Angie Camp—Real-Life Fiction
MCL: The description on the cover reads, “A Christian fiction inspired by true life events.” Can you tell us briefly what those events were?
Angie Camp: The true life events brought into the story of Hells Bend are testimonies of several different people.
The main character of the story, Jake Adams, is based on my oldest son, Bryant, who spent the last decade of his life a double amputee due to injuries he sustained in a tragic SUV wreck when he was sixteen years old. The accident occurred in an act of rebellion. While pinned in the vehicle, Bryant’s legs literally burned. It was a miracle that he escaped, but the burns were so severe a double amputation was necessary. This part of Bryant’s testimony is included in the story line. Sadly, we lost Bryant last year unexpectedly at the age of twenty-five.
The main character’s mother, Grace Adams, represents me, and several encounters I had while at the Med in Memphis, Tennessee, with my son. Grace also reflects a lot of the situations I experienced during that time
The character, Ross Kelly, who is best friend to Jake, represents my co-author, Barry Westmoreland. At the age of sixteen, Barry was a passenger in a car similar to the one in the book. It was that near-death experience that led to his salvation.
JJ Jasper, Christian comedian and DJ for American Family Radio, and his sweet wife Melanie have a powerful testimony due to the loss of their precious five-year-old son, Cooper. Their story and book, Losing Cooper, were brought into Hells Bend as a healing agent for the family in the story who suffers a death.
The nurse character, Joe Bill Anton, embodies the testimony of a life-long friend of mine, who was in a terrible accident where he fell fifty feet from a tree while cutting limbs for a neighbor and miraculously lived.
True-life testimonies are powerful. The difficult events that happen in our lives are allowed by God—on purpose with a purpose. I believe that every testimony included in Hells Bend was His divine plan. I have actually had people reach out to me wanting to know where they can find Losing Cooper.
MCL: Why did you feel called to write this particular story?
AC: We wrote this story because we were appointed by God to do it. We wanted to be faithful to fulfill the calling we had on our lives—pure and simple. We are humbled and feel privileged that He would entrust this to us. It teaches that there are consequences for choices, clearly lays out the truth of the gospel and displays the hope that is possible no matter how hopeless things can appear to be. The primary intent for this book is to reap a harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God.
MCL: This gripping story is so full of sadness as we see how each character’s life is affected by the careless decision of one headstrong young man. Each character deals with their new normal differently. Tell us why and how you wove all those emotions into the story?
AC: I wanted to reach as many different people as possible. We are all created so differently—different personalities, different bents, and different views. We are also at different places in our faith and there are many whose faith is misplaced. To me, the success of the book relied on its ability to affect as many of our readers as possible in a positive way so that they felt challenged, convicted, and inspired.
My goal was to try and weave into the story characters representative of as many of these different personalities, bents, views, and spiritual walks as possible so there could potentially be someone in the story each of our readers could identify with and see themselves in. Then, as they followed that character to the end, they would see them walk out their role in the story as victoriously as humanly possible to help give the reader godly direction, leading them to victory through their own circumstances as well.
You never know what someone is going through when they pick up Hells Bend to read, but I assure you more likely than not, they are going through some kind of trial or struggle. My hope is while reading the book, they will not just be entertained, but be spiritually trained.
MCL: The story is ultimately about redemption—a testimony of Romans 8:28. Tell us about that element.
AC: Yes it is! Our great God is a redeeming God! He is also sovereign. He knows everything from beginning to end. He knows the path we will choose, the choices we will make, both good and bad. He knows what harm we will cause and what harm will come to us. The hope we have is that He WILL work it ALL together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I can personally testify to that!
Through our story and other elements of our story that aren’t represented in the book—all of our pain has purpose. Whether it’s pain we have inflicted on our selves and others, or pain inflicted upon us, God will use it. As children of God, if the purpose doesn’t outweigh the pain, He will not allow it. We can rest assured that when we suffer, we do not suffer in vain. If we will be willing to embrace it and trust God with it, our pain will have eternal purpose.
MCL: I understand the story is currently being adapted to a screenplay. Tell us about that and when we might expect to hear of its debut?
AC: Absolutely! The movie was actually the plan from the beginning that originated with my co-author. The concept of Hells Bend was placed in Barry’s heart a decade ago while helping with a Judgement House at his church. Although the Lord directed us to write the book first, the movie has always been the ultimate goal. It has been a long time coming and it’s so hard to believe we are so close! We are about to begin the second draft of the screenplay. We already have quite a bit of interest with people who want to invest and possibly produce. It is honestly blowing our minds as we consider those God has potentially designated to join forces with us in bringing it to the big screen! Not having gone down this path before, I feel inadequate giving a time period of its debut. I just know that our team feels such a strong sense of urgency to get this screenplay finished and into the very capable hands we see reaching for it.
Eternity is at stake. We hear and think so much about how imminent the Lord’s return seems, but the reality is this—people are dying every day, and sadly, many of them are lost. None of us are promised another breath. God’s word says that TODAY is the day of salvation. People cross our paths daily that need to hear the gospel. That is our calling while we wait to see our appointed mission of Hells Bend, the movie, come to fruition, and in Jesus’ name, we declare it to be so.