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Pastor Shirley Baskett - Outrunning the Devil
Pastor Shirley Baskett’s first lesbian encounter came on the night of her graduation from Bible college. It was with another Christian. She tells the story in her excellent book, “The Woman Who Outran the Devil”. In the words of the back cover blurb:
“Increasingly she found herself torn between the world of sex, violence and alcohol, and a Christian past she had rejected but could not shake off. One fight left her with a broken nose. She was raped.
“Contemplating suicide, she offered up one last, unhopeful prayer. It was answered. She began to grow in faith. Then she met Peter….This powerful account of a life utterly changed will prove an encouragement to all who have lost hope.”
I have read the book, and recommend it highly. Shirley is now an AOG pastor here in Melbourne. I had the chance to ask her some questions.
* I was very impressed with the absolute honesty of your book. Was it difficult to write?
No, not difficult to write, as it poured from my memory, but certainly difficult to release for public scrutiny.
* Why did you wait so long after all your experiences to write it?
One time when I was depressed, I went away to my mother-in-law's to take some time out and, in this time, I put the story down in three days. Rather than being a therapeutic exercise, this was more to remember the amazing things that God had done in my life. Later, I realised the story may encourage more than just me, and I put it onto the net as an ebook.
* What happened next?
The British publisher Lion/Monarch had heard of my story through another author, and asked me for it in book form. It was published around two years ago in the UK, and distributed to Australia, NZ, Singapore and several other countries and sells through Amazon in other parts of the world. It is due to be released in the US in January 2008. It had a slow start as I am completely unknown, but has done very well here in Australia and appears to be picking up popularity in other parts of the world.
* How do you promote it?
The publisher does most of the promotion but since the book has been out, I have found myself speaking at various functions and have had interviews in several Christian magazines and on Christian radio and TV. Which tends to have a circular promotional effect.
* What sort of reaction have you had?
So far, I have had wonderful feedback. Many enjoy the read, but also, my story seems to touch a chord with people in many different styles of life. I am sure that my story doesn't please everyone but for those that it encourages, it is worth this vulnerability. One of our dog-walking friends, who is very ill with multiple sclerosis, read the book and it made her want to know Jesus. This is my highest hope for anyone reading the book.
* Tell me a little about your life now. Are you planning further books? I believe you have written some novels; please tell me about those.
I am becoming a little busier speaking and I continue to work part-time as a pastor and writing for a living. This writing is far more mundane, as it is manuals for education in business, hospitality and travel. However I am thinking of a possible sequel to the book. I can't write another 'out of out' story as I haven't ever gone back on my resolve. But I certainly have had a lot more adventures on this journey of faith.
I love writing novels and have published these as ebooks on lulu.com and have several others in varying stages of construction. These are far harder to find publishers for, but I write them for the pure love of writing novels. I write some novels for older children and some sci-fantasy. Writing like this has helped hone my skills. After nearly a lifetime of having just a few articles published, and writing more technical columns for trade magazines, having my book published has been an astonishing twist in my life.
It is a bit like a private musician who practices and plays for hours and hours, but it has been mostly in the privacy of their bedroom and perhaps for a few close friends. Then suddenly they are asked to play with a band that is touring the world! I am still quietly contemplating what my new directions may be, keeping in mind that a book can die as quickly as it is brought to life. God always has new adventures prepared for us.
* Shirley, thank you very much.
June 9th, 2007