Thriller newcomer, Gary Pattillo, graduated from SDSU with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration. After being a bit of a dilettante in careers ranging from convenience store manager to beer market specialist to insurance sales, Gary found his true talent writing crime fiction. In addition to writing fantasy urban thrillers, Gary’s artistic pursuits include charcoal and pencil drawing. He lives in Southern California with his wife where together they have multiple children who fill his heart, and one (so far) grandchild in Canada. Being admitted into Mensa at the age of thirty-seven was one of his glowing milestones in life. He gives credit to God for everything he has, everything he is, and everything that he does.
In this interview, Gary talks with us about his novel, Stone of Gabriel.
FF: What inspired the story in your novel?
For a couple of years before I started writing, I had a blog where I’d discuss various topics that interested me from the Bible. The more obscure, the more perspectives it could hold, the better. A friend and I would debate various aspects of these ideas until we could get a grasp on it, or until we needed to schedule a lunch with the pastor for further discussion.
These different concepts have sparked the ideas behind this book and the others I will be writing in succession. I sort of used the Stephen King approach in that I didn’t have a full arc of the story in my mind when I began. I simply started with a stone, and how it came to be—this became my prologue which later was adapted to another form when I heard many people skip past the prologue.
After that, it was just a matter of who was going to find it, and what could it do. The rest I’ll leave to the book and your adventure.
FF: What were your goals writing this novel?
Bringing to life some of the concepts mentioned in the Bible which may have a different interpretation than history predicated—things that give you an a-ha moment once you realize you’ve been coming at a problem from the wrong end.
Also, I wanted to add to the character and enjoyment of Christian reading as a whole. Couched in an easy to read story, I can explain some of my fun ideas or new takes on various interpretations.
Trying to reach a large audience, I incorporated characters from teen through adult. I also wanted to make the book family friendly so anyone could enjoy it. I would venture to guess teen and older would be the best demographic for this novel.
FF: What were your biggest challenges or surprises as you were writing this novel?
My biggest struggle was writing the downtime scenes. I found that I’m an action writer and like to keep things moving along. However, you cannot have a book written start to finish without a moment to take a breath here or there along the way.
Another challenge was to make sure not to assume that the reader was Christian. As much as I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope my book also gets picked up by non-believers and it gives them an action-oriented story with points of Christian lore. We pick up a book like Percy Jackson without batting an eye, but when the theology is Christian in nature, the book gets pulled from the Science Fiction/Fantasy shelves and moved to a different category.
FF: What are the spiritual ideas or themes in this book?
It’s a good versus evil plotline, but with Christian elements amplified throughout the novel. I wrote in a manner in which differing levels of understanding would get alternative bits of information. Granted, you could have never picked up a Bible and still enjoy the story. However, if you have some background, you will find it much more enjoyable.
FF: What characters, themes, or plot elements in this book come from real life? (Either from personal experience or from your research.)
This part was so much fun. I placed the majority of the storyline in my hometown of San Diego, California. Of course, I changed streets and store names, but locals will be able to pick out exactly where I’m talking about. In fact, the cityscape on the cover is San Diego Bay in the evening—my cover editor was nice enough to work that in.
Some of the law enforcement elements draw from my internship at the El Cajon Police Department when I was attending San Diego State University back in the 90s.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing Christian Fantasy?
As mentioned earlier, sometimes placement of a novel to reach the largest audience is difficult when writing in this category. For example: Buddhist Monks from Outer Space—perfect, put them in Science Fiction, Percy McZeus Rides Again?—No problem, put them in Sci-Fi or Fantasy. But, Stone of Gabriel? You say it has something to do with angels? Ok, let’s put it over here on the OTHER SIDE of the store in Christian Fantasy, on the last four shelves after Bibles.
I had this problem at a retail bookseller until I was able to get it moved back to science fiction again. If Christian Fantasy were kept near the other Fantasy novels, I wouldn’t have an issue.
FF: What do you hope readers take away after reading your book?
Not all technology, no matter how bright and shiny, is always a good idea. Some technology comes with a price.
Keep your eyes open, your mind active, and pay attention—the clues are out there.
Stone of Gabriel
Angel Stones #1
Genres: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Supernatural
Release Date: April 23, 2020
ISBN-10 : 173475852X
ISBN-13 : 978-1734758528
Reaching for a curiously shaped stone in a southern California riverbed, Kurt, a motherless 13-year-old out on a father-son bonding camp trip, feels a pulsing tremor of energy. Confused, he shares this oddly colored rock with his two friends, both who touch it briefly and throw it away in cries of pain. Unsure what to do, the three boys agree to keep this strange phenomenon a secret.
After bringing the stone back home, Kurt senses he’s being followed, possibly by a lone detective. To add to his unease, the city of San Diego is besieged by what seems like a disturbing and violent serial killer, one who leaves distinctive clues, as if he (or it) is itching to get caught.
When he finally makes contact with Steve Bailey, an unflinching detective with a disturbing past, Kurt uncovers his own startling heritage of power, danger and, ultimately, justice.
In this unnerving urban thriller, the creators have reunited with their demons, and humans with inherited, but unwieldy gifts, may be the only barrier between survival and celestial destruction.
Buy Stone of Gabriel from Amazon HERE!