Book Spotlight and Author Interview (+ A Giveaway!) — Eric Odell-Hein

16 Nov

About The Book

Book: Finding My Son

Author: Eric Odell-Hein

Genre: Christian Memoir, Adoption

Release Date: February 21, 2018

Eric was perfectly happy being one half of a dual income, no kids family. Having the freedom to travel the world with his wife Christine, while indulging his hobbies and furthering his education and career, was a pretty sweet life.

Christine wanted to be a mom.

Though he was scared he didn’t have what it took to be a good dad, Eric wanted to fulfill his wife’s dream. After years of trying to conceive, however, the couple received a devastating diagnosis: infertility.

For Christine, adoption was the obvious answer. Eric wasn’t so sure.

In Finding My Son: A Father’s Adoption Journey, author Eric Odell-Hein offers an unfiltered view into the heart and mind of a man who has experienced the sometimes messy and often awkward process of becoming a father through adoption. Encouraging men to acknowledge the fears they don’t want to admit while advocating a thoughtful, deliberate transparency as the best approach to even the most unnatural, uncomfortable aspects of the adoption process. Eric shares his misgivings and mistakes with an honesty that does not deny his insecurities.

A valuable resource for any man considering growing his family through adoption—or anyone seeking to understand the process — this engaging memoir is a testament to the beautiful gift of adoption and a touching account of a father’s love.

Click here to get your copy!

About The Author

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Eric Odell-Hein (PhD, MDiv, MRS, ThB) is the president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. The teaching pastor at Summit Evangelical Free Church, he is also the author of Recovering Lost Treasure: Finding Christ in Ancient Myth, Symbol, and Ritual and Systems of Evil: A Study in Comparative Theodicy. Eric lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife Christine and their son Ephraim. All three are passionate travelers.

More from Eric

Adoption was a scary prospect for me. My mother and all her siblings are adopted, and the family dynamic for them was challenging. So when my wife decided we should adopt, I initially responded with a flat-out “no.” But my heart changed, and I am strongly convinced that our son, who joined us via adoption back in 2008 when he was just two days old, is the greatest child in the entire world. If you knew where I was emotionally prior to adoption compared with where I am now, you would marvel at the change. My adoption book is for people like me, particularly men, who struggle with the enormity of the choice to adopt and the constant challenges of the process.

On a lighter and more personal side, when people learn about all the various aspects of my life, they often have to stop and process the seemingly incongruous pieces. Some people know me as a guy who has spent more than two decades in software and entertainment, primarily in various aspects of behind-the-scenes video game technology and management. My entire family plays games, and more often than not, when I get back home in the evening, I find my wife and son online with other members of the extended family playing Minecraft. Sometimes we’ll all get in an online session together, each one of us at our own TV on our own Xbox, and take on bad guys together in one game or another.

Other people know my intellectual side, where I have earned several degrees in areas of theology and religion, including a Ph.D., as well as serving as president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I previously published two books on academic topics (evil among world religions, religious symbology) and have more in various stages of development, the next one being a focus on the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cosmogonic/chaos-order symbolism in baptism. As a teaching pastor, I have a reputation for sermons with an intense ANE contextual emphasis that are part sermon and part seminary course. Check out my most recent four-part series on the Odell-Hein Books Facebook page here.

I was born in Germany to an American family, and while my German-language skills have deteriorated, I love German music. I’m very excited that my favorite group, Juli, has a new album coming out later this year. It’s mild stuff compared to most of the rock or industrial music I listen to, but they’re good. Check out the first single from their upcoming album here. I’ll be one of the small handful of Americans who purchase the album on the day it first releases in the US.

When not working or playing games with the family, I read primarily academic ANE books. When we’re in the car, I love to subject the family to my go-to podcast, the Naked Bible Podcast. No, it’s not what it sounds like. If you want to hear a serious scholar tackle the ANE context for the Bible, start with Dr. Michael Heiser’s Exodus series (it begins with episode 255).

Q&A with Eric Odell-Hein

BTB: Many authors say that they have always been a writer. When did you come to realize this.

Eric: I remember sitting at my dad’s typewriter when I was a child and trying to write a story. If I recall correctly, I was inspired after reading The Lord of The Rings. Writing has been an interest since those early years. However, the desire to write lay dormant for several years. In my early thirties, after I finished my master’s thesis, I realized I still had the desire to write, and now I had some measure of confidence and skills to match the desire. But the desire and skills weren’t for fiction, but for non-fiction, particularly academic or quasi-academic instructive writing. After a couple of academically oriented books, I wrote this one, Finding My Son: A Father’s Adoption Journey, which is my first foray into popular-level non-fiction. 

BTB: What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Eric: My writing schedule is very informal. Between having a family, two jobs, and volunteering in ministry, finding time to write is challenging. I try to give myself at least three uninterrupted hours, so when I find those chunks of time I can dedicate to writing, I always head outside and away from distractions. The time of year doesn’t matter. Even if it’s cold outside, I have heat sources that keep me relatively warm. I turn on some music and settle in with my laptop. Right now I’m sitting on the back patio, taking shelter from the rain under a large umbrella, with my favorite band, Juli, playing in the background. It takes me a bit to get into a good writing groove, but once I’m on a roll, I can really go. For a significant period of time, my job had me going to Montreal on a regular basis. Montreal is a great city, but there are also a lot of ways to get in trouble. I found that simply staying in my hotel room and writing was a great thing: my wife always knew where I was and I had quality time to write. 

BTB: How long does it usually take to write your books — from first outlines/ drafts to final edits.ER

Eric: It truly varies by style of book. I always start with an outline. For academic books, the outlines get progressively more detailed and I layer in citations and sources for every sub-point. For this book, I only created a basic two-page outline consisting of the chapter topics along with a handful of possible points I might want to cover. However, I quickly abandoned the outline. As this was a very personal story, sticking to the outline felt too manufactured, and one of my primary goals was to be transparent and authentic. The process turned out to be far more organic and personal. As a result of having some free time to write and finding that natural flow, the first draft ended up taking three days. That’s not normal for me. My first book, Recovering Lost Treasure, was the end result of thirteen years of research and writing, but it required significant academic research.

BTB: Can you tell us a little about what inspired your book.

Eric: I am an adoptive father, and despite my deep misgivings and fears when first considering adoption, it has been the most wonderful thing in my life. When my wife and I first started researching adoption and going to classes, all of the books we were instructed to read were authored by women. They were all excellent, and while they had a general target audience, they spoke from a certain point of view and seemed to resonate particularly well with my wife. I love learning — all information is good — but I sought something more. I wanted something that could speak to me where I was at. During the process and in the years that followed, I found that my particular set of challenges and experiences weren’t unique, and many other prospective adoptive fathers faced many of the same fears I did, and I’m sure many prospective mothers face the same challenges. I decided to use my personal experience, told from the husband/father’s perspective, to provide the type of resource I wish was available when I was going through the adoption process. 

BTB: What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing Finding My Son. 

Eric: It’s okay to have fears, questions, and doubts when going through something major like deciding to adopt. We don’t strengthen ourselves our or families by suppressing uncertainty. Instead, we need to accept that we have questions, openly acknowledge our insecurities, and work through the challenges with intentional transparency and authenticity. We need to be honest about who we actually are as opposed to a view of what we think we ought to be. It’s dangerous to use false expectations, either self-imposed or externally influenced, as a launching point for making decisions. 

BTB: Please share about your family, hobbies, and future WIP.

Eric: Christine and I have been married since 1992, and Ephraim joined our family via adoption in 2008. A great life became wonderful at that point. As a family, we love to play video games together. Ephraim and I always end our days by watching funny videos together. Individually, I spend a lot of time doing research on the ancient Near Eastern context of Judeo-Christian religion, which turns into books, sermons, college syllabi, conference lectures, and other nerdy things. That desire to write a work of fiction still simmers in the background, and I have completed the first five chapters of a novel based on Hittite-Abrahamic interaction in the ancient Near East. 

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Vicky Sluiter, November 7 (Author Interview)

Just the Write Escape, November 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads,  November 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

janicesbookreviews, November 12

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 13 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, November 14

Inklings and notions, November 15

By The Book, November 16 (Author Interview)

Book Love (Featuring Gail Hollingsworth), November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Eric is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon certificate and a signed copy of each of his three books!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

 

6 Responses to “Book Spotlight and Author Interview (+ A Giveaway!) — Eric Odell-Hein”

  1. susiesellnergmailcom November 16, 2019 at 9:06 am #

    Having adopted our daughter, I’d be interested in reading this book to gain insight into the adoptive father’s viewpoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rita Wray November 16, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

    Sounds like a good book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James Robert November 17, 2019 at 7:37 am #

    Another great book to discover. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    Like

  4. Melissa W November 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm #

    I always enjoy hearing from the author!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. carylkane November 17, 2019 at 5:11 pm #

    Great post! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kcozz21 November 18, 2019 at 12:01 am #

    This sounds like an inspiring story.

    Liked by 1 person

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