By Nicole Baus
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – J. Randall Petersen, better known as Randy Petersen around the Camden County College campus, has worked as a freelance religion writer for about 26 years. Four to five years ago Petersen was approached by Camden County College to become an adjunct speech professor while he was attending Villanova University, where he was working on his master of arts degree in theatre.
While working at the school, Petersen has recently been writing his next book, which details the friendship between Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield and how the two broke spiritual bonds, which brought people of all religious backgrounds together.
“George Whitefield came from England to America and preached what is known as the Great Awakening … Ben Franklin created social structures and the two really worked together to essentially create America,” Petersen said. The Great Awakening understated the importance of the churches’ regulation and instead focused on the importance of the individual and their life experience. Along with Franklin’s social structures, the people of America now found other purposes in life and it inherently unified the people.
When asked why he chose to write about this topic, Petersen said with a quick smirk, “I wanna make money,” then quickly laughed it off and got serious, stating his agent suggested it would be a profitable piece, but he’s always been fascinated by the subject. “It’s a great model of how religious and non-religious people can get along,” Petersen said.
Petersen is working on his proposal, which he plans on pitching to his publishers in December. Petersen said writing a book takes a lot of time and there are many steps before the book hits store shelves. “First you start with an idea and begin researching the topic. Once you have researched enough, you write your proposal, which is then sent to the publisher. Rejections are common, but if it’s accepted then a contract is written and signed. Some money is given up front, usually a few grand, and from there the publisher gives the author about six months to one year to write the actual book.”
Petersen is confident in his proposal and has the timeline for his book planned out. He hopes to start writing in January, once his proposal is approved, and work throughout 2013. He hopes for publication in the fall of 2014. “Writing is a slow process,” Petersen said.
Petersen has written more than 20 other books, including one of his more recent books, “99 Bibles Promises for Tough Times,” and “Bible Fun Stuff,” a book the entire family can enjoy.