Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tom Pawlik interview

Tom Pawlik is the author of Vanish and Valley of the Shadow.

NA: What drew you to write Christian suspense?

TP: I love suspense thrillers. They say write about what you have a passion for. I love the kind of stories that keep pulling you through the pages to find out what's going on and what's going to happen next.

NA: What is unique in Vanish and Valley of the Shadow compared to other Christian horror?

TP: I don't think the storyline has been done before. The idea of the Interworld, I believe, is quite unique and provocative. Also, none of the major characters are Christians, and none of them technically become Christians at the end of the book.

NA: Where did this story idea come from?

TP: The basic germ of the idea originated from a dream I had back in 2003. I kept turning the concept around in my head for more than two years before I came up with the final plot. To me, that's the hardest part of the writing process.

NA: Were there any smaller influences that came into the books?

TP: I was working on this idea when the TV show "Lost" first aired. I liked that show right away and wanted to pull in some of the same 'what's-going-on-here' elements. Another influence from years ago was C.S. Lewis' book "The Great Divorce"

NA: Have you ever had a strange experience like those in your books?

TP: Nope. Thankfully.

NA: Which character was the hardest to write?

TP: Helen Krause. Being a male and a new writer, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to write a credible female character as one of the major characters.

NA: Which character was the easiest to write?

TP: Mitch. I think his basic personality is most like my own so it was easier to slip into his shoes and see the world through his eyes.

NA: If you could be any character in your books, which would it be?

TP: Hmmm... I'm not so sure I'd want to be any of them. I much prefer being the omniscient author deciding their individual fates.

NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred actor, director, composer, etc?

TP: An independent film company has bought the movie rights for Vanish, so I'm incredibly excited about that. I love to have either Gary Sinise or Jim Caviezel as the lead role of Conner Hayden. And possibly James Cromwell or Jon Voight as Howard Bristol. Other than that, I don't have any strong feelings as to actors.

NA: Good choices! Can you tell us one thing about yourself we readers may not know?

TP: I enjoy many different types of art... music, drawing and sculpting as well as writing. I also make a short Christmas movie every year with my wife and kids for their grand parents. Every year it gets more involved and complex. This last year was a brilliant 20 minute epic parody of "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", "Indiana Jones", "Wizard of Oz", "The Terminator", "The Princess Bride" and even "High School Musical". I don't know how I'm going to be able to top that this year.

NA: Do you have a title or cover idea for the next book after Valley of the Shadow that you can share with us?

TP: The title is "Beckon". The designers at Tyndale have already created a cover for it and I have to say, I really love it. I don't think I can share it just yet however.

NA: Do you have any other book plans or ideas after your current series?

TP: "Beckon" is an entirely new concept and story, which is probably why it's been so hard to write. I want to keep it similar enough to the first two to keep a sense of continuity in a style but I want to make sure the story is different enough to introduce something entirely new to readers.

NA: Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write Christian horror?

TP: Like any other genre, concentrate on telling a great story, buy a good book on self-editing, join the Christian Writers Guild, and never, never give up on your passion.

Thank you for the interview Mr. Pawlik!

Visit Tom Pawlik's website.
Buy Vanish here.
Buy Valley of the Shadow here.

Valley of the Shadow

Valley of the Shadow, Tom Pawlik, Tyndale House Publishers, Fiction/Suspense, 2009, 417 pages.

Here is Tyndale’s summary of Valley of the Shadow:

A shadowy world
between life and death
where your worst fears can become reality.

One man lingers on the threshold.

Another has escaped, but he didn’t come back alone.

And a third searches for answers
as his nightmares draw him back.

Sometimes to get to the truth,
you have to walk through the valley.

In my review (which you can read here) of the previous book in this series, Vanish, I mentioned that the book didn’t go to very many possible angles of the story. In this book, however, much more possibility is explored. Many, many things were unexpected. Also unlike the last book, the story ended in a very satisfying way. It also presents more opportunity to delve into the idea. The Christian themes of the book were pretty apparent, some being Heaven, faith, and prayer.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Upcoming reviews
  • Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
  • Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by Chris and Allan Miller


 Vanish, Tom Pawlik, Suspense, Tyndale, 2008, 364 pages.

Here is Tyndale’s summary of the book:

"A white carpet of mist rolled up from the lake, curling around houses and cars as it crept up the dead-end street. Inside, tall, gaunt silhouettes moved along.
    The survivors looked up in terror. ‘They’re coming.’"

A powerful storm.

A small group of survivors, stranded in a deserted city.

An unsolvable mystery that threatens the very fabric of existence.

A mysterious boy who may hold the key.

When everything else has vanished

Only the truth remains.

    I have to say that this book was a little bit stranger than most. It’s creatures resemble those in Eoin Colfer’s The Supernaturalist, but with the ferocity and vulnerabilities of those in the movie I am Legend. The Christian perspective is not completely shown until the end. For this reason, do not assume this book is Christian in name only. Pawlik does not take the element of suspenseful imagery to very many angles, resulting in repeated incidents.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Upcoming reviews
  • Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik
  • Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book giveaway

The Erratic Muse is giving away The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke! The giveaway ends September 10th.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Amazon giveaway

One Savvy Mom is giving away TWO amazon gift cards, each worth $250! Head over and enter; maybe you will be one of the two winners!

August stats

Every month or so, I will bring up a stat update about the blog. This is the first.

First of all, the blog has had 641 visitors! I am really surprised. Where are you all coming from? :)

Secondly, referral sites. The top four referral sites respectively are:
  3. (:0 I don't even have a facebook!)
  4. (Thank you Mr. Nietz!)
Thirdly, I have noticed that I have visitors from a few different countries:
  • 512 from The United States
  • 53 from Canada
  • 28 from Spain
  • 21 from China
  • 19 from South Korea
  • 12 from Brazil
  • 8 from Denmark
  • 8 from Russia
  • 6 from Japan
  • 6 from Kazakhstan

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Malacca Conspiracy

The Malacca Conspiracy, Don Brown, Fiction/General, Zondervan, 2010, 349 pages

Here is Zondervan’s summary of the book:

In a lightning-paced thriller of political assassination and terrorism on the high seas,
The Malacca Conspiracy will whisk you from Singapore to Indonesia, from Malaysia to Washington. A whirlwind mix of love, war, and high-stakes geopolitical roulette, for Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian-your favorite JAG characters from Don Brown’s bestselling Navy Justice Series-it’s the last chance for a longstanding romance that is now or never.

Against the exotic background of the Straits of Malacca, a daring plot is hatched to finance a nuclear attack against American cities, and Zack and Diane are thrust into the midst of a sizzling race against the clock to foil the conspiracy before disaster strikes.

The President of the United States orders ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malaccan Strait to reassert control over the sea lanes, but with time quickly ticking away, will they arrive in time for Zack and Diane to survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death?

This is first military-related fiction I have read in quite a while. From what I could tell, though, Brown really seemed to know his stuff! The plot is well though-out and intriguing. It made you think what you would do if faced with certain decision leaders often have to make. It even included some romance, which was not inappropriate. I did expect a gripping, suspenseful story, which it was right at the end, but wasn’t until then. It could have used more.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

This book was provided free by Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review.

You can buy The Malacca Conspiracy by clicking on it's cover image above.

Don Brown's website:

Other blogs participating in the August 23-27 tour:

A room without books is empty
Be Your Best Mom
Blog Tour Spot
Deus E Fiel
Joyful Beginnings Begin with Joy in the Morn
Karen R. Evans
Life in Review
life outside my window
Lighthouse Academy
My Alabaster Box
Naasom A. Sousa
Next in Dianaland
ppreacher’s wife reviews
The Gospel Writer
The Hahn Hunting Lodge
Uma Pirralha Na Universidade

Upcoming reviews
  • Vanish by Tom Pawlik
  • Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik

Sunday, August 22, 2010

MercyMe winner!

Well, the deadline has passed, and I was surprised by the amount of entries! Only one?!? Well, that entry gets the prize! Millard, ye have won!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Giveaway Scout

I recently found a cool website that gives you updates about giveaways you are interested in! Be sure to check it out!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

MercyMe Giveaway! friend of mine went to a concert featuring several bands and artists, including David Crowder Band, Fee, Francesca Battistelli, MercyMe, and more! (Yes, I went too) This friend bought a card with a digital code to get a digital copy of MercyMe's newest album, The Generous Mr. Lovewell! One lucky winner will get this mp3 album! Here are the rules. (1 entry = 1 comment, 2 entries = 2 comments, etc) Any comments should include an email in no-spam form. [john(at)example(dot)com]

  1. You can follow this blog. A follower widget should be located on the blog's sidebar. You must do this to be eligible for the next entries. (earns 2 entries)
  2. You can post about this giveaway on your blog. Comments should have a link. (earns 2 entries)
  3. You can tweet with a link to this post. Comments should have a link. (earns 2 entries)
  4. You can add my blog button (located on my sidebar) to your site. Comment should have a link. (earns 1 entry)
  5. You can read any of my reviews on this blog and comment on it. (earns 1 entry)
This giveaway will end August 21st. Have fun!

Giveaway at Teen Inklings

Chris at Teen Inklings is giving away a copy of Marlayne Giron's medieval fiction, The Victor!