I recently had the opportunity to review Eric Kampmann’s latest book Trail Thoughts. It is a very reflective piece with biblically inspired thoughts for each day of the year. This is a book designed for the reader to sip and enjoy, rather than guzzle down like us reviewers are apt to do!

I had the opportunity to ask Eric about his book, and also about himself.

Can you tell us a little about yourself Eric?

In one way, you need a “unified field theory” to understand my bio. I am an entrepreneur, a businessman, a publisher, a distributor, a teacher, a photographer, a section hiker on the Appalachian Trail, and most importantly of all, I am the author of Trail Thoughts: A Daily Companion for Your Journey to Faith. I guess the real point is I love all the things I do and I particularly enjoy sharing them with other people.

Trail Thoughts is a very reflective piece, where did the idea come from and how long did it take you to put it together?

In a sense you are asking another biographical question. This journey began with a discovery. Up until the late 1980’s, I knew about the Bible, but I certainly did not know the Bible. Quite the opposite. But in early 1991 I began reading a little bit every day and over time I became committed to not only knowing the Bible but also sharing it with others. That was the seed for my first book Tree of Life which began as a book of daily Bible verses for my three sons. It later became a full-fledged book of verses of wisdom for men. (Not a brilliant marketing move as most books are bought by women). But again we are talking about planting seeds and so in January 2003 I began writing a daily reflection for each verse in The Tree of Life. Approximately five years later, Trail Thoughts was published.

What kind of feedback have you received from readers?

I have had great individual reviews and I have even received testimonials. People sense that Trail Thoughts is a work of love, written to touch the human heart as well as the mind. So I have been really pleased by the response. It also has a near highest rating at Amazon.

Do you have a web site where people can find out more information?

The Web Site is www.trailthoughts.com. Not only can you get a devotion a day sent to you, but you can view some of my photographs in the gallery section. Plus we have a place where the readers can blog.

Changing the subject completely for a moment. When you are not writing, and I understand that you currently have 3 books to your credit, you are involved in the publishing industry. In fact if my memory serves me correctly it was your house that published the O.J. Simpson If I Did It book. Can you tell us a little about that project?

Talk about a question that requires a long answer! Yes, my publishing company did publish If I Did It last September. Perhaps I am naïve, but I did not expect the intensity of interest that the book generated during the moments after it was announced that Beaufort would indeed publish the book. A point of clarification: The Goldman’s owned the book Beaufort published, not OJ Simpson. The Goldman’s won the book in a bankruptcy court as part of the judgment they had won against Mr. Simpson years before. Ironically, they hated the book, but the court awarded it on the condition that they publish it. The Goldman’s knew nothing about publishing. I did, therefore, I decided to do what I could to help them succeed in this endeavor.

As for the decision to become involved, I had few qualms because I was working for the Goldman’s and not OJ Simpson. Many people were enraged that the book would be published but they missed the real point. OJ Simpson’s own words would finally show the world who this man really was and people could then decide whether justice had been rendered in LA back in 1994.

Apparently, the public wanted to know more about this case and they wanted to read Mr. Simpson’s own words. The book became a national bestseller topping out at number 2 on the NY Times bestseller list.

In retrospect was it a good business decision?

In retrospect it was a riskier project than I first thought. It is only from the vantage point of today that the book looks like an inevitable bestseller.

What is your next personal writing project going to be?

I believe I am headed more in the direction of speaking. I have no books planned, but I would love to fill up my speaking calendar.

What would you like readers to get out of Trail Thoughts? What would you like them to take away?

When I began reading the Bible on a daily basis I began to become aware of the power of language, the beauty of it and how profoundly it changes our view of not only ourselves but also of the world. Psalm 65 ends with this magnificent picture: “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands overflow; the hills are clothed in gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.”

You can see it, feel it, taste it even. Who doesn’t want to be in this bounteous place? And just think: It was written three thousand years ago. Amazing.

Thanks for taking the time to do this, it is greatly appreciated.

Simon Barrett


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