"Ironically, in today's marketplace successful nonfiction has to be unbelievable, while successful fiction must be believable." -- Jerry B. Jenkins
Jerry Bruce Jenkins (born September 23, 1949 in Kalamazoo, Michigan) is an American novelist and biographer. He is best known as co-author of the Left Behind series of books with Tim LaHaye, Jenkins has written over 150 books, including romance novels, mysteries, and children's adventures, as well as non-fiction. His works usually feature evangelical Christians as protagonists.
In 2005, Jenkins and LaHaye ranked 9th in Amazon.com's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame authors ranked according to the largest numbers of books sold at Amazon.com in the 10 years since it opened on July 16, 1995. Jenkins and his wife Dianna have three sons and several grandchildren.
"Actually 'Soon' has more than the Left Behind series, but I really believe less is more.""As for dialogue, I think it keeps things moving to cut to the chase.""Books that do a tenth of what Left Behind has done are smashing successes.""Broken relationships are a source of heavy heartbreak that seem to affect every family.""Fiction has a unique role in conveying Truth. In fact, only fiction that is Truth with a capital T is worthwhile.""Funny, I don't feel any more powerful today than yesterday.""Gil Thorpe is a great diversion and is to book writing as poetry is to prose.""Good fiction must be entertaining, but what makes fiction special - and True - is that the realness of a novel allows it to carry a larger message.""He just kind of talks them through, and then I get the fun part cause I get to make up the stories.""I don't see success as the goal. Obedience is the goal.""I fear it's because religion is man's attempt to reach God, and when he feels he has succeeded, he cannot abide anyone else's claim to have done the same.""I love inventing worlds and characters and settings and scenarios.""I put off writing the first Left Behind book for a year because I got invited to assist Billy Graham in his memoirs, and had we known what we were putting off for a year, we might not have put it off.""I think all fiction should be fair game for the Christian market, except porn, of course.""I was raised as a Christian but the transaction has to be made by yourself - you and God - at some point.""I was raised in a Christian home and, in fact, my mother led me to Christ as a youngster.""I've written enough books with real celebrities, such as Walter Payton and Hank Aaron and Billy Graham, to know that fame looks good only to people who don't have it.""In my opinion, Jesus is God's attempt to reach man. But while I believe Jesus is the way to God, it makes no sense to hate people who disagree.""In the prequel we're going to tell about the characters before Left Behind, and the book would end with the rapture instead of start with the rapture like the first one did.""It's made me more expectant of the imminent return of Jesus, and also more sensitive to the people around me. Knowing Jesus will return soon makes me want all the more to tell people about him and all that he offers.""Left Behind takes what to some people may be unbelievable predictions from the Bible and shows how they might play out. It makes the events of biblical prophecy understandable and thus believable.""My dream remains to inform and entertain through fiction in the form of novels and movies that compete in the marketplace of ideas.""Of course, bad marriages are so pervasive that they have invaded the faith community too.""People are scared to death and they're looking for something beyond themselves.""People want to find out what happens to the characters, and want to keep reading, and turning the pages.""SOON was the first novel where I used a rough outline. Usually I have characters and an idea and write as a process of discovery. Like working without a net.""The Christian market has less competition and lower standards.""The theater of the mind is impossible to compete with, and I like the idea that with a few suggestions, each reader forms in his or her own mind what a character or a place looks like.""The uninitiated have real questions and valid concerns over how the things of God appear to them.""There is a comfort zone of knowing where things are going and having characters in place, but the action gets more and more dramatic and is very challenging to describe.""Tim sends me a fairly ambitious workup in notebook form noting the passages we're going to cover and the chronology of the biblical events, and his commentaries on those things he's read and written.""When I was a junior camp counselor and it was my job to tell the campers a bedtime story or devotional, I would tell them a rapture story.""When you come to Christ as a real young person, I think when you become a teen-ager either you rebel or you search, doubt, and wonder.""While writing my first 90 books, I was magazine editor, publisher, book publisher, executive, etc., so I was established in publishing. three of my seven or so books were biographies of sports stars and really opened doors for me in that area.""Writers write. Dreamers talk about it."
Jenkins has authored more than 150 books, 16 of which have reached the New York Times bestseller list. His writings have appeared in many periodicals, including Reader's Digest, Parade, and Guideposts. He is a "writer-at-large" for Moody Bible Institute. He had previously worked as Editor of Moody Magazine and as vice-president of publishing for Moody Bible Institute.
Children and young adult fiction
He has written many children and young adult book series, including both mystery and sports-themed books. One of his more famous series includes sports-themed "Dallas O'Neil and The Baker Street Sports Club" series, published in the mid-1980s and his follow-up series, "The Dallas O'Neil Mysteries".
He has written "as-told-to" biographies of Hank Aaron, Brett Butler, Bill Gaither, Orel Hershiser, Luis Palau, Walter Payton, Nolan Ryan, Sammy Tippit, George Sweeting, and others. Over a period of 13 months, he assisted Dr. Billy Graham with his 1997 autobiography, Just As I Am.
Comic strip author
From 1996 to 2004, Jenkins was writer of the sports-oriented comic strip Gil Thorp. Having been in negotiations with Tribune Media Services about the possibility of turning Jack Berrill's stories into a youth book series, he was asked to take over the writing duties of the strip when Mr. Berrill died in 1996. Many of the comic strip stories were written (but uncredited) by his son, Chad Jenkins, an assistant baseball coach at Bethel College.
"Left Behind" author
Jenkins and co-author LaHaye of the Left Behind series were profiled in a May 24, 2004 cover story in Newsweek magazine entitled "The New Prophets of Revelation". LaHaye, also associated with Moody Bible Institute, handles the theological under-pinnings of his end-of-the-world series, while Jenkins handles the story-telling.
The Left Behind series includes 16 books which have sold over 60 million copies worldwide. The first volume is entitled Left Behind, followed by Tribulation Force,Nicolae, and culminating in Kingdom Come. Three more volumes have been released, a trilogy of prequels.
In 1965 Norman Rohrer established the Christian Writers Guild (CWG) which was an effort to raise the quality of Christian Writing. In 2003 Jerry B. Jenkins purchased the Guild from the retiring Norman Rohrer (who remains on the Editorial Board of CWG). The Guild promotes its writing program through annual conferences at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs as well as a Guild Apprentice and Master programs of writing using staff of mentor authors and publishing professionals.
Jenkins and LaHaye have been criticized for their apocalyptic beliefs in which they assert the end of the world is near. The Left Behind series has also been criticized by premillennial Christians as having "some real problems with [the] prophetical teachings". It is noted that "in books 8 & 9, LaHaye and Jenkins teach that [non-willing] recipients of the mark of the beast can still be saved." In The Mark, "the Chang scenario" is developed, where it is made clear that a character had the seal of the Lord prior to being drugged and having the mark of the beast forced upon him.
This topic has been discussed by readers on the Left Behind message board, and was answered on the FAQ page at LeftBehind.com.