Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Honduran Plot
Horton Prather

Jake Grayson learns that his best friend, Ruben, recently disappeared in Honduras, leaving behind few clues. They had been there together on a mission trip three years before, and Jake vowed to never return—but he just can’t abandon his friend. Could he really accomplish anything by going back? Despite his apprehensions, Jake returns to Honduras, determined to solve the mystery that baffled the police. Forced into an alliance with Amelia Ramirez, a cynical agnostic, he is pulled into the perilous politics of a country on the verge of a socialist coup. When Jake hacks into the government’s computers, the situation escalates from cyberspace to real-world, armed conflict. Jake learns to trust in God, one step at a time, as he and Amelia confront the subversive forces led by the head of the Honduran secret police.

  1. Is The Honduran Plot your first novel?
It’s my first novel, but by the time I was ready to press the ‘publish’ button it felt like my second. I re-wrote the first draft, eliminating several chapters and adding others. Every scene was revised in some way making it a different, and better, story.   

2.  What is your favorite scene in this novel?
It’s a romantic scene near the end. Here’s a short excerpt:

  He came up behind her and savored the Jasmine scent he had come to associate with Amélia. “I didn’t mean it … didn’t think,” he said.

She remained staring into the silvery light, a fragrant statue. Jake reached out and touched her neck, warm, pulse pounding. She flinched at his touch, but made no other move. He placed both hands on her shoulders.

“I’m staying for you … for … us.”

She turned and he could see tears on her cheeks, glistening in the moonlight—diamonds on mocha. “Us?” she whispered. “Is there … can there be, us?”

Reaching toward her, Jake said, “I want there to be.”

Amélia let out a sound, something between a sigh and a sob. “I don’t see how, not now.”

  1. What are you working on now?
I’m about halfway through the first draft of Threat, which is a sequel to the first novel. I hope to have

it published late this year. It’s another suspense, but is more character driven, with a larger focus on

romance, faith, and social issues. A favorite new character is a little girl who was kidnapped by her

grandmother to prevent her from being abused.

  1. What is your favorite genre to read and to write?
Suspense and mysteries are my favorites, but I read a wide variety of things. Over the past few years, I’ve focused more on books with a Christian viewpoint.

  1. What authors have influenced your writing the most and why?
Suspense authors such as Grisham, Clancy, and Patterson probably influenced my writing style. Francine Rivers is another favorite, and inspired me to add a Christian message in my stories. Non-Fiction books on writing have helped, and I would list Randy Ingermanson and Donald Maass as major influences.

  1. Weaving spiritual elements seamlessly into a novel seems to be a gift. Have you mastered the technique and if so how?      
I don’t think I’ve mastered the technique, but I keep trying with characters who struggle in their faith. Some Christian authors inspire us with characters who are strong in their faith and lead others to salvation. While I want my stories to be inspiring, they should also raise questions. Struggling characters can encourage Christians coping with issues of faith—they can relate to doubt and weakness—and others who have a superficial faith may start to evaluate their beliefs. I also want to connect with non-Christians—to give them characters they can relate to, and perhaps open their minds without being preachy. For these target audiences, I hope the growth of characters in the story will lead readers to new-found or stronger faith.

  1. Tell us about yourself and how you decided to become a writer.
I’ve been an avid reader since my early teens and developed an appreciation for literature and poetry in college. I also had 20+ years of technical writing experience in my career. Thus, I decided fiction writing would be enjoyable in my retirement years. As an added benefit, it keeps my mind active and learning new skills. In addition to writing, I am gaining experience in cover design, formatting for print and e-books, and marketing.

  1. What is your favorite all-time novel?
I always have trouble picking favorites; even today, I don’t know what my favorite color is! (I usually just tell people, “plaid.”) When I was young, Atlas Shrugged made an impression on me. Several years ago, Francine Rivers books, particularly The Sin Eater, became inspirational favorites.

  1. What profession or job did you have before you became a writer?
I was an Electronics Design Engineer for spacecraft communications, and later held positions in engineering management, project engineering, and marketing in the space and defense industry. That’s why you will find a technical side to the story in my novels.

  1. Any advice for new unpublished authors?
Continue to improve your writing through adult education coursed, books on writing, and programs in writing clubs and conferences. Submit your work to critical review through critique partners, contests, or professional editors. Listen to the critiques, and don’t let your ego get in the way. No matter what your skill level, you can continue to improve—even Tiger Woods used golf coaches.

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