Former Eagle Heights pastor now writing end-times fiction series

David Bullock: Minister. Friend of the community. Science fiction author?

Bullock, now retired from Eagle Heights Church after serving as its pastor for more than 20 years, has found a new career as a fiction writer — with a faith-based bent, of course.

“I’m doing it full-time now,” he said. “I’m really excited about it.”

Bullock has a book out now called “Rise of the Smyrnians,” which deals with an imagined scenario surrounding the implications of end-time prophecy, always a hot topic in the church community. The most well-known book series to take on the subject has been the “Left Behind” franchise, which was turned into a film, but it’s a subject that has also been near and dear to Bullock’s own heart.

“My love is Christian fiction in general,” he said. “I really felt called to write a series on the end times. I’ve taught the (Biblical book of) Revelation at church, and every time I’ve done that, people have said, ‘You should put this in a book.’ They were talking about non-fiction, but all those times, I never thought about doing that.”

Until now. Bullock has written non-fiction before — one called “Born to Fly,” an inspiration book about getting to where one wants to be in life, and another, “Unconnected,” for those who feel directionless in life. Both were written under the name “David O. Bullock.”

But Bullock has always had a great interest in fiction as well, devouring books as a reader and harboring a creative spirit that’s been with him since he was a child.”

“I’ve always loved to write,” he said. “When I was in second grade, my teacher encouraged me to write an essay on George Washington and enter it into a statewide essay contest, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. She submitted it for me. When the results came in, I won second place, of all the elementary students in the state of Kentucky. The girl who beat me was in the sixth grade, so I always cried foul, because I was in the second grade.

“I would write fictional things here and there, but it’s always been my passion,” he added, “so now that I’m (writing fiction), I can hardly stand it.”

Bullock had to find a new publisher to get his fiction works made, and he found one in Black Rose Writing out of Texas. Considering the success of the “Left Behind” series has largely already happened in the market, Bullock had to fight to get a fair pitch for his idea.

“One thing that happened when I started seeking an agent or someone to represent me, I started being told, ‘I’m sorry, the end-times genre is out. People no longer have an interest in reading about the end times,'” said Bullock. “I kept telling them, ‘You’re wrong about that. Everywhere I go and speak, people are wanting to hear about the end times.’ I suppose I’m determined to prove them wrong. As soon as I started talking about this series, people got so excited.”

Bullock already has plans for this to be a seven book series. The first is fully titled, “Rise of the Smyrnians — The Apocalypse: Episode One.” Bullock notes that the name comes from the second chapter of Revelation, where the “church in Smyrna” is addressed.

Bullock said it’s like “a walk through the Book of Revelation, but you wouldn’t realize that unless you were really thinking about it.” Without giving too much away, the plot involved millions of people suddenly disappearing in just a few seconds on one night, and the world is told it’s the “long-awaited alien invasion.”

Of course, even for those unfamiliar with Christian fiction, a similar concept has been the stuff of major Hollywood blockbusters over the last couple of years, in Marvel’s “Infinity War” and “Endgame” films, in which the antagonist makes half the population of the world disappear in an instant with the snap of his fingers — but only after bringing his alien spaceships down to earth to frighten the population. Similarly, Bullock’s cover depicts a city scene with a spaceship-like form appearing to hover over it.

As such, the book is being listed by the publisher as “science fiction” — and Bullock doesn’t object to that at all.

“I like that,” he said. “I want people to pick up the book, not just Christians. … I think that’s what the world would think automatically. It’s before you get to chapter 9 before even the main characters develop an understanding of what is happening. When you get to that point, you do understand, but the book continues the take on the world calling it ‘the Invasion.'”

Planning an extensive series sounds daunting, but Bullock has found the process comes naturally to him.

“I have a pretty vivid imagination and I love telling stories. I love taking characters and developing their stories and putting myself in the story. When I do that, it makes the story come alive,” he said. “It came very easily for me. It wasn’t hard. Some people are like, ‘How in the world did you write 110,000 words and still have six more books to do and come up with this story?’ I say, ‘I don’t know. Once I developed the characters, it became a simple thing.'”

The official release date of the book isn’t until January 16, 2020, when it will be on Amazon and national booksellers, but because he did the editing himself, the book was released early to Bullock, so he’s already been selling copies — and they’ve been going “like hotcakes,” he said, getting close to 200 already sold. People can order it straight from him or go to his website at davidobullockwriting.com.

Additionally, you can get your hands on a copy next week at the launch party for “Rise of the Smyrnians.” The event will be held on Tuesday, October 8 from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Hal Rogers Fire Training Center. There is no cost to attend or to have a book signed; the book itself costs $19.95, which Bullock assures is “a bargain.”

There will be refreshments, the opportunity to chat with Bullock about the book, and “just a good time,” he said.

Bullock was the founding pastor for Eagle Heights Church in Somerset in 1996, and retired this past July. But he hasn’t slowed down at all, now that his imagination is soaring higher than ever.

“(Retirement) has been wonderful because I started working on this ministry,” he said. “People say, ‘I hope you’re enjoying retirement.’ I say, ‘I am, I’m working about 15 hours a day.’ My publisher says I’m a self-employed businessman now, building my business, but I call it a ministry. I’m still doing some preaching here and there … but primarily, this is what I’m focusing on.”

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