Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share this work of contemporary suspense with your readers! When Camels Fly is about a family of individuals committed to doing the right thing, even at great personal expense.
The story opens with the kidnapped daughter, hydrologist Maggie Madison, hearing her abductors discuss her impending murder in the Arabian Desert. Maggie’s mother is an archaeologist named Grace — a women who put family first for decades, and who now lives her dream. Grace, by her own admission, is an archaeologist of mature vintage, “the plodding type.”
Without giving away too much, these two women have a wonderful, dynamic relationship built on respect and love, and share a warped sense of humour.
After near misses and disasters, Mark (husband/father) and Jeff (son/brother) join the women. A squadron of Grace’s now-elderly professors with secrets of their own closely follow.
Beta readers and reviewers tell me that Grace is Everywoman thrust into extenuating circumstances, and that the functional, accountable relationships depicted in the Madison family are inspiring. The story is quick, with twists and turns, and offers both youthful romance, and a rekindled thirty-year marriage.
When Camels Fly is quite an odd title. What does it mean?
The title is from the book. The Madison family is part of a camel caravan riding at midnight up the Ascent of Adumim. (If you’re up on the Old Testament, Adumim is a ridge route above Wadi Quit, leading from Jericho to Jerusalem and mentioned in Joshua.) Grace is in an ornery mood, and responds that there will be peace in the region “when camels fly.” In her defense, no one wants to ride that ridge at midnight. I know this from experience.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have a lifelong love affair with archaeology, and as part of my master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, I undertook a long, hot archaeological survey of Israel and Jordan for credit.
As I stood on tel Dan in northern Israel, with my then-teenaged kids across a stratigraphic pit, I heard heavy artillery fire out of Syria and semi-automatic fire from Lebanon. (The Galilean Peninsula, site of Dan, is a finger jutting between these two countries, and only about fourteen miles wide.) Then a camo-painted IDF (Israeli Defense Force) plane began circling us. We fled to safer territory marked by yellow signs that stated, in three languages, “Danger! Mines!” (One was plenty for me.)
But that day, which was May 29, 2007, archaeologist Grace Madison, with her maternal devotion and yenta-like qualities, was created. Her birth was subconscious, but she soon began asserting herself in my brain. And I was back on tel Dan this March, listening to heavy artillery again. I’ve decided that it must be my soundtrack to northern Israel.
More specifically as it applies to the market, I think it’s critical that we create sophisticated, intelligent fiction for women. We each have gifts, and we’re expected to use them to the fullest extent of our ability. I’d like for Grace and Maggie to be vigorous, joyful voices for women who think, serve, and live “outside the box.”
Is there anything that you want your readers to know prior to reading it?
I have a Christian worldview, something noted in many reviews. However, as one reviewer stated, religion is almost another character, an inescapable undercurrent, in the Middle East.
If you could have had one piece of advice prior to writing your book/getting it published, what would it be?
Have patience and practice writing. (I know that’s two pieces of advice, but both are important.)
Heart of a Philanthropist has a lot of homeschooling family readers. Do you have any suggestions for our aspiring authors for writing?
I actually homeschooled my two kids from a very early age, before mainstreaming them into a private school. I am a BIG fan of homeschooling, and think it can be a perfect solution in many instances. I used a program called The Calvert School out of Baltimore, but this was twenty-plus years ago. Much has changed.
One of the most valuable things I did was a craftsman-level, yearlong seminar. I wrote every month, and addressed the elements in publishing. A well known writer mentored me through this program.
I took my undergraduate in journalism, then wrote every week, if not every day, for twenty-five years as owner of a marketing and advertising firm. Without my academic training and professional “word-smithing” practice, I could not have produced this work.
Writing professionally takes diligence, dedication, and a good portion of delusion. It takes discipline and time to produce professional-quality work. Honestly, I couldn’t have written and produced When Camels Fly while my kids were young because they were my first priority and absorbed every moment my work didn’t.
Do you have any other books in the works?
The Brothers’ Keepers, the second in the Parched series, will release on November 17. Here’s the goodreads synopsis.
Before dawn in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison learns that her daughter has disappeared in France, and her daughter-in-law attacked in Switzerland. By noon, she begins to unearth a four-thousand-year-old artifact trail that penetrates the taproot of her faith. At dusk, she realizes that before she can save the young women, she must rescue an old friend whose deceit endangers them all. If he'll let her.
The third, as yet unnamed, will release summer of 2015. I have two more in the series as well, which I hope to release every nine-to-twelve months thereafter.
Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to reading your next book.
Thanks for the opportunity to chat about When Camels Fly, and the delightful craziness that led to this blog tour. I hope you join us for The Brothers’ Keepers as well, and that your readers “camel up” with Grace and me on our mid-life adventure!