Friday, April 17, 2009

A View from Adam Blumer's Window!

It is a real pleasure to feature debut author Adam Blumer in my Window! There are lots of exciting things going on in Adam's life, and I think you will enjoy getting to know him just as I did!

Please welcome Adam Blumer to my Window!

In today's fast-paced, technologically connected world, mega-churches are springing up all over. Marc is a counselor in one of these churches, and he becomes a victim of false accusation and media frenzy. Although this is rendered in fiction, don't you feel that in reality the church has suffered in many ways from the media's negative coverage? Also, don't you think that the large, all-encompassing churches seem to open the door to these attacks sometime...getting so involved in ministry that they fail to look after their first responsibility to their own homes and marriages?

Absolutely the church has suffered negative coverage from the media. Just look at how certain media outlets seem to pounce on ministers who fall into sin. By and large, the media is a pretty liberal group. I hate to say it, but I sense that certain news outlets enjoy seeing ministries go through problems. But the truth is, ministries are full of fallen sinners who are just as flawed as the next person. It's almost humorous the way the world has a different standard for Christians than many believers do. They expect perfection from anyone who claims the name of Christ. For that reason we always need to be no our guard; the world is watching.

Yes, I do believe that some churches seem to open the door to problems because of how demanding they are of their staff. They run those poor pastors and other staff members ragged with activity. The Bible is clear that the church needs to be busy doing God's work, but God has given us a clear hierarchy for marriages. Men need to serve their wives before they serve their churches.

Gillian is really struggling to keep bitterness from completely overtaking her heart after the loss of her children. Like Marc, she almost reaches the point where she is neglecting her home, marriage and oldest daughter...captive to her own private grief. In my mind, I couldn't help but compare her struggle with that of the Magician Murderer as he struggled with the loss of his parents. They seemed to represent the dark/light side of the same coin. Gillian facing her struggle with faith in Christ....Haydon facing his struggle captured by Satan. Was this intentional, or is this just my own personal connection?

I'm glad you asked. You saw something I was hoping readers would see—how two different people can handle loss in totally different ways, depending on the guiding force in their lives. Gillian loses her babies, but she has Christ to turn to for help (granted, she has her struggles). Haydon loses his parents, but he has only himself; he handles his grief by turning to revenge. Gillian and Haydon handle their loss in totally different ways—all because of who they are trusting in. I was hoping readers would see this contrast, and I'm glad you did.

Crystal is also struggling to fit into a new community and school while remaining faithful to her personal relationship with Christ. Some would see her as a sheltered homeschool kid trying to fit in, while others will see her as a mature, young Christian trying to show Christ's love to those around her. What is it about Crystal that so infuriates the killer? Is it just her appearance or her kindness? Or both?

Crystal looks like Erin Walker, the embodiment of Haydon's anger and rage. Haydon thought he killed Erin, but she appears to be coming back again and again, almost as if she is being reincarnated in others. This is the reason Haydon hates Crystal. Keep in mind as well that Crystal is a follower of Christ, and Haydon is an atheist. I don't overtly tell the reader this, but perhaps Haydon also sees and loathes Crystal's faith in God. Her devotion to God could also feed his hatred.

Riley is another character that is trying to discern God's will for his life in retirement. I love the way you portrayed his wife's understanding of what he must do and how they were seeking God together on their knees before taking action. Don't you think that all couples need to spend more time together before God rather that pursuing their own dreams separately? Don't you think the family suffers without that unity?

Absolutely! I believe God's plan is that couples would seek His face together for the decisions of life. I designed my characters to be likable but flawed; but this is one strength that I wanted Chuck and Emily to show readers. They depend on God; they seek His face. I absolutely agree that families in churches all across our country suffer when moms and dads aren't on their knees, declaring their dependence on God. None of us have any hope of living successful lives for God in our own strength. We must have God's power to do anything of value. And if we seek God for life's decisions, our families will be so much stronger. I also believe that husbands and wives who pray together will be drawn closer to each other. Therefore, prayer brings many perks to a marriage or family.

I really enjoyed watching these various story-lines come together! How difficult was it to make the merge believable? Did you have the ending in mind all the way through or did it surprise you too?

It took a ton of work, let me tell you. I presented several layers of characters and complications. Making everything come together and resolve on a workable timeline took a lot of hard work. I had an ending planned when I began writing the novel, but the final ending you see in printed form definitely evolved during the writing process. I didn't want your typical ending and wasn't satisfied until something unusual had presented itself. Hopefully the ending is a little unexpected.

What is your next writing project? Can you give us a sneak peek?

Right now, I'm working on a sequel to Fatal Illusions I'm tentatively calling Plagues. The main characters from Fatal Illusions are reunited, this time at a Christian conference center in Michigan’s north woods, which is where all novels in my hoped-for series will be set. Marc and Gillian Thayer think they are getting away for some much-needed R&R, but protestors with placards and bullhorns shatter the otherwise-peaceful surroundings. A Bible translation committee is holding its regional meeting, and a mob is protesting the committee’s efforts to create a controversial parallel Bible.
While the protestors call down God’s wrath, an apparent plague of blood strikes the facility. Is God displeased with the committee? Are the protestors somehow to blame? When a committee member turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of retired homicide detective Chuck Riley, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity. Gillian bumps into someone from the past she would rather forget, and the encounter shakes her world. Throw in a fictionalized account of a true mine disaster and an autistic boy who can apparently see the future, and you get the gist. I’m having a blast planning and writing the twists and turns.

What exciting things is God showing you in your life right now? Any words of encouragement you'd like to leave with your reader?

Right now, God is still amazing me by what He can do when we least expect it. Fatal Illusions took three to four years to write, and I honestly had no confidence that the novel would ever see the light of day. Now that it's being sold and my publisher is open to a sequel, well, the experience is a bit surreal. I guess what I've learned is something I like to pass on to other writers. If you’re a writer who wants to be a published novelist, be patient and work hard, but keep in mind that doors will open for you only in the Lord’s timing. We can’t rush God. If He has prompted you to write, God gave you that desire for a reason. Explore what His will could be, but learn to wait on Him—perhaps even for a long time. When He’s ready, He’ll let you know. In the meantime, seek Him with your whole heart.

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