Ana's Note: I generally try to avoid hosting political or military opinions directly on this blog. However, I recognize that Middle Eastern wars are common and popular subjects for a variety of books including a number of political and military thrillers as well as a variety of widely-know Christian series books.
I've chosen to host this interview with the understanding that the sentiments expressed herein are not endorsed or directly-commented-on by myself. As always, readers are free to comment as they please as long as the Comment Policy is followed.
Ana: Today we have Jonathan Ball introducing his novel, "Path of the Righteous". I haven't read this book myself, but Jonathan was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Jonathan, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?
Jonathan: "Path of the Righteous" is a fictional look into a plausible future. It is about an American economic collapse under a developing regime. America's electro-economy fails, so the reigning president must decide to either pursue failed endeavors or to betray Israel as a buy-in to the Saudi Arabian controlled petrol market. American Christians start to defect to Israel with the intentions of joining the Israeli Defense Force and make a stand against an American-backed and very dangerous Arab Alliance.
Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?
Jonathan: A large part of this novel, or at least the inspiration for it, was made out of consideration for the dangers of over-reaching governments all over the world. The international alliances we have, especially in the Middle East, are dangerously fickle. As we've seen world markets fail since the 2008 collapse in America, we've also seen real unrest and violence. It's a sad reality in the current state of our world, so I started to ask myself: What would I do if America went to war with Israel? That thought manifested itself into a realistic-fiction type of look into a possible future.
Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?
Jonathan: I really wrote this book for the sake of being creative and just getting ideas out there. I'm a former Marine, so I've always loved the tales of war-torn heroes who pull through the depths of what the world sometimes has to offer. I'm ever inspired by the enduring human spirit, especially that of the American warrior who lays his life on the line for others. Then, I started to write "Path of the Righteous". My father, Mike Ball, and I have discussed the prospect of going to fight for the IDF if Israel's surrounding enemies started to attack. I just fictionalized the idea, added some political basis to justify the idea, and ran with it. It was a lot of fun to write it out.
Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?
Jonathan: Wow... That's a tough one. A friend of mine read the first draft (a dangerous endeavor for sure), but he compared me to Tom Clancy. I remember thinking 'Yeah. If only...' However, I do see the similarities. " Path of the Righteous" is set within a realistic political climate and focuses on the fight of a few for the sake of the many. Mr. Clancy gives more specific names to auxiliary characters and does more to define non-critical characters, but I really didn't want to make "Path of the Righteous" so long that it would be a chore to read. Additionally, the political climate and set up for a large-scale edge of a world war was done more blatantly than Mr. Clancy's use of conspiracy tales. Even still, I can certainly see the similarities despite the differences.
Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Jonathan: I initially wrote a screenplay called "Aces" for an animated children's movie about a pigeon who becomes a fighter pilot. He was a loner/troublemaker and had to learn how to be a team player for the sake of completing his mission and getting the girl. I was in consideration in the Toronto Independent Film Festival (2011), but just missed the final selections. Not too bad for a first-timer from what I've been told inside the movie-making industry.
Then I wrote "Path of the Righteous", which is the first novel I've published for purchase, and it's really exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I'm proofing several other novels that I've written. Readers who like "Path of the Righteous" can expect "Les Troubadours de la Guerre", "A Hole in the Pocket", and several others to come. Each of my books keep to a similar genre or theme -- a former warrior, someone who waged war in the name of country, but then must find his way through his own conflicts -- but all tell a very different story from the last. With "Path of the Righteous", I did leave openings to tie in other parts or continuations. Contingent upon how the story does, I might be considering a "Path of the Righteous" series, but we'll have to wait and see.
Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?
Jonathan: "Path of the Righteous" is available on Amazon for $0.99. Readers can also follow me on Facebook to keep up with new releases.
I would also love to know everyone's ideas and feedback. I'll check reviews on Amazon through the link to "Path of the Righteous". All feedback is welcomed because I see it as a great way to improve overall.
Ana: Thank you, Jonathan. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?
Jonathan: You can try the novel for free with Amazon's "Send sample now" feature. Don't be confused when you open the book to Chapter 22 on Page 1. I promise it will make sense when you read the book, and you can expect similar chapter ordering in future novels as my own little nod to personalized style. Thank you so much for your consideration and I really hope you enjoy "Path of the Righteous".