Monday, May 2, 2016

Interview with Adam Blumer: The Tenth Plague

To celebrate the paperback release of "The Tenth Plague," Adam Blumer graciously answered a few of my questions and gave me the lowdown on his book.  P.S. He is also giving away a paperback copy of his new book to a lucky winner.  Read on to find out how to enter. 

Interview:  Adam Blumer

Your novel, The Tenth Plague, is now available in paperback. Give us the rundown on the book.

Thanks for having me, Jason. I’m thrilled to be here.

After adopting their son, Marc and Gillian Thayer intend on enjoying a relaxing weekend away at a picturesque resort in northern Michigan. That is, until their friend turns up dead and the resort becomes a grisly murder scene.

A killer, seeking revenge, begins reenacting the ten plagues of Egypt on the resort and everyone in it, including a Bible translation team already drawing angry protests for proposing to merge the Bible with corresponding passages from the Qur’an. Water turns to blood. Gnats attack the innocent. As plague after plague appears, the Thayers must make sense of how their story intersects with those of the others at the resort—and of their own dark pasts.

In this “chilling tale that keeps readers turning pages and pondering its truths” (C. J. Darlington), the Thayers must unravel the truth. But will they uncover the killer’s bitter agenda before the tenth plague—the death of the firstborn son?

What influences contributed to the story?

One day I was reading the book of Revelation and came across 22:18–19. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (ESV). My mind began playing the “what-if” game. Would God really bring a biblical plague on someone who tampered with His Word? I chatted with a few theologian friends, and the plot emerged from there. The most influential authors are probably Frank Peretti, Steven James, Terri Blackstock, and Brandilyn Collins.

The Tenth Plague uses the Biblical plagues of Egypt to create a modern suspense tale. Would you consider this more a suspense novel with Christian leanings or a Christian novel that happens to be suspenseful?

Although suspense drives the plot, I would consider this first to be a Christian novel, because the main characters are believers who respond to the suspenseful issues in the story based on their biblical world view. Without Christianity and characters who have been transformed by it, the story would probably fall flat. It’s also a story I specifically wrote for Christians, though there’s nothing wrong with targeting a secular market.

Do you feel that distinction is important in today’s market?

Actually I do. I’m a pretty strong believer in “meaningful suspense,” my tag line. That, of course, means I believe in fiction that can offer more than a clean story and entertainment without being preachy if it’s going to have any eternal value. Frank Peretti sold me on the concept of illustrating biblical truths through the power of storytelling. Though I believe a Christian author can write a story that is merely clean suspense, generally speaking, his or her faith will influence what shows up on the printed page to some degree. Or it should.

Aside from the tenth plague, which plague from the book do you consider to be the most horrific and why?

I think the plague of blood is pretty sick. I can’t imagine turning on every water source and getting only blood. The thought almost turns my stomach.

Many writers envision certain actors for their characters should a movie version ever come to fruition. Who would you cast in The Tenth Plague movie and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. This one has a pretty unique, complex bad guy. Unfortunately, Alan Rickman passed away in June and would have played a mean Cyrus. For my second choice I’d pick Daniel Day-Lewis, who can be very good at playing “unhinged.” For my amateur sleuth couple, my dream cast would be Gillian Anderson as Gillian Thayer and Richard Armitage as Marc Thayer.

If you could have written any novel/short story/work of fiction from any point throughout history, what would it be and why?

This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. It says so much about the unseen world around us. It also guaranteed Peretti’s successful career in Christian fiction.

Do you have any projects in the works?

Yes, I’m working with a literary agent on the book proposal for Drone, my third novel. This one, a bit of a departure from the first two, is a fast-paced thriller about mind control. The story is close to my heart, because the inspiration came from my father, who passed away from brain cancer in 2011. It explores the mystery of memories through a brain cancer patient who relives a five-year gap in his past while evil men seek to control his life.

Where can readers buy your books?

Amazon is probably the best place. Here’s the link to my author page:

So how do you enter to win a free paperback copy of Adam's book?  Glad you asked!  Do any of the following to be entered into the drawing: 

Follow Adam on Twitter

 "Like" Adam on Facebook

 Go to his blog, and sign up for emails

Follow him on Goodreads.

Follow him on Amazon.


Be sure to post in the comments which of these you have done.  Drawing will be held May 16th.   

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Thoughts on 10 Cloverfield Lane

I went to see 10 Cloverfield Lane yesterday, unsure of what to expect but hopeful. I wasn't a hater of the original Cloverfield like some: I thought it was a decent monster movie that was interesting albeit hard to watch because of the shaky-cam style.  With that said I knew going in that 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't the same kind of movie as the original based on everything I had read and from the trailer.

I had heard that this new movie was a sequel but not really a sequel. Confusing? A little until you see it, and then it makes more sense. I would call this more of a shared-world movie than a true sequel.

The setup is pretty simple.  A girl named Michelle leaves her boyfriend, packs her bags, and sets out to reclaim her life. Along the way she has a serious car accident that forces her off the road. When she wakes up she finds herself chained up in a doomsday bunker by a man named Howard who may or may not be psychotic. Howard (played expertly by John Goodman) claims that there has been some sort of accident above ground (nuclear/biological/extraterrestrial...nobody really knows) and he is actually saving Michelle and another guy named Emmett by allowing them to stay in his bunker. Despite the creep factor that Howard exudes throughout the film he maintains that Michelle and Emmett would be dead if left to their own devices above ground. In that way he sees himself as their savior, offering them the ability to stay in his bunker and escape the horrors that are taking place above ground.

The first 90% of this movie is tense and suspenseful as Michelle and Emmett gradually gain Howard's trust and try to learn more about what is going on outside, more about their host, and more about their options for escape. Some things they learn corroborate Howard's story while other things contradict it completely. At times it seems Howard is a raving lunatic. At other times it seems Howard might actually be telling the truth.

Without giving away too much I would give the majority of the film a solid B in terms of pacing, intrigue, and overall suspense. The last ten minutes or so, however, ruined things for me. It felt like I was watching a totally separate movie at the end. We go from the kind of story that Rod Serling would have been proud of to something that looked like leftover footage from M. Night Shyamalan's Signs (which I, incidentally, liked a lot). The film felt very disjointed in its final minutes, and I left with mild irritation at how it all ended.

I see where J.J. Abrams is headed with his Cloverfield stories, and while I think it is interesting I think this film would have worked much better as a standalone thriller that gave no winks or nods to the world of the original Cloverfield. Had the story started and ended with the tale of two people stuck in a doomsday bunker with a possible madman I would have left the theater feeling like I had watched a taut, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller. As it turned out I went from really enjoying the film to thinking that the creators of 10 Cloverfield Lane tried to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Bottom line-I didn't love it but really wanted to like it more than I did.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Projects in the Pipeline

In my world there are too many stories and not enough hours in the day to write them.  Those stories are bouncing around in my head, but that isn't the difficult part.  Getting them written down is the part I have trouble with.  Fortunately, I have several projects in the works that are at varied stages of completion.  Here is a breakdown.

The Piper's Song (95% complete):  This is book 2 in The Lost Labyrinth Series (otherwise known as the sequel to The Maze).  This one has been basically finished for a while now with the exception of editing/proofing.  Will there be a book 3?  Only time will tell!

Miracle Man (70% complete):  My coming-of-age story about a group of kids facing down an evil that has come to town promising miracles to any who will pledge their allegiances to it.   

Beware the Death Angel (30% complete):  This is the sequel to The Tears of Nero and part 2 of the Halo Group Series.  A small-time reporter is given 30 days to root out a town's hidden sin or watch his town face the wrath of the death angel from the Old Testament.

Iscariot Rising (outlined):  A serial killer who is convinced he was Judas Iscariot in a past life targets those he believes are the apostles of Christ.  Book 3 in The Halo Group Series.

Escape Room (short story-25% complete):  This one is based on an escape room that my fiance and I tried out for her birthday.

Midnight Prophecies (short story collection-90% complete):  A compilation of old short stories, reprinted from various sources.  Needs a good polish/edit and should be ready to go!

Sounds like my year is going to be a busy one!  Guess I better get back to writing!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Top 5 Coming-of-Age Novels

Webster's Dictionary defines the term coming-of-age this way:  "the act or instance of reaching maturity: often used attributively."  In my mind, a coming-of-age novel often features kids who face an obstacle bigger than themselves and are forced to grow and change in order to succeed/overcome adversity/stay alive.  Since I read a lot of speculative fiction the obstacle the children face is often of the evil, supernatural variety.  Incidentally, this is one of my favorite types of books to read.            

Over the years I have tried my hand at lots of different types of stories (to varying degrees of success).  I am currently immersed in finishing up my own coming of age thriller featuring a group of kids who are promised an unlikely set of miracles by a mysterious stranger. Among the promises....Brady's mom will be healed of terminal cancer, Jimmy's dad will return to him and his mother after running out on them 10 years earlier, and Presley's brother, Marky, will be brought back from the dead after perishing in a car accident. The only catch...they must do everything the stranger asks of them with no exceptions even if it means casting aside their values, beliefs, and everything they know to be right. As the kids find out the stranger's true intentions for the town of Fairpointe, they are forced to examine the true nature of miracles, their own faith, and the lengths they would go to for the ones they love. Think Stand by Me meets Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Given my most recent foray into this type of book, I have been thinking about which books make my top five list for coming-of-age titles.

So here they are without further ado (in no particular order):

#1.  Midnight Rain by James Newman 

#2.  Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

#3.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

#4.  The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale

#5.  Fear by Ronald Kelly

In the coming weeks, I will be discussing each of these, nailing down exactly what it is about each book that I enjoy so much, and what makes them work.