Paul Turk practiced law as a board-certified trial lawyer at one of Florida’s most prestigious law firms, yet he’s always harbored a dream of writing a novel on his own personal docket.
“I’ve had a passion for writing for a long time,” says the Wellington resident. “I love the creativity and developing characters.”
“I wanted to write something with Christian themes, but did not want sensationalism. I did want it to be intriguing,” he explains.
More than anything, Turk says he wants to inspire his readers in his first novel, Faith Beyond the Trials. If they’re not inspired by one topic, they’ll likely be affected by another as the book introduces us to the marriage of a high-profile Palm Beach couple, a realistic courtroom drama, and a faith that is tested. The storyline includes the influences of a priest and individuals at a local food pantry.
The novel’s legal drama, based in West Palm Beach, revolves around issues of drinking and driving.
“It’s such an important issue,” says Turk.
“There are so many cases here in South Florida. I want readers to realize that even ‘normal drinking,’ as some may call it, can result in devastating consequences when you get behind a wheel.”
Turk says the case he unveils in his novel is far from an open-shut scenario, which he hopes will keep readers turning the pages.
Endorsed by leaders in both the legal arena and the faith-based sect, the book is so much more than a legal thriller. It addresses themes of marriage via the main characters, John and his wife, who are loosely based on Turk’s longtime marriage to his high school sweetheart, Katherine.
“In the book, their marriage is made in heaven, but it gets put through the fires of hell.”
Turk hopes couples will benefit from reading what his main characters experience when a marriage is tested.
Real Life Drama
The courtroom scenes are based on Turk’s real-life experiences in the courtroom as a litigator. It took him about three months to craft the novel on his laptop.
Turk suggests that budding writers read books about writing and start with an outline of the story and a list of characters they’d like to include.
“That’s how I started,” he says. “And every day when I woke up, I prayed for inspiration, for the words to come.”
Turk was raised a Catholic and his faith has strengthened over the years.
As a member of St. Rita’s Catholic Church for more than three decades, Turk says he wanted to depict the fictional priest as a positive role model after seeing so much negative publicity about priests in the News.
“Priests have gotten so much bad press, yet there are so many incredible ones,” he contends.
“One of my priests has become a lifelong hero for me.”
Personal Faith Tested
Turk’s faith was tested and strengthened through several tragic losses.
“I lost my brother to cancer at age 45, and I started to think about issues of security and things we have no control over,” Turk explains. “Then my family lost three cousins over the following three years. Those losses had a real impact on me.”
“My faith grew as I learned we cannot store treasures here on earth. I’ve never met someone who is happy just because they have money,” he says.
Turk penned a sentiment that is found in a special prayer in the book called In times of trouble and doubt.
Turk’s faith has also deepened from his involvement at a local food pantry. In his novel, Turk draws from his personal experience serving as a volunteer and board member at Oasis Compassion Agency, a Life that helps the homeless and hungry in West Palm Beach.
“We see people with no motor transportation come in on bikes or walking and they’re so thankful just for canned goods,” he reflects with watery eyes.
“I just volunteered there today and I continue to get choked up about it. Every time I’m there, I always hear a patron saying, ‘God bless you’ as they depart.”
Turk says a priest influenced his desire to serve others by telling him how important it is that we take our minds off of ourselves, count our blessings, and reach out to others.
Faith Beyond the Trials is available at www.paulturkauthor.com.