Friday, August 2, 2013

The Reason by William Sirls- Interview and 5 Book Giveaway!!

William Sirls, the author of The Reason, has provided 5 signed copies of his book for a giveaway here. Please leave a comment thanking him.

William Sirls Biography: Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows--some born of chance, some born of choice. Once a senior vice president at a major investment firm, he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering, where he learned a great deal more than he ever bargained for. Life lessons involving faith, grace, patience, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. He is the father of two and makes his home in southern Michigan.


Description: When facing the impossible, will you believe?

Storm clouds gather over a small Michigan town. As thunder shakes the sky, the lights inside St. Thomas Church flicker . . . and then go out.

All is black until a thick bolt of lightning slices the sky, striking the church's large wooden cross--leaving it ablaze and splintered in two. When the storm ends--the search for answers begins.

James Lindy, the church's blind minister, wonders how his small congregation can repair the cross and keep their faith in the midst of adversity. And he hears the words "only believe."

Macey Lewis, the town's brilliant young oncologist, is drawn to Alex, a young boy who's recently been diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia. She puts her hope in modern medicine--yet is challenged to "only believe."

And Alex's single mom, who has given everything she can to her boy, is pleading with God to know the reason this is happening . . . to save her son. But she only hears silence and wonders how she can possibly "only believe."

My Rating:  4 Stars

My Thoughts:   My full review will come at later date, after I have time to write one deserving of this book. At the moment I will tell you that I enjoyed the life like characters and message. I hope that you all like it as much as I did!

And now, an interview:  
Is there anything that you would like to tell us about yourself?
I’ve spent three years in federal prison and consider myself to be the luckiest man in the world. If God can turn someone like me around, he can turn anyone around. I’m a living and breathing example of what can happen when you take the gifts God has given you and use them for your own purpose instead of for his glory. At the same time, I’m also an example of his incredible grace and forgiveness.

Have you always wanted to write, or is it a more recent thing?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a little kid, but never really put much time into writing until I did the original draft of The Reason.

Could you tell us a bit about your reasons behind writing The Reason?
I was inspired to write this story in early 2004, which on the surface was a pretty difficult time in my life. I had just gone through a divorce and was in the middle of activities that were hurting a lot of good people. Those activities would ultimately lead me to federal prison. 

I clearly remember walking down a hallway at a hospital in Detroit. I was there to visit my oldest daughter who had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time, I guess it would be safe to say I was pretty much drowning in my own pity party when I came across a young couple, probably in their late twenties, pulling their son in a little red wagon. The little boy was probably around three years old, hairless, frail, and he had a gray and ashen look that suggested the end was probably near. For me, it was one of those rare moments in life when you realize that your problems aren’t as bad as you think, and while I was trying to fathom the amount of stress this family was going through, this little boy looked up and smiled at his parents and they smiled back. It was one of the most beautiful exchanges I had ever seen, and something inside of me wanted to find a way to make those smiles last, because in so many cases, particularly in cases like that, they don’t. 

So over the next couple of years, as I continued to head down the wrong road in life, and continued to hurt everyone around me, I somehow, in the middle of all that destruction, I wrote a manuscript about a magical character who appears at a small Michigan hospital that has the ability to make smiles last. 

At the end of 2007, I entered federal prison and the story got scrapped. Prison is one of those experiences I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but at the same time, there are few things for which I would trade the experience, because from a spiritual standpoint, it gave me the opportunity to slow down and realize what is important. As my faith grew, I became increasingly anxious to share some of the things I learned involving faith, grace, forgiveness, and realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around me. At the same time, I didn’t want to come across as some jailhouse lunatic, so I figured my best way to share these lessons was to go back to my manuscript and rewrite it in a way that was a lot less “magical” and a lot more “spiritual.”

Do you have any plans to write another novel?
My next book, The Sinners’ Garden, will be out on December 17th, 2013. We have received amazing feedback from early readers and I’m excited for it to hit the stores.

Now, I know your publishing story, and I have to say that it is amazing, but some of my readers may not. Could you tell us about it?
Whenever I think about this, I shake my head. God has been too good to me. I’m fortunate to have missed the need to hunt for an agent or ever submit my manuscript to a traditional publisher, yet I still ended up working with the biggest Christian publisher in the world. 

We had originally planned on self-publishing The Reason, and a few months before the self-published version of the book was going to be released, we were comfortable with the story and decided to print 100 advance copies to create a little buzz. I then contacted some of the biggest churches in the country and asked if they had any avid readers who would be interested in reading an advance copy of the book and then maybe provide me with feedback. Once I had permission, I included a letter with each copy sent. In the letter, I introduced myself and provided my phone number and email address, and also mentioned I would greatly appreciate it if the reader would let me know what they thought. 

I didn’t hear anything for a month or so, and I was expecting, at tops, maybe a half a dozen responses. Beyond getting any general feedback, I also wanted to identify recurring themes or concerns readers had so that I could make revisions before the final version of the book was released.

Then I received my first email from a woman out west that said she enjoyed the book and couldn’t wait for it to come out. It was an awesome feeling. And then I received a phone call from a woman that ran a church bookstore, wanting to know how they could buy it. Before I knew it, we had around 250 responses from men, women, teenagers, and ministers, sharing how the book affected them in ways that I couldn’t believe, and these responses were so heartwarming that they literally changed the reason I want to continue to write. 

Fortunately, one of those advance copies we made ended up on the desk of a receptionist at Thomas Nelson, and it was her response to the book that resulted in it being passed on to their fiction team. Just before we were to release the self-published version of The Reason, Thomas Nelson picked up the title along with a request for me to write two additional titles. Once again, God has been quite good to me, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Your novel, The Reason, has a number of characters. Is there any one that you most sympathize with?
I would have to say Dr. Zach Norman. He reminds me quite a bit of the way someone I know very well used to be. Money and possessions can serve as some people’s God, which leaves very little for the real God. 

What was the most difficult part of actually writing The Reason?
Forgiveness is something that I have received more of than I truly deserve. Forgiveness plays a huge role in all of our lives on earth, whether it be giving it to someone or receiving it from someone. With that said, the most difficult scenes for me to write were Zach Norman in the cemetery and Carla under the bridge. These scenes reminded me of the only real forgiveness any of us ever need, and I found myself wiping tears off my cheeks while writing both of these scenes.

In addition, it was also difficult writing the scenes involving Brooke and Alex. I believe that the bond between a mother and a child is much different than that of a father and child. I had a lot of help capturing the emotions a mother would have when she finds out her child has a serious illness. I’m very pleased with the way these scenes turned out and I’m truly grateful for exceptional editors.

Here on Backing Books, every Wednesday we have a Writing Tip. Do you have any tips or tricks to share with us?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the best advice anyone can give about getting better at writing is to write a lot and read a lot. Also read before you write, as it greases the wheels and gets you in the mood. When you have writer’s block, write about your writer’s block. Just like anything, the more you practice, the better you will get. I haven’t taken any writing classes, gone to conferences or worked with writers groups, but I do have a group of reader friends I show my work to that I trust to tell me what I need to hear, instead of what I want to hear. Also, if you are writing fiction, try writing your ending first, that way your characters have targets to hit. Before you know it, they will be telling you what to do.

Is there a Bible verse that inspires you?
I have two. 1 Timothy 1:15 and the 23rd Psalm. In Timothy, Paul is basically telling us he is the worst sinner in the world, but it’s okay … because he is forgiven and SOMEBODY has his back. No sinner is beyond that somebody’s saving power, and I think we know who that is. 

In the 23rd Psalm, really what David is saying is that despite being the richest and best looking guy in the history of the planet … nothing matters more than him being comfortable with God managing his life. Once we put God at the center of everything, it’s amazing how the rest of puzzle pieces all come together.

And finally, my favorite question for every author: Is there anything that occurs in your novel that has happened to you in real life?
Zach Norman turning his life over to God. He busted out of a routine of selfishness and is also a recovering control freak, much like the guy that created him.

Are there anyways for readers to learn more about you and your book?
I love to hear from readers and they can find me at, on Facebook (William Sirls) and on Twitter @williamsirls
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble


  1. Would love to,be able to get a signed copy have friends that r reading it and love it

  2. I appreciate you giving a little of your story and how it played a part of bring this book to life. I have not read the book but what I have read here makes me want to.