Fielding questions about Anointed

In the few days since announcing that my book, Anointed, would be published this coming March, I have been hit with a number of questions regarding the project, and so I thought it best that I should go ahead and answer some of them through the blog. A couple of the questions were repeated with minor variation, so rather than repeat them here, I just picked 5 that I liked and wrote them down. Because there were a few that were asked by multiple people, I have decided to leave off the names of those whose questions I chose. Sorry! Just trying to be diplomatic. I am enjoying (and thankful for!) your questions, so please keep them coming. Email me and I’ll gladly answer them as quickly as I can. Sorry if a response ends up being delayed, my partner ended up being highly involved working as a Costa Mesa concrete contractor, and I’ve been running the accounting for him. I’ll get back to you with every response as soon as I can.

What is this book about, anyway?

In fairness, this was the one that I was asked the most. I didn’t have the time or space to go into great detail in the last post, and I wanted to give fair play to Christopher Moore, since he’s, well, hey he’s awesome. Right? So, I was unintentionally vague. Rather than drop in the back copy description here, I’ll do my best to just answer it. Anointed is, in essence, a satirical view of the business of religion. It is meant to entertain, as any book should, but in the end, I like to think of it as somewhat philosophical and mostly silly. In Anointed, Timothy Webb is a man without a purpose. He’s lost, a bit thrown under the Train of Life, and mired in repetition. When he is anointed as the new Christ and CEO of The Christ Corporation (an interview he went to only to keep his wife from pestering him, and a job he only got because he didn’t want it), he is tossed into a world of corporate-driven dogma, pitted against a malevolent Anti-Christ who quite wants him dead, befriended by a misrepresented angel the world knows as Satan, and otherwise confused as to what to do with a resurgent altruism he had long since given up on. Needless to say, The Christ Corporation (around since the days of “The Founder”–Jesus to you and me) is not at all thrilled to have a Christ who actually wants to do something positive in the world, so it isn’t an easy path Timothy is left to walk. That’s the gist of it.

Don’t you worry that your book is going to upset some people?

Worry? Well, no, not really. I don’t worry about it at all, actually. Do I expect that it will upset people? Yeah, I do. And for all of those who rail against it, they do so because of the topic or the attempt at humor at religion’s expense. I would expect that most people who will complain will do so having never read the book. It’s easy to judge a book by its cover, more difficult to read it and openly and honestly analyze what it means to say. We see this all the time in this industry. So, given the storyline in Anointed, I would be foolish to think that it won’t upset people. To be honest with you, I welcome it. I love a good debate about religion and its place in our lives.

What’s up with the website? I’m not sure I get it.

For those of you who have not seen it, the website mentioned here is the site of The Christ Corporation. It is a website designed to further the universe in which Anointed takes place. You’ll find farcical news stories, a blog that a few of the characters participate in (and which will eventually merge with the happenings of Anointed), a Prayer Request line, a link to email Christ, a shop of products that you can buy, and a few other goodies that will hopefully be fully in place by January or February. There are also links to the Myspace and Facebook pages of The Christ Corporation. You can visit either and become friends or fans and have one more venue in which to follow (and even participate in) the antics of the characters.

Is Wordsmiths Books the only place I can buy a copy of Anointed?

I received a few out-of-state questions along these lines. At the moment, yes, Wordsmiths is the only place you can go to pre-order a copy of Anointed. Eventually though, as the publisher gets all of the information in place (closer to the release date), you will be able to find the book in any bookstore, or online via the typical sites of Amazon, B&N, etc. and so forth. I would, for obvious reasons, encourage you (if you want to buy it when it comes out rather than pre-order) to find your nearest independent bookstore and get it from them (or order it from them if they do not have it in stock). Don’t underestimate their importance in your community. For now though, you can pre-order it through Wordsmiths via either email or by calling the store at (404) 378-7166. You can also attend the book launch at Wordsmiths Books on February 21st, at 7 pm. That will be the first day that the book is actually available to the public. All pre-orders can be picked up then or after or will be mailed out at that time.

When did you actually find time to write Anointed? Is it a recent project?

This was, in fact, two separate questions, but they work well together. Actually I wrote Anointed seven years ago, though admittedly it has gone through a number of revisions since. As any writer can tell you, finding a home for a first novel is a trying and somewhat maddening experience. All the more so when you are pushing hot buttons like religion. I can’t say, since I opened Wordsmiths, that I write as much as I would like to these days, but I do so when I can and bit by bit you wind up with completed projects. As I was saying to Russ recently: if you write a word a day, and make sure that it is the perfect word, you can have a book in, what, like 100 years? Yeah, I know. Russ didn’t find it funny either. As for the second question above, the “project” as I see it involves the new media campaign to publicize it. So, the website and fan sites, and all of that jazz has come about in the last year, more so in the months since Mercury Retrograde agreed to publish Anointed. And it continues to develop, with more tools arriving in the next few months to compliment what is already on the website. I have to say as well, that finding these outlets to further publicize your work is a vital component that every hopeful or published novelist should be investigating. As we move further into a technological age, having additional content available online, to complement the work in print, is crucial to success. Gone are the days when you can simply hand in your work, prop your feet up and wait. Print ad campaigns are useful, but do not reach people the way they used to, and frankly, are far too costly for the return. It’s taken me a couple of years (and the guidance of a very gifted marketing director) to fully appreciate this, but I can’t imagine it any other way now. As new tools are available, they have to be incorporated and utilized. You have to stay ahead of it and forgo the fear of how to use it (whatever it may be).

As I said before, I am enjoying the questions so keep them coming. And thanks to all of those who have pre-ordered copies of Anointed thus far!

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