Wednesday, July 25, 2012
In his first novel, “I Am,” Signal Mountain resident Richard Spangler shares his vision of the future sometime before the apocalypse begins.
The story is set in a world where God has sent his chosen believers to live amongst one another inside forcefield-enclosed bubbles, which are located in seven different countries spanning the globe.
“[God] is giving us one last chance to figure it out, which path to choose,” said Spangler. “He’s giving us a choice and saying, ‘I hope you make the good one.’”
The devil creates conflict in the story, presenting the characters with other attractive and seemingly innocent options in order to lead them astray by creating confusion in their minds as to which path is right.
“He makes life so good on earth they think this must be the path,” said Spangler, adding that an underlying theme in the novel is materialism, a tool used by the devil to convince those who choose to follow him that life is great. “Wealth, power, all the earthly goals they aspire to have been achieved, so they think they’ve been truly blessed.”
In the book, governments are unsettled by the mass forcefield-protected encampments and attempt to stop them and regain control.
“Some people who touch the forcefield feel fire, which gives a clue of what happens to them if they don’t mend their ways,” said Spangler.
The book gives no timeframe for when the apocalypse will actually occur, only indicates that time is running out and may continue for years or even centuries.
Spangler said he believes in God and goes to church, but does not consider himself to be orthodox.
“I don’t believe I have all the answers or that my religion has all the answers; I don’t want to evangelize or proselytize,” he said. “[Belief in God] is common ground we can all take on and embrace, and I’m hoping [the novel] will appeal to multiple beliefs.”
He said he also hopes the story will urge readers to focus on the bigger picture (God) and to choose morality over materialism.
“I’m hoping — and I think it will — help them to grow spiritually,” said Spangler. “I think it truly does have a message … and many opportunities to learn and potentially grow.
“There are a couple of lines that will blow people away.”
He said the idea for the book came to him in the middle of a 10-hour drive.
“It was like an instant download. All of a sudden, the whole story unfolds in my mind from beginning to end,” said Spangler, who works in marketing at Chattem. “Flowing from my fingers to the computer, it was amazing how it all came together.”
Going through the process of publishing an e-book for the first time came far less easily, he said.
Though it was difficult for him to find an easy reference about getting started, he recommends e-book publishing to other aspiring authors. He suggests first-time publishers check out write-and-publish-fiction.com.
“Don’t let the traditional [publishing] route hold you back; you don’t need it,” said Spangler. “It may take a little more time to broaden your readership, but if you have an idea, write it out and publish it, because now you can.”