LOUISVILLE — State Rep. Jim Wayne has written his debut novel The Unfinished Man, a gripping work of fiction that raises questions about every reader’s private and public unfinished self.
In The Unfinished Man, the scholarly and unsociable Father Justin Zapp needs to examine the psychic wounds incurred in his youth when a priest sexually exploited him. When news comes to Father Zapp of current sexual abuse within his own diocese, he is challenged to become a strong shepherd protecting his innocent flock from predation, while also dealing with his past.
Father Zapp must focus on his faith to survive the findings that the Catholic Church itself has commonly covered up sexual abuse by priests instead of working to eliminate it and is faced with a question: Can one man make a difference?
“Zapp is a wonderful character, brilliant, introverted, conflicted, rich in faith and heart. To watch his journey is to come to understand the inner workings of a deep and courageous priest and of the Catholic Church from parish to Vatican. I was riveted reading The Unfinished Man, fascinated by the characters, story and setting, impressed by the beauty and authority of Wayne’s storytelling,” said Julie Brickman, author of Two Deserts and What Birds Can Only Whisper.
Wayne is a practicing psychotherapist and holds a MSW degree from Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts, as well as a MA in theology from Maryknoll School of Theology in New York. He earned his MFA in fiction from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky in 2012.
As a state representative in Kentucky, Wayne has worked with victims of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal to successfully sponsor legislation to tighten the reporting requirements and penalties for sexual abuse of minors.
Wayne has also written for Commonweal, America, National Catholic Reporter and Catholic Worker. He resides in Louisville with his wife Debbie.