The Shack was originally meant to be a gift for author William Paul Young’s family and close friends. However, with much encouragement from friends and family, he published his original manuscript and saw his book become a best-selling success. Now his book has been adapted into a movie and has come to life in a way Young had never imagined when he initially sat down to write the manuscript.
Screen Rant spoke with Young at press day, where we discussed how he felt seeing his book come to life, the story behind the creation of his book, and what his future literary plans are now that The Shack has received so much attention.
So, The Shack is based off of your book. How do you feel about having these well-renowned actors play a part in your book?
William Paul Young: I am incredibly honored and it is such a privilege to participate in something like this. And they all bring their craft to it and they are so professional and they are so good at what they do and I just get to stand back and go like, “Oh my God. Do you actually believe this is actually happening?” My kids think it’s great. My family. My friends. It’s so cool.
The story is beautiful.
William Paul Young: Thank you.
I wanted to ask - What inspired you to write this book? Was it just from what you know from your Sunday school classes?
William Paul Young: Oh, no.
Was there a particular moment or part in your life that made you want to write this book?
William Paul Young: It was the year I turned 50 and Kim, my wife, had been asking me for almost four years, “Someday, as a gift for our kids, would you write something?” Because I had written stuff and given to friends and family. “Something that puts in one place how you think because you think outside of the box.” And I’ve taken 50 years of history and 50 years of questions and losses and working through my own shack, you know, the broken places where I got stuck and I am trying to wrap it inside this story about Mackenzie. This weekend represents 11 years for me of deconstruction and reconstruction of my own heart, the broken place on the inside. And then I made 15 copies at Christmas for my kids and 6 of them went to them and Kim got a copy and the rest of my friends and I went back to work. It wasn’t until my friends started giving it away that any conversation came up about publishing and then the movie.
And then it came about and what a beautiful story it was. I have to say one of most touching, the part that brought me to tears the most, was seeing Mackenzie hold his daughter and say, “Forgive me.”
William Paul Young: [groans]
Most of the story I am very familiar with having been raised in Church, I understand the story of the Bible and what you expect the stories most everybody hears […]
William Paul Young: Yeah.
But that line and that scene just really, I think, shows the power of forgiveness and how it is not like something we do every day.
William Paul Young: Exactly.
It doesn’t happen.
William Paul Young: It’s not an event and we’ve got to process it because we get so stuck and then we start justifying our stuckness because, you know, somebody has got to pay. And all of that kind of stuff that we bring to the table. I love that scene. I love it when he lets her go, you know, and he breaks down. Oh my goodness. I lose it there every time. I’ve seen it about 4 or 5 times and I lose it every time there.
Would you be interested in doing something else? Obviously, you’re familiar with writing a book. So, is there any other genres or anything like that you’d want to do or get into?
William Paul Young: Well, I have done three novels now. So, I’ve got those. I have also got a science fiction that I’ve been working on that I love.
William Paul Young: Yes! And then I’ve got a little non-fiction that’s coming out called Lies We Believe about God. So, I don’t know. I’ve always written, so I’m not doing anything that different. I’m just not doing all the other work stuff that I was doing. So, yeah, it’s pretty fun.
I think you’ve got a good future for you. Obviously, it’s going to probably get a lot of attention and touches on a lot of things that are going on in the world today.
William Paul Young: And the timeliness of this is absolutely beyond us. And it’s the right time. It’s the time for this conversation.