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FICTION FILE [ ASK THE AUTHOR ] Joel C. Rosenberg PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:24 PM EST

JoelRosenbergLATEST work: The Third Target (9781414336275, $26.99, January).

PUBLISHER: Tyndale House Publishers.

What is the premise of your new novel, The Third Target?

The premise is very simply, but also—to me, at least—terrifying: What if ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] acquires chemical weapons? Today we know that ISIS leaders are currently trying to bring down two governments in the Middle East—that of Iraq and Syria. I wanted to explore this question: Whom might ISIS go after next? What is the third target? The United States, Israel or some other country altogether?

What type of character is J.B. Collins?

J.B. Collins in an award-winning and highly respected New York Times correspondent. Primarily focused on national security affairs, he covers terrorism and has reported from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s in his mid-40s. Single. Hard-charging. Very competitive. Cultivates great sources. And for all those reasons, he’s willing to take enormous personal risks to pursue a story.

Why is Tyndale releasing this novel three months earlier than planned?

I began developing the idea for The Third Target in the winter of 2013. ... I remembered Tom Clancy once saying that the New York Times, for all its flaws, is one of the world’s most effective intelligence-gathering agencies. That intrigued me, and I began playing with the idea of creating a new series around an American foreign correspondent who is essentially an intelligence operative, but one who openly publishes what he learns for the world to read and doesn’t write top-secret reports that remain within the intelligence community.

The challenge was that when I first began writing, no one at Tyndale had ever heard of ISIS. Actually, most people in the world hadn’t heard of ISIS at that time. But by the time the manuscript was finished, ISIS was the number-one story in the Middle East. They were gaining so much territory in Syria and Iraq and becoming such an enormous threat that everyone was talking about ISIS. President Obama, who only months before had said ISIS was a “jayvee”-level terrorist group, was now declaring war on ISIS. And given how fast ISIS was moving, the executives at Tyndale thought maybe we’d better get the book out before the events I wrote about fictionally were overtaken by real life.

Whom did you interview for this book?

Two former directors of the CIA, a former director of the Mossad—Israel’s intelligence agency—as well as several very senior officials in an Arab government.  

What helped you to be able to communicate the thinking of radical Islamists?

I talked to a lot of experts who have spent their lives hunting down, arresting and even killing radical Islamic terrorists. I specifically met with people who know ISIS, who knew its forerunner, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In addition, I interviewed people who used to be terrorists and have since had dramatic conversions and have become followers of Jesus Christ. My conclusion is that ISIS is far more dangerous than al Qaeda ever was. This is not just an evil band of men. These are Satanists. They are genocidal, and God forbid they ever get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.

This story seems chillingly plausible. Do you sense you have a gift of prophecy at work in your fiction?

It could really happen. And I think that’s what draws people to my novels, that sense that these stories could be ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. That said, I don’t ascribe to a gift of prophecy. I write about geopolitical events and how they could lead to the fulfillment of biblical prophecies, and I do a lot of research to try to make each book as realistic and as plausible as possible.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I’m trying to use fiction to get people to focus on the truth, spiritual truth like in a world of evil and terrorism: Do you know where you are going when you die? And geopolitical truth, like the fact that ISIS poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and our allies in the Middle East, and if we don’t take decisive action to crush them, they will hit us with genocidal force.

Too many leaders in Washington are exhausted by all this talk of war and terrorism in the epicenter. They want it to all be over. But Bible prophecy tells us wars and rumors of war and revolutions in the Middle East won’t end until Christ returns. Instead, they will get worse and worse. So we must stay on guard against great evil, lest we be blindsided by it. I’m deeply concerned that the president and his national security team are in over their heads. I don’t think they understand just how serious a threat we face.

Will you continue this story?

Lord willing, The Third Target is the first of a series. As far as I am aware, this will be the first novel about ISIS ever published. Let’s just pray none of it comes true.

Close Up Tony Evans PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:17 PM EST

TonyEvansLatest project: America: Turning a Nation to God (9780802412676, $19.99, Moody Publishers).

What is at the core of so many of America’s problems?

It is the departure from how God has designed government to function in terms of it needing to limit itself to its scope of responsibility and not invading the other arenas God has established.

Why did you write America?

To show Christians how we have helped create the problems in our nation and how we are the key to its cure. Also to call for America to turn to God in hopes that He will reverse our course and restore our nation to His definition of what a nation is to be when it operates under His rule.

In what ways is  the future of America in the hands of Christians?

It is up to Christians to be the conscience of the nation from God’s perspective and draw God’s engagement back into the culture. The church as a whole can have a positive influence for good in our nation by advancing God’s kingdom and principles.

What will transform the culture?

We begin with a solemn assembly where we corporately humble ourselves before God. Also, we Christians need to be comprehensively kingdom minded.

AmericaWhat is a solemn assembly?

A solemn assembly is a sacred gathering designed to restore God’s place in the culture. It is a time where God’s people, during a specific time of fasting and prayer, seek the renewal of their relationship with Him through repentance of sin and the passionate pursuit of the return of His presence in their midst. In the Scripture, this was something often called by those in leadership—whether a priest, prophet or king. It was something that would first be called for a specific, smaller leadership sphere before spreading to the entire nation. Even in America, historical records show that prior to every national awakening, the spiritual leadership of the day put a heavy emphasis on fasting and gathering for time of solemn assemblies.

What do you mean by “A Declaration of Dependence”?

America was born out of a desire for independence from the tyranny of England. Spiritual revival calls for just the opposite. God has not called us to be independent from Him but rather to exercise a verbal and visible dependence on Him. In making a declaration of dependence, God’s people dedicate their allegiance to Him in four spheres: personal, familial, the church and national. Personally, every Christian must decide to no longer serve two masters. Heads of households must declare like Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Local churches must recommit to making disciples and not simply increasing membership. The church must commit to become the conscience of the government.

What does it mean for Christians to “kingdomize” their skills, as you suggest?

Kingdomizing our skills means that we use our skills, talents and abilities to advance God’s purposes in the world and not merely our own goals or agendas. It means aligning our attitudes and actions with Matthew 6:33, which tells us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” trusting that all the things we need will be given to us.

You outline a plan to impact America that begins in churches and communities. What is an example of such an outreach strategy for the local church?

One of the local programs with which our church has had success is The National Church Adopt-a-School Initiative ( The program is designed to prepare urban and suburban churches across America to forge partnerships with public schools to improve the lives of urban youth and families. Through this program, church and community leaders, as well as lay leaders and church members, learn how to address human needs effectively while at the same time modeling spiritual principles in a context of love, acceptance and accountability.

How do you suggest Christian retailers promote America?

On websites, retailers can create a cause-related area focused on revival and highlight America as well as other resources on the same topic. Also on the website, they can include America in their new and noteworthy releases and provide links to download the “Declaration of Dependence” documents and find out more about the call to a National Solemn Assembly scheduled to take place in 2016. In-store they can create a display or endcap focused on the state of the nation and include America; include America in the new-and-noteworthy releases section; have an employee read the book and write a recommendation to be displayed; and place copies in various sections of the store such as Church Resources, Christian Living, Politics, Contemporary Issues and Revival.

Bookbeat January 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Production   
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:11 PM EST



Star of ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Sean Lowe reveals the story behind his reality TV experiences in For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage and Why Nice Guys Finish First. With Nancy French, Lowe chronicles the challenges he faced in trying to honor his Christian convictions during the taping of the shows. Nelson Books releases this $24.99 hardcover book Jan. 27.


In The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating (softcover, $14.99), pastor and author Andy Stanley examines the challenges of modern dating and offers a practical, Bible-based approach. He debunks what he calls the myth of “Mr. Right,” speaks frankly about premarital sex and shows readers how to find a lasting relationship. Stanley founded North Point Ministries, which includes six churches in the Atlanta area and a global network of 30 partner churches. Zondervan releases his new book Jan. 6.


Co-authors Suzanne Mayernick and Gwen Oatsvall, who are raising 13 children between their two families, have written One: Impossible Starts Here (softcover, $15.99), releasing this month from B&H Books. One tells how God built something bigger than these two women could have ever imagined, as they took one simple step of obedience after another. The authors are the founders of 147 Million Orphans, which provides orphans around the world with basic needs.


Howard Books releases the newest title from Robert J. Morgan on Jan. 6. Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late: Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose (hardcover, $19.99) draws from the author’s lifelong study of the Bible and provides 10 biblical patterns for productivity and maximizing each day. Morgan is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for 35 years.


Based on Nelson Searcy’s most-requested audio resources, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live explains the power of words and shows readers how to choose them wisely to build a better life. Searcy is author of 10 best-selling books, as well as founder and lead pastor of The Journey Church, with locations in many cities, including Boca Raton, Florida. Written with Jennifer Dykes Henson, Tongue Pierced retails for $15.99 and releases from David C Cook on Jan. 1.


InterVarsity Press appeals to women with True You: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Using Your Voice (IVP Crescendo), available this month. Co-authors Adele Ahlberg Calhoun and Tracey Bianchi draw on their diverse experiences and voices to guide readers into a deeper relationship with God and a greater sense that every woman’s story matters. Bianchi serves as pastor for worship and women at Christ Church of Oak Brook, Illinois. Calhoun co-pastors at Redeemer Community Church in Needham, Massachusetts. True You retails for $16 in softcover.


In Stay on Top: Building a Life That Never Falls Apart, Larry Hutton draws from Scripture to help believers position themselves to stay strong and stable through life’s trials. Hutton is the author of several books and president/CEO of Larry Hutton Ministries based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Releasing Jan. 15 from Harrison House Publishers, this softcover book retails for $12.99.


While atheists claim science and faith are incompatible, 20 contributors to True Scientists, True Faith (softcover, $16.99) show how science enriches their faith. From a variety of scientific fields and faith backgrounds, all the contributors are Christians. Contributors include astronomer Joan Centrella, Francis Collins of the human genome project and Alister McGrath, professor of science and theology at Oxford University. The Monarch Books title is available Jan. 27 through Kregel Publications.

Following God’s script for the family PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:07 PM EST

BecomingAHaving counseled families for more than 25 years, Michelle Anthony is well-acquainted with a variety of parenting methods. The author of several books, Anthony is also vice president of learning resources at David C Cook, which releases her new book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (9780781411394, $15.99), this month.

The book opens by comparing life to filmmaking. Anthony asserts that while God is the writer and director of each life, people often want to control their own destinies rather than follow God’s script—which leads to parental dysfunction.

Anthony uses stories from the Scriptures and modern families to illustrate six unhealthy parenting styles, including “The Driver Parent” and “The Double-Minded Parent.” But in a spiritually healthy family, parents extend grace and help their children see God’s path. They see beyond their children’s immediate behaviors to the goal of faith formation.

Spiritually healthy families are “families working together as loving cast members, discovering the intimate beauty of watching the character development of each person unfold—in the midst of the  messiness,” she writes.

Anthony said changing one’s parenting style is “a process in which the Holy Spirit will work on you (and with you) ‘deep down’ over time.”

To order Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, visit

‘Duck Dynasty’ couple helps couples in crisis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:54 AM EST

Al and Lisa Robertson tell their story of marital trouble and ultimate reconciliation in Howard Books release

FICTION FILE December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 11:15 AM EST


[ ASK THE AUTHOR ] Dorothy Love

Latest project: The Bracelet (9781401687601, $15.99, Dec. 9).

Thomas Nelson.

How would you summarize your new novel, The Bracelet?

When newly engaged Celia Browning receives a bracelet that spells out a deadly message, she sets out to uncover the truth about her family’s tragic past before long-buried secrets ruin her brilliant future.

What is the setting of the story?

The story takes place in Savannah, Georgia, in 1858-1859.

What are some of the actual events that inspired this book?

In Victorian times, gentlemen would sometimes send messages to their sweethearts through precious jewels. This charming custom first inspired the story. Later, I learned of the tragic death by suicide of a young Savannah matron and of the myths surrounding her death that still persist in Savannah today. Combining the two gave me the complete story of a young woman about to become engaged who finds her happiness threatened by old secrets she does not understand.

Tell us about your main character, Celia Browning.

Celia is privileged, but far from spoiled. She lost her mother at a young age and adores her father, who is a prominent shipping magnate in Savannah. She is highly loyal to her city and to those she loves. She is generous, sometimes impulsive, but unwavering in her quest to protect her family’s name from an unscrupulous newspaper reporter.

What are some of the themes you explore in this story?

I was interested in writing about the limits of loyalty, the effects of secrets, the way in which secrets change us, how little we sometimes know the people we think we know best, the pressures of notoriety and the power of forgiveness.

What topics did you research to write The Bracelet?

TheBraceletI read at least a dozen books on various aspects of Savannah’s history, both antebellum and postbellum. I studied the history of the Sorrel-Weed House, which served as the model for Celia’s fictional home. I studied dressmaking, ship building, blockade runners, 19th-century medicine, antique weapons, the Chatham Artillery, shipping routes, the transatlantic cable, baseball, the slave ship Wanderer and horse breeding in Jamaica, among other topics. That’s one reason I love writing historical fiction. I love learning about this stuff and sharing it with my readers.

Is this novel similar to and/or different from your previous works?

All of my novels are about strong fictional women inspired by real-life events or real-life women. Last year’s novel, for example, was inspired by the life of Elizabeth Allston Pringle, a woman rice planter in the South Carolina low country. I relied on her journals and numerous biographies of her family to tell my story. The Bracelet is inspired by actual events in the Sorrel family of Savannah and by the custom of the jewels described above.

The Bracelet is a stand-alone novel, but will readers have an opportunity to see the main character, Celia, again?

Celia has an important secondary role in my 2015 novel tentatively titled Indigo Point. In Indigo Point, Celia comes to the aid of my lead character, India Hartley, a beautiful young actress unjustly accused of shooting her leading man during a performance at a Savannah theater. I had so much fun reuniting with Celia. I grew to love her during the writing of The Bracelet.

What else should Christian retailers know about The Bracelet?

In the 19th century, a large number of the most prominent families throughout the South belonged to the Episcopal Church. Church members were highly engaged with their communities and involved in numerous charitable activities. In Savannah, many Episcopal ladies supported orphanages, hospitals, libraries and the arts, just as I have described them in The Bracelet. Faith was considered personal and private. Though some wrote about their faith in private diaries, journals and letters, they didn’t often speak of it in public.

As an author of historical fiction I take seriously my responsibility to portray the past as accurately as I can. This includes matters of faith and the way faith was expressed in that time. To insert overt messages into the mouths of these characters would not be accurate. Instead I have created characters who, when confronted with moral decisions, choose to act in ways consistent with their religious values and consistent with their understanding of what it meant to be Christian. This is the context in which the story should be read and, I hope, enjoyed.

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