Interview with Author Hugh Houston – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Hugh Houston

Author Hugh Houston was born and raised in Texas but has spent practically all of his adult life as a missionary in Brazil.  His wife and himself have raised four sons. They now also have two daughter-in-laws and two grandchildren.  They love teaching God’s word and trying to help others come to know Jesus and the new life he offers.

In spite of being raised in a Christian home, going to a Bible college and marrying a Christian wife for much of his life, lust was my Achilles heel.  He can remember as a young boy wanting to see a girl without her clothes on.  He was always too embarrassed and ashamed to confess this struggle to anyone else and the problem persisted until he was fifty years old.  That’s when he finally sought out help and began to find freedom from this habitual sin.

When he decided to write his book his wife and himself thought it would be best for him to use a pen name.  Most of their family and friends do not know about his secret sin.  Hugh wanted to be able to speak freely and openly about all of his thoughts and feelings.  When you read the book, he thinks you will understand how using a pen name enables him to be blunt and honest.

Tell me about your book.  Why did you write it?

Porn is a terrible pandemic all over the world and too many people are afraid or unwilling to address this horrible evil.  Sadly it seems to be almost as prevalent among church members as it is in society as a whole.  This sickness has to be fought.  Families, marriages and individuals are being destroyed by this compulsive addiction.  Not to mention the harm being done to those who make up the porn industry.

I had been free from this habitual sin for about twelve years when I finally decided to write about it.  I felt a strong desire to share what I learned with others.  As I began to speak out on this issue one guy said that now “my pain is my passion”.  That resonated with me.  I want so much to help others not make as many mistakes as I did.  I wish that when I was 15 years old or 20 years old that I knew what I know now.  I wish that all men who are getting married today could have all of this information and understand how to overcome compulsive desires.

Too many are trapped and enslaved by their desires.  But Jesus offers hope.  He is always there to help us.  Yet he will not do it for us.  We need to want to change and then find a strategy that works.  I believe as a person who has “been there and done that” I can talk straight from the hip and provide hope for a new life.  My aim is to offer motivation and inspiration along with information to those who really want to change.  I pray that this book will help people see that only Jesus can fill that empty spot in our souls.

Who do you hope to reach with your book?

Too many people have given up hope.  They are on the proverbial hamster wheel of compulsive addiction.  They have vowed to change time after time only to relapse once again.  And that was my story for 30 years.  I don’t look down on anyone.  I’m no better than anyone else.  Today I know what does not work and I know how I found freedom.  Today I want to offer hope to those who are so sick and tired of failing that they are ready to do whatever it takes to find a new life.

I tell everyone that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Don’t expect to break free from a lifelong pattern of bad habits in two weeks.  Yet by taking small steps one day at a time change is possible.  This book is a tool anyone who wants to overcome an habitual sin can use to begin their journey to the light. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The first important step was just deciding to start.  Once I sat down and began to write everything seemed to flow.  I had been studying these ideas, thinking about them and sharing them with others for several years before I actually put them on paper.

I worked hard to make the book personal and hard hitting.  I want the person who reads it to see how essential it is to flee evil.  When I first thought about writing this book I considered the title “Running from Sin into the Arms of Jesus”.  I strived to convey hope for a new life.

In your book you mentioned that when you confessed your porn addiction to your wife that she took it very hard. What would you say to someone who is not willing to confess that sin to their spouse, out of fear that it will destroy their marriage?

It is not easy.  I kept my secret and lived a double life for three decades.  From my point of view all the pain, while hard and ugly, was necessary and absolutely essential.  My wife needed to know who she was married to and what was going on in my life.

Where I went wrong is that I did not have a good support system ready for her when I told her.  Betrayal trauma is so destructive.  She needed friends and a therapist.  And we were slow to find those for her.  Navigating those waters was not easy and she needed all the help she could get.

I understand the fear.  Yet my wife and I will both tell you that our marriage is far better today than it ever was.  We are much closer.  Our love is deeper.  We are in this together and will remain together till death do us part.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I believe writing helps the thinking process.  As we lay it all out on paper we have an opportunity to look at it all again and probably learn some things we did not see the first time around.  Writing helps me understand myself better.  I hope it help me be more honest and of course when that happens it keeps me humble as well.

What have you found to be the best way to market your book?

As an unknown author of a self-published book, it has been an uphill battle to get my book noticed.  Those who read it have found it compelling and impacting.  Finding influential people to help me promote my book has been a challenge.  But little by little I have managed to get the word out.  When someone writes back and tells me how this book touched them and helped them to find freedom, it makes all the work seem worthwhile.

Word of mouth has been slow but effective.  I’ve reached out to people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now on Instagram.  It has been a slow process.  But one by one I find someone who needs help or meet another person who has the same desire that I have to help those in need.  I tell all of them that we are on the same team.  We all need to work together to rescue the perishing and set the captives free.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

I’m more of a preacher than a writer.  I believe the first step for the preacher is to think and think well.  I’m certain the same thing is true for the author.  We have to have something worthwhile to say and something worth reading.  So that begins with having a message to share that others need to hear.  And of course when it comes to the good news of Jesus, that’s the best possible message.

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One comment

  1. Hugh Houston says:

    Ramona, thank you for all you do to help authors get their message out.
    May God bless you!
    Hugh Houston

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