The author talks about his new thriller, set in a near-future America where persecuted Christians have to go underground.
With more than 50 books, Travis Thrasher’s titles span such categories as supernatural fiction, inspirational biographies, children’s literature, and more. His latest book is the guerrilla thriller American Omens (Multnomah), set in a near-future America where persecuted Christ-followers must fight for their faith. In this interview, Travis explains the book’s connection to Fight Club, shares what it’s like to get an endorsement from the co-creator of Left Behind, and reveals how so many of his previous books have led him to this moment…
Travis, your new thriller is set in a near-future world that postulates what it would be like if Christians in America had to go underground like they do in other countries. What inspired you to write about this scenario?
The background is interesting since this was initially an idea presented to me by WaterBrook/Multnomah back in September of 2016. I was approached by the publisher to think about concepts that were set in near-future America, and what it might look like for the church if Christians here see the kind of persecution Christians face in oppressive regimes around the world.
This was a first for me. I’ve been contacted by publishers with specific projects, like working on a novelization for a film or working on someone’s memoir, but I’ve never had one suggest a general premise like this.
I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with the concept, but some of the ideas I came up with featured characters or themes I’d been wanting to put into a novel one day. I was excited to hear that my idea warranted publishing.
Your main character, a recent convert named Hutchence, uses creative and guerilla-like techniques to spread the Gospel. What can you tell us about Hutchence?
Hutchence is an example of a character I’ve been wanting to write about for some time. For a long time now—perhaps since the movie was released in 1999—I’ve been hoping to write a Christian version of Fight Club. That might sound crazy, but I always imagined a character like Hutchence who shows up at another man’s door and inspires him to suddenly become radical with promoting the Gospel. Sometimes the Gospel can feel like being punched in the face. Ha. Little did I know how perfect this character would be in a novel like this.
There’s a lot of backstory on Hutchence, and since I imagined this to be a series and not simply one standalone title, I always planned to have more of Hutchence’s character and life explored. He’s someone who’s had a conversion and now solely wants to share with others the urgency of telling others about Christ. His ways are unorthodox, but that’s what makes him interesting.
Hutchence puts together a rag-tag team to warn the country of the coming judgment. Would you share a bit about each of these characters?
There are three main POVs in the book: Cheyenne, the algorithms expert who is searching for her missing father’s whereabouts; Will, the bookstore owner and family man forced to shut his doors due to selling Christian books; and Dowland, a government operative who is assassinating believers.
These three represent the journeys we are all on. Cheyenne is searching in her faith, Will is struggling with his faith, and Dowland refuses to accept it. Cheyenne and Will are two members of this rag-tag team that Hutchence assembles. Another unique character is a character named Jazz.
On the next page, Travis shares what it’s like to get an endorsement from the co-creator of Left Behind…