by J. Philip Horne
When twelve-year-old Jack Paris feels the small jaws of a creature that shouldn’t exist clamp down on his leg, life as he knows it in small-town northeast Texas comes to a sudden end. Miss Edna, his foster mom, is forced to take him and his friend Sally to a world she secretly forsook two hundred years before to save his life. There Jack discovers that an evil wizard needs him for unknown purposes and will stop at nothing to capture him. The wizard pursues Jack and Sally through forests and under mountains on the other world, and even across Kansas back on Earth.
With all their hope placed in Miss Edna, she suddenly disappears, leaving Jack and Sally to carry on without her. It soon becomes clear, however, that the events of the present are tied to Miss Edna’s past, and the children begin a desperate effort to find her before all hope is lost.
When Jack finally realizes why the wizard needs him, he learns that to live and love, you sometimes have to be willing to die.
“A fascinating read grabbing you right from the beginning and not letting go to the very end, in fact you don’t want it to end. Well written and full of suspense that will keep you turning pages long into the night. Exceptional development of different characters spanning two worlds; as well as interesting creatures.”
“Super fast-paced. I could not put the book down.”
“Compelling and engaging!”
CIR: What inspired this book?
HORNE: I was sitting in a Starbucks after dropping my kids of at a church event, and I jotted down this bit of a poem. That inspired a fully formed scene in my mind, that became the climactic scene in the book. I then wrote the entire novel to get to that scene.
CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this?
HORNE: This was the first novel I ever completed. What a sense of accomplishment and wonder that this story had leaked out of me and onto the pages of a fully-formed novel!
CIR: Did this require any research, and what kind?
HORNE: I had to figure out which martial art emphasized the use of a staff or rod. And I had to look into how the FBI handles kidnapping cases.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
HORNE: The completely grueling pace I set. I wrote the first draft and did the initial edits in 36 days, starting with nothing. No outline. No real notes. It was like I had this compulsion to write, and it took over my life.
CIR: What message do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
HORNE: The theme of the book is loosely that to find your life, you have to be willing to lose it.
CIR: Reviewers were clamoring for a sequel. Is there more coming?
HORNE: I wrote it so that the ending felt fairly complete, but I have worked a bit on a sequel. We’ll see.