After nearly three years of work, and thanks to the feedback of my initial beta reader, Kevin Blanchard, my editor, Andrew Fisher, and my cover artist, Micah Chapin, In the Land of God will finally be a reality tomorrow. I will be uploading it tomorrow, and by November 22, 2016, it will be available exclusively on Amazon. For those of you subscribed to Kindle Unlimited then I have good news: it will be available for FREE for those subscribers. If you aren’t a subscriber it will be available for $2.99 (USD).
Now…what is the story of In the Land of God?
It is a multi-generational family saga set in the fictional town of New Canaan, Illinois. A young couple, Abraham and Sarah, move to the town in 1900, fleeing the excess and opulence of their wealthy families in Chicago. They purchase farmland outside of town and build a new life there. Sarah gives birth to twin sons: Isaac and Ishmael. As the boys grow up, their brotherhood is marked with petty conflict. After a series of events, Isaac returns to the farm with his own family igniting a new generation of fighting. The First World War and the Great Depression play key parts in this historical literary novel, and there are even nods to the decadence of the Roaring Twenties and the Spanish-American War. It’s a story of quarreling families, and also as a tale of warning. It’s not a religious book, but I think this verse sums up the spirit of the book in a great way:
“If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” – Galatians 5:15
Where did I get the inspiration for this book?
I had originally planned for this story to be an allegory for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and I suppose it still is, but it draws on more than just that series of wars. I originally got the idea after reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I fell in love with the idea of this familial infighting set in rural America with a historical backdrop. I tinkered with the idea, but didn’t commit to writing it until one of my English professors, Dr. David Alvarez, talked about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in class.
I had a vehicle for this story. I don’t believe every story needs to have some deeper meaning, but this story needed one.
It draws on other historical influences too. The Civil War (“brother vs. brother”) being an inspiration and other unnecessary and vicious conflicts like the Irish Civil War, the Vietnam War, etc. etc. etc. I don’t want to tell anyone how to interpret the story, but there is one thing I’ll say. New Canaan, Illinois, is set on the other side of the Mississippi River and extremely close to the Ozarks. After the Civil War, the fighting continued in the Ozarks. I won’t expound too much more on that idea, but it’s significant.
I also drew a lot of influence from Lowell, Michigan; the town I grew up in. It’s like so many other American towns: only a few thousand people, a single main street filled with businesses trying to stay alive, and miles upon miles of farmland. Although I didn’t have to suffer through the Great Depression, I was old enough to understand the impact of the Great Recession and see what it did to a small town like Lowell. As I wrote In the Land of God I thought about the unforgiving, relentless march of time and the effects it has on people as well as places.
For all of my followers, if you know of any good independent literary critics let me know. I encourage feedback, and will be looking into Goodreads about setting up a page for the book to create another avenue to gather reviews. If you prefer print-on-demand I will be working on formatting a physical copy and that should be available very soon.
I can’t wait to share this story with you, and I hope you enjoy it.
Questions or comments? Leave ’em below. Or feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ahahnjones)
A luta continua