TROY — After three decades of planning and writing, John Jung recently published his first novel, “Joseph Shepherd.”
Jung, the director of New Creation Counseling Center, said the main character, Joseph Shepherd, first came to him 30 years ago.
“It’s something that’s been in my mind for 30 years and I started writing it probably 20 years ago,” Jung said. “Finally, in the last year or so, I thought, ‘You know, I think I just need to get this thing out.’”
“Joseph Shepherd” is a work of historical fiction that was inspired by Jung’s love of history. Set in the early 1600s, the eponymous character traverses Europe and America with his friend and traveling companion, Luke Greene, meeting some of the great historical figures of the age.
Jung describes Shepherd as a “lightning rod kind of guy” that other characters either love or hate, which gets him into a lot of trouble. In the first chapter, Shepherd is rescued at sea by Greene after having been set adrift.
The book has action and adventure, sea battles with pirates, murder plots and more. Shepherd and Greene go on to help launch the Mayflower, just one of the many ways they leave their mark on history wherever they go.
“He’s a behind-the-scenes kind of guy who influences scientific discoveries — William Harvey and the flow of blood, Galileo and his astronomy, Johannes Kepler and all these giants of science of the 17th century,” Jung said.
Shepherd is also a man of faith at a time of great conflict between science and the Church, Jung added.
“Shepherd has a way of saying that faith and science are completely compatible. God created this universe, truth is truth. That’s his message,” he said.
That’s something Jung can relate to, he said. As a man of both science and faith, he sees that tension between the two still today.
“Back in the 17th century, the Church was really quashing science and now hundreds of years later, science is kind of quashing faith,” he said. “There’s a tension between the two when the truth of the matter is, truth is truth. They’re not incompatible.”
“Joseph Shepherd” is not Jung’s first book, but it is his first work of fiction. He also co-wrote a non-fiction work about addiction and wrote a devotional prayer guide.
Jung, a licensed counselor who has worked in mental health since the 1970s, lives in Troy with his wife, Deb. When he’s not providing counseling services at New Creation or its affiliate, Ginghamsburg Church, he enjoys writing.
“When you have a story in you, somehow it has to come out,” he said.
Jung is also considering “semi-retiring” soon and perhaps devoting that time to a sequel to “Joseph Shepherd.”
“Joseph Shepherd” is available locally at Around About Books and Ginghamsburg Church, as well as on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.