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Christian fiction authors come from a wide variety of backgrounds. It is our job as readers to evaluate for ourselves whether or not the things we read line up with the truth. It can be interesting to dig into different interpretations and ideas as long as we are like the Bereans, carefully studying to determine whether or not those ideas line up with Scripture. Richard Sones has a new release titled A Brush with the Beast which may push you to dig into Revelations. Before we visit with Richard, let’s take a quick peek at the story.
A brilliant and exceptionally talented IT executive, Nick Gooseberry, is at his wits’ end trying to rid himself of chronic debilitating pain. In desperation he turns to The Order, a shadowy organization that promises him freedom from pain and much more. With The Order’s help behind the scenes, Nick lies and blackmails his way into the highest levels of government while plunging into the blackest corners of hell until he sets his sights on ruling the world.
Sarah Johnson is a thirty-something ex-con that the system abandoned in a small town in Texas. As a dime store cashier, her biggest worries are what to eat and what to wear, but she’s always late for work. Her boss decides to get rid of her for good by sending her back to prison, enticing her with a shortcut to riches. She meets the Lord along the way and manages to escape from the authorities, but the fact that she’s pregnant attracts the attention of the Beast. After being whisked to the other side of the planet, her biggest worry becomes surviving.
A Palestinian schoolboy who witnessed the death of his parents grows into a world renowned terrorist driven by his thirst for revenge on his family’s murderers. He hates Israel and their number one ally, the United States. Known by his Arabic nickname, Fanak (the Fox), he orchestrates terror on every continent never realizing that he’s a puppet of the Beast.
The gripping plot, tender moments, plights and ambitions of each character will draw you in to this page turner you won’t be able to put down.
Welcome, Richard! What inspired you to write A Brush with the Beast?
I started writing A Brush with the Beast 14 years ago. As a pastor and chaplain I am highly motivated by meeting the needs of Christians. Today, more than 14 years ago, much of the church in America is so experience oriented that it is doctrinally shallow. As such, the teachings and practices of the adversary (widely accepted in the world outside the church) are adopted without question or reservation. I was inspired to write A Brush with the Beast by the ever increasing popularity among evangelicals of premillennial dispensationalism (also known as Darbyism). While those teachings sound exciting and wonderful, the doctrine itself is based on proof-texting (taking scripture out of context) and fear. A Brush with the Beast is the first part of a painting which portrays a more Biblical picture of the coming end. It is a reassuring restatement of the New Testament’s instruction, “Have no fear!”
Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
My favorite character in the story is Sarah Johnson. She is my favorite because she starts out as just an ordinary working class American who’s been beaten down by her life’s circumstances. Poor choices thrust her into an ever deepening maelstrom where she realizes her fear and hopelessness. Then she meets Jesus. As the chaos unfolds in the world, ten thousand may fall at her right side but it does not approach her. She comes face to face with the devil and yet experiences the promise and peace of her Lord.
Tell us about the settings. Why did you choose them and have you been there?
The settings are the U.S., mainly Texas (Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Dallas, the Hill Country), Chicago, and Washington, DC; Germany; Iraq; Iran; Azerbaijan; Georgia (the country); Jerusalem; Singapore; northwest India; Afghanistan; and Russia. Since the novel is about the rise to power of the anti-christ and involves world terrorism, it was necessary to bring in places that would bring perspective to the novel. While A Brush with the Beast is not a specific prediction (prophecy), it is a realistic portrayal of how it might come about. I have actually been to most of the places I involve in the story. As an Army brat and then serving 28 years myself, I can honestly say I’ve seen the world. I brought Russia into the story because I would like to go there some day if I get the chance. I tried to do justice to the world’s four cultural flavors.
We’d love to know a little about you personally. What is your:
Favorite season? My favorite season is Spring because everything is in bloom and all the little birds and animals come out of hiding.
Favorite writing snack? My favorite writing snack is nuts, mainly cashews, almonds, and pistachios.
Favorite movie? My favorite movie is Star Wars if I had to pick just one.
Favorite vacation destination? My favorite place in the whole world is Frankfurt, Germany.
Favorite ice cream flavor? Favorite ice cream would be Cookies ‘n’ Cream.
Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I am writing the sequel to A Brush with the Beast tentatively titled The Shadow of the Beast. “Brush” leaves a few ends untied. “Shadow” will tie off those ends and take us further into the story. “Shadow” picks up the story line about three fourths of the way through “Brush”, so it’s really an overlapping sequel that focuses on different characters that were introduced in the first novel.
If you could offer a word of encouragement to an aspiring author, what would you say?
I guess the most important thing is to enjoy writing. The best books are written by authors who enjoyed writing them. Stop and smell the roses of your own writing. Second, always keep in mind what it is you’re trying to say. Focused material is easier to understand and more enjoyable to read. I have discovered the truth in something I learned years ago, that is, if the author gets to know his characters well, they will practically write the story themselves. Lastly I would say, write; even if it’s just a few words. A few words can give direction and inspire during a bout of writer’s block.
Great advice! Thanks for taking the time to share with us today, Richard!
Your turn! Do you snack when you read? And if so, what is your favorite reading snack? (I don’t snack because I get too distracted by the book! 😉 )
More about Richard:
Richard Sones grew up as a citizen of the world. Moving every three to twenty-four months from continent to continent, he was exposed to many cultures. As an adult, he continued his tour of the world as a chaplain in the U.S. Army having served 28 years. As a consequence of many deployments, he has first hand knowledge of many varied customs and peoples. Happily married now 38 years, he is a father to four and grandfather to another four. He is still in ministry as the chaplain of a major hospital in El Paso, Texas. He lives just outside the city in the semi-desert where he has time to write, build things in his wood shop, play his guitar, and tinker with the yard.
You can connect with Richard on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/richard_sones
A Brush with the Beast Giveaway:
Richard has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of A Brush with the Beast. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.