Today, we have another treat. Michael Webb has joined us. Michael is the bestselling author of The Master’s Quilt. He’s here today to talk about his book Infernal Gates. Welcome, Michael. Tell us a little about your new book. What is the main storyline?
Ethan Freeman, ex-Special Forces Ranger, wakes up to discover he is the sole survivor of a fiery commercial airline crash that killed his entire family. His nightmare is only beginning when he becomes the FBI’s prime suspect. Only Ethan knows he’s not a cold-hearted murderer, but he has no idea what happened to him-and why he alone survived.
He finds an unlikely ally in Sam Weaver, the NTSB Chief Investigator. An ex-military pilot, Sam senses Ethan is innocent. She tries to remain dispassionate in her investigation of the crash even as she finds herself attracted to the man who may be America’s worst homegrown mass-murderer.
Neither Ethan nor Sam realize that shadowy spiritual forces are at work which will alter their lives forever.
A monstrous evil, imprisoned since the time of the Pharaohs, has been released by The Nine, a sinister group of powerful men and women who believe they are the direct descendants of the Anunnaki, ancient Sumerian gods. The demon they have unleashed intends to free The Destroyer from The Abyss, the angelic prison referred to in the Book of Revelation, and unleash a worldwide reign of terror and annihilation.
Facing impossible odds, time is running out for Ethan and all of humanity as he is drawn into an ever-deeper conspiracy–millennia in the making–and learns that he is the key to stopping The Nine.
That sounds intriguing. How long have you been writing?
That’s quite a while. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I began brainstorming about becoming an author in my mother’s womb.(Just kidding) As a child, I loved to make-up and tell fanciful, exciting stories, or act them out. A couple of the kids I grew up with formed a neighborhood drama company and we put on plays. The first one was about kings and queens and dragons and mythical characters, inspired by the ‘60s Sinbad movies. I wrote the stories. Later, I switched to poetry in high school and the first couple of years of college, hoping to catch the ear of a fair maiden, then tried my hand at short stories.
I soon realized that the stories I wanted to tell wouldn’t fit into either of those molds.
I started thinking about writing novels as a career in my late twenties but didn’t begin working at the craft regularly until 1984. I spent the next six years researching and writing a novel that was longer than Moby Dick, War and Peace, or Atlas Shrugged. When I finished it, I proudly sent it off to an agent and received an eight-page, single-spaced, typed rejection letter. I had to pay this NY Agent a fee to read the darn thing, so the rejection letter cost me a little less than $100/page. Anyway, that attempt at “The Great American Novel” eventually became a trilogy. The first two books were published as paperbacks in the early ‘90s. Then, my editor left the publishing house, and the new editor wasn’t a fan of trilogies, or my work. So, I got one of those “don’t call us, we’ll call you letters,” and my novel went into the writer’s “black hole” for twenty years.
I kept writing–and kept getting more rejection letters.
Then, in August 2011 I entered a contest sponsored by Risen Books and submitted a novel I’d written in 1998-1999. Much to my surprise, it won, and The Oldest Enemy was published in October 2012! I’d worked hard for a couple of years trying to get agents and publishers interested in the fast-paced supernatural thriller, to no avail. It had been hidden away in a drawer, gathering dust, until the contest. Interestingly, many of the exciting events portrayed in it are now unfolding on the world stage, especially in the Middle East.
Suddenly, I’d found a way out of the black hole! I’ve just released Infernal Gates and intend to release a new suspense thriller each year.
I never gave up the dream of seeing the three novels I’d written way back in the 1980s published in their entirety. I’m very happy to report that I released the complete Giants in the Earth trilogy as E-books on Amazon.com.
Just goes to show that timing is everything!
Oh, by the way, I still have the rejection letter, and no, I didn’t frame it.
Too long—just like my first attempt at a novel!
Why do you write the kind of stories you do?
Someone once said, “Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out . . .” I can’t help myself–I write “fat” books! I’ve tried to write books under one hundred thousand words, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to lose the weight.
My very first novel started out at over two hundred thousand words–and became a trilogy. I’ve tried writing short stories and they turn into novellas. I’ve tried novellas and they turn into full-blown novels. I’m a hopeless lover of deep characterization and backstory, lots of action, and page-turning plots, something nearly impossible for me to do in less than one hundred thousand words.
I’m a storyteller at heart, and I love entertaining readers with pulse-pounding action, flawed–but intriguing–characters, and fascinating plots that have my readers asking, “How did he come up with that?” My tagline is “stories that ignite imaginations and stir souls…” I like to get people thinking about the world they live in from a very different perspective than they are used to, especially as it relates to the realm of the spirit, angels and demons, and the intersection of the biblical, scientific, and historical disciplines.
There is an ancient battle being fought around us on an hourly basis in the realm of the spirit. It regularly manifests in the natural, terrestrial realm, yet few people really understand the true nature of the battle. Hence, many perish for lack of knowledge. Like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, I love pulling back the curtain and exposing “the wizard” for who he is–a short, balding, fat man from Kansas! That’s not to say the wizard doesn’t have power, he does. But with the proper weapons of warfare, we may lose a few battles, but we ultimately win the war. I like to think that in some small way my stories have the potential to function like the red pill Nero took in The Matrix—we awaken and discover just how deep the rabbit hole is. Once that happens, like Nero, we are accountable for our knowledge.
Nevertheless, while all of my suspense thrillers, including Infernal Gates, have the purpose of provoking my readers to examine their belief system, at their core I hope they are simply good stories; the kind that keep you turning pages long after the sun goes down and makes you wish there was more to read once you’ve finished. My heart is to figuratively serve up a ten-course meal with each new story I tell, and leave my readers hungry for their next serving.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place in this world for short stories, novellas, and novels under a hundred thousand words. I just won’t be writing them anytime soon.
Most of the authors I’ve interviewed say their book come out very different from how they first expected them to. How about you? Did it turn out the way you first thought it would? If not, what was different?
Yes. However, the one exception was I ended incorporating a character from another story idea I had done quite a bit of research on. I was able to weave him and the backstory quite nicely into Infernal Gates and added an interesting element I originally hadn’t thought about. I’ll give you a clue: Comets. ?
LOL… That’s quite a clue. How long did it take you to write? Tell us a little about the process.
Couple of years part-time.
I had the beginning and the end, and a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do in the middle. I’m a seat-of-my-pants writer. I don’t diagram my novels. I start with a concept and it sort of just morphs into something exciting. There always comes a point in my writing where I transition from author to scribe. From that moment on I simply write down what my characters tell me.
Did you need to do any special research?
Some Mathematicians, Physicists, Theologians, and Paranormal Researchers, Ancient Cultures, Writers, and the now deceased Rod Serling, the creator of The Twilight Zone, have something in common. They all know there is at least one additional dimension beyond space, time, and matter. They all use different terminology to describe it, but when you strip away the varied lingua franca, they’re all talking about the same thing. I call it the realm of the Spirit, others refer to it as the Fourth Dimension, and still, others call it parallel universes.
Whatever the terminology, we risk much if we ignore its impact on our lives, both now and for eternity.
I’ve been studying Light for a very long time as it relates to this additional dimension. Recent research in Quantum Physics is just starting to confirm some very fascinating things about the nature of Light and its relationship to creation and humanity. One of the most astounding things I’ve been studying for over two decades is the incredible idea, first expressed in Book of Genesis, that Adam and Eve were not initially created from “dust,” but from the very foundational building block that God used to create everything—Light. Some of the very first rabbis believed and taught this. There is very compelling linguistic evidence, in more than one place in Scripture, that states this concept clearly when one uses a pure translation and doesn’t impose any kind of religious bias to create a man-centered vs. a God-centered doctrine. Accepting this idea makes a great deal of sense in context with numerous biblical principles and opens the door to understanding the complex nature of the Spirit Realm in ways that science is just beginning to acquire. I discuss this at length in my non-fiction work In the Cleft of the Rock: Insights into the Blood of Jesus, Resurrection Power, and Saving the Soul.
One of the passages I quote most often in my teachings is from the Book of Hosea, where God speaks through the prophet and says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge . . .” There is much we have yet to learn about the realm of the Spirit, and I’m convinced that in the next few years the lines between Biblical, scientific, and mathematical truths will become so blurred that we will wonder how we ever missed the obvious Truth.
That’s a lot of research! Do you have a special place or atmosphere you like to write in best?
I have a home office, and I enjoy writing there.
Tell us, are you like your main character?
Not really. There are elements of me in him, but he is far more interesting. He also has skill sets I don’t possess, having been a former Special Forces Ranger.
What character do you relate to or like best?
My main character, because he, like me, refuses to give up against impossible odds.
I like that! What project are you working on now?
Devil’s Cauldron. A follow up to Infernal Gates. A good part of the action takes place in Antarctica, a place I’m fascinated with and a place that’s on my “bucket list” to visit. It is sort of a parallel universe meets Dan Brown kind of historical conspiracy meets the occult meets angels and demons battling for the souls of mankind.
Here’s a teaser from the Prologue:
An explosion erupted from beneath the basement floor.
Tendrils of white-hot fire leapt from the gaping wound it created and struck his body like a cat o’ nine tails whip. Each lash of searing heat severed large patches of charred skin from his arms, legs, and torso.
The stench of burning flesh and hot sulfur filled his nostrils.
He gagged and vomited, then screamed until he was hoarse. Excruciating pain, unlike anything he’d ever experienced or imagined, drove him to the floor, sobbing.
“Mercy—” he begged.
Preternatural fire enveloped him, the burial shroud for those damned for eternity. Sightless eyes bubbled and boiled in their sockets as his once-handsome face melted away.
Gasping for oxygen through a skeletal mouth, he gulped and swallowed liquid fire instead as his final breath rattled through scorched teeth, an unheard warning, “Beware the Devil’s Cauldron—”
What advice would you give a new author?
Be clear about why you write and who your audience is. Become knowledgeable about your craft and the market. Be passionate about your writing. Seek out those who can help you succeed whenever and wherever possible (writing is ultimately a very solitary habit). Do whatever it takes to refine your craft and tell a great story with memorable characters. Read Don Maass’, book, “The Fire in Fiction,” to learn about the extraordinary power of “micro-tension,” and “Writing 21st Century Fiction” to understand where fiction is headed in the next few years.
Last, but not least: “Never, never, never, ever give up” (courtesy of Winston Churchill.) Speak those words over yourself in those dark moments of the soul when you feel there is no point in writing another word. Keep writing what you believe in and have a passion to share with others–and trust God to do the rest.
How many books have you written and how can we find your books?
Five novels and one non-fiction:
Infernal Gates: http://amzn.to/18HrDjY
GIANTS IN THE EARTH TRILOGY
Do you have any closing comments for us today?
I very much enjoy hearing from my readers, and I greatly appreciate online reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. If you decide to purchase a copy, please let me know how the novel impacted you and whether or not you’ll recommend it to others.
Thank you for sharing with us today. Your passion has really inspired me and I’m honored to have this interview on my blog.
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