Today, I am spotlighting novelist, Jeff W. Horton. I have read two of his previous novels and really enjoyed them. When I saw his latest novel, Heaven's Oasis, advertised on Facebook and Amazon, I knew I had to learn more. I offered to review this and am currently reading it.
Heaven's Oasis is described as an exciting, romantic adventure/fantasy.
So let me introduce you to Christian novelist, Jeff W. Horton. First let's have a look at his Bio:
Jeff W. Horton was an Information technology professional for twenty-five years before deciding to pursue his lifelong dream of being a writer. Since becoming an author and screenwriter of family-friendly fiction, Jeff has written two screenplays and eight published novels in several genres including apocalyptic-fiction, science-fiction, religious fantasy, and romance thrillers.
His current list of works includes:
When he's not penning his next novel, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, going to church, and reading. Among his favorite authors are many immediately recognizable names including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, C.S. Lewis, Ted Dekker, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jeff Horton is a member of the North Carolina Writers Network.
Jeff considers himself a novelist and not just an author because an author can be someone that writes about anything including novels, historical biographies, travel guides, etc., while a novelist is an artist, a painter if you will. Imagination is the paint and the keyboard the paintbrush.
He enjoys writing because for him it is pure creativity. From his imagination proceeds people, places, sights, sounds, and events which have never really existed. For him, writing a novel is like watching a movie. He starts writing with an idea of what he’s after, but the story truly takes on a life of its own as he writes, often taking the author in a direction he never could have imagined it going in before. The end result is that he has no idea how the story is going to end himself until he’s finished the first draft. Even then, the story can morph as he makes his way through a series of inevitable revisions where the rough stone is cut and chipped away at, before being polished into what he considers to be a work of art.
When Jeff writes, he strives to create storylines that are meaningful on many levels. He likes to explore and understand the emotions, the struggles and the pain that we feel as human beings, as well as the joy. It is also important that there is a message in the story, a warning, a message of hope, etc. The novelist wants readers to come away having learned something new, something valuable, and something important. These are ambitious goals, of course, and unfortunately, he feels he’s never as successful as he would like to be at meeting these goals.
Another thing that is important to him as a novelist is that the characters, the events, and the setting all feel very real to the reader. This then is a key, in his opinion, to drawing the reader more deeply into the story. People are complex creatures and rarely (if ever) do we really know anyone. It is unfair therefore to suggest to readers that a character is no more than a cardboard figure. While the writer may not spend as much time on every character as he would like in the interest of brevity, he does try to ensure that at least the key players are well-developed, and that they also change and grow as the story progresses.
Jeff’s first three books were mostly futuristic, apocalyptic thrillers, all written for the masses but from a Christian worldview. His faith in God makes up a big part of who he is and what he does, and he’s certain that it comes through in my writing. One of his books that reflects that faith is different than the first three because it's more of a YA/juvenile novel entitled, The Way of Nacor. The author’s goal (always lofty!) with The Way of Nacor was to create a well-blended recipe of a little Chronicles of Narnia and a little Pilgrims Progress, with a pinch of science-fiction thrown in as well. In The Way of Nacor, a family of children is stranded on another world, where they face many obstacles as they try to find their way home. His most recently published novel is a techno-thriller entitled Cybersp@ce, the first in the Cybersp@ce Series. I like to think of Cybersp@ce as Tom Clancy meets Michael Crichton (two of my favorite authors). The next two in the series are Frontiers and New Beginnings, and they chronicle humanity's emergence from where we are today, to an interstellar, space-faring species.
Now let's have a look at Heaven’s Oasis, which will be released on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, in e-book and printed editions:
Claire is dead.
She’s been the love of Kevin Foster’s life for as long as he can remember; his soulmate, and his best friend.
Before she dies, Claire, an archaeologist, goes on an expedition to the Middle East and comes across evidence supporting the existence of a biblical, antediluvian site the ancients called HEAVEN’s OASIS, and that certain ancient artifacts can lead her to it. Claire believes that finding this site will help prove the Bible's veracity, and provide indisputable evidence of God's existence.
Following her unexpected death Claire's expeditions become public knowledge, and the subsequent assaults against her reputation from the scientific community and the media are both brutal and relentless.
Furious at the public ridicule and to prove she was right, Kevin decides to pick up where Claire left off in her search and to finish what she started. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, to restore her reputation and to honor her memory.
A billionaire arms dealer named Kain Masterson has also been searching for the Oasis, however, intending to keep what he finds for himself. The deadly competition soon becomes a struggle just to stay alive in the race to find the artifacts, follow the clues, and ultimately to find HEAVEN’s OASIS.
To further whet your appetite, check out the book trailer:
I asked Jeff why he wrote this novel and he replied:
Heaven’s Oasis afforded me the opportunity to write about a number of subjects of special interest to me. I’ve always been a romantic at heart, so the opportunity to write a Christian Romance Thriller like Heaven’s Oasis was too good to pass up. In this novel I was able to bring together topics that really matter; romance, the existence of God, and the importance of holding onto hope for the future.
Now that your appetite may be whetted, it might be beneficial to read an excerpt, just to get a hint of what to expect, so here is one and the reason he chose this:
I chose this section as an excerpt because this is where Kevin dreams he’s back on his honeymoon with Claire, his wife. His heart swells with joy at being with her again and talking with her. He is soon forced, however, to re-live the greatest suffering he’s ever had to endure, when he wakes to find it was only a dream, and he’s in bed, alone. What begins as a tragic tale has a beautiful message filled with hope.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Start of Excerpt ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kevin glanced over at Claire, who'd closed her eyes for a moment to enjoy the ocean breeze. Her face was bathed in moonlight and her skin warm and soft to the touch. Kevin's heart swelled with emotion as he watched her, the woman who'd brought such joy into his life; his soulmate. His gaze was still fixed on her when Claire suddenly opened her eyes. Following a brief moment of surprise, a beautiful and infectious smile soon broke out on her face, a smile which immediately spread to his as well.
"Why are you staring at me, Kev?"
A great longing and a faint hint of sorrow slowly began gnawing at him. "I'd just forgotten how beautiful and amazing you are, Claire," he said smoothly and with utter sincerity, tracing the curves of her face and shoulders with his hands. "Your emerald green eyes, the extraordinary curves of your face and your body, that brilliant, amazing mind of yours, and your warm and caring personality…what an amazing woman you were!"
"Were?" she asked with surprise. A momentary wave of confusion passed over Kevin’s face, but soon passed.
"No, I mean how beautiful you are, of course!" The couple stared into one another's eyes for several moments before kissing. Her moist lips, her familiar and exciting taste, and her gentle caresses caused a great warmth to flow through him, along with a feeling of bewilderment that she'd chosen him as her husband, and he was so very, very glad that she had.
Afterwards, the two of them lay down on the blanket they’d brought with them to the beach and gazed up at the stars. Claire lay on her side, resting her head on his chest as she was prone to do, and Kevin in turn stroked her hair, as he was prone to do. A peace and serenity passed through him, as it often did when he was with Claire. Her calm and quiet spirit was a constant reminder of her piety, and the love for Jesus Christ that they shared. Their deep and abiding love for God and the depth of their love for one another had forged the kind of bond that few couples ever experienced.
Claire wrapped her arms tightly around him and kissed him again, before laying back down on the blanket to continue staring up at the stars.
"Kevin, do you love me?" she asked him without warning.
Kevin shot up on one arm and leaned over her, staring into her eyes and smiling. "Do I love you? No, I don’t just love you," he said with a playful grin. "I absolutely adore you! After all, I married you, didn’t I?"
"Yes, you did!" she answered with a big smile this time, before pushing him down flat on the blanket and this time suspending herself with her arms so her body remained suspended above his. "I want to ask you something, Kev," she stated with some slight hesitation.
"Ask me anything, Mrs. Foster, I'm yours to command."
"Kev, I know we were just married, but I’d really like to start a family once I wrap up this project I'm working on, if it’s okay with you."
"A family?" Kevin asked.
"Yes, of course. I love you more than I thought I could ever love anyone, and I want nothing more than to have your children."
Kevin kissed her, and smiled like a school boy until his expression changed slightly. "But Claire, what about your work? You’re gone for so long on those expeditions....”
"Yeah, well, I thought maybe I'd make this expedition my last trip out into the field, at least until after the kids are grown. I could take on a fulltime professorship teaching in the classroom. That should enable me to stay close to home so I can spend some quality time with the man I love, and our children."
Once again his heart swelled, recognizing once more, as he had many times in the past, how blessed he was to have Claire in his life. "Then let's do it." The couple locked in a long romantic embrace, until their bliss was interrupted by a strange and unwelcomed sound, which both startled, and for some strange reason he could not fathom, greatly agitated him. The intrusive noise grew ever louder as it seemed to draw closer, causing him to sit-up with a start. He was suddenly overwhelmed by an ugly feeling of dread.
"Claire, what is that sound? Do you hear that?" He waited for several seconds for her to answer, before eventually turning back to her. After he’d turned around, however, he discovered why she hadn’t responded; he was suddenly and inexplicably alone on the blanket. He began to panic and grew momentarily disoriented and confused. Then, the moon and the stars vanished, and the sounds of the ocean ceased.
Kevin opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling for several seconds, until the exceedingly aggravating sound of the alarm clock blaring away next to his bed drove him to sit up and turn it off. It was then that he realized that the time with Claire had been nothing more than a cruel mirage in a desert of suffering, and his heart sank in his chest. He sat on the edge of his bed for some time, dejected and despondent, trying desperately to recapture even a few fleeting moments of bliss from his dream. He recalled her smile, the smell of her hair, her touch, and her words; then, in the privacy of his hotel room, he began to weep.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ End of Excerpt ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you want to learn about Jeff and his novels, you can email him or check him out at the following social media platforms:
Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/8tapc5x
You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/hortonlibrary?feature=mhee