WHY A FICTIONAL CHARACTER CAN BE IMPORTANT
By A. B. Brownell
When proof copies of Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult arrived, my husband read the book for the first time.
“What did you think of it?” I asked.
“The question isn’t so much what I think of the book, but what I think of my wife for creating all that!”
Yet he read the teen novel in a couple of days—and he rarely reads books. That encouraged me.
I believed Joe Baker’s story was important, although I have a couple of other manuscripts waiting in the wings. The just released novel about Joe shows a teenager’s struggle with faith while everything around him seems to turn to dust. Joe desperately wants to believe God answers prayer because his parents are missing. They just disappear one evening after visiting a friend in the hospital.
Yet, Joe saw one of the men he thinks is involved. The man peeped into the kitchen window and then broke in the front door and burglarized Joe’s parents’ home. Joe and his 10-year-old sister, Penny, hid in the crawl space. By the time police arrived, the man was gone with Joe’s computer and a family photo.
The two Baker children end up having to live with an uncle and aunt who haven’t even been polite to Joe’s family in the past.
Then Joe and his pal, Pete, hook up with a Christian gang committed to preventing and solving crimes with fairly harmless things such as water, sand, marbles, noise, rope, and a pet skunk.
But we have radicals working to erase Christianity from America, robots, catapults, computer chips for the brain, a mental hospital’s juvenile unit, a glimpse of miracles from the Bible, dreams, praying. Put all these in the proper places and you have Joe’s story.
Joe the Dreamer was birthed as teaching entertainment in an after-school and summers program to draw students into studying the Bible for themselves. But the book remained unfinished, nagging me from the depths of my computer until I let it out and began sending it to meet critique group members of American Christian Fiction Writers under a different title, Terror Blasters.
Revision after revision, and Joe and the other characters grew stronger and the manuscript went back to part of the original title: Joe the Dreamer. It’s always had a castle and a catapult, but they didn’t make it into the title until close to publication.
Did I believe teens would read it? There is so much fantasy, speculative fiction and books with wizards and all sorts of weird creatures for teens, and this is a book about ordinary youth who do extraordinary things with their faith, knowledge, and simple things like pumpkins.
Yet, we find Joe locked into the bowels of the juvenile unit of a mental hospital with severely disturbed young people.
In the sub-plot, Joe’s parents are building a wall around a castle. They are warned that if his dad doesn’t change his computer software program from eliminating seizures to causing seizures in Christian opinion leaders, they’ll get their children. In addition, the radicals who snatched Joe’s parents plan to use Joe’s dad eventually in building bombs to kill Christians.
Will the radicals snatch Joe too, or leave him in the mental hospital for shouting and getting excited at night when he slips into the skin of a Bible character during his dreams? Will his parents be found and released? Or will Joe give up having an ordinary life again?
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult may be purchased at http://buff.ly/XeqTvH or https://www.createspace.com/3962829
Check out more of Ada’s writing at http://www.inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com
A.B. Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a BS degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books.