Sunday, February 19, 2012

Interview and Two-Book Box Set Giveaway! Wayward Son by Tom Pollack,John Loftus, and Jim Alves

I am thrilled to welcome Tom Pollack, one of the authors of Wayward Son today for an amazingly insightful interview and two-book box set giveaway of Wayward Son! Keep reading after my 5 "Kiss" review for an author interview and chance to win not only one copy of Wayward Son but two!

Title: Wayward Son
Author(s): Tom Pollack,John Loftus, Jim Alves 
Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction 
Published: 2011
My Rating: 
Buried near Italy's Mount Vesuvius is a fortified observatory containing artifacts dating to the earliest record of human events. Only one person, the Getty Museum's Amanda James can unlock the mysterious doors that guard the chamber. But once inside, Amanda is shocked to discover evidence left behind by a notorious Biblical killer; who long ago wandered off the pages of history. When a strange relic unveils the miraculous truth about this villain, Amanda must confront sinister forces intent on suppressing her stunning revelation; before it alters the destiny of millions. The first in a series, Wayward Son, takes the reader back in time, where ancient adventures in Egypt, Greece, China and Rome collide with modern-day intrigue and suspense. Journey with Amanda and witness the incredible story of the world's original wayward son.

Remember when you were a child and wanted to become an archaeologist and dig up dinosaur bones? Now, be prepared to take an adventure to find the most important piece of history ever discovered. Wayward Son is unlike any historical fiction I have read. The opening of one door leads to thousands of years of history being uncovered before your eyes.

I have been hesitant to review Wayward Son because although it is a genre I love, it is not a main genre I review. I feel special that I got to read this amazing book, uncovering a biblical character’s story that was never told. Cain, as most know, committed the horrible crime of killing his brother Abel and was punished with being Immortal….sounds like a great deal, right? Watching time pass without aging, being careful to move when his secret is in danger of being discovered, watching the ones he loves die over and over, seeing the world around him change, and never being able to be at peace takes a huge toll on Cain, but in the end…will it save his soul?

In the modern day, Amanda James, archaeologist, rushes off to find what may be the most important discovery in her lifetime when ex-lover, Juan Carlos calls on her for assistance in breaking the code for a locking mechanism of an ancient catacomb. When there, she soon breaks the code and finds a tomb containing important artifacts of history. When Amanda touches a piece of tile held by two ash covered beings in a struggle, she is overpowered with the vision of Cain’s life. The book then switches back and forth between Cain’s journey and the excavating teams struggle to free Amanda from the tomb before it is too late. Introducing characters that add layers upon layers to the plot, you will become engrossed in this story until you reach the climactic ending where the pieces will all fall together.

I have never read such a well-researched book with so much history involved. My absolute favorite part of Wayward Son was the beautifully detailed history and journey through time. The authors managed to cram thousands of years into one book without the story feeling choppy or cut off. I was so amazed at the accurate bits of history, that I found myself researching periods in the book myself. But don’t let this scare you off, Wayward Son is not a history lecture, but a well-developed drama stretched out over the backdrop of time. There is love, there is pain, there are tears and after much self-discovery, there is forgiveness and resolve.

My only hesitation about the book was Amanda’s involvement. So much of the story was centered on Cain that I found myself being irritated when the story would flip back to modern day. I keep wondering how Amanda worked into the importance of the book besides finding Cain’s tomb, but “Alas” there is another book on the way where we will see more from Amanda!

Although Wayward Son is not a fast paced rollercoaster ride, it is a well-developed, layered, and intriguing story unlike any other and will delight the reader. The book does have Christian undertones but not so much that everyone cannot get something from the story and enjoy the book. I hope you “Share the Gift of Cain” as I have with my friends.
I love the foreshadowing this cover represents...The beautiful Amanda opening a tomb door that leads to the discovery of an ancient secret! The door is a great representation of the ancient door Amanda unlocks and the glowing light behind the door leads the reader to believe there is something very important behind it. The font is also very clear and matches the bold colors of the cover :) Giving this cover an A!
I recommend this book to lovers of Historical Fiction and Christian Fiction. Although not a light easy read it is a great read to pass a boring day! If you liked this book I suggest reading The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. One of my favorite books of all time about an ancient love story.

 About the Authors

Tom Pollack has spent most of his professional career in
the investment business, but his passions for sailing and adventure spawned the entrepreneurial and creative endeavors that ultimately provided the inspiration for Wayward Son. Jim Alves (left) recently completed a 25-year career in bond sales and trading, partnering with Tom for most of that period. He graduated from The University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics. He currently is Chief Executive Officer of Prometheus Holdings, a financial consulting firm. John Loftus (right) spent 23 years at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), where as a Managing Director he focused on new product development and marketing. Tom and Jim recruited John to the Wayward Son project while he was winding down his investment career at PIMCO. A graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, his writings have been published in various financial journals and textbooks. Now President of Cascada Productions, John is also active in philanthropy and the non-profit sector, serving as President of both the First Corinthians 13:13 Foundation and The Southern California Children’s Chorus.

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Wayward Son Interview with Tom Pollack

1. I see there are three authors listed on Wayward Son. How does this work so far as contributing to the book goes? Do you all write different chapters, a character, or did each of you contribute to the story line and one person wrote?
Fortunately, Jim, John and I have been friends for over 20 years, so that really helped in the collaborative process! John was super diligent for keeping us in the spiritual fairway and his Stanford education and knowledge of the Bible came in handy more often than not. Jim is a very creative guy and not afraid to throw stuff up on the wall, good or bad. They also helped with character dialogue and setting the scenes. Being the principal author, I was charged with the research, big picture outline and moving the project forward on paper. It got heavy at times, but in the end we all agreed.
We all participated in the lengthy six month editing process and then the rewriting phase based on our 100 strong reader posse input to finally craft the novel. Since none of us were professional authors, and we wanted to do it right, we sought the help of our reader posse to create a seamless enjoyable experience for the reader, not three guys with three different writing styles. Think of our reader posse like a focus group that previews a movie before it gets released to the general public.

2. Wayward Son is so detailed. I was amazed at how much important history filled the pages of this book. What resources were used to write the book, and how long did it take to put the draft together?
This was a five year labor of love, but don’t worry the sequel is already in the works! We purchased about eighty reference books and a historical timeline of major events happening in different civilizations in overlapping time periods. At the end of the day however, Google was our best friend. I can only imagine the enormous time hurdle to research a novel thirty years ago without the Internet.
In addition, due to my competitive sailing career, I was fortunate to travel to most of the locations mentioned in the novel. “Wayward Son” takes readers through five major empires, so we wanted it to be both original and authentic. After the research phase, the story outline process took six months and the writing phase for the 500+ pages another six months. Then we took another six more months for editing, rewriting and then mission complete. Whew!

3. Wayward Son starts after the biblical figure Cain, murders his brother Able, and continues through the ages until the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. What era was your favorite to write about?
I have two favorites-ancient China and the modern day Getty Villa Museum in Malibu.
I enjoyed Cain traveling to the ancient Chinese Empire in search of another supposedly immortal human like himself. The irony of this was fantastic and it was the exact “over the top” storytelling I enjoy. Recently at the Bowers Museum in Orange County California, the Terracotta warriors were on display. I was simply amazed that a single man could unite the vast Chinese Empire back in 221 BC and leave a stunning physical legacy; his Terracotta army, discovered in the 1970’s, now considered the 8th wonder of the world.
If you have not been there, you have to put the 2nd century BC styled Getty Villa Museum in Malibu California on your travel itinerary! They display stunning marble sculptures and artifacts from the Roman Empire. You can stroll around a Mediterranean garden with an elongated reflection pool overlooking the azure Pacific Ocean far below. They have a beautiful amphitheater for open air plays. There is even an oculus in the entry way plaza to allow in sun light and collect rainfall. The entire villa has been remodeled at a cost of tens of millions and is free to the public. It’s such an amazing seaside structure covering several acres. Just call ahead to get parking!
In the novel, Dr. Amanda James loves working at this beautiful modern day cultural attraction that also has a dark side of fiery death and destruction. Inhabitants of ancient Herculaneum were entombed by boiling hot volcanic flow nearly two-thousand years ago when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Think of nearby Beverly Hills being covered in ash and being rediscovered by archaeologists in 4000AD!

4. Why Cain? What was the inspiration behind picking Cain’s story to write about?
Great question! Here’s the full story behind my inspiration for Wayward Son.
I returned to my hotel room from a dinner party in the highlands of Mallorca Spain in the summer of 2005. It was at the estate of my good friend, Javiar Pomar, the head of Breitling Watch Company in Spain and one of our racing sponsors. The soaring walls of the formal dining room were adorned with floor to ceiling murals of 16th century Spanish galleons sailing on the high seas. (kind of like Renard’s Villa Colosseum Mansion). I was seated next to H.M Juan Carlos, the King of Spain and his lovely wife, H.R.H Queen Sofia. Also in attendance were other prominent owners of Grand-prix racing sailboats called TP52’s. The King is an accomplished sailor in his own right and he helped launch the Medcup sailboat racing circuit, but that is a whole other story!
As you can imagine, I was amped up from dining with the royal family, so I started looking for something fresh to read other than the magazines and books I took on the plane ride over. Rummaging through the room, I found one of those dog-eared Gideon Bibles you find in just about every hotel desk in the world- and this one was in English! Surely, this might put me to sleep, I thought. Not so.
I read with fascination the story of Cain killing Abel, God’s curse and the mark of protection he bestowed on Cain. He is more or less banished to the land of Nod, where he becomes the ruler of Enoch; the most advanced civilization on Earth. I wondered what happened to Cain next, but the Bible was silent about whether he died or was killed. Searching Genesis for an answer, I discovered that other important biblical characters deaths were recorded somewhat meticulously in the Bible. Check it out yourself! Adam lived for over 900 years and died. Noah for over 600 years and died. But no record of Cain, the first human born, being killed or dying after a long life span.
A few years went by (called real life) until one day until I found the time to move the project forward. I checked with John who has a great knowledge and passion for the Bible and he confirmed that Cain’s death went unrecorded. But then his wife Lori also pointed out that even if Cain lived a really long time, the great flood would surely have been his demise. Okay, but what if somehow Cain survived and no one knew it, until now. What if God’s mark on Cain was meant to preserve him from not only being killed by another, but from death itself? Most novels usually involve a suspension of disbelief element and this was ours.
A “curse” from God himself was the device for Cain’s immortality and for him to become a bona fide tour guide to history’s greatest events; a sort of a biblical Forest Gump, so to speak. It was at that moment that I knew we were creating an epic novel that spanned most of recorded human history. But to tie the story together, I realized we would have to create a unique character from the modern era to discover Cain’s untold story. After much thought, the Getty Museum Archaeologist, Amanda James’s character was created and the modern and ancient stories were woven together with great care and detail. The story is a blend of ancient history, suspense, mystery, a classic good vs. evil and several scenes from the Bible shown from the perspective of someone who lived it.
Also, I wanted Wayward Son to be a fictional story that could really have actually happened and not step into the fantasy genre. What would you do if you were Cain? That thought was always in my head as the words flowed onto paper.
In the novel, Cain has no super powers other than an extraordinary long life, a photographic memory so he could not forget his brutal act and an athletic body that stays in the same physical shape as the day he killed his younger brother. Afraid of death and an unsure of his fortune in the afterlife, Cain never knowingly places himself in harm’s way. But as well know, things happen we can’t control.
Staying young forever sounds like something we all want. In fact society spends tens of billions of dollars to look younger. We buy organic health products, work out in 24 hour gyms, purchase expensive cosmetics and spend a fortune on designer clothes- all to look fit and appear younger than our real age.
Everyone knows Cain from Bible school or hears about him at Church on Sundays. To date, he has been discarded as an unrepentant sinner, human trash who probably is rotting in hell- a Bible bad boy so to speak. But what if the first human was just that- human- and made a big mistake that at the time, he was not sorry for. Perhaps the gradual march of time would act as spiritual sandpaper and wear away at his state of mind. How many of us have done something we are not proud of, but at the time we would not apologize for to the person we wronged?

5. Throughout the book I saw a common theme…power. Leaders became corrupt, empires rose and fell, and even Cain became obsessed with power and fortune. What do you say about men and power, is it a good thing or is it nothing but destruction?
Empires will always rise and fall and men will always seek and wield power. It is what men (and women) do with that power that defines them. To me, power can be both good and bad at the same time. All power, no matter how great, is fleeting. Especially if one takes on the time perspective of Cain’s enormous life span in Wayward Son. Perhaps there are more important things in life than seeking, obtaining, and wielding power.

6. As Amanda's and Cain’s story comes together, I couldn't help but wonder…was Amanda involvement just random? Was she just the first person to come along or was it fate?
That is a fantastic question left open for the readers to decide Amanda’s true role in Wayward Son, the first book in the series.
I once read a survey in USA Today that 55% of people believe a guardian Angel has come into their life to save them from something bad happening to them. Many people feel we are destined for something greater in life, and God is helping us achieve this higher purpose by sending His guardian angel to protect us.
I remember once in 2nd grade, we were coloring pictures to give to our parents and I saw a girl standing up at the chalkboard. Suddenly she fell backwards and dropped like a stone to the floor below. Amazingly, in my mind’s eye, I saw an angel materialize from thin air and softly lay her to the floor. Time seemed to slow down. I remember blinking several times and thinking this can’t be happening. But for several seconds, this female angel hovered over her until the teacher came to her side. Then the angel faded out. Flabbergasted, I kept it a secret from everyone, until now. To this day, I can’t say for sure, if my childhood memory was imagined or real. I wonder if that girl was destined for greater things a serious knock on the head would have prevented.

7. What are the worst and best things about being an author?
There is no worst thing to being an author. The best thing about being an author is the ability to tell a story to a wide audience and create something out of thin air, with your imagination as your only limitation.

8. If you were trapped on a desert island what three things would you bring with you?
Fresh water, my lovely wife and a satellite telephone to call for help after a week of catching fish in the lagoon and sleeping under the stars! :)

9. Who are your literary muses?
Some of my favorite authors are John Grisham for his legal thrillers, Steven King for his spookiness, David McCullough for his flair for history, Tom Clancy for his suspense, J.K Rowling and J.R.R Tolkien for building complete fantasy worlds, and Agatha Christie for creating a solid “who done it “murder mystery.

10. What is your next project?
Why the sequel to Wayward Son of course! :)

11. Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?
Yes. I would be curious if readers would like to see Wayward Son on the big screen in movie theaters one day! If so, please let us know at or reply to Cassie’s review!

Thanks again Cassie for the opportunity to talk with you about Wayward Son!

My wonderful signed copy of Wayward Son, Thanks Tom!
The Gift of Cain
The authors of Wayward Son are doing something very special, "The Gift of Cain" promotion. As part of this promotion the winner of this raffle will receive a Two-Book Box Set of Wayward Son so you can keep one for yourself and give one to a friend! This two book paperback giveaway is US only, sorry my international friends. You do not have to be a follower of this blog to enter but as always it is much appreciated :) Please read the Giveaway Policy  and Site Disclaimer  before entering. Remember to tweet and comment for extra entries! Good luck :)

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AngelGirlJenn said...

i would like to see it as a movie, i think it sounds interesting getting to be taken back in time and would like to see that unfold on the big screen.

carly said...

Interesting interview & awesome review, Cass. Thanks for the recommendation, I think I would enjoy this book. I can't enter the giveaway, but good luck to everyone :)

Carly @ Fiction Fascination

Katie said...

I would like to see this story on the big screen because it sounds like an exciting book and I haven't seen very many good time travel movies(:

Danielle Smiley said...

I love to see books turned into movies (when they are done well, not like Eragon)! It's fun to see how the producer & all involved translate what was written. A good story is a good story and I love a good movie almost as much as a good book.

druidgirl said...

When a book is well done then it should be made into a movie with no changes. Great giveaway and interviewe