A.B. Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a BS degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books.
Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. After Joe Baker’s parents mysteriously disappear, he finds himself with a vicious man after him. Joe and an unusual gang team up to find his mom and dad. The gang is dedicated to preventing and solving crimes with ordinary harmless things such as noise, water, and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. Joe reads the Bible hoping to discover whether God will answer prayer and bring his parents home. In his dreams, Joe slips into the skin of Bible characters and what happened to them, happens to him—the peril and the victories. Yet, crying out in his sleep causes him to end up in a mental hospital’s juvenile unit. Will he escape or will he be harmed? Will he find his parents? Does God answer prayer?
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS NOVEL, ADA?
After I retired, I established an after-school and summers program because of writing too many news stories about latch-key kids, juvenile delinquency and young people who turn away from God. I observed children with little productive to do in their spare time, such as becoming established in the faith. So I contacted the director of our church day care to see what she thought.
“We need something for the upper elementary students and a few older ones,” she said.
My vision was to build up our church kids spiritually, but I was surprised to discover a large number of Social Services children in that age group enrolled.
I wrote the curriculum: “Dynamite Decisions for Youth,” “God in American History” and “Love is Dynamite.”
But during the summer they needed something relaxing in the afternoons and Joe the Dreamer was born.
I hoped to impart in them a love for God’s Word and a desire to read it on their own. The story begins with a mystery. Joe’s parents disappear. Joe prays God will bring them back, but his faith is weak. So while he and his little sister, Penny, live with their non-Christian uncle, Joe reads the Bible every night. When he falls asleep, he often slips into the skin of a Bible character.
Lions breathe down his neck. He stands in a furnace of fire, but is not burned. He lands in a cistern and ends up in slavery. Then he walks on water with Jesus. Several times Joe sees angels.
Yet, Joe’s days become a living nightmare. Somebody is after him. The police are hunting for Joe’s dad—not because he’s missing but because he’s accused of stealing valuable software for a brain chip to control seizures. Joe screams sometimes during his dreams and his uncle believes he has a mental illness. Joe is committed to the state mental hospital.
In the subplot, the reader sees Joe’s parents imprisoned at a nearby castle by radicals who want to erase Christianity from America.
Joe joins a teen gang—the Gallant Guardians—dedicated to solving and preventing crime by using ordinary harmless things like marbles, water, noise, rope and a pet skunk.
I learned my experience as a newspaper reporter could be used. The brain chip came out of interviews I had with neurologists about seizure control==except the radicals want a chip to cause seizures in influential Christians.
The scenes in the mental hospital grew out of my reporting experience, too, as did many other things in this mystery/adventure teen novel.
WHAT IS ONE FUN THING READERS DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
This experience was fun until later.
I disobeyed my dad by going ice skating on the river and stayed out so long I froze my feet. I put them in hot water as soon as I got home, and they turned black and swelled so large I couldn’t wear my shoes. My sins had found me out (Numbers 32:23). I’m blessed. The Lord did a miracle and without medical treatment my feet healed and you’d never know I had severe frostbite and did exactly the worst thing I could do afterward.
Perhaps that’s why I try to teach youth to follow the Lord and His commandments, such as, “Children obey your parents.”
Sounds like a lively and compelling read, Ada!
For more about Ada and her writings, log onto the following locations.
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult http://buff.ly/XeqTvH or https://www.createspace.com/3962829
Swallowed by LIFE: http://buff.ly/TLkr0a
Confessions of a Pentecostal: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0088OP460
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