About the BookBook: War Songs Author: Brett Nelson Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction/Spiritual Warfare Release Date: February 6, 2022 Trigger Warning: WAR SONGS is free of profanity and sexual situations (There is some mild slang terminology spoken by fallen angels and certain human characters, ex: c**p, w**re, etc). Also, there is one short scene in the book that depicts violence with very minimal graphic details that could be triggering and/or upsetting for some readers. There is an invisible realm around us that we can neither discern with our eyes nor hear with our ears. This invisible realm is where the powers of darkness and light reside. They can see and hear us, but we cannot see and hear them. Jenner Alekson is a leader in his praise and worship band that travels extensively in the tri-state area of Cape Kennington, North Carolina. He makes little money in his chosen profession, yet the rewards he reaps in obedience to his call of ministry are eternal, and that’s enough for him. Always happy with all aspects of his existence, Jenner is blindsided when his life suddenly catapults into turmoil, and he is thrust into a crossroads where discontentment, anger, and loss of desire to carry the gospel with his song takes root in an otherwise sheltered and stable life. Unbeknownst to Jenner, his wife Hyacinth, and best friends Camden and Lucas, a spiritual war rages around them. The powers of darkness will try their best to derail Jenner’s spiritual walk, his marriage, his ministry, then ultimately his life. Meanwhile across the country, rough and gruff long-haul trucker Arnold Collins leads a different kind of life. He’s a recovering drunk who chases women and is unhappy with an unloving, belligerent wife who could out-cuss any man who ever dared to challenge her. Without a warm and inviting place to call home, Arnold prefers the wide-open road before him. As he rumbles across the terrain of small-town America one lonely night in his eighteen-wheeler, grumbling about his unfulfilling lot in life, he happens upon a radio preacher. Not interested in religion, he flips past the station with mutters of disdain, but for reasons he cannot explain, he is compelled back to it and hears a sermon he doesn’t understand but can’t get out of his mind. Will the schemes of the powers of darkness pull Jenner away from the faith that means everything to him? And will the same powers prevent Arnold from finding the faith he needs but never wanted? Heaven and Earth, light and dark, good and evil, are about to collide in ways Jenner and Arnold and those they love could never imagine.
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About the AuthorBrett Nelson is an Amazon TOP 5 BEST-SELLING author. “When Raindrops Fall” and “War Songs” hit #4 and #2 respectively in the Christian fiction genre, and “A Christmas to Live For” hit #9 in Christian Fiction. He lives in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He wrote his first novel in 2012, just to see if he could. His goal is to write stories of fiction that are clean, easy to read, fun, and that injects a layer of his faith into every novel. In short, he desires that his readers would finish every novel having experienced a tapestry of emotions from a good healthy cry, fits of amused laughter, soul-splitting inspiration, and everything in between. He has published five novels to date. Book #2 to “War Songs” will publish in Spring 2024, and he is also currently working on Book #2 for “When Raindrops Fall.” His novel “A Christmas to Live For” won the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Christian Fiction in 2021, and “War Songs” won the Global Book Awards Silver Medal in Christian Fiction in 2022. Other than writing, reading is one of his favorite things to do on a lazy, rainy day (or a sunny day, or at the beach, or…well, you get the picture). He enjoys reading the novels of lesser known authors, because you never know when you’ll uncover a new favorite.
More from Brett“War Songs” was my fourth published novel, and I wrote it because I love books about spiritual warfare. The few that I’ve read, though, lean more on the occultic side than biblically based, which was what I wanted. Spiritual warfare isn’t pictures falling off walls for no reason, or seeing a shadow in the corner, or things that go bump in the night, which is how books that I’ve read tend to depict the subject of spiritual warfare. So, I decided to tackle the subject for myself and write a novel that I would want to read. I’m blessed to have received amazing email feedback about the book from all over the country and even from readers in Pakistan, Germany, the UK, and Canada. One question that I’m asked a lot is how I came up with the unique angel and demon names (ex: Animi, Mataio, Roga, and Mortol, just to name a few.) In the book, I gave each demon a specific job and/or specialty (discouragement, anger, etc) then I researched the Hebrew/Greek root words for the emotions that the demons represented and created a name based off the root word. It made for some great demon names, even if I do say so myself. As an author, I rarely use the names of people I personally know in my books. I like to use unique character names that no one in my life has, hence the names of my main characters in “War Songs,” Jenner and Hyacinth. To help find character names, I often go to baby name websites and search until just the right unique name comes along, and the minute I see it, I just know that will be the character’s name. That said, I have given a few special people in my life a shoutout in the books by using their name for a smaller secondary character then giving the character an outlandish personality that is nothing like the person whose name I used.
Interview with the Author
Do you read books in this genre? If so, who do you like to read?
Thank you, Ms. Sandra, for having me on your blog. I’m so excited to be here!
Yes, I read mostly in my genre of Christian Fiction, but I also enjoy reading certain secular fiction as well. As an author and as readers, I think we all benefit from branching out into different genres other than our “go to” favorites. I have a philosophy when it comes to reading: life is too short and there are too many good books out there to box myself into only one or two genres, so I dabble in a vast array. This year, even though I’m not a fan of the genre, I’ve made it a goal to read at least five books in the historical fiction genre and currently I’m four of five books into my goal. While it will never be my favorite genre, I’ve learned to appreciate it.
My favorite Inspirational author is Katherine Spencer (that’s her pen name. Her real name is Anne Canadeo, and she also writes knitting-related fiction stories under her real name). She authored the Cape Light series of books as Katherine Spencer, in collaboration with painter Thomas Kinkade, and that series (and the short-lived Angel Island series) are among my favorite books in the Inspirational genre. When I’m in the mood for a light and familiar and clean read, hers are often my “go to” books.
My favorite secular authors are Mary Higgins Clark (whom I’ve been reading since I was a teenager.) I own every one of her books in hardback and I love rereading them. I also love John Grisham for legal thrillers and Robin Cook for medical thrillers.
Even though I write Christian Fiction, I must admit to being relatively new to reading the genre. In the past couple of years, I’ve shifted my reading habits to primarily Christian Fiction with secular reads sprinkled in. I can’t really say that I have a strict favorite Christian Fiction author, but I do tend to read more lesser-known Indy authors. Truly, there are amazing lesser-known authors out there that readers are missing out on when they choose to only read traditionally published/popular authors.
For Christian Horror (yes, that’s a thing), I have read Ted Dekker for years. I love his style of writing real life, gritty stories that aren’t sappy and wrapped up in a pretty bow, yet the stories still retain Christian elements and show how characters use their faith to overcome often exaggerated and life-changing obstacles. His characters are real people with realistic lives that aren’t always clean and pitch perfect, and I love that!
For Christian Mysteries, I like Nancy Mehl, Colleen Coble, Irene Hannon, and new-to-me-authors Creston Mapes and Urcelia Tiexeira.
For dystopian/apocalyptic Christian Fiction (one of my favorite genres), I like Mark Goodwin, Jamie Lee Grey, and Mark Fisher. I also like Terry Toler for Space Opera (books that take place in space) Christian Fiction.
For sweet/small town/books/low-romance Christian Fiction books, I like Heidi Chiavaroli, Grace Green, and Charles Martin…just to name a few,
If a reader were to ask you what author you are like, what would you answer?
Ooo, this is a good question, and an even harder one to answer. Honestly, I have no idea which author’s writing style is like mine or has a similar tone as mine. I try not to make such claims as, “if you like this author, then you would like my books,’” because inevitably I would get bad reviews from readers with some form of “this author is nothing like ‘such and such author.’” I’ve just never wanted to go there. I would love to get a review or correspondence one day from a reader who tells me who THEY think my work is similar to, though. That would be cool so see what which authors readers’ think my books remind of them of.
I’ve also seen authors who publish their books with fantastic taglines like, “Breathtakingly Unputdownable.” Or “Utterly Gripping.” Or “Absolutely Addictive.”
While these things sound fun and even impressive, I would never want to make those claims about my own books because, again, you open yourself up to bad reviews that say, “this book was supposed to be utterly gripping and it was anything but.”
I’m a big proponent of tooting one’s own horn, but when it comes to my own books, I prefer not to make fantastical claims. Such statements carry so much more weight when readers say it about authors than when authors make the claims about themselves.
What helps you to write? Do you eat snacks, listen to music?
My love for writing, composing plots, and refining character arcs compels me to write, but like most things we do in life, even when we love something, sometimes we have days when we don’t want to do it. During those times, I buckle down and summon the discipline to do it anyway.
My goal is to write a minimum of 2,000 words per day (In the publishing industry, we go by word counts, not the number of pages or number of chapters). I think the best thing is to have a daily writing goal that is attainable and do your best to accomplish it. In addition to writing, I also have a full-time job, so finding a work/life balance is crucial. Writing is a major part of my day but only a part of it, so I’ve learned to have grace with myself when I don’t meet my daily writing goals, because writing 500 words is better than writing zero words, right?
On the days I really don’t feel like writing, I’ll give myself an occasional fun day, but a multitude of fun days don’t get the books written. If I don’t want to write on a certain day, I usually try to sit down and do it anyway because once I’m immersed in the story, it typically flows easily, and I can slip into a groove. If it doesn’t flow or I find myself unable to concentrate, at that point I’ll give myself a day off and that usually puts me back on my writing track the next day.
I also try to remove any obstacles before I sit down to write. If I need to do a grocery store run, or go to the post office to mail books to readers, or check on my parents, or return a call to friend, those things can stifle my creativity because all I can think about is what I still need to complete. If I can get as many of those things done first, then it’s easier to focus on writing and story building.
Once I’m in author mode, I don’t usually do a lot of snacking or listening to music. I know many authors who create playlists that jive with their current WIP (work in progress), and it sets the ambient tone for their writing sessions and stokes their creativity. For me, though, music is a huge distraction when I write. I prefer a quiet workspace that doesn’t compete with my creative flow. If I ever listen to music while I write, I’ll choose soft instrumental music that melts into the background. On those occasions, I gravitate toward movie orchestral soundtracks like Interstellar, The Holiday, The Age of Adeline, or The House of Sand and Fog—just to name a few.
What inspired you to write this book?
I know this isn’t a very “Christian” response, but I love reading novels about ghosts and/or paranormal activity (I love Darcy Coates books! Even though they’re secular, they’re clean with little profanity and no sexual themes, so they don’t offend my moral sensitivities too badly). Ghost stories are far and few in the Christian fiction genre, so I picked up a couple of spiritual warfare novels a few years ago because that seemed like a great concept and a perfect alternative to secular ghost stories.
As I read it, it wasn’t what I thought it would be because the spiritual warfare was depicted as pictures falling off the wall for no reason or shadows swishing across the room. As a Christian, I’ve read my Bible enough to know that’s not what true Biblical spiritual warfare is.
Ephesians 6:12 says that we don’t struggle against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. That tells us that Biblical spiritual warfare isn’t what goes bump in the night but an invisible realm that operates around us all. When I realized that most spiritual warfare books that I read were written from the secular/occultic perspective, I decided that I wanted to write a book of spiritual warfare that was more from the Biblical perspective, and that is how War Songs was born.
In War Songs, I also wanted to delve into the spiritual downfall of a person of the faith, but I wanted his downfall to be more subtle than the usual drugs, alcohol, or promiscuous behavior. After much thought and prayer of what direction I wanted the book to take, it hit me that one of the biggest pitfalls of Christians and non-Christians alike is the ability to fall into a state of offense so easily. Offense leads to anger which leads to bitterness, and unchecked anger and bitterness will poison a human’s spirit faster than anything.
I’ve gotten a couple of emails about War Songs from readers who want to argue doctrinal beliefs, and I even got one especially nasty email from a reader who was furious that I “wrote an entire book about someone with hurt feelings and that the character needed to just get over it.” She was literally offended about me writing a book about offended people. Go figure…LOL Overwhelmingly, though, I have gotten so much kind correspondence from readers who said the book was such a blessing and that it opened their eyes to how spiritual warfare possibly works.
War Songs is a book that readers need to have a definite open mind to read it because we all have varying doctrinal beliefs. I took creative licenses when writing some aspects of it (which is fine…that’s why it’s called Christian FICTION) but for the most part, as far as my mind can understand such things, it adheres to a strong and proper Biblical perspective.
Share with me a few of your favorite things.
Hmmm…a few of my favorite things?
-Rain and thunderstorms
-The sound of autumn leaves skittering across the pavement
-Everything Christmas (movies, music, decorations). I love it all!
-Twisted Peppermint candles from Bath and Body Works.
-“Gilmore Girls” and “Friends” television shows.
-Last but not least…Books!
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 8
Artistic Nobody, February 9 (Author Interview)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9
Texas Book-aholic, February 10
Fiction Book Lover, February 11 (Author Interview)
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 12
Guild Master, February 13 (Author Interview)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14
A Reader’s Brain, February 15 (Author Interview)
Through the Fire Blogs, February 16 (Author Interview)
Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, February 16
Lily’s Corner, February 17
Pause for Tales, February 18
Blossoms and Blessings, February 19 (Author Interview)
Splashes of Joy, February 20 (Author Interview)
For the Love of Literature, February 21 (Author Interview)
To celebrate his tour, Brett is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon Gift Card, an autographed hardback copy of the book, and a bookmark!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.