If you like books about Dragons being chased by the awkward kid turned hero, you are in store for a monumental let down. A Promise To Azfal has no such fantasy story line. (Sorry) What you can expect to read is the “GREATEST NOVEL EVER WRITTEN.” (This is my humble and biased opinion!)
I planned on posting my latest query letter, but I realized that there are too many spoilers, so I will post a blurb instead.
“What the hell is a blurb or a query letter? Is that a gay letter?” No you imbecile. A query letter is a professional letter, written to literary agents, in which an author pitches a finished novel. It may seem easy, but query letters are quite challenging; the goal is to summarize my 391 page novel, in only one page. (It’s basically like using a blender to mix Mountain Dew, Coke, chocolate ice cream, a cherry, a kiwi, a strawberry, and one cashew nut—then asking someone to separate all of the ingredients into individual cups. Ok, it’s nothing like that, but it is a daunting task!)
The blurb is what you will find on the back cover of most books; it’s the reason most people purchase a novel. Blurbs can be one, two, or three paragraphs. For this post, I decided to write a short, one paragraph blurb in order to keep from revealing too much of the plot. (I will mention one spoiler…EVERYONE DIES IN THE END! By “the end,” I mean the end of each individual’s respective lives. No Weapons of Mass Destructions will be found here either!)
The history of the conflict between Christians and Muslims has always intrigued me. When I originally came up with the idea for the story, I wanted to write about a hero who discovers all of the damaging secrets hidden in the Vatican Secret Archives. My goal was to expose the fact that the Catholic Church is corrupt and unnecessary. As I researched the story, I went through a transformation. I no longer believed that the Catholic Church was unnecessary. At the time, I believed in “god” and I understood that attending Mass didn’t guarantee salvation; it simply allowed people to celebrate the “goodness of the lord” in a group setting.
My novel evolved as well. I no longer had the desire to bring down the Catholic Church; I wanted to show that the Church was a great and useful institution, which could serve to help people persevere through difficult challenges. (This is all pre-atheist thinking. Click on the religion tab in the categories section to read my thoughts regarding the Church.) The novel became more about distancing the true Catholic faith from the evil corruption.
Luckily for me, my good friend President George W. Bush made an egregious error. Before the invasion of Iraq, he said, “This will be a modern day crusade.” The guy has said some dumb things during his Presidency, but this was his defining moment. It’s almost as if he wanted to give Muslim extremists a reason to unite in a religious war against the West; Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have dreamed of a better recruiting tool.
I decided to use Bush’s quote as the turning point in the title character’s life. Azfal is an Egyptologist and devout Muslim from Iraq. He believed in using diplomacy to bring peace to the world and didn’t support Saddam Hussein. The former U.S. President’s misguided proclamation causes Azfal to blame the Catholic Church and the Pope for the unnecessary invasion. The story follows the main character Jassim, Azfal’s grandson, who is on a mission to fulfill the promise that he made to his vengeful grandfather.
A lot of research went into the novel. I found some interesting Catholic Church facts which the average churchgoer won’t hear during Sunday Mass. Obviously, my goal is to publish the novel, but a second, less important, goal is to have the Pope place my book on the Church’s banned list. I would also love to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. (That would be amazing!)
The escalating tension between America and Iraq is the back drop for this compelling tale about an unbreakable family bond. The main character, a native Iraqi named JASSIM, and his grandfather AZFAL witness the traumatic invasion of Iraq; the suffering the pair experience is unimaginable. A resentful Azfal masterminds an outlandish plot for Jassim to convert from Islam to Catholicism, join the priesthood, and uncover damaging Church secrets in order to reveal them to the world. The boy, a phenomenal soccer star whose best friend Sabatina is secretly in love with him, has to choose between keeping the promise that he made to his grandfather and chasing his own destiny.
If the story seems interesting, you’ll have to wait for the release date in order to learn how the tale unfolds. The rest of the novel is filled with betrayal, love, hate, a secret society, twists and shocking revelations. I can’t explain the satisfaction of completing a full length novel. Hopefully, I will be able to find a literary agent to help me with the publishing process.
“Why the heck do you need a literary agent? You can self-publish the book.” Yes, I am aware of the self-publishing route, but I want the satisfaction of taking the traditional path. (I’m old school!) I can also publish an e-book, but I want to find an agent who will believe in the story and help me with future projects, as well. (I already wrote the outline for a second novel and I completed the first two chapters. I also have several book ideas in various stages of the creation process.)
In the publishing world, literary agents are necessary because most major publishers will not deal with authors, directly. The agents act as a middleman during the negotiation process. The agents will also help to ensure that the story is properly edited for submission.
Feel free to comment on the novel. (Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!)