Through A New Wardrobe: The NarniaFans Interview Series: NarniaFans Goes to Hades with William O’Flaherty’s new Companion and Study Guide to The Screwtape Letters
Hey, everybody! Welcome back to “Through a New Wardrobe”, where we sit down and chat with some of today’s hottest writers who have been influenced by CS Lewis and the Land of Narnia. For today’s interview, we sit down with William O’Flaherty, host of the All About Jack Podcast, longtime friend of NarniaFans, and the author of new companion commentary on the Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis Goes to Hell
NarniaFans: Tell us a bit about yourself, for our readers that might not know much about you.
William O’Flaherty: Many people falsely believe that I’m an avid reader. I grew up hating to read. In fact, to this day, I have a difficult time reading just about ANY works of fiction. C.S. Lewis is one of the very few that I have read more than one of an author’s fictional works. Related to this, if I can listen to a book, rather than read it, then that’s what I’ll do. So, in the process of writing my book to help people further enjoy The Screwtape Letters, I actually listened to it greater than ten times more than reading it. Grand total, I’ve read or listen to it over 100 times!
Apart from my interest in Lewis, some might be surprise to learn that way back in high school I was a hurdler and even ran in the Junior Olympics back in 1981. Professionally, I’m a Mental Health Counselor. In my current position I work full-time as a family counselor.
NF: Can you give us a quick teaser for Lewis Goes to Hell that will give us an idea of what we’re in for?
WO: C.S. Lewis Goes to Hell is a book about another book, specifically it is an enhanced study guide to The Screwtape Letters. I say “enhanced” because an important unique aspect to it is what called a “Topical Glossary.” This is sort of a mini-encyclopedia of key topics and themes in the letters that allow you to see all the places they are mentioned. I also provide suggested answers to the study questions and cover the follow-up essay entitled “Screwtape Proposes a Toast.” It’s also a very versatile book. An individual can use the book on their own or a small group can use it for a 13 week or longer study.
NF: What were your inspirations for writing a commentary on The Screwtape Letters?
WO: Part of what motivated me was the other books out there that are study guides. While I haven’t looked at two of them that actually came out in the last year, I found previous guides were good, but not entirely useful. In fact, you might say the seeds were planted for writing my book back in 2000 when I filled in to teach a Sunday School class. I picked The Screwtape Letters and created my own questions for the group because no single guide had what I thought would work.