Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This week's feature author: John Aubrey Anderson

Leave a comment between today and August 20th on this post for a chance to win your own free copy!


Your book's depiction of demonic thought and activity is often frightening. How have your readers reacted to the book's intensity?
I appreciate your comment about Abiding Darkness being frightening. When I started this project, I really wanted a fiction work that would steal its reader's sleep; and I got it. I frequently receive reports from people, men and women alike, who have found they can't read the book at night. Some readers say they won't read it when they're home alone, others tell me they can only read a page or two at a time, and a final handful talk about becoming so frightened they have to put it aside; all because they are scared of what might happen next. On the other side of that coin are the reports from people who've stayed up all night reading because they couldn't put the book down. The response has been more than gratifying.

Does the Bible's teaching on Satan and angels support what you've written?
The short answer to the question is: Yes. The longer answer is: I had to use normal conversation as their method of information exchange because I don't know how they communicate. Too, I attributed a more human-like response to both the angels and demons in order to give the reader a reference point for their actions.

Do you believe demons are real and plotting the demise of humans?
My answer is "Yes" to both parts of the question. A word search of the Bible reveals over three hundred verses that use the word "angel" or "demon" or their plural forms. Add Satan, and several dozen more verses come into play. The Bible is saturated with accounts of the activity of angels and demons.

I believe the Bible to be the inerrant written word of the only living God - and it tells me that angels and demons exist. So...are the angels and demons real? Most assuredly. Are they plotting the demise of humans? The demonic realm's evil intent goes beyond what you and I can grasp.

Within the bounds allowed by God, Satan and his demons are plotting the spiritual destruction of as many humans as possible. They know the Bible well, they know God is going to bring this present world to an end, and they know they're going to be cast into hell. Until that time, they will work unceasingly to destroy the lives of as many people as possible; turning them from an understanding of the real truth...committed to taking as many as they can to hell. They are God's enemies and ours.

In the meantime, we can hear the heart of a demon in a quote from Abiding Darkness. "...his solitary function - his duty, the reason he existed - was to broadcast pain."

Your book makes it seem as if there are angels and demons here on earth. What's your response to those who say all that exists in the world can be seen with the naked eye?
That question takes in a lot of territory. At first blush, I would say that if I were Satan, and if I wanted to be more effective, I would earnestly promote the belief that I did not exist.

That said, and with the understanding that having to see things to believe in them rules out any belief in God, I suppose I would introduce a question of how one can believe in the wind? Or heat? How about good and evil? Or the force of gravity? The answer? If our hearts are not buried in the sands of irrationality, you and I can see conclusive evidence of many things that are going to remain invisible.

How can a person know if he or she is under spiritual attack?
If there is a cut-and-dried answer to this question, it is beyond me. Our battle, as humans, is ongoing on three fronts - with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We're contending with the world and its pervading influence; our fleshly desires and the sinful side of our nature stand ready to wreak havoc in our lives; and the devil and his minions are constantly watching for us to drop our guard.

When it comes right down to it, I guess I'm less concerned with the origin of any given attack than I am with whether or not I'm thoroughly equipped to act in a godly fashion when it comes.

Have you ever fought with a demon or seen an angel?
I've never fought with a demon. As I understand it, demons can possess - control and influence - humans and animals, but they cannot become a visible form. Angels can take on human form, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that lots of folks have seen one.

Which of the villains in the book scares you the most?
To paraphrase an old Pogo Possum line: I have met the enemy, and he is me. To me, my scariest villain is John Aubrey Anderson. God tells me that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, but that's another subject for another day.

The villains in the book, the demon-controlled family - especially the woman, are mean, but their potential for evil is yet to be fully explored...that will come in following books. The principal demon in Abiding Darkness - the one in the lake - is scary enough, but capturing how vile he really is may not be humanly possible. For me, it's frightening to look beyond the story know that the day is coming when God is going to slip Satan's leash...and no writer's imagination can peek one level deep into the evil that will occur in those days...and that should scare us all.

Why did you choose to write in this particular time period?
It's almost as if the series started of its own accord. It chose the 1940's because it was such a special time; it picked the Mississippi Delta of the 1940's because it was a special place. The value system was different back then. People moved at a slower pace over shorter distances and information exchange was limited. The communities were smaller; the people were closer and more involved in each others lives. Also, the people of that day didn't have to be strange to be colorful.

Did you draw from personal experiences to write this novel?
Oh, yes. The adventures and exploits that made up my childhood would provoke the envy of Tom Sawyer, but sharing a small part of them would take more words than I used in the novel. Just think ideal; then add boys, dogs, and energy.

The characters seem very real. Where did you pick up the voices for these people?
I grew up with the people in Abiding Darkness. Granted, some of the characters are compilations of people I've known; half of one person and part of another. For the most part, all I had to do was just tweak them a little, maybe boost the octane in their blood a bit. As soon as I figured out who the characters were, the rest was easy; I let them use the voices they'd used all their lives.

My review:
Submerged in the inky blackness of Cat Lake lies a treacherous evil that seeks to destroy Missy Parker and her loved ones. She will experience a battle like no other and a life-changing sacrifice. The war, however, has just begun. How will she choose to respond?

Set in mid-twentieth century Mississippi, Abiding Darkness explores the reality of spiritual warfare while creating unforgettable characters and challenging the reader in his faith. Racial tensions play a big part in this story, giving the series name “The Black or White Chronicles” double meaning.

Positive elements:
Anderson nails the accents of the southerners in this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing their drawls in my mind. My tears came as welcome friends while pondering the portrayal of our actions causing a ripple effect that stretches far beyond what we can see. There is a theme of urgency to spread the gospel that the author threads throughout. As one of the characters says repeatedly, the most important thing in the world is “to know Him and to make Him known”. Other themes presented include protecting children and the innocent, and that everyone is special to God in their own way.

Other comments:
I personally didn't find this book overly scary. But I don't scare easily. :) And while this story engaged me on many levels, I stumbled over the many scene changes in the omniscient POV. It was necessary in order to gain the perspective of all involved including the angels and demons; I’m just used to a break in the paragraphs when a scene changes, so this proved different for me in that way. The author writes in an informal style that matches the setting and characters. Anyone interested in a supernatural story with strong thematic material (I dare not say "preachy") will enjoy this as I did and find it a worthwhile read. There are questions in the back for group study as well, a great addition to the book.


  1. Anonymous9:47 PM

    What a great interview. I felt like I got to understand the author and his beliefs so well. The book sounds intriguing even if it does seem a bit scary and out of my normal genre.

    All I can say is, "Pick me, pick me!" because the interview and the review have both made me want to read the book.

  2. A great interview/review, Karri. I haven't read this story and now I want to. Thank you for sharing.

    Daniel I Weaver

  3. Anonymous4:21 PM

    There isn't a lot of exposure (at least in my little world) to non-romance christian fiction. Thanks for a great review.

    The only other angels/demons book I'm aware of is the famous Piercing the Darkness by Peretti. Not sure if a comparison with this once best seller would have been a baseline for comparison.

    If I was to choose a book by its cover I'd have to say I'd snatch this one right up. And I love your comment about how you don't scare easily, because I don't either. ;)

    Erik R. Van Asch

  4. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Like Peg said, this book is a little out of my normal reading material, but you have definitely piqued my interest. One of the first authors of Christian fiction I discovered years ago was Frank Peretti and this book is very reminiscent of him. Frank's books also gave the reader a sense of urgency to spread the word of the Lord and to spend more time on one's knees.

    My pastor preaches all the time that there is a real devil and a real hell. Sometimes even Christians like to imagine a Hollywood type boogie man caricature of Satan. That is so not the case.

    Thanks for making me aware of this book. Can't wait to read it...with the lights on.

  5. I've put all four names in the hat, and the winner is...


    Congratulations, Teresa. I've sent you an e-mail regarding your win.

  6. a great review and information etc. I always love to get others input. I have read several Charles Martin book recently - wow - I am so impressed with his writing. Have you read any work by him? (The Dead Don't Dance and When Crickets Cry are the two I have read so far.)