant for making unwise choices. He experiences some relational and parental tension through these choices in the first part of the book. By the middle of the book, however, Trevor finds himself working with the FBI in an attempt to bring down a very mysterious man who is out to get him. This journey takes him on an adventure he will never forget.
ME: What do you want to tell a mom and dad to get them to read this book and to get them to encourage their kids to read this book?
CLIFF: To the parents I would say that the scary stories we read about in paper and watch on news shows about predators are not fiction. The statistics about young people and pornography are real. I wish we did not have to address such harsh realities so early in life, but we do. To the kids I would simply say to enjoy the book and see what you can learn by watching Trevor.
ME: How will this book help kids to love God, love people, and make disciples?
CLIFF: Even though Trevor is young, he realizes that the faith he entered into a few years back has grown stale. During his trials, Trevor gets a real spiritual wake up and learns how to truly pray for the first time in his life. He also begins to make much wiser choices that will promote his relationship with God. That’s the loving God part.
The loving other parts is seen in that Trevor learns that looking at inappropriate pictures of girls is disrespectful to women. You can’t love someone that you are disrespecting.
Finally, this book could play a role in making disciples by encouraging people to make consistent choices of purity in their life.
ME: Any other books out or on the way?
CLIFF: Somehow this is my fifth book. Give Me Your Heart is an autobiographical reflection on my relationship with my father. He passed away several years ago and had a huge impact on my life and others. In God we Trust is a biblical study of how to trust in God (to order a copy of “In God We Trust” send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org). Worth the Wait is a novel geared toward teens and college students about the dangers of sexual sin and the joy of waiting for God’s timing. Web of Deceit and The Dangerous Gift are both about the dangers of technology and impurity. I am working on a couple of other things. One of them is a novel about financial freedom. The other is a novel I am co-authoring with Dr. Jerry Rankin about missions. It is also a story about a guy that moves from disinterest in world evangelization to becoming radically on mission for God.
ME: Top 3 favorite fictional characters for Cliff Lea of all time?
CLIFF: It is funny. I like writing fiction, but I don’t read much of it. I much prefer to read non-fiction. Having said that, I would say my three favorite fiction characters are: 1) Daniel Seaton from Charles Colson’s- Gideon’s Torch; 2) London and Kathie Wingo in James Street’s –The Gauntlet; 3) Bob Grant in Quayle’s and Northcut’s- The Campaign
Awesome stuff, Cliff! Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. And thanks for how you live sent and lead others to live sent!!!
Cliff Lea serves as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Leesburg. He has Bible degrees from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. His passions are God, his family, preaching God’s Word and sharing God’s love at home and around the world. Cliff and his wife Suzy have five sons – Nathan, Luke, Joseph, Tommy, and Stephen. Find out more about Cliff Lea and order the book The Dangerous Gift by CLICKING HERE.