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18 Nov 2012

New Wm. Paul Young novel, “Cross Roads,” thrusts African American woman into spotlight as a leading character

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November 18, 2012 Category: Oasis Posted by:


Nashville, TN — Cross Roads, a new novel by acclaimed author, Wm. Paul Young, portrays an African American woman, Maggie Saunders, as a Portland nurse whose inner soul is visited by Tony Spencer, a white man on a spiritual journey to right the wrongs in his life as he nears death.


Hachette Book Group will publish Cross Roads on November 13, 2012 in hardcover by the FaithWords imprint, with a first printing of one million copies. Audio, eBook, and foreign editions are also planned.


The significance of the book for African Americans, as well as other readers, is that once again Mr. Young helps our society break down racial barriers. By portraying Ms. Saunders as a smart, hard-working American, the extraordinary platform presented by a likely bestselling book helps to dispel negative stereotypes about blacks. In his first book, The Shack, Mr. Young does the same thing by portraying God as a black woman.


Moreover, without any overt discussion of race, Cross Roads also promotes racial harmony. For most of the novel, Mr. Spencer inhabits Ms. Saunders. Thus, the story promotes friendships between blacks and whites, as these two characters bond and help each other with the complexities of life and relationships. In fact, they grow to love each other like family members.


“For decades, we have attacked Hollywood and the entertainment industry for the negative stereotypes of blacks, and other people of color, on television and in the movies,” said Marc Morial, CEO and President of the National Urban League. “In Cross Roads, we have a black major character that is normal. She isn’t violent. She doesn’t do drugs. Our society would benefit tremendously if more authors and producers took Mr. Young’s approach.”


Mr. Morial added that “these types of breakthroughs, which are all too rare, help to mend the racial divide in American society.”


Mr. Young said he is “thrilled” that Cross Roads has coalesced as another unique and deeply moving human story, complete with humor and suffering, beauty and brokenness, and grace filling up the spaces in-between.”


His first book, The Shack, was published in 2007 and became an international phenomenon with more than eighteen million copies in print (10 million in the United States and more than 8 million in foreign translations). It spent 50 weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 41 languages.


Mr. Young was born a Canadian and raised in Africa by his missionary parents in the highlands of former Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua) among the Dani, a tribal people with ancient customs. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult and now enjoys the “wastefulness of grace” with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

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