Stranded

So my first novel is available now for purchase. In my head I have many more to follow (two as sequels of this first one) but I won’t get ahead of myself at the moment. Purchase it here. It is also available via Amazon–Kindle and paperback–and Apple iBooks.

I would like to tell you a little about my current novel right now (though only a little since I don’t want to give too much away).

My target audience, if I had to be specific, would be churchgoers, specifically those between the ages of 16 and 22. If you are either 1) not a churchgoer, or 2) older (or younger) than that age range, I still think you could potentially enjoy the book.

Here’s the synopsis from the back cover (if you order a paperback):

From chapter 1:

I OPENED MY EYES and confusion hit me like a pick-up truck. (I know it’s a stereotypical way to begin a story, but it’s exactly where this experience began, so it’s how I will begin recounting it.)

My nose was buried in dirt. It smelled stale, and it was clear that rain hadn’t been around for a long time. While nothing else was clear to me in that moment, for some reason I knew that my hometown rarely got rain. However, the sight that was presented to me when I raised my head was anything but familiar to me. I was laying down in the middle of a burnt-out forest. The trees stood as ghosts of the trees that they had once been. Some were taller than others, but none were green as far my eyes could see into the distance.

Jay Liyfer wakes up on an island, but that is all he knows. He sets out to figure out how he got there, but soon finds himself in the middle of a killer’s deadly game. Is he alone on the island with a killer? Will he ever learn how he ended up on the island? Will he survive the killer’s game? Only time will tell…

Lemme give one or two things away that the back cover doesn’t say, that the back cover does ask. First, Jay (narrated in first person, as “I” throughout) is not alone on the island; the island is full of “kids” his age—seniors in high school. Second, this book is heavily allegorical.

I want to spend a few minutes on the concept of allegory. The primary theme of the novel will be explained and clarified by the characters by the time the novel comes to a close, but with that said, there are many other symbols in this book that don’t get clearly explained, that can be figured out if one thinks carefully about the material presented (I could write a whole book myself dissecting the symbols in this novel, but it would also be cool if someone else could do that for me ;).) Even if you care less about symbolism and themes, I firmly believe you could still have an enjoyable time reading this book.  Especially if you enjoy MYSTERY / THRILLER / SUSPENSE books, I think you will find something enjoyable here (even if you disagree with the worldview presented within its pages).

This leads me to share a couple paragraphs from the book’s introduction:

Total transparency: there are places in this book that make me cringe. There is language that isn’t the cleanest. There are statements that are blasphemous on their own. But what is an author to do—even a Christian one—when all of that is part of the point he’s trying to get across? I don’t want to give more away than necessary, so I will just say, “Yes, this book has a very specific point.”

With that said, I will put you at ease, at least a little. This book contains no f-bombs. The five letter b-word does not appear. The Lord’s name is not used in vain. However, you will read some softer versions of coarse language throughout. I prayed long and hard about this fact over the past several years of working on the book, and I have been led to keep what is now present as a way of drawing a contrast, especially since I have two sequels planned for this novel.

At the very least, I hope you can forgive my characters for their—at times—dirty mouths, and believe me when I say that just because I have them cursing—at times—does not mean that I condone cursing. If you can forgive them and believe me, then I hope and pray that you enjoy what follows.

I felt that a caution was in order. However, as a Christian artist/writer, I hate reading or watching things that feel fake/cheesy, and in my experience many Christian movies (especially movies) come across this way. I did not want one of my books to come across this way; at the same time I did not want it to come across crude either. As Christians, our speech (or written words) is to give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).  If you get to the end of the novel, i trust that you will see that that is exactly what happens.

Let me take you behind the scenes real quick: In my rough draft I just got into the characters and had them say anything and everything—marking each questionable word with a #. At the end of the third draft the total number of #s was 375; the book now totals 344ish pages; so there was more than one per page on average. The rough draft was super crude, but the final draft is in line with Ephesians 4:29 (in my opinion). In the final count, all questionable words come to a total of 184 occurrences—no f-bombs or equally course language. More than 1/3 of the total is the word “Hell”, more than half of which specifically refer to the place that is the antithesis of heaven.

I don’t personally use this kind of language, though it was very present in my former life—especially when away from my family—and when your characters don’t hold to Christian morals/values, I don’t think there is any need to make them act like white-washed tombs in a story. So I’ll repeat the end of the introductory material again:

At the very least, I hope you can forgive my characters for their—at times—dirty mouths, and believe me when I say that just because I have them cursing—at times—does not mean that I condone cursing. If you can forgive them and believe me, then I hope and pray that you enjoy what follows.

I have had the idea for this book for the past 12 years, though the original vision for it is nothing like it is now—well maybe it is but that’s not the point—and I have been actively working on it—off and on—for the past seven years. I would be honored if you would pick up a copy—even if you wait until it’s available on Amazon and get the Kindle version—and by doing so support me in my dream of being a full-time writer. Purchase it here.

Soli Deo Gloria

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