About the Book
Book: War Songs
Author: Brett Nelson
Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction/Spiritual Warfare
Release Date: February 6, 2022
Trigger Warning: WAR SONGS is free of profanity and sexual situations (There is some mild slang terminology spoken by fallen angels and certain human characters, ex: c**p, w**re, etc). Also, there is one short scene in the book that depicts violence with very minimal graphic details that could be triggering and/or upsetting for some readers.
There is an invisible realm around us that we can neither discern with our eyes nor hear with our ears. This invisible realm is where the powers of darkness and light reside. They can see and hear us, but we cannot see and hear them.
Jenner Alekson is a leader in his praise and worship band that travels extensively in the tri-state area of Cape Kennington, North Carolina. He makes little money in his chosen profession, yet the rewards he reaps in obedience to his call of ministry are eternal, and that’s enough for him.
Always happy with all aspects of his existence, Jenner is blindsided when his life suddenly catapults into turmoil, and he is thrust into a crossroads where discontentment, anger, and loss of desire to carry the gospel with his song takes root in an otherwise sheltered and stable life.
Unbeknownst to Jenner, his wife Hyacinth, and best friends Camden and Lucas, a spiritual war rages around them. The powers of darkness will try their best to derail Jenner’s spiritual walk, his marriage, his ministry, then ultimately his life.
Meanwhile across the country, rough and gruff long-haul trucker Arnold Collins leads a different kind of life. He’s a recovering drunk who chases women and is unhappy with an unloving, belligerent wife who could out-cuss any man who ever dared to challenge her. Without a warm and inviting place to call home, Arnold prefers the wide-open road before him.
As he rumbles across the terrain of small-town America one lonely night in his eighteen-wheeler, grumbling about his unfulfilling lot in life, he happens upon a radio preacher. Not interested in religion, he flips past the station with mutters of disdain, but for reasons he cannot explain, he is compelled back to it and hears a sermon he doesn’t understand but can’t get out of his mind.
Will the schemes of the powers of darkness pull Jenner away from the faith that means everything to him? And will the same powers prevent Arnold from finding the faith he needs but never wanted?
Heaven and Earth, light and dark, good and evil, are about to collide in ways Jenner and Arnold and those they love could never imagine.
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About the Author
Brett Nelson is an Amazon TOP 5 BEST-SELLING author. “When Raindrops Fall” and “War Songs” hit #4 and #2 respectively in the Christian fiction genre, and “A Christmas to Live For” hit #9 in Christian Fiction. He lives in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He wrote his first novel in 2012, just to see if he could. His goal is to write stories of fiction that are clean, easy to read, fun, and that injects a layer of his faith into every novel. In short, he desires that his readers would finish every novel having experienced a tapestry of emotions from a good healthy cry, fits of amused laughter, soul-splitting inspiration, and everything in between. He has published five novels to date. Book #2 to “War Songs” will publish in Spring 2024, and he is also currently working on Book #2 for “When Raindrops Fall.”
His novel “A Christmas to Live For” won the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Christian Fiction in 2021, and “War Songs” won the Global Book Awards Silver Medal in Christian Fiction in 2022.
Other than writing, reading is one of his favorite things to do on a lazy, rainy day (or a sunny day, or at the beach, or…well, you get the picture).
He enjoys reading the novels of lesser known authors, because you never know when you’ll uncover a new favorite.
More from Brett
“War Songs” was my fourth published novel, and I wrote it because I love books about spiritual warfare. The few that I’ve read, though, lean more on the occultic side than biblically based, which was what I wanted. Spiritual warfare isn’t pictures falling off walls for no reason, or seeing a shadow in the corner, or things that go bump in the night, which is how books that I’ve read tend to depict the subject of spiritual warfare. So, I decided to tackle the subject for myself and write a novel that I would want to read. I’m blessed to have received amazing email feedback about the book from all over the country and even from readers in Pakistan, Germany, the UK, and Canada.
One question that I’m asked a lot is how I came up with the unique angel and demon names (ex: Animi, Mataio, Roga, and Mortol, just to name a few.) In the book, I gave each demon a specific job and/or specialty (discouragement, anger, etc) then I researched the Hebrew/Greek root words for the emotions that the demons represented and created a name based off the root word. It made for some great demon names, even if I do say so myself.
As an author, I rarely use the names of people I personally know in my books. I like to use unique character names that no one in my life has, hence the names of my main characters in “War Songs,” Jenner and Hyacinth. To help find character names, I often go to baby name websites and search until just the right unique name comes along, and the minute I see it, I just know that will be the character’s name. That said, I have given a few special people in my life a shoutout in the books by using their name for a smaller secondary character then giving the character an outlandish personality that is nothing like the person whose name I used.
Interview with the Author
How do you select the names of your characters?
Thank you, Denise, for having me on your blog. There’s nothing I like more than talking to fellow readers about what we love best: BOOKS!
For my novels, I like to use character names that are unique. I often will use the name of a good friend or family member for a character once per book, sometimes a main character and sometimes a minor character, but for the most part I never use the name of anyone know in my books.
My go-to method of selecting character names is to go to baby name websites and enter “unusual names” or “unique names” in the search field, and that often yields amazing character names of which I might otherwise have never considered.
I also like to search the internet for “old fashioned names.” I have a list of several beautiful names that don’t sound too old fashioned that I’ve either used in books or keep on file for future books.
Another way that I find interesting names is to watch the end credits of movies. You have literally thousands of names scrolling in front of you after a movie, many of them unique. It’s a great way to find international names if you have a non-American character, or just some great uncommon names.
I’ve also learned that some last names make for great and unique character first names. For Jenner’s name in War Songs, it was a last name I found scrolling through movie end credits and thought it would be a great first name.
In the early stages of writing War Songs, I came up with the name “Hyacinth” for one of the main characters from a Youtuber that I follow. He does a lot of around-the-house DYI projects, and in one of his videos he was working with a hyacinth plant, and I was like, “Wow! Hyacinth would be a great unique name for Jenner’s wife,” so I changed her name from Beth to Hyacinth.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Oh goodness, I was an avid reader as a child, so I have plenty of favorites to mention. I had the entire Little House on the Prairie book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder in hardback. I have read every book in that series multiple times. I’m not sure what happened to the set but now that I’m older I would give anything to have that original set that I had as a child.
I also was a huge fan of Nancy Drew Books by Carolyn Keene. I still have The Mysterious Mannequin (published in 1970) in hardback that I bought at a school book fair back in the 80s, and I STILL pull it out and read it from time to time for a short nostalgic read.
My local independent bookstore carries Nancy Drew Books and on occasion I’ll pick one up and add it to my collection, but my original The Mysterious Mannequin is one of my most treasured books.
Here’s an interesting tidbit that I found out about Carolyn Keene later in life. Everyone else may have known this, but I didn’t. Carolyn Keene wasn’t a single person but was a pseudonym for several authors who wrote the series of stories over the years.
As a younger reader, I also liked the Boxcar Children, the Hardy Boys, and the Berenstein Bears.
Once I became a teenager and was “too old” for kid’s books, I discovered Mary Higgins Clark and to this day she remains my favorite author. I once had a fellow author (when I was on Tik Tok) tell me that I needed to find a more contemporary author to replace Mary Higgins Clark as my favorite mystery writer, but no contemporary writer will ever take the place of MHC in my mystery-loving heart. I’ll challenge anyone to a duel who tries to make me do it.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, the plot always comes first, then the characters. As I conceptualize and plot the book in the beginning stages of writing, I’ll have most of the plot fleshed out before I have a single character in place.
Of course, in the beginning, I usually have a basic idea of what main characters the story will require but I don’t stress too much about physical features, names, personalities, and such that early. Once I have the basic storyline straight in my head along with a tentative plot, that’s when I begin the writing process and creating the characters, where the story will take place, etc.
When it comes to minor characters in the story, I usually don’t know who they will be until a need for them arises in the story then I make them up as I go along.
For writers, there is an age-old “controversy” of how writers should write. Authors are either plotters and pantsers. Plotters plot their entire book BEFORE they ever start writing. They know every chapter and what will happen. Pantsers, on the other hand, don’t plot. They sit down and write and make it all up as they go along.
I fall somewhere between the two groups. I’m not as rigorous as rigid plotters, but before I start writing I always want a good idea of how the book will start, how it will end, and most of the major story points that the book will tackle. I also like to have a firm grip on any substories/plots that the book will have and how they will weave into the main story.
That said, it’s not uncommon for me to be in the middle of writing and for a major plot point to rear up out of nowhere.
Diehard plotters will disagree with me, but I think it’s okay for authors to straddle the line between being a rigid plotter and being a total pantser.
Who is the author you most admire in your genre?
As an avid reader, it’s impossible to limit it to only one that I admire. Since I write in the Christian Fiction and Inspirational genres, I’ll keep my response to that. I have an eclectic reading style, so I read all kinds of genres. Life is too short and there are too many good books out there to box yourself into one sad little genre.
My favorite Inspirational Writer is a no brainer: Katherine Spencer (that’s her pen name. Her real name is Anne Canadeo, and she also writes knitting-related fiction stories under her real name). She authored the Cape Light series of books as Katherine Spencer, in collaboration with painter Thomas Kinkade, and that series (and the short-lived Angel Island series) are among my favorite books in the genre. When I’m in the mood for a light and familiar and clean read, hers are often my “go to” books. She and Mary Higgins Clark are among the few authors whose books I read over and over again.
Even though I write Christian Fiction, I must admit to being fairly new to reading the genre. In the past couple of years, I’ve shifted my reading habits to Christian Fiction with secular reads sprinkled in. Especially as a writer, but also as readers, I think it’s fine to read a balance of Christian and secular books. Since I often find myself studying other writers’ writing styles and techniques, I still dabble in secular fiction but have grown into loving Christian Fiction, and I much prefer it over secular fiction.
I can’t really say that I have a strict favorite Christian Fiction author, but I do tend to read more lesser-known Indy authors. Truly, there are amazing lesser-known authors out there that readers are missing out on because they will only read traditionally published/popular authors.
For Christian Horror (yes, that’s a thing!), I have read Ted Dekker for years. I love his style of writing real life, gritty stories that aren’t sappy and wrapped up in a pretty bow, yet the stories still retain Christian elements and show how characters use their faith to overcome often exaggerated and life-changing obstacles. His characters are real people with realistic lives that aren’t always clean and pitch perfect, and I love that!
For Christian Mysteries, I like Nancy Mehl, Colleen Coble, Irene Hannon, and new-to-me-authors Creston Mapes and Urcelia Tiexeira.
For dystopian/apocalyptic Christian Fiction (one of my favorite genres), I like Mark Goodwin, Jamie Lee Grey, and Mark Fisher. I also like Terry Toler for Space Opera (books that take place in space) Christian Fiction.
For sweet/small town/books/low-romance books, I like Heidi Chiavaroli, Grace Green, and Charles Martin…just to name a few,
If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
In answering this question, I’ll assume this person could be living or dead. Even though Mary Higgins Clark is no longer with us, I would love to have had her over for dinner. She wrote over 50 New York Times Best-Selling books. I love her story, in that fame and money didn’t come to her immediately. She wrote books, raised kids, and worked a full-time job. She knew the struggle of getting readers to pick up her books in the beginning. I would love to talk to her and soak in her years of experience and advice.
For a living author, I think I would have to go with Katherine Spencer. I love her inspirational stories with relatable characters, a touch of faith, and her amazing way of painting a scene in such a way that readers can easily slip into the story and feel a part of it. To me, her Cape Light characters are beloved fictional people in my life, and I love revisiting them whenever I can.
As for what I would cook, I wish this were an easier question for me because cooking isn’t my favorite pastime. I can cook anything I set my mind to, though, because my mom raised my brother and me with this philosophy: “If you can read, you can cook.”
I’m a huge soup lover and can make a kicking Tortilla Soup and Potato Soup. I also love Shepard’s Pie, so maybe if I ever got to cook a meal for one of them, I would try my hand at making Shepard’s Pie with a side of crunchy broiled Brussel sprouts, a nice basket of warm bread, a Caesar salad, and a piece of chocolate cake with a thick slather of homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. Of course, being from the south, no meal is complete without a nice tall glass of sweet tea.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 8
Artistic Nobody, February 9 (Author Interview)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9
Texas Book-aholic, February 10
Fiction Book Lover, February 11 (Author Interview)
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 12
Guild Master, February 13 (Author Interview)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14
A Reader’s Brain, February 15 (Author Interview)
Through the Fire Blogs, February 16 (Author Interview)
Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, February 16
Lily’s Corner, February 17
Pause for Tales, February 18
Blossoms and Blessings, February 19 (Author Interview)
Splashes of Joy, February 20 (Author Interview)
For the Love of Literature, February 21 (Author Interview)
To celebrate his tour, Brett is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon Gift Card, an autographed hardback copy of the book, and a bookmark!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.