Hey guys. So today, I have the opportunity of being a part of Angela Watts of The Peculiar Messenger‘s blog tour for her new book entitled The Divided Nation; an apocalyptic novel that deals with several Christian themes and is the first book in a new series called the Infidel Books.
As a part of the blog tour, I am doing an interview with the author herself about her latest book and what inspired the series.
Here is the synopsis for the book:
WHEN THE NATION DIVIDES, THE INFIDELS MUST RISE.
The United States has fallen. Three years after the 2024 presidential election and the declaration of martial law, the nation is at war against itself. Gangs battle, civilians struggle for survival, and officials of the United Nations thrive. West Johnston, heir to the most powerful ganglord in the country, refuses to continue the family legacy. But, in order to defeat his father, he must become him: bloodthirsty and willing to do whatever it takes for control.
West gains control by helping fellow gangsters, Nate and Simon, when they form an alliance with one of the last remaining townships in America. After years of surviving and winter fast approaching, Springtown is in desperate need of supplies from the two teenagers. When the town leader’s daughter, Rene’, is kidnapped by an unknown rival, Nate and Simon risk their reputations to save her and the town they now love. But without help from West, their rescue mission will fail.
Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE DIVIDED NATION steps into a future where brotherhood bonds must be stronger than iron to survive a broken world, and faith without courage is dust in the wind.
1). What inspired you to write the Infidel Books?
In short, a roleplay gone terribly wrong until God stepped in.
In the lengthy version, it started as a roleplay with a girl on Pinterest and that ended in a disaster after a couple years, but God wouldn’t let me put the story down. Since the girl gave me permission to do as I pleased, I changed a ton and the story became my own.
2). Why the name Infidel Books as your series title?
I’ve always been rather intrigued by how Christians gained the title Infidels, as if we are the ones not of this world… In a way, I think every Christian should be like an infidel. Bold. Going against the current. Standing up against evil.
The Infidel Books are full of infidels. Lost sheep. Mad men looking for something greater than themselves. I think the title is fitting due to how many characters don’t believe in God… but they eventually realize the truth.
3). What was one of the hardest things you had to write for The Divided Nation?
A controversial topic among Christian writers is dark content vs. clean content. I knew going into this series it wasn’t like anything I’d ever written. I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Did I want it to be “clean” for the Christian market? No. It was not a story that could be sugar coated. I didn’t want to cater for those with weak stomachs: there are books for them, but The Infidel Books are not those books.
The hardest thing was balance between dark and light. I brought every matter to Jesus. “Lord, should my nonbelievers curse?” “God, I really don’t want to write this graphic scene out in detail, but if I leave too much to the reader’s imagination, it will be a mess.” And God helped me along the way. He helped me find balance. The hardest thing to write was those scenes that I struggled with keeping glorifying to Jesus without ignoring them or sugar coating anything.
4). How was writing this book different compared to writing Seek?
It was different in many ways! Every novel has a different process for me, from plotting, writing, and marketing.
This book was different in many ways: I knew the plot and characters for years before I wrote the first draft. I knew the content would be PG13 and not PG. I knew the books would be a longer series. I also knew it would not take me as long to write… Seek took over two years to publish. The Divided Nation took about 8 months.
5). What was one of your favorite characters to write for this book? Hardest character?
They’re all my favorites, even the antagonists… Sooo… Ha!
I must admit to enjoying Gideon Hochberg’s POV a great deal. We have… little in common, but at the same time, a great deal in common. He struggles with abandonment, rejection, and in his mind, he will become a monster in order to save others. I don’t personally have the mindset of becoming the darkness to conquer it… So he is a cool character to watch.
The hardest character is probably… George Johnston. Not because he is the antagonist and I struggle understanding his motives, but because he makes me sick. His mind, his actions… He doesn’t creep me out but he does make me sick (yes, there’s a difference to me) (and yes, I do have an antagonist in future books that makes my skin crawl in a creepy way).
6). What are you hoping readers will learn from reading this book?
I pray my readers learn that we are all sinners. Lost. Broken. Scared. But if we surrender to One, we never have to go down on our knees before anyone else. There is no one strong enough to save themselves, save their family, save the world, without Jesus.
And I hope my readers are inspired to reach out to God upon reading this book. I hope they see a smidge of how great His love is within these pages.
Here are the links to Angela’s social media if you’d like to check it out.
I hope you guys enjoyed the interview and that you pick up your copy of Angela’s newest book when it hits Amazon.