John Green Explains How A Failed Attempt At Divinity School Inspired 'The Fault In Our Stars'

03/21/2015 08:43 am ET | Updated Mar 21, 2015

The author of the wildly popular novel The Fault In Our Stars came incredibly close to having a different profession altogether.

In a HuffPost Live conversation on Thursday, John Green explained that he was at one time an aspiring minister, working as a student chaplain at a children's hospital while attending divinity school. After six months he came to understand that his views on religion and death were more nuanced than he had previously thought, concluding that he "wasn't cut out for it."

"It was a lot harder than it had been in my imagination," he told host Nancy Redd. "I realized that...all of these fancy theological ideas that I had from reading lots of theology books didn't really matter much when it came time to be with kids who were dying, or when it came time to be with families who had just lose their children. All of that complicated theology sort of fell by the wayside for me."

"Lots of people, they don't experience what I experienced," the Paper Towns author continued, "but my experience was that it fell apart and all there was was loss and pain."

Unsure of where to turn, Green spent ten years writing The Fault In Our Stars, a way of "trying to understand some of the ways through that [experience]."

And though the job wasn't the right fit, the novelist has nothing but the utmost respect for those who've dedicated their lives to serving religious causes and working with ailing children.

"I am amazed by the people who do it everyday," he said. "They have not just courage but tremendous guts."

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