4 Sep 2017

Interview with award-winning author Anthony R. Howard

Hi Anthony! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
It’s about the literal and spiritual battle between good and evil. If the Creator returned tomorrow (which happens in the book), how would you react? What would you as a reader expect? Would you be ready? This novel appeals to the reader to look inside themselves and see where they fall in the battle of good and evil as they identify with the characters. As current times are as they have been prophesized in several holy books, including a general increase in anarchy, the demoralization of our society’s ethical fabric, the wars, and the persecution of those trying to worship, the stage has been set. Sides are being chosen. Angels and their worst enemies prepare for The Coming.

You last two novels were from the spy/action genre, including one bestseller The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox. How did you make the transition into religious writing, and do you think your platform will follow you into this new genre.
In my mind I didn’t make a transition. This is actually the book that got me my first book deal. It was decided by the publishing company to come out with the spy series as a business decision because of my background with technology and the Dept of Defense, and the degrees and awards behind my name. I speak at technology conferences on a regular basis but I wasn’t a famous minister. In their minds, I didn’t have a guaranteed platform to generate book sales. Do I hope my audience follows? I’d like to think I’ve built an audience who loves good writing, so I believe they will venture into this genre even if it’s a bit new to them, because they enjoy good writing. The point of literacy of to bring people to something new. Something great. One of my goals in writing is to broaden the experiences of my reader community and add to the literary art form. It believe its key to not only present a fascinating story to the reader, but to bring value to the reader aside from entertainment. I believe that’s one of the key differences of my style of writing. Everyone loves to be entertained, so I’m obviously going to do that, and I truly enjoy it. Then a lot of people also value riveting, thought provoking idea’s. Topics where you finish the book and want to know more. Motifs that make you want do a bit of web surfing on the topics presented, or maybe dive even deeper.

What inspired you to write it?
With my first books, I wrote the book that I had always wanted to read but had never been written. With this book, I wrote the book that I really needed to be read but had never been written. It’s a journey for the reader. You have to ask yourself a question during the book: Are you ready to face yourself? For many people the answer will be no, which makes the book an even deeper journey as they realize where they fall in the battle of good and evil. Each reader will face their own internal journey. Some who are not familiar with any religion will hopefully want to know more as they look inside themselves. Even though the book is called Devil’s Diary, the book is not about evil. The second part of the title is the focus. The Coming.

Is it part of a series?

Devil’s Diary: The Coming is currently not a series like The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox and the Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta.

Biblical Prophecy is a touchy subject. How did you approach it in this novel?

Biblical Prophecy is certainly complex. There are literally hundreds of interpretations and translations. I put them into 3 main categories during my studies. 1 The Past interpretations: meaning that some interpretation believe that the 2nd coming of Jesus has already happened. 2nd group is the Present interpretation, meaning that based on what is happening now, the 2nd coming is imminent, the 3rd group is the Future interpretation which pretty much follow the course the 2nd coming is off in the distant future someplace. I focus on the present interpretation. The book the Creator returns, but its not quite what you’d expect. This is not about the rapture. It’s about the war between good and evil. God vs His enemies.

What made you want to become an author?
Before I remember, I remember writing. I’ve been writing all my life, starting in elementary school. It was simply a passion I became a bestselling author in 2010, so I’d say that’s when my writing career took off, however it took 9 years to get a book deal. I stuck with it because it was something I really enjoyed. It’s part of me.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
Actually I have to say may all time favourite book covers is Devils Diary (and I’m completely unbiased ☺ ) because there is such a good story behind it. Because this book touches on God, the traditional publishers were hesitant to touch it. I started my own publishing company, Black Fox Imprint, named after my first novel to hit the bestsellers list, to put it out. Instead of doing the usual market research that some publishing houses do, or using a stock image as is often done in the literary arena, I had my readers actually design and pick the cover. I started from 6 select proofs. All of them were good. I posted them all at once for all readers to see, and to and provide feed back to whatever cover moved them to do so. Literally hundreds of readers responded. Emails, calls, texts, social media responses flooded in. Using their direct input, I created a cover that I really liked, but readers actually created and loved. I ended up combining two of the popular cover selections.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Anyplace quiet. I travel internationally and usually a lot of writing gets done in a peaceful serene environment. I can write around noise, I just prefer not to☺

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?

Honestly, the movies usually disappoint. The movie never really does the book justice. Many times I’m unable to enjoy most movies in Hollywood because most of them follow the same formula, so depending on where in the standard formula they are in the movie, I can usually tell what’s going to happen. This is why I usually stick to independent films. They don’t follow the standard formula.
From the reviews for the Invisible Enemy Spy series on Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and elsewhere, it seems you’ve drawn not only the spy novel reading crowd, but you’ve pulled from other genre’s. How have you managed to touch readers who traditionally do not read spy novels?
Because from what the readers tell me it’s a great book and an easy read. It’s filled with action, suspense, mystique, intrigue, deception, mystery, romance and even fellowship. The action starts in the beginning and grabs even the folks who don’t read that much. The book is also written for most ages, including junior high school students, yet it challenges each reader. There are adult themes that the younger readers may not pick up on, but in contrast, I present some younger themes some adults might not pick up on. Certain characters represent certain motifs as well. Adults who have not read a book since high school have picked up the Invisible Enemy and read it from cover to cover. Then they wanted to know more. I was fortunately able to entertain and educate by picking a topic the Hollywood has not touched before. No story like this exists anywhere. I checked as I’m a spy novel fan myself. Spy movies have been done. Spy novels have been written, but never a technology thriller exposing the real threats of America and what goes on behind the scenes. No story has posed the hard questions to the reader, then answered them. No story dives deep into how spies are trained, recruited, how the Dept of Defense will exterminate a serious threat, or how lines must be crossed and rights are violated in order to ensure the safety of Americans. The reader even realizes how back-door decisions made decades ago by the government can come back to haunt us, and allies can become enemies overnight. It’s cool to talk about the black and the white areas. I bring the reader into the gray area, where ethics, the constitution, privacy laws, and due process can fall by the wayside when it’s time to knuckle down.

From reading the book you clearly have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Dept of Defense, Homeland Security, the CIA, even the FBI and covert technology that really hasn’t been exposed to the civilian global market as yet. How do you know the scoop?
I have a deep background with the Dept of Defense and technology. Currently, I’m an advanced systems consultant for the Defense, Intelligence and Civilian space. I’ve been an advanced solutions consultant for over 12 years. I’ve worked on projects for desert storm and quite a few other programs worldwide that have saved American lives. I’ve won several awards and several case studies of my solutions have been published across the Information Technology industry. I’ve done a sizeable amount of work for the U.S. Defense Sector, Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. I even relocated overseas to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for more than a year to solve technology issues for American based companies. This is in addition to the years of research and personal interviews I’ve done. I didn’t get my information from an encyclopedia, I got it from job experience.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I started a small studio, Brookline Studios for one reason. Because I wanted to change the way audiobooks were created. Traditional audiobooks are boring to many people. One narrator reads the entire 22 hour story in monotone can lull you to sleep. In the Invisible Enemy: Black Fox Audiobook a new genre is opened to new markets and the social media generation with over 2000 expertly placed sound effects, a cast of talented actors reading the major characters, and movie scores created for every scene/chapter, giving the audiobook a surreal movie theatre experience in additional to an exhilarating story. The new millennial generation want experiences to be vibrant, diverse, engaging, and interactive. Listening to one person for 22 hours can be exhausting. In the past audiobook listener have been a very particular audience and demographics. I believe that will change, and I'd like to be ahead of that change. With the evolution of Ipods and mp3 players and other inventions, audiobooks can be listened to while jogging, at the gym, cleaning, running errands, eating, airports, and even while working is an option for some folks. I also want to create a personal experience that the reader/listener can plug into personally. Listeners are diverse and multifaceted. So should the cast in their experience. I bring a new experience to veteran readers and invite younger listeners as well, expanding into a different kind of audiobook market, combining sound effects, multi-cast actors, special effects, a great story, and sound quality into a different and unforgettable experience. To see what I mean, feel free to download or listen to the first chapter for free here. Invisible Enemy: Black Fox AudioBook Free Chapter

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.

I live in Atlanta, GA. Yes, we have bad traffic – however it’s a great city. It’s got everything except for the beach. An interesting fact about it is Atlanta is represented as a symbol of the mythological Egyptian bird called the Phoenix. A historic fire incident in an act of war that was deliberately set to destroy the city justifies the representation. Atlanta, like the Phoenix, rose from the ashes to become an influential city.

Bestselling, Award-Winning author Anthony R. Howard has been an industry recognized consultant and technology expert for the premier global technology firms for over 12 years. Presently he is a leading Technology Specialist for one of the world’s largest Information Technology firms where he was named #1 IT Super Hero by InfoWorld and ComputerWorld, was the winner of the National Federal Office Systems Award (FOSE - Nation’s Largest Information Technology Exposition Serving the Government Marketplace), and the 2004 winner of Government Computer News Best New Technology Award. Several case studies have been published on Howard’s solutions across the Information Technology industry. Currently he provides enterprise technology solutions and advisement for America’s most distinguished clients including a sizeable amount of work for the U.S. Defense Sector, Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. His projects have been featured in national media outlets including Fox News. After founding his own technology firm, Howard completed his formal education with a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology. His vast career has included controlling hundreds of devices worldwide from secure Network Command Centers to relocating overseas to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for more than a year to solve technology issues for American based companies. He has also worked briefly for a private military logistics corporation that contracts a sizable amount of work from the Department of Defense and other military institutions. He’s also the bestselling author of The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox , The Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta & Devil’s Diary: The Coming.

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