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Friday, January 25, 2008

Novel Scheduled for Fall 2008 Release

It's official. Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI) has confirmed that they plan to release my Christian suspense novel this fall (sometime between August and October) to take advantage of pre-Christmas sales. My editor said they are shooting for a September release. He also alerted me to the fact that edits on the novel will begin soon and that novel titles often change during production. (In fact, I've been requested to supply five novel titles!) My heart has been set on Now You See Him for so long that it's difficult imagining the project having a different title. I'm not saying that I'm possessive of the title; if someone has a better one, I'm more than open to it. The title just came to me so naturally during the writing process that I've never considered anything else. I'm hoping the title won't change, but there are no guarantees. The folks at Kregel produce up to 90 books a year and are pros at this; I trust their judgment.

Kregel just sent me a packet in the mail containing the Author FAQ, an Author Questionnaire, and a Fiction Art Form. The Author FAQ tells me important information like when bookstores will start stocking my novel, when I will get my author copies, how I can promote my novel, how I will know how well my novel is selling, where people can buy my novel, how Kregel will use my photo, etc.

Besides typical contact information, some of the things I need to provide for the Author Questionnaire include the following: my biography, a photo of myself, a list of seven possible endorsers (people who might say nice things about my book and whose opinions bear some weight with other people—do you have any recommendations?), a request if I would like to do TV or radio interviews, three summaries of the novel (50 words, 100 words, and 200 words), confirmation of how I would like my name to be appear on the book's cover, five possible novel titles, and a list of 30 to 40 influencers. A free copy of the novel goes to "influencers," those who are interested in helping to promote the novel; I just provide the names. If you're interested, please let me know. I've also been invited to write discussion questions about the novel for book clubs and to write and answer my own interview questions about the project.

The Fiction Art Form is intended to help the artist who will soon be designing the novel's cover. (This, I've been told, is one of the first steps in production.) I've been asked to provide the following: background/setting, character descriptions, story conflicts, symbols (flowers, fabrics, objects, Bible verses, or natural phenomena that illustrate or clarify the book's objectives and would be appropriate in cover art), and a Bible verse that sums up the story's theme. I'm also invited to send a picture, drawing, or other description that may help the artist create a cover that captures the setting, characters, mood, and feel of the book.

Many have asked what the novel is about. I've been holding off on saying too much, not wanting to steal the thunder of Kregel's editors and marketing team. Because of growing interest, however, I will share something here. My novel's tentative title is Now You See Him, but as I've shared, titles frequently change during production. As for the story itself, here's a (hopefully tasty) morsel to whet your appetite.
Gillian Thayer’s calligraphy business in Chicago keeps her mind off personal tragedy. But when her husband, Marc, a pastor and biblical counselor, becomes entangled in a church discipline situation that turns violent, she and her family flee the bad press and take a sabbatical at Whistler's Point, a creepy historic lighthouse on Upper Michigan’s Lake Superior. Also new to the area is Haydon Owens, a serial killer who strangled three women in Cincinnati with a magician’s trick rope. Haydon dreams of being the next Houdini, but pursuing his dream means turning his back on his past, which is easier said than done. When he claims his next victim, the police arrest Marc Thayer, the last person to see the victim alive. Chuck Riley, original investigator on the Magician Murders case, comes out of retirement to help Gillian clear Marc’s name by taking another look at the forensic evidence. Can they stop Haydon before he kills again? The clock is ticking, and Haydon spots his next victim . . .
I hope you enjoy reading the novel as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I've got some work to do, but these are exciting times! Check back soon to read about the next step in the process. May God receive all the glory!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Book Review: Showdown

Dekker, Ted. Showdown. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006. Jacketed Hardcover, 384 pages. $22.99.

Purchase: Thomas Nelson | CBD | Amazon

ISBNs: 1595540059 / 9781595540058

Subjects: Christian Fiction, Suspense/Mystery
Chapter Excerpt

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife LeeAnn and their four children.

The Gist

Marsuvees Black, a self-proclaimed preacher, strides into Paradise, a small town in Colorado, claiming that God sent him to bring “grace and hope.” Black looks more like a stereotypical gunslinger and behaves more like a magician. After calling a town meeting to proclaim his message, he pulls an apple out of the air. A moment later, he turns it into a snake. Then, while everyone watches, he makes a man’s wart disappear.

The people are instantly enamored by his charisma and enchanted by his miracles, but who is this guy? Is he really who he claims to be? The only one who seems to be asking the important questions is Johnny Drake, a boy who lives in Paradise. Everyone else has fallen to Black’s charms; his good looks especially make the women swoon.

But Johnny knows something is wrong. The first person to question Black is now dead, apparently from a heart attack. Johnny witnessed the man’s violent death and knows Black is responsible. That’s only for starters. Black admits that he introduced a gel-like substance into the town’s water system to make people more receptive to his message, and he is passing around a bottle of the stuff. The gel seems harmless, or is it? People begin seeing strange visions and acting out their most carnal and violent tendencies. Has Black brought grace and hope or led the town to the dark side?

Meanwhile, in a monastery in the nearby mountains, 37 children have been isolated from the evils of the world and taught God’s Word in a test project sponsored by Harvard University and directed by David Abraham. But even isolation from the world can’t protect them from the evil in their own hearts. When one student, Billy, ventures into the forbidden dungeons, he crosses the line into evil, putting the student body and the future of the school into peril. When the school leaders allow a public debate between good and evil, Billy wins the day. More students head for the dungeons, which are inhabited by mammoth, gel-secreting worms that slither along the walls. If these ingredients seem creepy, just wait. More