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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Eden Conflict (God's Warriors Book 1) by Peter Way



The war between good and evil erupted long before mankind ever walked on this Earth. Since Adam took his first steps, Satan and his followers, the demons, have sought to destroy and control the souls of mankind. But the protectors of God’s creation are always close by. Who are they? They are the good and the just, they are the angels and the saints, they are… GOD’S WARRIORS! 

In the small country town of Eden, Jack leaps off a stone pier, prepared to land in the storm ravaged waters of the bay. Instead, he finds himself instantly transported to the Garden of Eden. Jack is returned to Earth by the guardians of the Lord’s garden and into the care of an elderly minister. Unknown to any of them, there was a witness… 

Six months later a guardian angel discovers a new den of demons in a building project in far north Queensland. The den has more than three times the usual number of guards. The angel knows he has found the lair of one of The Seven Deadly Sins, the biggest and nastiest of Satan’s demon forces, his generals. Why are they here? What are they building? Whatever the answers are, Michael, the Captain of the Heavenly Host, needs to know of this place. But before the angel can do anything, his charge, a reporter named Glen is chased from the lair. Can the angel protect Glen, find answers to his questions and still get a message to Michael?

The Guru's Review:

I love the feeling that one gets when they read a book blurb and they continue
reading their interest intensifies, their grip on the book or mouse tightens and they suddenly realize this is a book they have to read. Such was the case when I read the blurb for The Eden Conflict. Another factor for me was the fact that this was an Australian author who had also set this novel in Australia. As an Australian, I knew I would feel right at home, and I did.

This is Way's debut novel and he has created quite a tale! This is not one short or average length novel but a grand one, of 532 pages. And it is packed with action, suspense, the supernatural, the angelic, the demonic, deception, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, His sovereignty, spiritual warfare, and interspersed throughout a faith building and edifying account of the reality of spiritual warfare and the power of prayer. 

Way admits to basing this novel on the style of Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and it definitely shows. He seems to have been influenced so much that he has taken this genre to the next level. I have read Peretti's book twice (and its sequel) and can see that Way has expanded on the spiritual warfare, prayer, supernatural, demonic and angelic aspects that Peretti has constructed so cleverly and Way has added many more to enhance those of Peretti. I by not means intend to imply, by this observation, that Way's novel is better than Peretti's. The latter holds a special place in my reading appreciation for creating this unique genre of Christian fiction and I hate comparing one author on the same genre with another. It is a great compliment though for authors to base their novels on the original author's works of these genres, just like fantasy authors have been inspired by the original creators of the fantasy genre, those being Tolkien and Lewis. 

Way needs to be applauded for keeping the action and the many plot lines well connected and flowing smoothly. This prevented me from being disconnected from the plot and wanting to give up, especially with this longer length. There is a lot that happens in this novel and even though the pace slows down in some parts, there is enough happening here to keep you reading till the next plot development. 

The spiritual aspects are superb. Way shines in presenting everything backed up biblically and any embellishments from poetic licence do not detract from this biblical truth. His angels are just as they are biblically presented, messengers, warriors, guardians and totally submitted and surrendered to God and to honour and glorify Him with their very existence and roles. There are very many presented in all these roles and I am sure most readers will become attached to at least one during the course of their reading. Mine were Michael and Daniel. 

Way has a few of his characters accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. This happens to one of the main characters and Way uses this to add an evangelistic tool to present the Gospel to the reader. I was impressed with his use of bible verses to show the spiritual deficit and need for Christ of this character and also how it fitted in with that particular plot line she was involved in. I find it sad that some Christians resent inclusions of salvation encounters and I don't know why. Sure, it makes the plot slow down somewhat and some would see this as detraction from the plot, but in a novel of this genre and plot that involves spiritual warfare, I find it very fitting and appropriate. Way also includes many prayers of the Christian characters, especially Glen, one of the main characters, and again, it saddens me that those same Christians would also have these removed from novels if they could; however, like the salvation reason, in a novel of this genre and subject matter, it is appropriate to have the prayer in full and not just mentioned that the character prayed as in some other novels. We are after all talking about spiritual warfare, the battle of angel versus demon, good versus bad, satan's rebellion against God, and over the souls of humankind and where they will spend eternity. 

I really loved and appreciated Way including the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus as well. He has captured the Spirit's character very biblically, and the angels in relation to Him represents their role biblically and the scene where Jesus is depicted and what He does is also true to Jesus' nature and is backed by the Bible as well. 

Having salvation account(s), full prayer portrayed, and spiritual warfare principles, all intertwined in a fast-paced, supernatural thriller like this one only reinforces my attitude concerning Christian fiction, that it should encourage, edify and entertain. And it does so very well in this one. I especially loved the account from Michael to Saint Peter of the days of creation from the angels point of view. That was refreshing. 

I know some readers do not like reading glossaries, appendices etc, but in this novel, due to its complexities in plot structure, hierarchy of angels and demons and biblical doctrines, it would pay the reader to read these after the completion of the novel, as I am sure some readers will question why Way did what he did on some of these topics and these appendices will help to quell any criticism by explaining his methods and reasoning. Authors need to do this with novels that have sensitive or controversial topics and it adds to their credibility as authors. These 5 appendices show that Way has researched the topics in his novel well and it is this that I appreciate very much in novels of this genre. 

Way describes it this way (excuse the pun!) from Appendix 1,
I found that there was a lot of information about angels and Heaven. The only way I could decide what I thought was good enough to use or not was to weigh it up against the Bible. Bottom line, if the Bible didn't back it then I didn't believe it or use it. However, I have embellished some things, which you will not find in the Bible. What you will find is that the Bible does not contradict it either.
Just as Way has depicted the angels with their different roles and hierarchy, he has also depicted similar with the demons. This works well with the type of demon, their ranking and submission to their leaders in relation to the plot lines that involved them and their destructive, negative influence on the humans that they are assigned to. I really appreciated the appendix that explains more about them. These are depicted as very evil, despicable, hateful of humans and especially of all things relating to God and His angels. Way has structured the demons to specialise in influencing and tempting their human charges in the various vices that humans experience such as lust, greed, deceit, depression, anger, etc. Above these are 7 Princes of Darkness and a subgroup of psychic demons.

I must make comment that for a debut author, Way has taken care in constructing the fight scenes very convincingly and I would love to know if he researched this at all, has prior experience in sword fighting or is just a natural at writing as he sees it in his mind. Either way, he is very convincing. All this does is add credibility to the whole plot and overall enjoyment of the novel.

Looking at all this, I can say that this is one hard to put down novel. To get the best enjoyment from this, you need to devote long periods of time to savour and appreciate the action, suspense and layers of intrigue and spiritual encouragement that this novel brings.

Way ties up all the plot lines very nicely leaving the reader hanging at the end with the seeds sown for the next instalment and from this, it seems the next one is going to be just as good or better than this first offering. I can hardly wait.

Highly Recommended. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Author Spotlight: Guy L. Pace

As a reviewer of Christian fiction, I have developed a passion for new Christian authors who write in the genres that I like to read. Any new author needs as much exposure and encouragement as they can get, especially Christian authors. It can be a lonely existence spending months or years researching, brainstorming, writing, editing, finding a publisher, more editing and revisions, cover design, then the all-important launch! From what I have seen and experienced with some authors, after their launch, they can become anxious and despairing when reviews don't appear, and/or sales are slow to occur. They question whether it is worth all the effort they have just put in writing their first novel and this journey to becoming a published author.

It is from this angle that I wanted to help counteract this occurrence. This blog exists to not only promote Christian fiction but to support authors and increase their exposure by giving them a review and an interview, especially if they are a new author.

I discovered Guy L. Pace when his debut novel, Sudden Mission, was promoted on Twitter. I was drawn to the cover and checked out the link. I was impressed with the description and discovered it was in the genres I love to read, supernatural, spiritual warfare, and angels and demons. I contacted Guy on his website and stated I am interested in his novel and would review it and offer him an interview. I will be conducting this in the near future. 

So let me introduce you to this new, Christian author, Guy L. Pace. First let's have a look at Guy's Bio. 

Guy L. Pace, born in Great Falls, MT, grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He served in the US Navy, including combat operations in Vietnam in 1972.

He was a Navy journalist and worked primarily in community newspapers as a reporter, photographer, editor and finally a managing editor. He changed careers in the mid-80’s getting into computer support, training, networking and systems, and eventually information security. He retired in 2011 after more than 20 years working in higher education.

He lives with his wife, Connie, in Spokane, where he gets to spend time with children and grandchildren, and ride his Harley-Davidson.


Now let's have a look at Sudden Mission which has just been released today, August 18, 2015, in ebook and printed editions:

Sudden Mission

Satan, once one of God’s favorites, now His Adversary, grows impatient with the plan and begins to harvest souls. In a fell swoop, he throws reality out of whack and the world into chaos. God calls on Paul and his friends Amy and Joe to set things right. The young teens journey through a messed up world—with a little help from an angel—struggling against everything the Adversary can throw in their path to accomplish their Sudden Mission.

With their world and their parents’ lives hanging in the balance–and the Adversary sending everything from zombies to killer aliens to stand in their way–Paul will discover if he has the strength and faith to set things right again and stop Satan’s harvest.

It already has one Five Star review:


Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a fun book from beginning to end. Pace takes his characters through a multitude of challenges and forces 
them to face both good and evil. Along the way their physical, emotional, and spiritual strength is tested time and 
again. Though they are young, their fortitude is admirable causing the reader to root for them the entire way, no 
matter how dire the situations seems.
This reads like a YA science fiction novel yet it has strong Christian themes throughout that ties the entire plot 
together nicely. An excellent debut novel for Mr. Guy Pace. Well done.
I highly recommend this read!!
And has already reached No. 1 in Amazon's Hot New Releases:


If this has whetted your appetite for this novel, it can be purchased by clicking on the links below: 

Also available on Barnes & Noble and Apple iBooks

Guy can be found at the following social media platforms: 

Website: http://www.guypace.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/guy.pace.90

Twitter: @rapier57


Sudden Mission is published by Vox Dei

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader of Christian fantasy, the supernatural or spiritual warfare, to consider reading Sudden Mission and help promote Guy's book by adding a review on Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

I am really looking forward to reading Sudden Mission, interviewing Guy and reading his future novels. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Interview with Andrew Simmons

Today, I would like to introduce an author with a very interesting and unique author's background. Once I discovered the type of edgy, Christian, speculative fiction Andrew Simmons creates, I had to review his books and of course, interview him. It has been well worth it.

So get comfortable and enjoy this interview with Andrew Simmons as he describes his author background and writing skills and unique Christian fiction.   

Thanks for stopping by Andrew! I am eager to discuss your writing and your books, so let's start by you telling us a little about yourself.

I'm a 15-year animation veteran from the Walt Disney Animation Studio in Orlando, FL. I worked on most of the animated movies from The Little Mermaid, the Lion King, to Brother Bear doing various jobs as Cel Painter, Traditional Film Camera, and Final Check.

Since I left Disney I have been published twice: first in the Zonderkidz manga: Tomo, Vol. 1: I Was an Eighth-Grade Ninja and secondly in the Veggie Tales Bible. The 1st Tomo manga won a Bronze Medal for excellence from the Moonbeam Children's book awards. Now as for the Veggie Tales Bible, I took eight of the Veggie Tales DVDs and reduced/adapted the stories to only four pages each of comic book format.




 
 
(Tomo, Vol. 1: I Was an Eighth-Grade Ninja novel on left and Tomo comic on right)







Now Andrew, let's discuss your writing. 

What inspired you to become an author?

I have always been a storyteller so it was a natural progression to start writing those stories down.


How did your experience working at Disney help you write your novels? 

Authors tend to use one of the following methods:

by extensively plotting it out (plotter),

• or as it came to you (pantser, that you write by the seat of your pants) or was it a bit of both?

I learnt 90% of everything I know about storytelling from my days at Walt Disney Feature Animation: everything from the importance of a solid log line for a project to plotting, and writing good characters. I was able to see projects grow from ideas to full blown films. Being able to watch them change along the way was a real eye opener as stories altered for the better and by the time the film was done it usually was a lean mean story telling machine.

This set one of my most important story telling keys I follow: don’t fall in love
 with anything you write. Changes to a story may take out your favorite moment or your favorite dialogue, but anything that does not move a story forward needs to go and anything that does more a story forward needs to stay. The ability to look at a project objectively as its caretaker instead of its owner will give you the freedom to write the best project you can without holding on to something that does not add to the story just because you cannot let it go.

As for my writing process, I start out working and reworking a project’s log line, which is the core of the story in one sentence. Then when I am happy with my log line, I start to lay out my story in a one-page write-up which is broken down into act 1, act 2, and act 3. Then when I am satisfied with the general direction of the story, I start to break down the individual scenes in each act. Only when I am happy with the skeleton of the story, will I start to move forward with writing it. It is here, where the real magic begins, as I never think about dialogue until this point and most of the time the story shifts and changes direction as the characters interact. Writing then becomes a process of shifting scenes, adding scenes, deleting scenes, while keeping the core story structure and log line in mind. In short, the answer would be both: strong story structure at the beginning then letting myself write with the freedom to change and adjust as the writing progresses along.

What obstacles have you encountered in writing your novels? How did
 you overcome these?

Obstacles, all of them I think: plot issues, pacing issues, and poor dialogue, just to name a few; if there was an obstacle I probably ran into it. As for how to work around a problem, simple, I get up from my computer and do something else: walk, play a few games of pool, take a shower, anything to get me away from the story for a little and let my mind wonder. It was when I am ‘mulling’ things over in my head I usually find a solution to my current dilemma.

How has writing and being an author impacted your relationship with
 Jesus Christ and vice versa?

Christ has impacted my entire life, only He knows where I would be today without Him.

Do you have a favorite genre that you read?

Back in the day, I read mostly fantasy and science fiction with a fair amount of military history books thrown in the mix. Today, I mostly ready graphic novels, as I love sequential storytelling.

What have you learnt about becoming an author?

The same thing I have about doing anything, do it to the best of your ability and just do it. Once you have a finished work in your hand, you have separated yourself from everyone that only sits around and talks about doing it. It may not be the best work out there, but work hard at it, and make your next project better. I can already see an improvement in my writing skills from Isaiah: And the Night is Gray to my third Isaiah story The Chessmen. Work hard at it and never stop learning and honing your craft.

Speaking of the Isaiah Tiller series, how long did it take you to write each book?


That question is kind of hard to accurately answer, as Isaiah Tiller has been around for well over fifteen years which was when I wrote my very first Isaiah short story. However, if we talk about getting the stories ready for print this time around, usually a year on each. I have an imprecise time-line which I have stuck with but I really want to make sure the next part of the Isaiah’s story is fully polished since I have been releasing it out to the public to enjoy.

What influenced you to write this series as short stories rather than novella size or full-length novels?


Actually, Isaiah Tiller has a full story arc. However, as I started to write the series years ago, I broke it up into five smaller parts; mainly because it was nice to get a part of the story done and then move on to the next part and then the next part; baby steps towards the main goal if you will. That way I didn’t feel like I was dredging through page after page and never seeing the finish line.

So when I picked up the project again a couple of years ago and worked on rewriting the stories, after each part was complete I went ahead and released them instead of holding them back until the entire story arc was done.

Do you plan to write a full length novel?


My next project will most likely fall into the full novel territory if all goes according to plan.

You write well. Have you always found this to be an easy feat? What have you done to improve your writing, such as a writing course or National Novel Writing Month? (For readers of this interview, this is an annual novel writing project, held in November, that brings together professional and amateur writers from all over the world.)

Story telling has always been natural to me as I have been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. However, when it comes to writing to release something to the general public, it has taken years of work to get to where I am today and it will take many more to get to where I really want to be. As for improving, I just write, write, and write some more. The best books I have read are all on film scripting and focus on telling a good story. So for me, telling a good story is the main goal, whether is it writing a film script, a graphic novel, or a short story. The format isn’t as important as telling a good story is.

When did you decide to make a career of writing?

It was my first writing gig doing the Tomo graphic novel with Zonderkidz, which convinced me I might be able to do this writing thing for real.

Who are you reading right now?

I just finished Save the Cat; good stuff to get you really focusing on your story and Doug TenNapel’s graphic novel: Iron West and Stan Sakai’s: Senso

Now let us discuss specifically the Isaiah Tiller (IT) series.

This comprises of two books, 

Isaiah: And the Night is Gray (Isaiah Tiller Book 1) and 

Isaiah: The Spirit of the Tree (Isaiah Tiller Book 2) with a third being released in a month or two.

Were you surprised that the IT series has been very well received, with 4-5 stars?

Yes and no. I had put a lot of work into Isaiah over the years trying to polish it the best I could and having some Disney friends read it that specialize in story along with an excellent editor really helped. I knew before it was released that I had something different, but I never thought of it as a five star story, so it is very rewarding to see people who do not know me personally read my work and enjoy it.

What do you feel contributes to the success of this series?

A lot of hard work and many a long hour: writing, crafting, and polishing. Plus, watching a ton of movies. : )

Why choose vampires, werewolves and ghouls in this series rather than just focus solely on demons or evil spirits?

You can blame Hollywood for that, I grew up watching all the old Universal monster movies on TV and have spent years watching various takes on the vampire genre. The genre naturally lends itself to the very core question of human existence: is there eternal life and if so what does it look like? What better playground to write in then one that is so ripe to ask eternal questions without forcing them to come up in the story?

Were you concerned that including vampires and werewolves in a Christian story about spiritual warfare would polarize Christian readers and encourage them to consider that you were cashing in on the current fad of secular authors romanticising vampire and werewolf stories such as the Twilight series? 

I started writing the Isaiah Tiller many years ago for my boys to read and enjoy as they were growing up. I liked what I was coming up for them so much that I started working on Isaiah Tiller for general release; but in doing so, I always kept my target audience in mind, the 15 to 25 year old male crowd that does not have any Christian faith or belief. I wanted to create a character that was as cool as anything Hollywood had to offer but he had an element of faith woven so strongly into fabric of his being so that when faith issues came up I could write about them in a way that felt

Have you had any negative feedback from readers in regards to your portrayal of the spiritual warfare elements in this series? You have Isaiah slaying/fighting vampires, ghouls and an evil spirit by physical means using weaponry such as guns, knives and holy water and combat fighting. Yet he also uses prayer and the Word of God to defeat them just as the Word instructs us to. However, the Word of God only instructs us to do this and nothing else. What was your rationale for using poetic licence in adding the physical weapons and fighting?

Isaiah is a blend of many things but at its core the story is based off of the premise of Bram Stroker’s Dracula. The team that comes together in Stroker’s book uses physical weapons and faith to fight Dracula, that is something which I feel the genre as a whole has moved away from as most ‘heroes’ in the last twenty years or so were vampires trying to do good (Buffy/Angel) or half breeds (Blade). Isaiah Tiller is my take on getting the genre back to where I believe it should be: good versus evil, God versus Satan.

I became a little concerned reading this series as you spent a lot of the plot lines portraying Isaiah as slaying the vampires, especially Gray, motivated by revenge for the turning of his wife, Deena, instead of this motivation being God's will for Isaiah to eradicate them. However, you added a humbling scene where Isaiah repents and is back in the will of God and becomes successful in continuing this fight against Gray. There is an important lesson here for Christians in doing everything in the will of God and not based on their own strength or motivation. Was this intentional or just part of creating suspense as a plot line?

Intentional. One of my main goals with Isaiah Tiller was to create a character that was real and believable even though it was a work of fiction. I wanted Isaiah to feel human, to come across as someone that makes mistakes in his life. I wanted his faith to be so real that when the reader goes through the story everything that Isaiah does feels like a natural extension of him. So when he prays, it needs to feel real, when he repents it needs to feel real, and when he shoots a vampire it needs to feel grounded in reality.

In relation to the previous question, I believe that Christian fiction should not only entertain but educate and edify Christ and His Church. You certainly entertain in this series and educate  in spiritual warfare and being submitted to God in this and I must confess I felt encouraged in my relationship with Christ from reading this series. Was this your aims as well or just to entertain? I do thank you for achieving this in this series. To me this is one of the draw-cards to reading your books.

My main goal was to write a series that would appeal to my target audience and as they were being entertained by the story line, I would be able to introduce biblical truths to a group of people that would never hear of them any other way.

Reading the Isaiah Tiller series, I get the impression that you had a lot of fun developing this?

I did indeed. I was able to write about things I could only dream of doing. 

How many short stories have you planned for the IT series?

There are five parts in the Isaiah Tiller series which will complete the full story.

Is Isaiah Tiller based on any part of your personality? If not, where did the inspiration for this character come from?

The original concept of Isaiah was to be The Punisher of the vampire world. Instead of hunting criminals, he would hunt down vampires. As for him being based of off me, I think there is a little bit of me in everything I write; especially Isaiah.

What is the hierarchy, culture and group dynamics of the vampires based on, your imagination or research?

Mark 3: 24-25.  
Jesus called them together and used this illustration: “How can Satan force out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household will not last. (God's Word Translation).
There is structure and hierarchy in everything; including the enemy’s camp.  As for how the vampire world works, I put in a lot of time defining the ins and outs of Isaiah’s world based off of this scripture and vampire lore in general.

Werewolves play a small part in books 1 and 2 of IT. Do you plan on having a future short story on these?

Oh, you had better believe it.

Other than the Isaiah Tiller series, do you already have a new project in the works?

Yes, I do have my next writing project lined up.

Where can readers find you?

Website

Facebook

Twitter
@theisaiahtiller

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page: Andrew Simmons

Any closing comments?

Peter, I just want to say a personal thank you for your effort in the community. I am amazed at all you do for authors. Thank you.

As for closing comments: 
The wise speak only of what they know. --J.R.R. Tolkien
Andrew, thank you for this compliment, I do enjoy interviewing authors and promoting them to the readers out there. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this interview.  You definitely know your craft and I am sure that any aspiring author or seasoned author will find your unique technical skills encouraging and challenging. Not many authors come from the background you have and you have therefore something very specific to offer.

I must say that this definitely shows in your writing and for me this is one the drawcards to your specific brand of edgy Christian speculative fiction apart from the spiritual warfare aspects as well which are very exciting and entertaining. 


I am looking forward to future novels in the Isaiah Tiller series and I pray that your reader base increases from this point on. Keep in touch.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Interview with Erin Pearson

I first came across Erin Pearson through her publisher, Nick Downing, and when he sent me the details about Erin's soon to be released novel, Prodigal Lost: Oasis of the Fallen and read the description, I was hooked. It covered three genres I love to read, spiritual warfare, fallen angels, and Nephilim. When I realized she was a new author, I offered to interview her and to discover some of the nuts and bolts of this novel and what makes this author tick. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I am looking forward to the next installment immensely. 

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Erin Pearson and her compelling debut novel.

Thanks for stopping by today Erin. Let's start by you telling about yourself.

I enjoy simple things; waking up early to see the sun rising as I would take my morning run. I love the smell of ink, as I still do a lot of my writing with ink pen and paper. I keep notebooks in every crook of my house, and even in my car because I want to be prepared in case the perfect line ever strikes me. I listen mainly to public radio and have a soft spot for Gershwin. I have been known, on occasion, to polka and don’t mind that people stare at my tattoos. I am also a wife, a mom and a sister. What can I say, I breathe the wild air. 

Now let's talk about your writing and being an author

What inspired you to become an author? 

God really set me to work on writing as I worked in my college career. I transferred schools after my third semester and found out very quickly that I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. So, I followed my heart and started taking classes on writing because I loved to read. I had been a writer for most of my life, creating my first “book” when I was in middle school. My favorite books were those that had an option for the reader to choose the next action of the protagonist, and the thought intrigued me. And when I would finish the book I would think to myself “I could do this, and I could do it better!”. My inspiration really came as all the roads kept putting me back into a position that writing was good for my soul. So, I write. 

How did you develop Prodigal Lost: Oasis of the Fallen, by extensively plotting it out (plotter), or as it came to you (pantser, that you write by the seat of your pants) or was it a bit of both? 

Prodigal Lost is six years in the making. It started out plainly enough during the peak of the “Twilight” craze. Plagued by the thoughts that I could writesomething like these books that were causing so much fever, and having read them and felt they were inadequate, I challenged myself to dig deep and commit. After the first year or so of writing and editing, the story was all based in ancient Rome. It wasn’t until one of my beta readers came back with a suggestion to rewrite the entire book in the present day to pull in more readers, that I came up with the present day frame. I chose New Orleans because the culture of that city absolutely fascinated me, and doubled the length of the book creating the frame. So, while I’d like to say that all of it was plotted before I ever wrote a word, honestly, I flew by the seat of my pants on many occasions. I kept finding more places I wanted the reader to discover, more adventures that I wanted the characters to go on, and more people that I wanted them to meet. So the story took on a life of its own and grew bigger than I ever first imagined. 

What obstacles did you encounter in this endeavor? How did you overcome these? 

Six years is a lot of time to receive a lot of rejections. And I have had more than my fair share, in my opinion. I’m sure every fledgling writer feels the same. I queried agents, I looked for publishers and queried them, then I found I couldn’t afford to publish it myself. So, for a while I decided that perhaps I was wrong, that God wasn’t really leading me to write this and that I must have misheard my assignment. Many tears were shed and I lost a lot of confidence in my ability to write well, to convey the story. But as I see it now, looking back I can see that God was just forming me into the right mindset I needed to write from Mason’s perspective. I needed to experience more hardships to write about his intense feelings more authentically. So my feelings about failure and struggle were real so Mason’s struggle was real. 

I leaned on a lot of people for support, mainly my husband. He would tell me “put it away, don’t look at it” to remind me that I couldn’t write it for me. I had to remove myself, and it had to be for Him. 

How has writing and being an author impacted your relationship with Jesus Christ? 

I can’t believe how much Jesus speaks to me, if I just give him the chance to talk! My head is filled with so many ideas, but when I quiet myself and let him speak to me, and through me, I really feel I have come so much closer to him in this whole process. Writing, to me, has opened the door to a closer relationship with him. My writing allows me to see a focused energy on something that’s not for me, but for his glory. When I write, I pray that God’s words come from me, and that I’m given the right things to say. If I start to struggle I stop writing. That is how I’ve learned to apply these lessons to the rest of my life. When I start to struggle somewhere, I stop what I’m doing, recognize what I’m doing isn’t what I should be doing, and have learned to hand it over once again. Being a Christian doesn’t get easier the older we get, but it does get more peaceful. I have grown exponentially since I’ve learned that I can recommit myself every day, every hour and even every minute to the work that God has placed in my life. 

In that quiet I have learned, I find the most peace because I can see the struggle isn’t mine to keep. God’s got this. It makes life easier for sure. 

In your biography on your Amazon author page, you describe yourself as follows,
"Through her own trials and failures, E.L. Pearson has seen the influence of darkness in this fallen world and has herself felt the burden of those who feel suffocated by it"
Can you expand on this please? 

I am not without faults. They follow me, sometimes every day, sometimes every hour. The whole reason I wrote the book was to help others who felt like they’d turned their backs on God, much like I’d done in some areas of my life. What I wanted to show people is there is more to life than feeling lost and suffocated. There is freedom in God’s love, if we only accept it. No matter the sins, no matter the black stain you may feel you have left upon life, there is always a new beginning, and often it starts by laying your life again at the altar, and starting over. I am not proud of some of my past, but if God forgives me, then I’m pretty sure I can forgive me too. And if He’s forgiven me, then he’s got enough forgiveness for everyone else! 

Do you have a favorite genre that you read? 

I actually love period pieces, and have a keen interest for Arthurian literature. Anything that’s not present day, actually, which explains my love of Ivanhoe and Once and Future King. I also love classic literature like Beowulf and Paradise Lost, which explains the more formal speech I take on in the dream sequences in Prodigal Lost. Reading for me has always been associated with travel, so when I read I want to go somewhere I can’t go on my own. 

What have you learnt about becoming an author? 

It’s hard work! It’s humbling, and it’s exhausting. But when you have a passion for something and God is behind it, things just seem to happen on their own. While I continue to try to make a name for myself, I have to remember that Erin the author is only possible because God the Author made it so. So if sales are slow or reviews aren’t coming in, I won’t focus on that. The story that God set on my heart is out there, and if it’s spoken to one person who needed to hear the message, then my heart is happy. 

How long did it take you to write this novel? 

Six long and somewhat painful growing years! 

I love your command of the English language. Have you always found this to be an easy achievement? Some authors engaged in a writing course before they wrote their first novel. What have done, anything? Would you encourage other aspiring authors to do so? 

Thank you so much for that compliment! I have been told that I have a certain proficiency with words, which is another way of saying I’ve been called wordy on more than one occasion. I’m sure my editor was ready to strangle me after he read it through! I worked very hard in college to perfect my use of the language, and to find just the right word for the phrase or situation that would cause people to sit back and think. I think what’s helped me the most in creating this voice is to continue to read as I write. I find what I like and what I don’t, so I know how to continue as myself. I write as I would like to read, and while it doesn’t resonate with everyone, I feel I can still connect with most readers. 

Is any of yourself based on any of the female characters in PL? 

Oh yes. I still think of myself as na├»ve as Oasis is in book one. She really has a crusader’s heart. She knows what she wants and she listens to God. Without thinking about the repercussions of her actions, sometimes, she presses forward. But what I love about her the most is her faith. If she feels led to do something, she goes, and she goes without fear. While I harbor more fear than I should, I aspire to be like Oasis. 

As for the other characters, I actually identify a lot with Mason, mostly due to his struggling heart. We’ve all been there, but I was challenged once in college to write from a different perspective. So, perhaps this book started even further back than six years, and started in a poetry class with Charles Fort, where I wrote from the perspective of a World War II Army veteran.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m reading. I also love to play music, which is where I spent the rest of my college years. I was either wistfully writing in Thomas Hall or locked away in a practice room playing alto saxophone. I think music and writing really go hand in hand, and appreciate how emotions can be conveyed through both mediums. Other than that, I tag along with my kids on their adventures, and work in the Marketing department of a Fortune 500 company in the Midwest of the US.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author? 

Keep writing, no matter how many times you want to quit. A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn’t give up! 

As a new author, any advice for other aspiring authors? 

I would say do your research. For some, traditional publishing is an option. For others, indie publishers offers a little bit of both worlds. For others, and for a lot of people especially within Christian Fantasy and Spec Fic, self-publishing becomes our only route. But, the best offer of advice I can give is to say that the internet is a big place, and it has a lot to offer. People will be talking about a lot of information, but take your time. Dig in and find your niche. 

What are you reading now? 

Strawberry and Sage by Amanda Gale. She’s an incredibly talented writer, who’s written another series called the Meredith Series. Seriously, check her out. I am also knee deep in Raven Price’s works. I read a lot in my genre, to see just where I sit in the spectrum. Of course, I read through all of my publisher’s works, Talon’s Test and Martyr, and I’m really looking forward to the release of Liza’s Revenge soon. 

What tools have you found most successful in advertising or marketing yourself and your book? 

Facebook is a major tool for authors today, if not for the marketing aspect of the book, for the forums and information gained by joining other writers groups. Iron Sharpening Iron as well as a group called Binders (for women) have been essential for me to connect with others and hear about what’s working, possibly what’s not working and if there are potential hazards for me out there. It’s been incredibly helpful. Not only that, but working specifically through an author page versus my private Facebook page has given me the opportunity to separate my family from my work, so I don’t continually blast my close friends and family with information they already know. 

Twitter has been another outlet I’ve found useful. One of the reviews for Prodigal Lost came from one of those connections made there as well. It’s a different monster, but I’m thankful that my 8-5 job is in social media, so I focus a lot of my efforts personally with what I’ve found professionally working for a major US retailer. 

I also write for Her View From Home (www.herviewfromhome.com) contributing devotional articles monthly alongside one of my biggest mentors, Sue Harrison, the author of the Ivory Carver Trilogy. Seriously, you’ve got to check out her work too. Having access to an international best-selling author for questions and advice is priceless. 

I anticipate having a fully functional website with blog available prior to the paperback release of Prodigal Lost this fall. 

It’s a learning curve, but one that I am most definitely ready to tackle. 

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing? 

I didn’t take a lot of convincing to write. It was really a daily action long before I ever thought of it as a career. But, what do you think? Think I have a shot at a career? :) Right now, it’s something I do in the midst of everything else, while I long to be writing full time. Perhaps someday, as the story progresses it will be something that I can focus on more and more. Hopefully it won’t be another 6 years before another installment of Prodigal Lost! PL is my first focus, followed swiftly by another novel I have in the works, as well as a devotional piece for parents of premature multiples. Anticipate that release possibly as early as Spring 2016! 

How long did it take you to write PL? 

6 years! But really, as a writer, do we every really feel like it’s done? :) 

Who is your favourite character? If you say satan, I will have to pray for you! 

Oh, well since I can’t say Satan…ha ha ha! My favorite has got to be Mason. I connect with so many of his emotions that I think it’s impossible for him not to have a special place in my heart. An author is never able to remove themselves completely from any characters. If I could, it wouldn’t be authentic. My connection with him is one of an alternate self really. I can put him through the tests I feel I’ve been put through, and I make him survive. If he can survive, sometimes it helps me remember that I can survive too. None of us are without faults, and Mason is a reminder that Grace is free, and God has a plan for us all. He is my hope, in a way.

Now let's talk about your book, Prodigal Lost: Oasis of the Fallen 

How did you come up with the character names of Marchosias, Oasis, Lumenesca? Why did you choose a modern name like Mason for this main character? 

Funny you should ask. This all started as I was fascinated by the old stories about the fallen angels. So, one day while I was in my local library, I happened upon a book by Gustav Davidson called “A Dictionary of Angels” and I was hooked. Take up the book with caution, but the castes and divisions are extremely good fodder for an active imagination such as mine. Oasis was the name I’d chosen for another character for a separate series of books, but when it came to adding the present day frame in Prodigal Lost, I chose to name her Oasis. She is, after all, a breath of fresh air, a drink of cool water for Mason. Lumenesca is a play on the word luminescent. 

Does the name of Marchosias mean anything? 

Marchosias was a warrior fallen angel, thus Mac’s character had a base. More than that, Mason is actually based on Mulciber from Davidson’s book, who was an architect. Like I said though, I looked in Davidson’s book for inspiration, and sometimes the hardest thing is finding the name you want your characters to have. While reading though, the basics for my story were already there. 

You have set PL in New Orleans. Have you been there and why did you choose this location? 

New Orleans is another of my fascinations, and until June of this year, I’ve never set foot in Louisiana. I chose it because the city is the stuff of legends, and has a rich and seedy underground history that I felt was a great place to build Satan’s following. I did some serious research as I wrote the frame of Prodigal Lost, so as to be sure the characters and their surroundings were believable. As I wrote further and further, I fell in love with the city from afar. When I heard that I had the opportunity to go there, I was so humbled. While I spent much of my time on the cusp of the French Quarter, I reveled in the fact that Mason could have been walking down this street, or his gallery would look just like this. I was blocks away from Jackson Park, and while I wasn’t able to physically visit it this time, it’s definitely on the list for the next visit because, oh yes, there will be another visit…or five… research right? :) 

Will The Authorless Book have a part in either the next installment and/or the third one? 

The Authorless Book is almost a character in and of itself. It is my way of understanding the connection of God’s word in our everyday lives. The Bible is the living word, and what is written in the Authorless Book is ever-changing, and is exactly what Mason needs to see when he opens it, whatever situation he is facing. Isn’t that how we, as Christians, are invited to use the Bible? While it’s no substitute by any means, it’s an invitation to find God in the written word, for sure. 

In a Facebook conversation, David G Johnson, author, made the following comment, 
The possibility of redeemed angels is a key back story theme in my Chadesh Chronicles too. Get ready, though, some people get REALLY antsy about any suggestion that there might even be a possibility for redeemed angels. Core Christian Spec Ficcers (readers of Christian Speculative Fiction) will generally be okay, but as you introduce your book to your mainstream church friends, you may get some pushback. Just be ready. 
I can assure you I researched the topic thoroughly before writing Chadash Chronicles, and they can get as mad as they want about their "traditions", but they cannot biblically prove there is not at least a "gray area" around the question. 
You answered, 
I have had a lot of pushback during the years leading up to publication. I had Christian publishers and agents tell me it wasn't Christian enough and mainstream publishers and agents telling me it was too Christian. But I'm glad to have it out there. Thanks for the advice David G. Johnson. I'll take everything I can get at this point!
What pushback have you experienced and how did you handle it? Have you had any more since the publication of PL? 

Honestly, I’ve heard little push back from anyone so far. The reviews and initial feelings of those that have read it and either reached out to me, or written a review, have all been able to follow the meaning I had behind this story. A lot of that understanding, and patience, I think is due to taking the advice of a friend. My publisher, Nick Downing of Flagship Fiction suggested that I write a blog about how I came up with the premise behind the book, as well as why I wrote it. That blog became the introduction, and at his suggestion, was added as a “precursory note” to the readers. It was part of what you reviewed as being a smart move, and I will not take credit for that at all. Nick was graciously looking out for me, and I cannot thank him enough for that. Because of that introduction, I feel my reasons have been made clear to those that could try to cry “foul” on this piece especially. 

As David G Johnson has previously stated, some Christians who love their traditions 
“...cannot biblically prove there is not at least a "gray area" around the question..” (that fallen angels could be redeemed). 
What other reason do you think that some Christians get antsy about this possibility? 

I really cannot say. Other than the fact that most people like to think that a lot of the evil in the world is due to the actions of these creatures just as much as the actions of the people around the world, I can’t say why. But, that in and of itself, has built it’s own story. It’s what made me start asking the questions “Why” and “What if” and “Could we have it wrong?” and “If we have it wrong, how else could it be?” My biggest challenges have actually come from those closer to me; family actually. They challenge my thought process, they challenge my reasoning, and in the end I know it’s because they love me and care about where I’ll be someday when the trumpets sound. Another reason I wrote the book is to tell others about my experiences, but also to tell others that there is only one person with a final say, and He and I? Well, we talk every day, and I continue to pursue him and his purpose for me. My purpose is to speak to those that Jesus would speak to, and if that’s the poor, the tired, the lost and tattooed, then I will use the language I know will speak to them the most. See my blog here about being Christian and tattooed if you’d like: http://herviewfromhome.com/tattoo-faith/

In my review, I struggled with the romance elements of PL. My main issue was that both Mason and Marchosias felt desire for the two Beacons once they were redeemed and then in the present with Mason having feelings for Oasis. I made the point that this was not expected behavior and attitude for angels as designated by God when they were created, and even after they were redeemed and reconciled to Him. Can you expand on why you included this as you did so as to avoid further confusion with readers? 

The romantic element was added because I wanted them to feel/seem more human. Sure, their counterparts were those that created the Nephilim by fathering children with human women. But I wanted these characters to experience loss, to experience ecstasy, and to survive human life, just as we do. In the following books, this purpose will be even more evident, so while I know you said it was off-putting and not relevant, I assure you it will be! I hope you’ll follow me on this adventure to book 2! 

Erin, I will be with you throughout this entire adventure! I am very fond on this book and all it contains. Thanks for explaining this aspect. 

Where did the idea of the Beacons come from? 

The Beacons were created as part of the redemption and humanization of the fallen angels who wanted to return to God’s presence. They glow with the glory of God that they so desire to see again, and are there to teach them how to love again, to teach their emotions to care for others more than they care about themselves. While the human race had Jesus to show them what sacrifice means, the Fallen who want to return had Beacons…thus, the necessity for a lesson in sacrifice. Remember, of course, that the redemption of the Fallen is separate than the redemption of humans. 

Now, I’ve said too much, so I can’t continue on with any further explanation. Stay tuned for book 2 for more about the Beacons!

Without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect from the next installment? 

The next installment is a doozy of course! I am working on book 2 actually right now, and it’s coming along quite nicely! I am looking to a summer release in 2016, but stick close and enjoy the ride in book 1 while you wait! I am doing a lot of research actually through my Facebook page below, so please follow me there, and give me your input! 

Is there only three books in this series? 

There are at least 2 with the possibility of a third depending on how long the second one is. Some days I feel like two will be enough, but more and more now, I’m thinking that three is the magic number. After all, just like Mason, I see 33 everywhere! Stay tuned to my author page for more on that! 

What take home message do you want readers of Paradise Lost: Oasis of the Fallen to embrace? 

God’s love is free! 

Anything else you would to say about Paradise Lost: Oasis of the Fallen? 

I am absolutely humbled by the small successes this book has brought me. I am incredibly blessed to have a small following of friends, family and strangers who appreciate my work. I am #blessed. :) 

Where Can Readers find You? 

Website: Coming soon! 

Facebook Author Page: E L.Pearson

Twitter: find me @erinlpearson 

Amazon Author Page: E.L.Pearson

Any closing comments? 

Please, write a review when you’ve finished reading! And find me, I’d love to connect!

Well, Erin, that was quite an interview! Enjoyed it very much! I am sure other readers now have a greater understanding and appreciation of your novel and how you developed it the way you did. I can see this interview whetting the appetites of potential readers. I look forward to the rest of this series immensely. Thanks for sharing your journey to published author. Keep in touch!