Monday, April 20, 2009

The Calling

The Calling Blog Tour: Jacob Israel I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Calling. This time, though, I have called in a guest blogger: my husband, John. I asked John to fill in because he reads and enjoys thrillers. Here is his take on The Calling:
The Calling: a Voice in the Dead Woods is a modern-day allegory meets narrative meets parable. It falls somewhere between a C.S. Lewis allegory parable and a Ted Dekker fast-paced drama narrative. From the very first chapter you will be longing to find out just exactly who this Thomas James is and who he will become. Thomas James is a 12 year old who just doesn’t seen to fit in with the rest of the world. He is awkward and different. And the cosmos seems to desire to place circumstance after circumstance in his life to constantly widen the gap of difference between him and normalcy. Thomas is caught between the life he lives in the present and the one he feels destined to live through the experience very vivid visions and dreams of an apocalyptic future. Jacob Israel has crafted an intriguing tale woven with timeless spiritual truths from both Christianity and Judaism. As you are compelled to read page after page after page, just to see what will happen next, you will find yourself drawn into the characters on the pages and be called to self-examination as Thomas James interacts with various individual characters. Thomas’ battle to rescue humanity from its eventual decline into its own depravity becomes the reader’s own battle to examine and redeem his own life and character.
Now, for an interview with author, Jacob Isreal. Tell us a bit about yourself.
JACOB: I'm a father to three amazing children and a husband to a wife I adore. I'm someone that has been through a lot in life and grateful for every moment of it. The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, all paved the way to become who I am. Professionally, I'm an Emmy, Telly, and N.R.B. Award winning television writer and producer, who has been blessed with a steady creative career since graduating university. However, that is not who I am. Most my life, I was one of those people who wore a mask to fit in. I felt very alone, alienated from those around me. Looking back, I understand why. Everything I've endured had great purpose. Never meeting my biological father, coping with a severe case of Crohn's disease, suffering abuse and abandonment, losing everything, it all played its part to humble me and get me where I am today. I spent the majority of my life questioning the meaning of it, learning that it is better to love than to hate, to give rather than receive, to be content and compassionate. As a young adult, I was most comfortable on stage. I won a dramatic scholarship to university and that is where I found my love for the written word. It would be years, and many performances of my originals works later, that would I actually dare pursue a career in writing. Today, I couldn't be happier with that career choice, I am constantly challenged and rewarded by it. There is nothing better than sitting down to write something that, you pray, will make a difference in someone's life. This was the impetus for my novel.
Why did you write THE CALLING?
JACOB: I wanted desperately to share a story of how love and forgiveness can overcome all things, even the most horrible. I had to write THE CALLING. I believe I was meant to write it. I had the seed of the story burning inside me most my life, but it wasn't until devastating circumstances in my life about four years ago made it possible for me to sit down and write it. It was a very dark and hard time, but a lot of beauty rose from those ashes, and I would not trade that experience for anything. It's the reason I chose such a dark and fearful cover. There are too many things in life keeping us from following after our dreams and finding peace. Fear is the enemy of joy. It destroys relationships, hopes, families… it destroy lives. Allegorically, that is why the woods in THE CALLING are dead. I wanted to write something that would provoke thought and encourage readers to move past fear and into faith, to seek the life I believe we're meant to live while keeping them guessing and entertained along the way.
You mentioned allegory, some have compared your novel to The Shack and Pilgrim's Progress, is that a fair comparison?
JACOB: Well, I hope it is. I can only pray it has a positive impact on those who read it. As far comparing it, that wouldn't really be up to me. But, yes, there is a story beneath the story that is told. So, in that aspect, sure, there are similarities. For years, I have studied scripture as well as many other philosophies and religious texts. Of course, the Bible has been my biggest creative influence, not to mention the spiritual. I love the revelation one receives when the heavens of our understanding open up and we finally understand what that verse (that we couldn't understand) finally means. "It is glory of God to conceal a thing, and honor of Kings to seek out the matter.” In my novel, there are many hidden treasures for those with "eyes to see" if you will. Although, there is no need to look deeper, because I believe the message, intrigue, and suspense are loud and clear. It still is very rewarding, I think, to find the more veiled spiritual meaning but that's up to the reader. From anagrams, to events, locations, names, to the title of the book, and even the author's name, there is a reason for it all. Like, for examples sake, if one were to string every chapter title together, it might be cool if there were a hidden message there, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
JACOB: THE CALLING is an inspirational thriller about a twelve-year boy named Thomas James, whose extraordinary insight and purpose changes the lives of those he meets, and sets the world on its edge. The self absorbed, greedy, and arrogant residents of Bethel begin to despise young Thomas James for the honest words he speaks. His peers torment him, strange messengers visit him, and an evil presence fights to destroy him every step along the way. Thomas suffers from prophetic nightmares and visions he does not understand. The loss of his family is almost more than he can take. His internal struggle to make sense of his circumstances leads him down a perilous road, where nothing is as it seems. Soon, the startling revelation of who Thomas James truly is will confound the masses and inspire all those he sets free. You have to find out what is in us all that makes us heed the "Calling".
For more information: The Calling Website. Trailer: Video Journal Entry--Jacob Israel talks about his new novel THE CALLING A VOICE IN THE DEAD WOODS.:

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