Spotlight on Thomas Phillips and The Molech Prophey
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thomas Phillips grew up with a reading disability. He did everything possible not to read. It wasn't until he was in seventh grade that he finally read a book cover to cover. Now a voracious reader and prolific writer, Phillips uses his accomplishments as a motivational backdrop for speaking at school assemblies.
Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Phillips has worked as a freelance journalist and currently works full time as an employment law paralegal. When he isn't writing, Phillips plays guitar, is active at his church, coaches his children's Little League teams, co-leads Ink Spots and Coffee Grounds—a creative writing group, and plots his next story. The Molech Prophecy is his first published Christian novel.
THE MOLECH PROPHECY
by Thomas Phillips
Published by Whitaker House
ABOUT THE BOOK
Former gang member Tommy Cucinelle thought he had left his old life behind when he became a Christian. That's why he's surprised when his pastor asks him to use his old "skills"--finding people who don't want to be found--to locate the church secretary after she mysteriously disappears and the church is vandalized. The police don't have any leads. Tommy's investigation brings him face-to-face with the unpleasant memories from the past that threaten his new identity, but turmoil is soon the least of his worries. A local Wiccan church is at the heart of the mystery, and Tommy's search uncovers a startling prophecy about child sacrifice to the pagan god Molech. When the missing woman's sister--Tommy's newfound romantic interest--disappears as well, the quest becomes personal.
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1. What gave you the inspiration for this book?
You might expect a simple answer. When I wrote secular fiction, you might have gotten a simple answer. In 1995, I began my professional writing career with the sale of my first short story. From there, I went on to sell more than 70 short stories and articles until in mid-2000, my first secular novel was published. By 2003, I had five mystery novels under my belt. And then in April, everything changed. I became a Christian.
It wasn't that anyone told me to stop writing, or to change the way I wrote. It was that I realized the books I'd written did nothing to honor God. With sex, bad language and graphic, senseless violence filling my pages, I knew I needed to take a break.
It was bad timing for my then-publisher. My first hardcover had recently been released, and I decided not to do much to promote it. As a New Christian, I was confident that the works I'd written—as I said—did nothing to bring honor and glory to God. At that point, I quit writing, more or less. But, eventually, I got into writing weekly devotionals for my church's e-newsletter.
In late 2005, I began a journey into a deep, dark valley. I felt like God was testing me. As time went on, I realized, the valley only got deeper and darker. In the fall of 2006, I was inspired to write a new mystery novel. But this would be a Christian themed work. I believe that God allowed me to begin to work my way out of the valley through writing. Only this time, He wanted me to write books that glorified Him (and not just feed my own insatiable need for fame).
At the time, the church I attended had just built a new church building, and twice the front was vandalized. Black, ugly spray paint covered the pecan bricks. Vulgar, hateful words and satanic symbols were everywhere. No one was ever caught.
In short, lol, this is where The Molech Prophecy begins...
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?
It is tough to write and not put some, or a lot, of yourself into your characters. Anyone who knows me, and reads my work, recognizes right off the similarities between me and the main character, Tommy. My life was nothing like his, but the way he acts, the things he says, the things he does – it resembles who I am. I'm a Yankees fan, a Miami Dolphin fan, so you will never see a protagonist who is a Boston fan, or a Buffalo Bills fan. Just won't happen.
But as I mentioned, the life experiences that the characters live out in the story, are all their own. I create these histories/pasts prior to even beginning to write the first chapter. It's only as I really get to know who they are, that I catch myself turning them into me. :)
3. What themes exist in The Molech Prophecy that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
I really focused on one main theme while writing this novel. What I hope people take away from the story is this … Christians are people. Flawed. Real. Being a Christian does not mean your life is now on auto-pilot. In fact, the Bible promises a tougher road for those who proclaim Christ as their Savior. In a way, I show this to readers in The Molech Prophecy. (Non-Christians are always quick to point out mistakes Christians make, as if to say, ah-ha! Caught you! There is nothing to catch. We all make mistakes. I make them daily! That's to be expected. No one, except Jesus, was or ever will be perfect. It's that simple, yet, this is something that is often overlooked.
4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
Some of the most difficult parts to write were the flashbacks that touched on Tommy's little brother. In the story, Tommy's brother has cancer and is in the hospital. In real life, when my little brother was 17, he suffered a major stroke. The helplessness I felt then, and even the guilt—the stroke happening to him and not me—comes out in my writing.
My favorite parts were also the flashbacks to Tommy's rough days a street thug. The scenes are tight, fast, intense. I like the dialogue and characters I created. Boy, does that sound conceited? I just mean, I really got into these characters while writing. They were so real to me. I hated finishing the book, saying good-bye.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
The hope is that the second book will be released July 2009. Right now it is entitled, Convicted. This is the summary I used when I pitched it to my agent:
Best-selling mystery author, Noah Fuller, shocks his readers when he announces that he'll only be writing mysteries with a Christian theme from now on. When angry letters are sent to the publisher, his agent and even to his house, Fuller is certain the storm will pass. But when his four-year-old son is abducted from a grocery store parking lot, the police suspect the author's fans are more than just fanatical.
In an attempt to employ his fame, Fuller utilizes the media to generate a nationwide search for his son.
However, the police investigation uncovers a dark secret about Fuller's past that threatens to kill his new writing career, his marriage and the very life of his son...
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Thank you, Thomas, for being in the spotlight with us.
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