Wednesday 31 August 2022

Novel Review: Aversion by Nate Allen

 I reviewed this novel on 07/08/19 in another blog, now defunct. 



Aversion

For as long as Eric Davis can remember, the name of that distinct carpenter from the bible (“that J name”) has caused him to have severe panic attacks. Living on a religion-free road with his wife, Brooke, and his two children, Fiona and Mitchell, avoidance has done the trick. But things change, as they tend to do. On the day his wife comes home from church (wait, church?) to deliver her life-changing news, Eric is given a peek behind the curtain for his aversion. Dark stairs leading down into a far darker place, long shadows reaching up the walls, reaching for him.

In a last effort to save his marriage and his sanity, he seeks answers to his aversion. The more he discovers about the why, the more he wishes he could close the curtain for good. But he’s already gone too far. To stop now would leave him worse off than before. What waits at the end of his journey is darkness unimaginable and a past that was better buried in the deepest parts of his mind.

Perspective by Peter: 

I was asked by the author to review this novel before its publication date. I found the premise of this novella to be one unique concept. A man who finds he cannot say the name of Jesus! Yet, those who do not believe in Jesus as we see and hear every day, take His name in vain many times!

I wondered what would cause a person to have this aversion. My first thought was that this would have to be of demonic oppression or possession. Was Allen going down this path? In one sense I would not be surprised as it would make for a great plot and fit into the emerging genre of Christian horror (yes, it does exist and has been created in novels successfully based on the Bible, and it is one of my favourite genres! Go here  and here for a perspective on this). But after progressing through the novel, it is not in this vein, as in demon possession, but I feel it borders on such. Allen confirmed this. 

I feel this novel will touch a nerve in many Christians. It did with me and it did with the author, that is why he wrote this! It was the author's past personal experience with a crisis of faith in the face of adverse circumstances that formed the basis of this novel. For me, it was not so much this, but the depiction of spiritual abuse from a church member and the church not doing anything about it. But maybe that is because the Church Pastor and Leadership did not know about it.  But Allen does not mention this in this novella, this is implied by the absence of a Pastor or Leadership Team being included in this novella. My experience is not like Eric's in the novel. I had a stable and loving family and upbringing, but where I can relate to spiritual abuse is what I experienced about 10 years ago from the church I was attending at the time. However, what I experienced was dissimilar to what Allen has depicted concerning Eric, but I can relate to some of the stress and emotions that he experienced. It did evoke in me some of the stress, the anxiety and despair that Eric experienced. Like Eric, I did stand up to this abuse and the abuser. It is the only way to resolve this and heal from such an ordeal. 

Allen has depicted the emotions and mindset of one who is spiritually abused in a way that I believe will resonate not only in those who have experienced this but to those who have not as well. It will give them a good view of what one goes through in this situation. But there is more to Eric's situation than just spiritual abuse, Allen has depicted him in an abandonment scenario. In this case, he suffered rejection, abandonment as a child (at 4 years of age) as punishment for not measuring up to his mother's criteria for pleasing Jesus due to her warped, distorted theology. This is more than the icing on the cake for spiritual abuse, this takes it to the next level. This places the person in the "I am insignificant, I am worthless, unloveable" category, especially for a child of this age. It also keeps the person at the age they experienced the abuse. In Eric's case, as an adult, deep down he remains as a 4-year-old, hungry and thirsty for validation of his existence, his worth as a person, learning about himself and who he is. Instead, he was thrown away, discarded and rejected as if he was nothing of worth and denied at that stage of his life, the love of parents that every child needs and longs for. Allen has Eric describe his behaviour (abuse) to his own 4-year-old,

"...When daddy was little, he got a bad cut......a cut on the inside.....like when you get your feelings hurt......you know what happens when you don't treat a cut properly." 

"It doesn't get better." "Daddy got his feeling hurt when he was four years old too.... but nobody made him feel better."

It is because Allen has constructed this novel based on his personal crisis of faith and the healing he has received that forms a solid base of this novella. Eric's emotions, fear and reactions to his childhood and spiritual abuse is very convincing. So is the attitudes and behaviour of his biological parents who are the main perpetrators of both of his abuses. I found myself reliving some of my spiritual abuse but I also became angry at the perpetrators for the reasons they acted as they did. But it was not just that but the fact that for them, they did not suffer as much of the ill effects of this mentality. As usual, it is the victims of abuse that suffer the most compared to their perpetrators. For Eric's parents, the reasons for their abuse or what influenced them to behave in such a way has overtaken them and ended up defining them, especially his mother. 

It would not surprise me if the quest for the root cause of Eric's inability to say the name of Jesus is based on Allen's own experience with poetic licence added. In the Author's Note, he describes his own journey of faith since his father died. Eric's quest for answers and a relationship with God sparks a determination to keep going. Allen has the same attitude as he describes in his Author's Note. I can relate to that as well from my experience.

I was very disturbed by the spiritual abuse that Allen has thoroughly depicted with more than enough detail. Even though spiritual abuse does not take the same form as he has depicted, it shows the destructive effects on the victims and the perpetrators. This abuse serves to cause both parties to deviate from who they are and what they could be in Christ. Reading the accounts of Eric's mother and the spiritual abuse she metered out to Eric and to all her other "victims" I was struck with the thought that she could well have some form of mental illness that led to her manipulation and misinterpretation of the Bible and its tenets on salvation and being in a righteousness relationship with God. This type of scenario also is ripe for satan or his minions to then reinforce this and use this to reinforce this behaviour and if goes unchecked, leads to eternal damnation in Hell. 

It is for these reasons that the Church needs to not hide or sweep this insidious cancer under the carpet or justify it. Spiritual abuse sets apart the mission of the Church and is in direct opposition to everything the Church is built on, the Bible and especially the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. Spiritual abuse does the opposite, it binds us to sin and destroys any spiritual freedom and right relationship with Christ. No wonder, satan uses every opportunity to his advantage.

The Epilogue has Eric 5 years on from exposing his parents for the abuse he suffered and in a new position of a trained counsellor in child therapy. There is an implication that he is in a right relationship with God but his healing is a work in progress, but he is at peace with himself and with God.  I can see some Christians having an issue with this as their belief is that this healing should not take time but be instant upon accepting Jesus at conversion. But that is them putting God in a box and dictating how He should act. God is not manipulated like this by His created. God knows us and what we need, so depending on the severity of the effects on the abuse on the individual, it may take a longer time for them to work through this but the Spirit of God is always patient and encouraging. I guess this is where the free will comes into play, He wants us to decide to accept Him so He knows the time and events that we need to make that decision and prepares it for us. This even applies to issues like spiritual abuse. Even Allen in his Author's Note attests to this. My experience is the same. 

I pray that this novel will minister to those who have suffered child abandonment and spiritual abuse. The Spirit of God can, will and does use all things, including fiction, to minister to those in need. I have experienced this myself. And Allen does as well, as evidenced by the content in his Author's Note.

This is an enjoyable read but a hard one to read for the most part. Just as Allen portrays in Eric's life, the healing he desperately needed, he has experienced this himself and maybe still experiencing it. So am I. But the reader needs to reflect on Allen's words from his Author's note, 

I was hurt but that doesn't mean He isn't a beautiful Saviour, that doesn't mean He still isn't a perfect and sovereign God-just like Eric discovers by the end, time reveals the purpose of our pain. And I believe my purpose is to write stories that don't follow popular trends, stories that have no real concern with what currently sells, and instead write exactly what God has put in my heart. 

Aversion offers no easy solutions because nothing about this life is easy, including a relationship with Jesus. But that doesn't mean He isn't worth it every single day. He is WORTHY. ALWAYS. 

I am glad to have read this new offering from Allen. It might have just further aided in the healing of my "cut". 

Strongly Recommended.

To buy, share or preview this novel, click on those words on the image below: 

Readers and reviews are an author’s best asset, so I encourage any reader, to consider reading Aversion and then submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to). Reviews help promote an author’s novel to potential readers and encourage the author to keep writing.

They also help promote the author’s message (and God’s message) to the reader, whether Christian or not, who may need encouragement and support in their lives while being entertained by the story.

Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I am required to disclose that book cover images or titles of novels in this post are paid links if they are linked to Amazon and result in a sale.

Interview with Tim Frankovich And His Debut Novel, Until All Curses Are Lifted.

 I interviewed Tim on 13/08/19 in another blog, now defunct. 

Today, I am interviewing Tim Frankovich about his debut novel, Until All Curses Are Lifted. Tim used to have a website called Christian Fiction Review where he would review and showcase Christian Fiction. It was Tim and CFR that encouraged me to start reviewing all those years ago! It is my pleasure to now interview him about his new novel.

So let's get started! 

Welcome Tim! Thanks for stopping by!

How about we start with you telling us what inspired you to become an author? Has it always been a desire of yours to write?

It actually has. I started drawing stick figure comic strips when I was in 3rd grade. By the time I hit junior high, I had written four or five “novels,” which were highly derivative of other fantasies and mysteries I had read. Most were set in a Narnia-style world with talking dinosaurs. I re-wrote some of those stories multiple times all the way up until the birth of my first child. After that, I abandoned writing for years, figuring it was just one of those things that I had to sacrifice to be a good parent. Only in the last few years did I realize that I could come back to writing without it consuming all my time. As to what inspired me… that's hard to say. Comic books, Godzilla movies, and all the books I could read, I suppose.

You’re currently promoting your new novel Until All Curses Are Lifted. Can you tell us what it’s about?

Marshal has been cursed from birth because of his father’s sins. When his half-brother sends an assassin after him, he flees for his life, but he has to do more than just escape. If he ever wants to live without fear, he has to find a way to lift the curse.

Seri wants to become the first female master mage. But no sooner does she begin her training than the earth begins to shake. The magic that holds the world together is deteriorating. When Seri discovers a unique ability, she must use it to help discover the problem with the world's magic, and maybe a cure.

Needless to say, their stories are connected…

What inspired you to write this novel? Has any of your favourite authors influenced this novel?

When I decided to take writing seriously again, my first work was a YA novel (with dragons!). It didn’t get any traction for a while, so I started thinking about what I would write next. I went through my old notes and ideas and found the beginnings of a fantasy story that a friend and I concocted back in college. After some brainstorming, I combined it with another idea and started writing.

Yes, my favorites have influenced it. 

I can imagine some of them would have been introduced to you when you reviewed their novels in Christian Fiction Review. That was a great resource and I loved getting each new review from you. I picked up so many novels from that resource. I thank you for what you did with that website. You were one of the inspirations for my own review blog!

Thank you. I enjoyed that period of my life, and it definitely played a part in preparing me for getting back into writing. Congrats on your website. I know how much work that involves!

My favorite authors include the obvious: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis - I have entire shelves dedicated to their works and writings about their works. But for living writers, my favorites are Stephen Lawhead, Brandon Sanderson, and James Byron Huggins. All three have influenced me in different ways: Lawhead for gritty descriptions that put you into the moment; Sanderson for incredible depth of world-building and fantastic climaxes; and Huggins for fast-paced action scenes. Toss Larry Hama into that action category too.

You have stated that Until All Curses Are Lifted is not a Christian novel in the sense of most of the Christian fiction you have read and reviewed over the years but you have taken something specific from the Bible and transplanted it to a different world and asked, “What if….?” This places your novel in the genre of speculative fiction. What have you specifically taken from the Bible for this novel? Or would that be too much of a spoiler?

I think “What if…?” is one of the greatest questions a writer can ask himself. What if Moses presented the moral law (Ten Commandments, etc.) to disparate tribes in a world where magic was real? And what if the magicians thought this was such a great idea, they should use magic to enforce it? And then what if Moses himself… oh, wait. That would be a spoiler…

As a writer who happens to be a Christian, I feel like I'm walking a narrow line. I write the stories that come to me. C.S. Lewis said “The first business of a story is to be a good story.” That’s all I want to do. Unfortunately, because of who I am, my work is generally going to be pigeon-holed. It's frustrating, because I want a wider audience.

Is my novel a “Christian” novel because most of the people in it have monotheistic beliefs? So do most of the people in Patrick Rothfuss’s novels, but he’s not called a Christian writer (and doesn't claim to be, I don't think). Mormon writers like Sanderson or David Farland don't get pigeon-holed, yet they include religious ideas throughout their stories.

So… it's hard to answer all of this.

Despite your novel not being in a similar vein to what you have read and reviewed, is there a Christian message or Biblical theme(s) running through it?

Theme? Yes. Preaching? No. In that sense, I would say grace versus law. It’s an important concept that I struggled with a lot as an adult. This book only begins to touch on that theme, but I hope to keep going with it, which leads to…

I visited your author website and noticed you have the next novel, Until All Bonds Are Broken, in the draft stage. Is this going to be trilogy? What can you disclose about this next novel?

In my current outline, the series has four books. I put up the progress counter to show that I’m not George R.R. Martin; I really am working on the next book. :)

I can't say much yet, since very few people have read the first book, but the story continues with the same characters (and some new ones). The scope widens, etc.

The title is referencing The Laws of Cursings and Bindings that govern the land, as described in the first book.

Some authors wait until a series is established with a few of its novels published and then release a prequel (or two!). Any plans for this in this series?

I have no prequel plans right now.

Who is your favourite character in the novel and why?

Tough question. It shifts constantly. I started almost exclusively focused on Marshal, but then Seri grew into such a wonderful character. Meanwhile, I have this problem with Kishin the assassin. He’s sooo interesting, but if I focus too much on him, it would derail the main story. He’s best in small doses. (Plus, if he was around too much, everyone else would be dead…)

As I’m writing the second book, my favorites keep shifting. Ask me next week and it would probably be different.

From the novel’s description on Amazon, you have mentioned Marshal and Seri as main characters. Am I joining the correct dots in that romance develops between them?

You can ship all the characters you want. I will neither confirm nor deny any romantic theories until they actually play out! Good try, Peter! LOL!

Do you show or imply the origin of magic in this novel? The inclusion of magic and it being a foundation of the novel’s world-building is a hot topic amongst Christian readers and authors. It is usually seen as a demonic and therefore considered not be in a novel written by a Christian, or in a novel with Biblical themes. However, a lot of Christian authors include magic in their novels. What are your thoughts on this?

It's a different world. It’s: “what if this world existed, and magic was a part of it?” I don’t worry about it any further than that.

That being said, the “origin” of this world’s magic is a subject of some debate late in the novel…

As far as world-building goes, what can we expect from this series? Maps, prophecy, other realms, other beings, supernatural power, unique language, history?

The book has a map. One prophecy has been alluded to. I do introduce a fantasy race that, as far as I know, is fairly unique. Lots of history. I’m toying with a unique language, but only a few words show up. There have been hints of some other things, but I can’t say more. Spoilers.

Why have you classified this novel as epic fantasy? What makes this so?

The term epic fantasy is usually a reference to scope. While the focus in this novel is on two specific people and what is happening in their individual lives, their choices and actions impact the entire known world. You could also call it high fantasy, as it takes place entirely in another world (or worlds).

You offer a free short story when someone joins your mailing list on your website, The Leper’s Second Kill. What is this about? Any connection to your novel?

Yes, it does! One of the minor (but important!) characters in the novel is an assassin named Kishin. This short story shows part of his origin. It’s not a happy story. It’s not necessary for the storyline of the novel, but it’ll be interesting to people who want to know more about him. It also contains a hint or two of something that may come up in the next book…

What kind of reaction are you hoping to receive from readers? 

In my author bio, I say that my goal as a writer is to transport readers to another world, make them care deeply about characters in dire situations, and guide them deeper into life itself. That’s kind of my credo, both for this novel and everything else I write.

What was the hardest part of writing your novel?

When I started, I wanted to give myself a challenge to really work my writing muscles, so to speak. I hadn’t decided on the nature of Marshal’s curse at first. Then I settled on the inability to communicate. He can't talk, he can’t learn sign language, nothing. Do you know how hard it was to get inside his head? What does that do to a person? I hope I succeeded, but that was quite a challenge.

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

Eric Liddell, the Olympic gold medalist in the 1920s, once said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.” That’s the same for me. God made me full of stories. And when I write them, I feel his pleasure.

What advantages or challenges do you think does a writer in your genre face in today’s fiction market?

It's crowded. I just did an Amazon search for the Epic Fantasy category and there are over 40,000 results. Trying to find a way to stand out, to break out from that crowd is a huge challenge. I won’t know if I’ve succeeded at that for some time, probably.

Fantasy readers are a picky lot, and they can afford to be choosy with all these options. If a story doesn’t have solid world-building, plus compelling characters, PLUS a good plot, it won't get far.

When writing, how do you keep track of timelines, ideas, inspiration and such? By notes on the computer, a notebook perhaps?

I use everything I can. My primary software is Scrivener, which lets me make all kinds of notes and such, all over the place. Then I have some plain spiral-bound notebooks that I fill with brainstorming, character arcs, and so on. For the timeline in this novel, I had to set up a spreadsheet to keep track of the days, so I knew what was going on with one character while another character was doing something else, etc.

Do you prefer to extensively plot your stories (plotter), or do you write them as they come to you (pantser)? 

I’m a little of both. I write out a broad plot, and I have very specific scenes in my head from the beginning (usually the climax). But then as I write, new things tend to happen because of the characters. If I’ve done my job in giving the characters full personalities and motivations, sometimes they’ll decide to do things that I did not plot. Seri does this to me all the time. I almost can’t plan her side of the story.

Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write? 

It’s definitely fantasy. I could read it all day. But I also enjoy some sci-fi, a little mystery and suspense.

Where can readers find you? What are your social media platforms:

I’m on Twitter: https://twitter.com/timfrankovich

My Facebook author page: facebook.com/timfrankovichauthor

And of course, my website: timfrankovich.com

I have Instagram, but I forget about it for weeks at a time, post a random photo, then proceed to forget again.

Tim, that ends our interview! I have enjoyed this. Thank you for giving us some great insights into you as an author and your novel. I am looking forward to reading Until All The Curses Are Lifted.  Please consider returning when your next novel is released. You are very welcome!


To buy, preview or share Until All Curses Are Lifted, click on those words in the image below:

Readers and reviews are an author’s best asset, so I encourage any reader, to consider reading Until All Curses Are Lifted then submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to). Reviews help promote an author’s novel to potential readers and encourage the author to keep writing. 


Reviews also help promote the author’s message (and God’s message) to the reader, whether Christian or not, who may need encouragement and support in their lives while being entertained by the story.

Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I am required to disclose that book cover images or titles of novels in this post are paid links if they are linked to Amazon and result in a sale.

Monday 29 August 2022

Review: Alien Revelation (The Unveiling, Sons of God Chronicles, Book 1) by Gary W. Ritter.

 I reviewed Alien Revelation on 02/09/19 in another blog, now defunct.

Alien Revelation (The Unveiling).

When Kari Shelton experiences an alien abduction, her life turns upside down. Aliens have ruled the earth since World War II, but Kari's encounter changes everything she's believed. No longer is she ambivalent about the Watcher's religion. She becomes a fervent worshiper of the Nine Mighty Ones, the greatest of these aliens, who are helping mankind, restoring the harmony of the earth from the distortions caused by malcontents, and enabling humans to evolve into gods like the Watchers. 

Kari's beliefs are challenged when a close friend questions the intent of the aliens and how benevolent they truly are toward humanity. Against her better judgement, she engages in pursuit of an object that puts her at odds with the Watchers. Chased by Nephilim, their giant hybrid offspring, Kari must make a final decision as to where her loyalties lie. Behind this quest is the secret of the Watchers. Making the wrong choice will cost Kari her life.

Perspective by Peter: 

I was given an advanced review copy for an honest review by the author when I stated I was looking forward to reading this when it will be released. 

Now having read this, all I can say is WOW! What a ride! This novel never lets up. I was engaged throughout and found it hard to put down and return to reality. On one level, if you knew nothing of the spiritual elements of the issues that are included, you would be thoroughly entertained; this is pure escapism and you will consider this novel as unique religious science fiction and fantasy. On another level, I can see readers who have read about but do not believe in the spiritual and Biblical aspects of these topics will be up in arms about it, considering it to be blasphemy, heresy and offensive to the Bible and God. Yet on a third level, there are those readers who are into apologetical and eschatological fiction that will see that this is a well-crafted novel and one that espouses Biblical Truth" that is applied well in its interpretation and application to the concepts and topics in this novel. 

However, I can say that it is the very topics in this novel that led me to read and now review Christian fiction all those years ago. Alien Revelation contains story arcs that involve the Nephilim from Genesis 6:1-4,  

When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves.  And the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men. (HCSB version)

One of the very first Christian novels I read was on the topic of the Nephilim and explored the issue of whether they could be redeemed. This was called Dwellers by Roger Elwood, now out of print. This was my first introduction into who and what the Nephilim were. This led to me investigating many more Christian novels on this topic and many associated topics that go hand in hand with the Nephilim. Some depicted well and true to the Biblical account while some that have so much poetic licence that it is no longer based on the Bible and the author's theology is skewed. No longer a Christian novel but one that dishonours the God of the Bible and His Word. Sure, this whole topic of the Nephilim has also given secular authors much fodder for their novels and the use of poetic licence, but not being Christian or having a right relationship with Christ, they do not believe they have any boundaries such as adhering to Biblical doctrine or being answerable to God. Not their worldview. 

Ritter has obviously employed poetic licence in this novel, it is necessary for such a storyline as this. However, he has employed it that it does not detract from any Biblical doctrine or does not dishonour God and does not glorify the satanic/demonic in this novel. All the topics that seem to be associated with the Nephilim, (the Watchers, fallen angels, alien deception, eschatology, UFOs, alien abductions) he has brought together in a seamless narrative that ties it all together. This novel flows at a fast pace without the characters appearing flat and unrelatable. With so much going on simultaneously both with its events and the characters, it is neither predominantly a plot-driven nor character-driven novel but a balance of the two of them. And it is very effective in this way.

I wondered who Ritter had consulted or what resources outside of the Bible he investigated in constructing this novel. Two names I am familiar with; Paradox Brown and Guy Malone. The latter was who I came across in the early days of my investigation relating to the topic of the Nephilim and their association with fallen angels, UFOs, demonic deception and eschatology. This definitely increased my eagerness in getting into the novel and seeing where Ritter was going with this storyline. Not disappointed whatsoever!

I did wonder if the nine Watchers/Mighty Ones were purely out of Ritter's imagination or was there some basis of their origin in other recorded accounts. I contacted Ritter regarding the origin of the Mighty Ones and this is what he replied,

I’m trying to think where I got the concept of the Mighty Ones.  It may have been from either Dave Hunt book or Terry James, where the idea of nine major demonic rulers is mentioned—I believe that concept comes from ancient literature.  In that book, whichever it was, the archon were specifically referenced.  I took that and made the rulers the Arkays (Mighty Ones). 
 
From Genesis 6, we have the original fallen angels, really sons of God who aren’t necessarily angels per se.  They’re in Tartarus.  My Arkays come from the batch of fallen divine beings, essentially the same as those in Tartarus, but these think they’ve figured out a loophole.  The original ones had direct intercourse with human women.  (The Mighty Ones) think that because they aren’t directly inseminating in a physical manner, rather use IVF, that this skirts the transgression that caused their brethren to inhabit the abyss.  Because it results in the same end, i.e. the creation of Nephilim whose purpose ultimately is to taint the human bloodline, we come up with their modern incarnation and because of that they earn God’s wrath just like their forebears.
 
Regarding "all the fallen angels are imprisoned in Tartartus”,1 I don’t believe that at all.  If you accept Heiser’s Divine Council2, which I absolutely do, then the nations are ruled by the corrupt sons of God.  I think they could absolutely be the same divine “species” as those now in Tartarus.  It’s just that they haven’t transgressed the divine-human boundary of “marrying” human women.
 
1This quote is mine from my question to Gary Ritter concerning what the Bible says about the fallen angels in 2 Peter 2:4-6
 

I researched Paradox's website (www.paradoxbrown.com) and discovered a chapter from her online book, A Modern Guide to Demons and Fallen Angels: Chapter 3: The Second Wave of Fallen Angels. It is too lengthy and detailed to quote here and her take on it definitely supports a plausible existence of the Mighty Ones in this novel and seems to align itself with Ritter's take on it as he has quoted above.

I learnt something from all this! I was convinced that all the fallen angels were imprisoned in Tartarus as the Bible states in 2 Peter 2:4-6

For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but threw them down into Tartarus[a] and delivered them to be kept in chains[b] of darkness until judgment;and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others,[c] when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; and if He reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to ruin,[d] making them an example to those who were going to be ungodly;[eHolman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

But both Heiser and Brown show this to not be the case, that there was a second wave of fallen angels. I am sure this will be controversial to some Christians. But both of these offer persuasive arguments for this premise and base their arguments on the background to the biblical evidence and the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek definitions. Both resources (Heiser and Brown as linked above) are worth investigating for the discerning and inquisitive reader. 

One criticism of Christian fiction directed at its authors is that of the novel having a character being preachy or giving long monologues of bible quotes and sermonising about a given topic. Personally, I don't mind this as in most cases if done well it is a necessary explanation of the novel's themes, events or other topics.  In Christian fiction, I like to be not just entertained but, 

    • my walk with God to be uplifted and strengthened,
    • the novel has not deviated from known biblical doctrine, and it will not, I believe, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine,
    • God is honoured,
    • Worship of the created (eg angels, fallen or unfallen) instead of the Creator (God) is not promoted.

In this novel, the demon/alien deception and oppression and criminal offence to be a Christian or talk about anything relating to Christianity or the Bible is the ideology of the day and the Mighty Ones and the neo-Nephilim enforce this in order to brainwash humanity into them being considered gods who have come to Earth to assist them into evolving to their next level of consciousness and heal the planet due to man's misuse and abuse of it, namely in its overpopulation. Ritter has constructed this plot arc to have originated as a consequence of WWII so there are a few generations who know no better and have accepted this as the norm.

Enter our main character, Kari. She is one of the majority who believes that the Mighty Ones are the gods who have come to be the saviour of mankind and strives to be a devoted follower, pleasing them at every opportunity. Now, to get back to this criticism aimed at Christian authors. Kari learns through various events that the Mighty Ones are not what and who they claim to be. In the process of this, she learns that banned Christianity, with its eradicated book, the Bible, might just be the Truth behind who these Mighty Ones really are. In order for this to happen, various underground Christians have to explain all the biblical doctrines and events in the Bible to her and yes, there is a certain amount of biblical monologue but this is not long or intense. It is not like some other Christian novels where it is dumped into the plot and sticks out like a sore thumb leaving the reader wondering why it is there and what is its purpose at this point in the novel, if at all. Or it comes across as a poor effort to support the novel's Biblical theme. 

Ritter has included it and constructed it to provide a solid basis for the deception of the Mighty Ones and for her to see that this is a battle between God and the fallen angels, where mankind is a means to their ends. It also illustrates how the Gospel message is directly related to this battle and involves and is centred around the salvation and redemption of mankind. Just as Ritter's world-building regarding the alien deception of the Mighty Ones is solid and supports the action, adventure and suspense, so do his structure and development of the biblical and spiritual elements. And this latter is crucial to the portrayal of the Biblical reality that this novel espouses that we see in today's world. Ritter succeeds here and he does it very well. It definitely shows why he writes from a Christian /Biblical worldview.

It would not surprise me if this development either sows seeds of faith or waters the same in the mind and heart of the unbeliever. I even found Ritter's delivery of the Gospel message and other Biblical explanations refreshing. It reminded me strongly of my own conversion many decades ago. I pray that this would have the same effect on the many Christian readers of this novel. Just looking at all the dialogue between the Christian characters when they were witnessing and ministering to Kari concerning the Biblical tenets and doctrines of the Gospel reads like a fictional bible study story! It has been proven that we learn best when it is in an entertaining format and fiction is a great platform for this no matter what the subject. I am encouraged that authors like Ritter use this to their best ability.

I was impressed with Ritter's depiction of Kari's conversion. Despite it being under such extreme and dire circumstances it is a powerful testimony to the power of the Word and the living out of this Word by those Christians who witnessed to Kari." It reminded me so much of the persecution of Christians in countries around the world whose governments are hostile to Christianity, God and the Bible who torture Christians in similar ways or worse than what Ritter has depicted. And just as these seven Christians were tortured and crucified for their faith it was this sacrificial act that had such a profound impact on Kari that it convinced her who the God of the Bible is and led to her instantly to her accepting Him. She also sees Him as Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscience and Omnipresent when she sees the Mighty Ones and neo-Nephilim. Ritter has not just kept this conversion scene brief and bland, as in some other novels, but has shown the depth of emotion as she realises what her life has indeed been sinful and has separated her from God leading to Jesus being the propitiation of her sin and of humankind.

I was further impressed when Ritter showed how once in right relationship with Jesus that the Christian has been given His authority over demonic and satanic principalities" .Kari knew once she accepted Jesus what she had to do and showed no hesitation in doing it. Crying out to Jesus, He answers her and instructs her to rebuke Arkay-ena. Ritter has portrayed the Biblical use of this authority. After a brief rebuke to this Watcher, she asserts her authority in Christ as given to her through her salvation, 

"I declare this in the Name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names, the One before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess, that He is Lord, to the glory of God Almighty"

and later in a final confrontation she again spoke with her authority in Christ, 

The Lord rebuke you Arkay-ena and all your kind. In the name of Jesus who rules and reigns far above you, I tell you that He is in charge. It is His way that prevails. Your are nothing and have nothing in His sight.

I pray this depiction of the Christian's authority in Christ gives encouragement that we are not to be afraid to use this when under spiritual attack. It is our right to use it as given to us by God and it is expected for us to do so we are not under the dominion of satan.

I have read many novels like this that involve the Nephilim and the demonic deception of The Watchers. This one is up there with a few others. I am impressed with this offering from Ritter. I have yet to read his other novels, but if this is what he creates, then I am leading his fan club and promoting him in any way I can! I cannot wait for the next instalment of this Biblically sound, uplifting, edifying, engaging, compelling, and entertaining series.

Highly recommended. 

The three ratings below are based on my discernment:

World Building 5/5

Characters 5/5

Story 5/5

The two classifications below are based on the booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland:

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

______________________________________________

Spiritually, based on my review and on the aforementioned reference booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland (Radiqx Press) and that Alien Revelation contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, together with David Bergsland we bestow to Gary W. Ritter,

The Reality Calling Redemptive Fiction Award

 

Congratulations, Gary!

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Interview: Gary W. Ritter and his new novel, Alien Revelation: The Unveiling (Sons of God Chronicles, Book 1).

I interviewed Gary Ritter on 10/09/19 on another blog, now defunct. 

Today I am interviewing novelist, Gary Ritter, author of Alien Revelation, released on 4th September. I volunteered to review this novel when I discovered it on a Facebook post.


I am fascinated by the topic of fallen angels and their offspring, the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6: 1-4, and the physical and spiritual implications and evidence throughout history leading to their re-emergence before Jesus' return.


Being very impressed with this novel with its adherence to the Biblical account of this topic and the spiritual warnings from God concerning fallen angels and Nephilim, I wanted the backstory to Ritter's novel so I offered to interview him about it.


So sit back and let Gary expound on these topics.


Gary, thanks for stopping by to discuss your novel and the topic of fallen angels, the Nephilim and God's judgement of them. How about you start by telling us a little about yourself.

We see where a lot of authors have wanted to write since their youth. I never had that desire. One dirty little secret I have from grade school, that I immortalized in one of the short stories written for the Faithwriters Challenge and included in one of my short story books, deals with a young man (me, more or less) who’s given a school writing assignment. This young man loves to read comic books and plagiarizes a story for his assignment. The teacher is impressed with his writing and gives him an ‘A’ but his guilt keeps him from enjoying the purloined fruits. Was that the genesis of my writing but to stay honest as I do it?

The one thing I do know is that toward the end of an acrimonious divorce, I had a desire to write that seemed to come out of the blue. Obviously, it was God nudging me in that direction, although at the time, since I didn’t know Him then, the reason was unclear. The first couple of books were highly autobiographical for my situation in that period and not very good. Over time I worked out my frustrations and was able to begin working on my craft.

You seem to want to say more! Please continue!

In my early days at college, I began seeking beyond what I knew in coming from a fairly sheltered neighborhood where I grew up. That seeking led to drugs and to Eastern religions. Both were subtle and alluring. Within a few years, however, I stopped both. It was inconvenient to drop acid and too much work to pursue nirvana. My work life kicked in and that was much of my focus.

I had a sense of morality, but I didn’t know why I should do or not do certain things. I believed in God and actually prayed the Lord’s Prayer and “Now I lay me down to sleep…” many nights.  God was watching over me and subtly drawing me to Himself.  It wasn’t until my third marriage and many years of not knowing God in any way other than in those prayers that He broke through. My wife and I visited a B&B for a weekend. I’ve always loved to read, so I inevitably peruse bookshelves. The Inn had the Left Behind Collection in the study. It looked interesting, and I told my wife I planned to read it. When we both did, that changed everything. I intuitively knew I was in big trouble with God. The truth behind the fiction came through loud and clear. That led to our seeking a church, finding the right one on the first try (God has been so gracious to us in this whole area of finding good churches), and soon after we both got saved.

One of the things I’ve believed wholeheartedly in my walk with the Lord is that I must read His Word in order to know Him. Pastor Hal, my first pastor, told me that it was important that I read the Bible daily. Not knowing any better, I took his instruction to heart. He gave me a Bible-in-a-Year reading plan and I’ve done that faithfully and more every year. It’s a discipline and a habit that God has used in my life to impart to me what He’s wanted me to know. I still give others that same reading through the Bible tract; in fact, I just did so again today.

You have just published your new novel, Alien Revelation. Can you tell us what it’s about? 

The “what if” of the story is: What if aliens appeared and changed the course of life on earth? I placed them as having come at the height of World War II, causing the war to come to a screeching halt because they made all weapons inoperable at the time. Fast forward to today in a world seventy years hence, one that has lived under the dominion of the aliens. Kari Shelton doesn’t know any other life. She and her husband Geoff have their marital issues that he exacerbates by wanting a child not allowed in society. That results in an unpleasant encounter with their alien masters that affects both their lives. Ultimately, Kari is challenged in her beliefs and begins searching for an object that has been banned and mostly eliminated from the world. That quest puts her at odds with their alien overlords and could cost Kari her life.

What inspired you to write this novel? Where did the idea come from? 

I spend an hour or so exercising every day. I’m disgustingly regular in this habit. I’ll usually watch sports on the weekends when I exercise but have migrated generally from listening to the radio on weekdays during this time to watching various YouTube teachings. I’m not a music guy except in worship which, by the way, I love to do, but usually only in a church setting. I like to learn and be challenged. That has led me into some interesting YouTube content.

Somehow, I found AlienResisitance, which has numerous videos from their Ancient of Days conference they held in Roswell, NM, as a Christian alternative to the various goings-on during the annual Roswell UFO festival. Guy Malone and Paradox Brown were a major part of this, so I’ve also read much of what they’ve written on alien encounters and UFOs. Dr Michael S. Heiser was one of the speakers at Ancient of Days, so that’s where I was introduced to him.

All this alien and UFO information from a Christian perspective intrigued me. Over time that interest turned into thinking about my book concept.

What type of research have you conducted for this novel? Did you refer to the Book of Enoch, the book of Jubilees, the Book of Jasper or the Book of the Giants? 

I wish I could say I had such deep reading prior to writing the book, but I didn’t. Only recently have I read Enoch. Most of my learning came from various Malone-Brown teachings and books, with a little bit of Heiser thrown in after I’d written much of the story.

Have you read any Christian novels or secular ones regarding the Nephilim and/or Watchers/Fallen Angels? You are a fan of Michael Heiser. Have you read his Facade Saga that deals with these topics and their history? 

I recently downloaded The Fa├žade but haven’t gotten to it yet. Dave Hunt and Terry James are both inspirations to me with some of their works. Subsequent to my writing Alien Revelation, Peter Younghusband recommended Gods They Had Never Known to me. I loved that!  How I wish I was smart enough to have written it! I’ve recommended the book to several people as I also have Heiser’s The Unseen Realm, which is a must-read for anyone desiring to understand God’s bigger plans and purposes that we simply aren’t taught in our everyday Christian walk.

The topic of the Nephilim and the Watchers is a controversial one amongst Christians, whether they are scholars (those who are qualified to study the Biblical and non-Biblical texts and study apologetics) or everyday Christian who has some knowledge or conducted some investigation into these two topics. I would not be surprised if those who have researched like yourself have been either excommunicated from their denomination, been called a heretic or been ridiculed for any connection with these topics. Just the topic of the Nephilim or fallen angels can be enough to make one tread carefully with other Christians! I remember being cautioned by an Elder when he heard me talking about a novel on this topic with someone at church.

Have you had any negative or challenging conversations with other Christians when they discovered you were writing a novel on these topics?

As I was learning about the implications of the Genesis 6 account of the fallen angels (actually rebellious sons of God), I had a discussion with my pastor. Like so many people in the church, he believes in the supernatural aspects of the virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection, the miracles, etc., but the idea that heavenly beings could procreate with humans was inconceivable to him. His argument was that only God had the creative power to bring forth life. Of course, that begs the question, “How do we do it?” My pastor stood on Matthew 22:30 that after the resurrection people won’t marry, just like the angels in heaven. I’ve thought about that a lot since then. One of my counter-arguments is that Jesus could very well have meant that people at that point in time won’t marry. I think there’s a good case to be made that in the New Heavens and New Earth, God may once again declare to His human—now divine—family to “go forth, multiply, and subdue the [new] earth.” In addition, it may well be that the angels choose with their free will not to transgress the boundaries God has put in place, not that they can’t have sex and procreate.

I’ve actually been very fortunate in my church about all this. I proposed to my pastor that I do a series of teachings on The Unseen Realm, and he gave me he go-ahead to do it. After I did the two nights I had planned, he even asked me to teach a third on the subject, so he’s had some challenges to his original thinking through all this.

What obstacles did you encounter while developing this novel? How did you overcome these?

Although I was familiar with the concept of world-building in science fiction, I’d never actually written anything that required that line of thinking. As I started writing the story, I realized I had to deal with certain logistical issues. The Nephilim and humans frequented the same buildings and drove on the same roads. That meant that the world had changed drastically to accommodate these massive beings. From there I had to think through how these two species lived together.

Because I had a pretty good handle on New Age and occult deception, the concepts that the Watchers introduced to the world came pretty easily to me.  Of course, the aliens want nothing more than to help us. Why wouldn’t they be an advanced race that had evolved? Given their benevolence, doesn’t it make sense that they could show us how to eventually become like them through many reincarnated lifetimes? Those kinds of ideas certainly tickle people’s ears these days.

What are your thoughts on whether the Nephilim can be redeemed? 

Biblically, you’ve really got two incarnations of Nephilim, those before the flood, and those after. The initial Nephilim resulted from the union of God’s rebellious sons procreating with human women. I think most people who have considered this believe that those Nephilim who died in the flood became what we today call demons, i.e. disembodied spirits. Those “first generation” Nephilim, with direct “angelic” lineage, absolutely could not be redeemed.

I think this question comes into play following the flood in two ways. In some manner, we have giants after the flood.  At that point, they’re called Rephaim. Different theories abound, but I personally like the idea that Ham’s wife carried contaminated DNA. It’s through that line only that we have the Canaanites and the various giant tribes.  These giants didn’t result from direct insemination by divine beings. These were second, third, and who knows how many generations of human conception, but by those whose blood was contaminated. They still had Watcher DNA floating around.  In every single case with these groups, God instructed the Israelites to “devote them to destruction.” They and even their animals in many instances were to be completely annihilated. It doesn’t leave much room for redemption.  Even the giants that were left in Gath, David and his men ultimately killed.

Then we come to the possibility that in these latter days we might see another wave of Nephilim through additional rebellion of God’s sons. If this happens, likely during the Tribulation, again I would think that first-generation Nephilim would have the same fate as their forebears.  From them, we’d have more demons.  If second-gen Nephs come into the picture, it might be a different story with Jesus on the scene. On the other hand, the odds against their redemption during those awful seven years might be prohibitive. The delusion that will encompass humanity will be so great that it would truly take an act of God to break through to the hearts of these giant beings. I don’t know that I discount it, but we’re talking a pretty great uphill climb for it to happen.

That question is an example of a topic that polarizes Christians. Some Christians believe that Jesus’ death on the Cross was for the redemption of mankind only yet others believe that His death could also be for other entities or even other life forms on other planets. What do you think of this?

First, you have to believe there might indeed be life elsewhere. I can’t conclude, certainly Biblically, that there’s currently life on other planets. The whole issue revolves around free will, sin, and who did Jesus die for? He died for humanity—for us. He didn’t die for someone on Alpha Centauri. How would they know? 

I had an interesting discussion with someone the other day who contacted me in response to a blog entry I wrote on how we limit God, particularly during the New Heavens and New Earth, which I touched upon earlier.  This fellow thinks as I do that not only will God put us to work in recreating Eden on earth, as Dr Heiser suggests, but that God may put us to work elsewhere in the universe. He wasn’t taking the Mormon position of us being gods of those planets, he was simply speculating that perhaps God’s work for us is even more expansive than what we might do on this world. Beats me. The one thing I do know is that God won’t have us sitting around on our clouds playing our harps and eating heavenly bon-bons all day for eternity.

You have stated on your blog that few pastors preach on Bible prophecy and end-times events and you have added alien abductions to this list. Why do you think that there is this lack of preaching on these topics? 


My personal attitude is that there seems to be a lack of effective teaching from Pastors and the Church in general on the topic of the Watchers, Nephilim, fallen angels and I agree with you on your list!

 Let’s first separate pastors who are still true to God’s calling from those who have fallen off the deep end and no longer bother to hold to the Word of God. Those who are still true to the faith are generally either ill-equipped to address these issues or are simply fearful of offending or sounding like crackpots.  (Don’t want to lose those sitting in the pews who fill the coffers!). The Book of Revelation intimidates people. They consider it too esoteric, too potentially symbolic to decipher, and as a result, don’t even attempt to understand it. Revelation is full of symbolism, but it also interprets that symbolism to a large extent. Also, if we read Revelation literally as we generally do every other book in the Bible, in the context of Ancient Israel in which it was written, and to the people at the time who understood that context, I think we can get pretty close to knowing what the Apostle John was communicating. It takes some digging—work! heaven forbid—but God intended to communicate to His people that which is to come. When we ignore Bible prophecy—Revelation and all other prophetic Scripture—we’re essentially telling God that His Word doesn’t matter to us.

We’ve had “aliens” with us a long time, albeit in different forms. Think, fairies, goblins, and the bogeyman in the closet. Our adversary simply adapts to the times. We’ve been inundated by alien stories since Roswell in 1947 (which, by the way, I think Guy Malone at Alien Resistance quite effectively debunks). Since then, Hollywood, the media, and the government (ours and others worldwide) have primed the world for an alien invasion of sorts; at the very least, to believe that aliens are the cause of something very dramatic. What could that be? I’d say the Rapture fits that bill. The world will need an explanation after that incredible event that has disappeared so many people. Aliens works for me. As a result, why shouldn’t we talk about that from the pulpit?

The aftermath of the Rapture leading into the Tribulation (I’m a proponent of the gap theory of at least 3.5 years based on the required Ezekiel cleanup following the Gog-Magog war) will be one of great chaos and questioning. If for no other reason than to warn our families and friends who are left behind, we should at least tell them of the possibility of this deception. Will they hear? Will they remember? Is there a second chance for those who heard the Gospel before the Rapture and chose not to trust in Jesus?  Now there’s a Scriptural crapshoot.

Briefly, as to the pastors who have already turned to heresies and apostasy, well, we wouldn’t expect them to preach much Biblical truth, especially when it comes to prophesy. The stakes are too high against them.

Speaking of these topics that Pastors are not preaching about, do you feel the same can be said for spiritual warfare? 

That may have more to do with the particular church. I imagine Pentecostal or charismatic churches place more emphasis on this because there’s at least an acknowledgement of spiritual gifts. Because the gifts can be used to combat spiritual oppression of various forms, warfare is integral to that whole area.

You don’t want to see demons behind every bush. Much of our troubles come from ourselves or others because of our sin nature and the depravity that follows. But Satan and his fallen brothers are very real and quite active in the world. We’d better be prepared to wage war against them.

That brings up the other aspect of this, i.e. that Satan isn’t operating alone. Heiser’s The Unseen Realm helps us see this clearly. Rebellious spiritual entities are much more prevalent than we generally realize. References to this unseen realm are fife throughout Scripture. Because we’re not taught about it, we pass over those applicable verses as oddities. That’s one of the most revelatory things I’ve been learning lately.

I ask this as this is my experience from the various denominations I have been part of over the past 30 years. What I have learned about spiritual warfare is directly from the Bible, Christian websites that deal with its application and hermeneutics. And one not obvious or expected source, Christian fiction! Your novel is one of those!!

You depict, very powerfully, Kari using spiritual warfare, notably rebuking the Watchers by using the Name of Jesus to break the Mighty Ones’ demonic power and influence over her and her fellow Christians. I was so impressed when you depicted this as it is one part of spiritual warfare that is very important, but one I find that most Christians do not practice, they seem to be scared/wary of it, do not believe it is necessary, or do not see that they have the authority given to them from God to do this when they become Christians. Yet some are just ignorant of this reality and practice or what the Bible instructs about it. What are your thoughts on this? 

Aside from the Left Behind Collection impacting me so strongly, the other novel that I always remember is Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. If my novels could have some fraction of the impact of those books throughout the community of believers and even to unbelievers to get them to consider the ways of God, I’d be ecstatic. That’s one of those big dreams that is far beyond my ability to influence; one that only God could make happen. But we are told to think and dream beyond what we can accomplish on our own—right? That way only God gets the glory.

We do have authority, but it’s always and only in the Name of Jesus. I have issues with hyper-charismania, where many adherents believe that they can call down angels in spiritual warfare and bring about other signs and wonders through speaking them out in their faith. We can’t do anything. We petition the Father in Jesus’ Name and ask Him to do these things. God isn’t (in the words of Ray Comfort) our divine butler. We can’t command Him to do anything. But we can ask and believe.

In Kari’s case, God directed her to rebuke the enemy. Aside from Him, we can do nothing.

How did you come up with the character names of the fallen angels and Nephilim?

The Arkays, e.g. Arkay-ena, are a takeoff on archon, which is from the Greek. There were nine ruling magistrates in ancient Greece and apparently this term was extended to angelic rulers.

For the Nephilim, I went Bible surfing in the Old Testament. Nimrod was considered a mighty warrior and may have been—since he came after the flood—a Rephaim, although I don’t believe the Bible spells that out directly. The first Lamech came fairly early with a notation that he killed a man, as well as took two wives. He self-proclaimed the mark of Cain on himself saying that if God’s vengeance was seven times upon anyone who harmed Cain, the vengeance that would befall anyone touching him was seventy times seven. From that, he sounded like a good candidate for one of my Nephilim.

What Biblical themes or message have you included in Alien Revelation?  

Organically in the writing, I often seem to end up with various Biblical themes or messages based on the situation on the characters. Kari’s a sceptic and has to come a long way to true faith. It’s a struggle for her since she’s so indoctrinated in the way of the world as it’s been shaped prior to her birth. This is all she’s known. With her, there’s a seeking and finding that doesn’t come easily. In that is the evangelistic efforts of those Christians she encounters and the working of the Holy Spirit in His subtle ways.

Because I’ve been involved with Voice of the Martyr for a number of years, the issue of persecution and the suffering that Christians endure as they stand boldly and courageously for their faith has long been near to my heart. That certainly comes out in the book as it does in my Whirlwind end-times series.

What kind of reaction are you expecting to receive from readers?

My intent in writing is to glorify God and to point people toward Him. I hope to do that through a compelling story that hopefully makes people think, and even convicts if the Holy Spirit so wills. I wouldn’t be writing if God hadn’t set me on this path and made a way in my life that I have the time and wherewithal to spend so many hours at my computer in this endeavor. Whatever skills and talents I may possess, they come from Him. I can’t take any credit for any of that. He really has given me creativity and inspiration that I never thought I had. If you have issues with my writing, I blame God.

Seriously though, since my first purpose is to lift up His Name and to magnify Jesus through what I write, I do the best I can with the tools He’s given me and I don’t worry too much about reader reactions. Do I get irritated at inane comments by people who don’t know any better? Of course, but there’s always someone out there sniping. All I can do is pray for them that God would open their eyes and soften their hearts.

Just like anyone, I love to have readers give me acclaim or praise the story, but that just can’t be my focus. It’s got to be about Jesus.

What was the hardest part of writing Alien Revelation?

I think the biggest challenge for me is crafting a climax that’s big enough. I want the story to swell toward that point where everything comes together, or falls apart, in a way that makes sense and satisfies in the context of the narrative. Sometimes that requires thinking and rethinking that part of the novel.

Which character was the easiest and which was the hardest? Who is your favourite? Mine was Kari. I bet she becomes most people’s favourite!

I don’t know that I found it particularly difficult to create any of the characters. They all kind of flowed. In one sense, my favorite was Nimrod. He’s so locked into who he is, but he’s questioning his existence, his purpose, and he wants more. Nimrod also has some moral qualms about God that he tucks deep within himself so he doesn’t have to face them. As I said earlier, I don’t believe a Nephilim like Nimrod could be saved; just the idea of such a thing is difficult for him to grasp, yet…

I do like writing female characters. Obviously, I’ve got a limitation not being that fairer sex, but hopefully, I’ve got enough insights into human nature to make someone like Kari believable. In Kari’s case, I had a lady in mind who ministers like Kari and Adela do with victims of human trafficking, but Kari developed into a much different person than my friend.

For Alien Revelation, did you plot it all out before you started writing (plotter) or did you write as it came to you (pantser, as in writing by the seat of your pants)? Have you done the same with your other novels? 

When I first started writing some years ago, I plotted extensively. Then I lightened up on that and wrote from a higher story arc, i.e. where does the plot need to go? With the Whirlwind series, I plotted pretty deeply on the first two books, then again began a season of not so much. Sometimes I’ll put more plot structure into the first part of a book and let the story go where it will in the second half, as long as I know the end game. That’s more or less what I did with Alien Revelation.

In regards to your previous novels, what is your favourite? Why?

It would have to be The Tattooed Cat. I actually wrote the novel 20 years ago, but from an unbeliever’s perspective, since I was far from saved at the time. I always loved the title and once I had several books once more under my belt, I brought out the story. When I read it, I was really impressed with myself, thinking, “This is a really good story. I wrote this? Wow, that amazing.” I guess I had the thought that having written it so long ago, it wouldn’t necessarily be as good as it was.

Naturally, however, I couldn’t let the book stand as it was because it had no Christian viewpoint, which is a necessity for me in my writing today. It required my rethinking a number of scenes and concepts, so I hope I pulled that off well. In reality, I thought this book would take off and do well, but it’s languished, not from the plot, characters, or anything like that; I think that the genre is perhaps too strange for many Christians to embrace.  Speculative Christian fiction probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because they don’t understand it and thus avoid even trying it.  There’s supernatural evil going on, and moving from that into a Christian redemptive context—and of course communicating that in my marketing promotional efforts—hasn’t flown all that well. Maybe when you read and review it, Peter, that’ll change everything!

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

Because of some of the research I’ve done, that has led me into areas I probably wouldn’t have known about. I’m a big Bible prophecy guy, to begin with, but the Whirlwind series necessitated an even deeper dive into eschatological matters. It also required a much greater understanding of Islam. I had a preacher’s wife comment that she was impressed by my merging of occult practices into Islamic thinking in the stories. That’s common in Islamic culture because they often blend pagan concepts into their daily lives. Understanding Islam makes me so much more appreciative of what I have in my faith in Christ.

Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, my exposure to aliens and demons led to my absorbing the teachings of Michael Heiser. That has had a dramatic impact on my Christian worldview and what God really intends for His human family.

So many times when I am reading a novel, I find myself thinking that this author must be a Pastor. I then check the author out and find this to be so! I had this same feeling when reading Alien Revelation! I don’t know what it is, but I find that Pastor’s add a special something to the novel. It must be based on their experience as a Pastor. What do you think of this? 

Certainly, from a deeper theological perspective, a pastor should be able to bring issues and concepts into the story that someone might not have been exposed to. I’m a lay pastor and serve as my church’s Missions Director. However, I think where I’ve gained the most over the years has been from my association with Voice of the Martyrs. In that, I’ve read a lot about persecution and suffering. I’ve attended many VOM conferences to hear stories and accounts from martyrs’ own lips. I’m part of the Assemblies of God which has an initiative to reach unreached people groups in difficult areas called Live Dead.

Living dead is such a perfect description of how God actually wants us to live for Him. Our life should count as nothing. What will we bring with us into God’s presence? Only those things which have already been through the fire. Everything else will burn up, including our mortal flesh, these earthly bodies. If we live as if we’re already dead, no act of man can actually touch us. The Bible says that, contrary to the way every one of us in Western Christianity thinks, there is joy in suffering. Do I want to be persecuted and suffer? Absolutely not! But I have to have the mindset that I might experience it at some point. I have to have already made the decision to stand on my faith in Jesus BEFORE the storm comes. If I or anyone else waits to make such a decision until the crashing waves are upon us, we’ll be swept away.

Apart from the subsequent novels in the Sons of God Chronicles, what other ideas or planned novels are in the works? 

I’m currently working on a story about eco-terrorism. This is another of my novels from past writing, but it was only half-completed. Naturally, I’ve had to shape this once more with a Christian worldview and remove some rather racy parts that I’d written. I’m not sure why I didn’t previously finish it. That period in my life may simply have been when I was winding down on writing. The one thing I needed to do in this story was to find the big climax. But I’ve also been adding many pertinent ideas into the novel that are very much part of the Left’s understanding of the world and where that thinking leads.

It’s rather interesting thinking ahead with future novels. I’ve got several in mind, including additions to the Sons of God Chronicles. The question that is often in my thoughts, however, is how long we have on this earth before Jesus comes to sweep us away into the clouds with Him? I can’t let imminent thoughts of the Rapture keep me from plowing ahead. Our calling is to occupy until He returns. But what about the rest of the books in the series? Will God use the offerings of my writings to impact those left behind? How?  And once we as glorified believers reach the Millennium, will he have me writing then?  Can I finish the series then than I won’t be able to prior to the Rapture?  What will stories look like at that time? Sin will still be in the world, but Satan will be bound. To what extent will books be written reflecting these realities? So many questions.

Specifically, in relation to the Sons of God Chronicles, and without giving away too many spoilers, what can you tell us about the next novel in this series? 

I’ve struggled with this. I’d like to write a prequel to bring us from the beginning of the world to the point where the aliens inject themselves into the affairs of mankind in World War II., i.e. where Alien Revelation basically begins Trying to figure out a compelling structure for a cohesive narrative has eluded me so far. I can definitely go to the next point in the future with the series since Nimrod is still lurking around. This would likely take place during the Tribulation.

I’ve also got a sequel for this current eco-terrorism story on tap. There are some frightening things going on in the world from an occult perspective that would influence this storyline.

You state on your website that you write Christian worldview Fiction, suspense, thrillers and end times? How did you come to only write in these genres/classifications? 

I grew up reading a lot of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and science fiction. When I came to the Lord via Left Behind that started me on the end times trajectory. To be effective as an author, you’ve got to at least have a basis for how you write. You may not know everything about the topics to begin with—you can research those—but you need to know what makes a story tick and moves it forward so as to carry the reader along. You only know that by reading in the genre. So, for me to write, for instance, a literary story would be stretch.

What does the Christian Redemptive Fiction Award by Radix Press mean to you? That is your first Author/reader Award. I know you were totally not expecting this but what was your immediate reaction? 

I was surprised and pleased when Peter notified me, but I didn’t realize the implications since I wasn’t aware how Reality Calling gauges books noteworthy enough to receive the award. Once I’d read the guidelines and understood how David Bergsland and Peter evaluate a story, then I got excited because it’s a big deal. What they’re looking for is exactly how I want my fiction to come across.

Where can readers find you? What are your social media platforms?

I have three primary means of communication:

Through my Facebook Gary Ritter Author page, I generally promote my work and other writing topics as they interest me.

On my website, people can learn more about my books.  I provide a few chapter excerpts for each one so they can see how they start. In addition, I write a blog I call Looking Up that appears on this site. The blog primarily looks at Bible passages, often in relation to things going on in the world today, through a Scriptural and prophetic lens.

My Gary Ritter YouTube channel. I tell people to search my name and look for the fish symbol. This is where I put the video version of my blog entries plus a number of extended teachings I have done with my church on various prophetic topics.

My novels can be found on my Amazon Author Page

Anything else you would like to say about your novel, this topic or other issues raised in this interview before we close?

Just that I appreciate this opportunity Peter has given me. What you’re doing, Peter is a ministry to raise up and encourage Christian writers. It’s unique and certainly needed. That you so much!

My pleasure, Gary! I do love encouraging Christian writers through reviews, spotlight posts, interview, guest posts and blog tours. I have enjoyed interviewing you, and you more than expounded on the issues and themes of the novel! I am sure readers will find this interview an interesting and thought-provoking one.

You are welcome to return here for any future novel or to discuss the themes or issues relating to them.

If this interview has piqued an interest in reading Alien Invasion, The Tattooed Cat, Michael Heiser's fiction and non-fiction, Gods They Had Never Known or The Left Behind Collection, click on the images below. For Frank Peretti's novels click here:

Frank Peretti Amazon Page.




Readers and reviews are an author’s best asset, so I encourage any reader, to consider reading Alien Revelation and any of the other novels listed above and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

Reviews help promote an author’s novel to potential readers and encourage the author to keep writing. Reviews also help get the author’s message (and God’s message) to the reader, whether Christian or not, who may need encouragement and support in their lives while being entertained by the story.

Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I am required to disclose that book cover images or titles of novels in this post are paid links if they are linked to Amazon and result in a sale.