Exclusive Author Interview with Richard Green and Anita Johnson on novel The New World
The New World:
Friends Elias, Shroba and Ribiab experienced the war in heaven as the Defiant One lead one third of God’s children in a rebellion against God’s plan for the New World. Ultimately, the Defiant Ones were cast out of heaven and sent to earth where the battle between good and bad would finish playing out. Elias struggles during his time of trial in the New World, as he walks a fine line between the two forces campaigning for his soul. As Elias searches for a lasting relationship, he is confused by a snapshot that is pulled from his memories that were locked away as he left his pre-earth life. Help from both sides of the veil try to aid him in his search for eternal love and answers to life’s greatest questions, as the defiant ones try to derail his every advancement.
We've been excited to share this one-on-one interview with you. Comment anymore questions you have for Richard and Anita. If you haven't had the chance yet to purchase their amazing novel, click here for ordering! Book was released May 20th, 2019.
Explain how you came up with the title?
Many people picture the winding up scene of life as standing before God and being judged. Do any of us really dare to think beyond that point? Therefore, that often stands as the end of time in each of our minds. But as I thought about that being the last scene of my existence, it occurred to me that our time on this earth and ultimately our judgment before God, is really the Threshold to Eternity.
What category or genre did you intend this to be?
It is a little hard to assume it could land anywhere, other than religious fiction.
What was your purpose in writing this novel?
Richard: We felt the complete story, often obscure within the scriptures, is so wonderful that we wanted to make it more tangible than just words. Our goal was to use as many of our real life situations and experiences to tell the story; so whether the scenes depict the past, present, or future, they would seem relatable to the reader. We tried to share our sincere appreciation and love for our Savior, Jesus Christ and what we believe to be the purpose of this great creation we call Earth.
Anita: We have had experiences that have left no doubt there is another realm out there. Life-long involvement in family history research has also made us keenly aware that families who have completed their time on this earth are still involved and care about the lives of their extended family members. It was our desire to make life on the other side of the veil as real as life on this side of the veil.
Something you liked about it?
We were able to relive cherished experiences and often found greater understanding as we pondered them in a completed view, some spanning many years. We also dug deeper into history and scriptures in an attempt to create an accurate telling of the great story of mankind.
Something you disliked about it?
We originally created over 100 pages to try and frame the story for the reader at the beginning of the book; however, it felt like it took a long time for the story to take off. A few readers confirmed our fears. There are a number of books or movies that start well into the story, letting individuals figure it out as it unfolds. It became clear why writers do that. We cut most of those pages and pulled small sections back in as the story built up steam.
Why did you choose this setting?
The concept of people living as children of God before coming to earth, and striving to help each other while on the earth (even though they are here during different eras) created the setting for the story – Pre-existence, mortality on earth, and final judgment to determine one’s eternal status are all part of our path. However, so many people only focus on life on this earth. We wanted to give readers fuel that would cause them to begin thinking of the larger picture, while creating hope of reaching a glorious end.
Who is your favorite character?
That would have to be Elias/Mark. He is the person we spent the most time with. The greater part of our experiences and creativity were saddled to Mark. He largely embodies who we strive to be, however he seems to do a much better job with the challenges and experiences of life. The words, “hind-sight is 20/20” often came to mind while writing about Mark. It was a slight taste of what we perceive it may be like during those moments just before standing in front of the judgment bar of God.
Who is your least favorite character?
It would probably have to be Tony. He had such strength and promise before he came to earth; however, once on earth he let the defiant ones pull all of that future from his grasp. Looking within ourselves, his weakness and waffling was a little too easy to create. Much of Tony’s character was also created using flaws of several people we grew up with. Those people had good traits as well, but Tony would not be Tony if we included those. One friend in particular added a lot of color to my early life as you will detect, he created scenes that dwarf fiction.
Describe the most significant episode in your book. (most meaningful to you)
Richard: For me it would be the nearly disastrous trip as Mark had taken his son on a trip to Wyoming. After brushing off a warning of pending danger, Mark continued until he received a vivid flash of a dreadful conclusion if he continued ahead. After avoiding the danger, he stopped to thank God for the valuable warnings and made covenants to listen and heed future guidance without requiring a second warning. It stood as the catalyst for a new level of communications with God
How did writing it change you, or your views?
Richard: At a very young age, I had an experience that left no doubt within me, that we live along side another realm. Through pondering and prayer I later received understanding; which, was then placed above logic or intellect. In my twenties, when we were expecting our first child, a religious awakening took place within me. That awakening redirected my life toward a search for even greater answers and knowledge.
Have you thought about a Sequel or Prequel?
Yes, the groundwork for a sequel(s) is well underway. The race is to complete it before the events of our future actually play out before our eyes.
In my thirties I began doing a great deal of religious study and research. I began creating a list of things I wanted to remember. The list grew from scripture study, historical research, gained inspiration by visiting historical sites, and acknowledging the lives of predecessors that struggled through life, providing advantages that benefit us even now.
After several years the list of bullet points filled a large number of pages. I felt I needed to develop a way to organize all of the information in a manner that would maintain relevance and chronological order. A colorful and nearly fictional life had caused me to previously record a large amount of material of the events of my life and much more remained in the form of memories. So I decided to create a fictional story, merging my life and the bullet point list. Unfortunately it created a third person narrative that my wife couldn’t even complete.
My sister asked me if I would read through a story she had written and provide some feedback. I considered that to be a huge act of compassion, as romance novels were not on my reading list. However, I was immediately blessed for that act of kindness, as I then knew what my own writing attempt was missing. My sister agreed to join me in rewriting my feeble narrative, bringing the characters to life through the addition of dialogue between them.
We spent over two years, adding hundreds of pages to the original story. A male/female perspective provided important dimension a solo author may be incapable of delivering to readers. That became apparent as Anita was not able to provide any input while writing a fight scene between two young men. And her depiction of Mark spinning his legs around the end of a bench before standing was impossible for me to visualize. However, thanks and credit from readers for the softening and romantic elements within the finished pages of this novel should only be credited toward Anita.
The New World is available for ordering click here for purchase! Book was released May 20th, 2019. Published by Books You Can Trust Publishing.