Today I am privileged to have Christian author Ian Acheson as a guest. I’m interviewing Ian about his debut novel Angelguard, a supernatural thriller currently available worldwide. See below for how you might score a free signed copy.
Within a period of weeks, three horrific bomb blasts devastate areas of London, Los Angeles, and Sydney. No explanation is offered, no victory claimed for these acts of terror. Yet behind the scenes a Machiavellian European businessman, aided by the dark forces to whom he has sold his soul, is planning to bring the richest nations to their knees for his own evil purposes.
Jack Haines, an Australian academic, is grieving the loss of wife and children in the Sydney blast. Against his will, he finds himself thrown into a war that transcends the physical world, a conflict in which angelic guards have a special mission for him. But how will Jack respond when angels turn out to be more than precious porcelain statues? And will he accept that he has been chosen to fight for the future of mankind?
Hi Ian. Thanks for joining me. What inspired the ideas behind the plot of Angelguard?
The supernatural world of angels and demons has fascinated me for most of the last 30+ years so writing a novel that wove the supernatural and natural appealed to me. It started with the two words that open the novel: “It’s time”. I sat down at my computer each day for 6-7 months never sure what would come out but it just kept flowing.
Tell us about your character Jack Haines. What was the inspiration behind him?
Jack is a mix of Jim Collins, the master teacher of what makes great companies great (“Good to Great”) and Indiana Jones, the academic who saves the world from bad guys.
I’ve been a student of business for 25+ years and have consumed many business books in my time. There’s a part of me who wishes I were an academic, but sadly, I’m not smart enough.
It sounds like he starts the story in a very painful place, with the death of his wife and children. What can you tell us about his journey through the course of the story?
Well I don’t want to let too much out of the bag, but yes, one theme of the story is how God is always near, especially in traumatic times. I explored this from three perspectives: a Christian, someone whose faith has waned and a non-believer.
There are two key themes other than that one above: firstly, the spiritual war the New Testament describes is alive and happening. Certainly, we shouldn’t over-emphasise its significance, however, I think we tend to under-emphasise it.
The second is prayer is more powerful than we appreciate. Prayer engages heaven and will protect us from the enemy. I’ve always loved the demonstration of this in Daniel 10 where it took longer than expected for the angel to arrive in response to Daniel’s prayers.
This book was ten years in the making. What were some of the milestones along that journey for you? Were there times when you felt like giving up?
I detailed the journey in 4 posts that I wrote earlier this year. These can be located on my blog at ianacheson.com. Just search posts on Angelguard if you’re interested.
I’ve remained naively optimistic along the journey, which kept me going. After finishing the initial draft (700 pages, ouch!) I engaged an editor who taught me to write and edit. I then, naively, started sending the manuscript to smaller Christian publishers overseas and here. They all responded with a ‘thanks but no thanks’, however, their ‘readers’ always responded positively about the story. That planted a seed of hope.
I put it down for five years then had a series of what I can only describe as God moments that led me to gaining a publishing contract from Lion Hudson in the UK. These I detail in those posts on my blog.
I continue to be naïvely optimistic about the sales of the novel. Ha!
A lot of the books that are published in the Australian Christian fiction industry are romances, which are usually aimed at a primarily female audience. Do you think that books like Angelguard will help get more Aussie blokes interested in supporting local Christian Fiction.
I sincerely hope so. The reality of the Christian fiction market is that the greater majority of readers are women, however, suspense/thrillers aren’t too far behind romance and Amish novels in terms of pulling power.
Did you primarily write this book for an Australian or international audience, or both?
American, really, as that’s where the greatest number of Christian fiction readers are based. As you are aware, Adam, the local Christian fiction market is small, so my intention was always to write for an American audience.
Looking at the Amazon page for Angelguard, I notice that you have endorsements from some big names in the world of Christian thrillers, such as Mike Dellosso and Ronie Kendig. How did these come about?
I’ve been following Mike for a number of years and am a member of his launch team, The Darlington Society. I’ve assisted him launch some of his work so I wrote to Mike and asked him if he’d read and endorse Angelguard. He very kindly accepted.
I met Ronie at the ACFW Conference last year. Ronie is also great friends of Rel Mollet of RelzReviewz.com fame who’s become a friend, so once again, I asked Ronie and she accepted. It’s the same story for Rel and Dineen Miller, my other two endorsers. However, a few other people declined my invitation.
The key is to identify relevant people, support their work and in most cases if they have the time, they will return the favour.
The trailer for the book (see it below) looks fantastic. Tell me about the process of getting it made. How much creative control did you have over it?
Thanks Adam. I’m so pleased with it. I was director and producer so was actively involved. Dan, my 20-year-old musician son, kindly offered to do the music and his best mate, Aaron, is a graphic designer. I wrote the script, talked to Aaron about the look I wanted, and then he did the rest. I’m so proud of both of them.
You are marketing Angelguard as the first book in a trilogy. Did you envision it this way from the beginning? How much do you have planned out for the rest of the series?
I can’t remember exactly when the idea for the trilogy struck but it was definitely around first draft stage. I’m currently writing the follow up titled, “Wrestling with Shadows.” This novel will explore the battleground for where spiritual warfare is conducted: the human heart. Choosing the truth of God’s words rather than Satan’s taunting lies is the only means of attaining true freedom.
I have a more general idea for Book three.
Sounds great. Thanks so much for your time Ian. I’m certainly looking forward to reading my own copy of Angelguard.
Ian has kindly offered to give away a signed copy of Angelguard. To be in the running, post a comment expressing an interest in reading the novel. The winner will be announced on Monday, 17th of June 2013.
Ian Acheson BIO
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian’s first novel, Angelguard, was released recently in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find out more about Angelguard at Ian’s website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter