Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do. Thom is a Christian married father of five who fought, fell and rose again to fight against unwanted same-sex attraction. He encourages others to press on, moving beyond excuses, to claim responsibility and power through the Grace of God. Thom believes the church has failed in its responsibility to provide hope and healing for those who struggle with sexual brokenness.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Thom, It's great to have you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a former newspaper editor, former journalism instructor and former chief of staff for AT&T. Formers aside, I am now a full-time writer, working on my fourth book at the moment. I’ve been married for 35 years, raised five children and have seven grandchildren, so far. I live in the country in Oklahoma on a hill so windswept I am concerned my two big black dogs may one day blow away. If it happens, I’ll write about it.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the state of instability, most often in Texas. In other words, we moved a lot, the frequency depending on the impact of alcoholism on my father and then step-father’s employment prospects. It was, however, enriching, from the dusty back roads of tiny Bridgeport to the concrete apartment jungles of Houston. I grew up pretty fast.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
My fondest memory is from the early ‘60s in my father’s tiny apartment in downtown Fort Worth, standing at the huge window on a summer night watching the neon bank sign revolving on top of a neighboring building. We baked homemade jelly rolls from canned biscuits and grape jelly and watched a storm come in. I saw him less after that, as alcoholism claimed his life, but I treasure the simple memory more and more.
When did you begin writing?
I was identified by a teacher in the 7th grade who was the first person to ever use the word “gifted” to refer to me in any way. I hung on to that and have been writing since. I probably wrote well before then, but never allowed anyone to read it. I can not remember when I was not writing. Now I really am one of those writers who must.
What is this book about?
Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do, tells, from a personal perspective of a broken man – myself – of the journey into and out of sexual addiction. The key words here are “Surviving” and “Grace.” The book speaks to two audiences: the man or woman who finds life dominated and endangered by a sexual activity or temptation they believe is inconsistent with what God intended for them . . . and also the man or woman – husband, wife, father, mother – who loves someone who struggles with a sexual issue and needs encouragement and support to find freedom. The “grace” in the book is what God extends to us as well as the grace we extend to each other through great patience and forgiveness.
Surviving Sexual Brokenness is designed to be truthful, but also compassionate, moving beyond the shame and guilt to bring strength and clarity.
While sexual brokenness can take many forms, for me, as a Christian, my difficult struggle was with unwanted same-sex attraction. Despite my faith and Biblical understanding, I was giving in to homosexual temptations and living a double-life. I could not reconcile it and explored it and it became clear that people of faith who understand what the Bible says can never really accept homosexuality as God’s intent for them. In the meantime, I almost lost my marriage, did become separated from my five grown children and took it on the chin careerwise as an AT&T executive.
In the process, I discovered many men and women secretly fight pornography addiction, adulterous sexual addiction, unwanted same-sex attraction, idolatry and emotional dependency. The issue is more difficult for Christians, caught between what culture tells them and how the Bible instructs them. I hope through my transparency others can avoid the great pain that I have endured and inflicted.
Sexual addictions are as debilitating and destructive as any addiction known to man.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My wife, Lisa. Having been the closest witness to the changes in my life, she is the one who cheers me on in hopes that others will be able to learn to control temptations, build healthy relationships, overcome the brokenness of the past and accept the grace of God that allows us to rebuild our lives.
Who is your favorite author?
I enjoy Max Lucado and Frances Chan.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
My agent is Joyce Hart with Hartline Literary.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Joyce was able to get Surviving Sexual Brokenness before some very good publishing firms, primarily major Christian publishers. Despite great praise for the content and the quality, each eventually backed off. I think it is difficult even for Christian publishers to take on books today that do less than heap praise on homosexuality due to the cultural shift achieved by pro-gay advocates. As a result, I thought it better to assume the risks myself and go with WestBow, a division of Thomas Nelson. That decision made, the process has not been difficult. The bumpier part may be in getting reviews and speaking opportunities as so many people are sorting themselves out on the issue of sexuality in the 21st century. The words “tolerance” and “affirmation,” confuse people to the point of shying away. Still, “truth” and “compassion” are not scary words, so I think the opportunities will come when more people are familiar with my message content.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I might have spent a bit less on some of the promotional programs offered by the publisher, realizing that their efforts in those areas were probably not that much beyond what I can do myself with available technology.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, WestBow Press, or directly from my website or blog.
What are your website and blog links?
My website address is www.thomhunter.com. My blog is Signs of a Struggle.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?
I have a YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt7LdZwegkU
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
The best investment has been personal time, being patient enough to make sure the quality and message are consistent; the writing creative, clear and inspiring; the cover dynamic and supportive of the content. Interaction through social media has produced sales. Creating and promoting a personal website and YouTube video have certainly been worth the investment.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Target. If you have a burning desire to write something, then make sure your effort is directed to the right audience. I toyed with trying to be general and kept hearing “Oh . . . another book about grace.” Then I realized my audience, and, even though some people might shy away from “Surviving Sexual Brokenness,” those who need it and want it will find it and, hopefully, but it. The truth is, this book would help anyone who is dealing with a personal issue that dominates his life. Still . . . my heart is for those who struggle in the area of sexuality. We should follow our hearts.
What is up next for you?
I am nine chapters into a new book tentatively entitled “The Weigh of Who I Am,” which is more autobiographical and very transparent about the impact of childhood sexual abuse and father abandonment. Here’s a link to a sneak preview: http://thomhuntertransparent.blogspot.com/
Is there anything you would like to add?
If you have – as my 7th grade teacher said – the gift, don’t let anyone discourage you. Gifts should be shared.
Thanks for spending time with us today, Thom. We wish you great success.