The Making of The Puritans

This is the third in a series of videos in which I take a look back at the making of my 9-volume novel series, An American Family Portrait, on the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of the first book in the series, The Puritans.


  • Misconceptions about the Puritans abound. American journalist, H.L. Menken, described Puritanism as, “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.”
  • My publishers wanted to start the series with the Revolutionary War. I argued that to do so would ignore nearly 150 years of American history in which the Bible shaped the character of our nation.
  • So, who were the Puritans? The answer to that question changed Drew Morgan’s life.
  • We first encounter Drew at Windsor Castle, getting into mischief with suits of armor. But it was on this day he met Bishop William Laud.
  • Describing the Puritans as a troublesome, seditious people, Bishop Laud sends Drew on missions of espionage to infiltrate Puritan villages. They communicate in a code that uses the Bible as a decipher key.
  • At Edenford, Drew discovers the true nature of the Puritans and finds them to be a people who
    • love their families
    • love the Bible
    • love preaching
    • love their worship services
    • believe in freedom of religion
    • believe in freedom of the press
  • The legacy of these early founding fathers of America is one of faith and courage. It is also the legacy of the American Family Portrait series as Drew’s Bible is handed down from generation to generation, each time accompanied by the telling of his story.
  • I conclude the video with the picture of a young boy holding a copy of The Puritans. He’s a student at a Christian academy in New Zealand, the next generation learning the legacy of the godly Puritans.

CLICK HERE to start reading An American Family Portrait in minutes!


American Family Portrait Series Book 2: The Colonists

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Why I Write Christian Historical Fiction

This is the first of a series of videos in which I take a look back at the making of my 9-volume series, An American Family Portrait on the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of the first book in the series, The Puritans.


  • History, well done, is merely a collection of stories.
  • History combined with fiction transports the reader back in time so that they are living the past.
  • Christian historical fiction lets readers experience what it was like to live as a Christian in a previous day and age.
  • I write Christian historical fiction to tell hero stories that will change people’s lives.
  • In an age of serial-killer bestsellers, why we need hero stories.
  • I share some treasured letters from some of my readers.

CLICK HERE to start reading An American Family Portrait in minutes!


The Incredible Power of Historical Fiction
An exciting step-by-step journey about how fiction makes history come alive.

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When Reading Was a Crime

Strength for the Quest
ANNE ASKEW KNEW when they handed her the book she was committing a criminal act simply by holding it. 

I wonder if she hesitated before lifting the cover. I wonder if she began at the beginning, or turned to a particular page, and if so, which one? I wonder what emotions she felt as she read for the first time the words of God from an English Bible. 

I wonder if she knew at that moment that the simple act of reading a book would lead to her death? 

Events unfolded quickly— 

She was arrested for “gospelizing” — telling other people what she read. 

She was questioned several times by state and church authorities who challenged her to recant when her teaching did not conform to the traditional doctrines of the church. She answered their questions with quotes from the Bible.

She was taken to the Tower of London and tortured on the rack to force her to reveal the identities of the persons who gave her the Bible. She didn’t. Twice she fainted. Twice she was revived. (Anne is the only woman on record who was tortured in the Tower of London.) 

She was taken to her execution in a chair because she couldn’t walk, chained to a pole to hold her up. She was presented with a pardon. All she had to do was admit she’d committed heresy. She refused it. 

On July 16, 1545 Anne Akskew was burned at the stake. As one man described her death, “She went to heaven in a chariot of fire”

She was 25-years-old. 

So inspired were people by her courageous stand, ballads were sung of her. The Bleets company in London produced an Anne Askew doll complete with rack and stake.

So inspired was I by this young woman’s dedication to God and the Bible, I wrote two novels portraying the dangers faced by men and women like her to read and distribute the Bible in English — Glimpses of Truth and Beyond the Sacred Page

I dedicated Glimpses of Truth to Anne Askew. 

You can read more about these novels, click here

One last thing — I found an inspiring video on YouTube depicting Anne’s courageous stand and wanted to share it with you. To watch it, click here.

Because Life Is More Than A Journey


What Is Hero Fiction?

Heroic Living quote

HERO FICTION is stories of ordinary people caught up in events far greater than themselves—

  • A family swept up in the vast panorama of American history 
    (American Family Portrait series) 
  • Ordinary believers who dared to read outlawed English versions of the Bible 
    (Glimpses of Truth; Beyond the Sacred Page) 
  • A German pastor and his wife who never bowed a knee to Hitler, rescuing disabled orphans from the gas chambers 
    (Songs in the Night series) 
  • An American nurse captured by a German soldier in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge 
    (Dear Enemy) 

The goal of hero fiction is that after reading it readers will be inspired to live nobly in whatever situation they find themselves.