“What do wild crocodiles in New Guinea and yellow Lamborghinis in Paris have in common?” asks James D’Arcy Standish. “They’re both featured in this collection of fabulous stories that come from my life as a missionary kid, a bit of a world traveler, and a hapless co-conspirator in all sorts of unintended adventures.”
Standish, a member of Chesapeake Conference’s Spencerville (Md.) church in Spencerville, recently released Disneyland’s Back Door and Other Great Stories. Standish has served as executive director of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and has lived in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Along the way, he has met some amazing people, has experienced some incredible adventures and has learned to love God deeper each day. Read our interview with him below:
Visitor: What prompted you to write this book?
Standish: I should be the most boring person on the planet—after all, not only do I have an MBA, but a law degree, too. I had spent a lot of time buried in sub-clauses of contract addendums. But then children (my two girls) entered my life, and that changed everything! All of a sudden I was forced to tell them stories. And it got worse; I was asked to do chapel at their school. The school asked me back. Again and again and again. That forced me to hone my best stories. I told the kids about Charlie and the chili challenge, my pet monkey, the most beautiful house in the world and the lost fort in the jungles. The more I told stories, the more requests I got for a book. So, here it is!
The other reason I wrote this book is because there isn’t much out there for smart, Christian kids (like my girls) who love a seriously good book but are also serious about their faith. My goal was to fill the gap.
Visitor: What is the intended target audience?
Standish: Everyone loves a good story. Especially if it has humor and adventure, substance and inspiration. My primary target is smart kids aged eight to 13. But what I’ve found so far is that adults love the book as much as kids.
Visitor: What does the title of the book mean?
Standish: The title is taken from a story in the book. It’s about the day my friend Roger the Dodger introduced me to Disneyland’s back door. I didn’t know Disneyland had a back door, did you? And, well, that was just the beginning of trouble…
Visitor: Can you give the reader a short synopsis of the book?
Standish: Each story has a spiritual point—not a manufactured point that is thrown in to justify reading the book on Sabbath, but an authentic message. It’s lots of fun, but it has plenty of depth, too.
Visitor: What Christian themes can readers expect?
Standish: The book is soaked in Christianity from start to finish, because my faith touches everything in my life. Forgiveness, the nature of love, the impact of knowing we’re created, Christ’s sacrifice and many other core themes of Christianity are explored through stories that are fresh, relevant and told with a lot of fun and energy.
Visitor: Is this book part of a series?
Standish: So far Disneyland’s Back Door is doing very well, and I have a lot of other stories to share. So, yes, I’m thinking of writing another book in the series.
Visitor: How can you purchase Disneyland’s Back Door?
Standish: It’s currently available on Amazon.com. Also, sometime this year I hope to do a distribution deal with the Pacific Press Publishing Association.