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Monday, April 10, 2017

A Novel Born From Desperation by Gary Guinn

Please welcome today's guest, Gary Guinn and his debut novel. Read to the end and enter his giveaway!

Sacrificial Lam, my first genre novel, a mystery/thriller featuring a liberal English professor teaching at a small, conservative southern college, released by The Wild Rose Press on March third, was born out of desperation. Two years ago, my writing had stagnated. On a beautiful day in October, while my wife and I were visiting friends at their beach condo in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, I realized I had been revising older work
for months, while creating nothing new. I felt discouraged and became convinced that I was failing completely as a writer.

Then a serendipitous thing happened. An ad for NaNoWriMo popped up in my email box. I had heard of it, but never taken it seriously. But I grabbed onto NaNoWriMo as if it were a lifeline. I had to do something, and I knew it had to be something new. All my writing to that point had been literary fiction, purely character driven, avoiding formula like the plague. “Well,” I told myself, “what good is literary purism if it’s stuck in a Slough of Despond?” So I turned to my favorite genre, mystery/thriller. Almost as a lark, I decided to write about a protagonist very much like myself—a liberal English professor who taught in a small, conservative southern college. My protagonist, Dr. Lam Corso, looked a lot like me, and the school where the novel is set looks a lot like the small university where I taught. Writing the novel turned out to be liberating and fun.

I spent the last week of our visit to the beach working on a detailed outline, and during the month of November cranked out fifty-five thousand words. After a year of feedback from my writing group and six months of working with my editor at The Wild Rose Press, Sacrificial Lam was ready to go.

But the genesis of the novel entailed much more than simply stagnated writing and NaNoWriMo. On page one, Dr. Lam Corso receives a note threatening his life, from someone who doesn’t like his beliefs. Fairly early in my career at the university, a disturbing incident occurred, which stuck with me through the years. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms, aimed specifically at their liberal positions on social issues. The university was a very conservative place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose, of mission, in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion.

The threats created a tense environment. As it happens, nothing further came of them, but that situation has become the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am close to finishing, has the working title Lam to the Slaughter.

And I guess the thematic material in the novel, has emerged at a fitting time historically. In the novel, there is a strong strain of religious and political fanaticism and intolerance of difference and divergence that drives some of the characters. We live in a world where the destructive results of fanaticism and intolerance leap out at us every day. Though the novel does not attempt to promote any particular ideology, I do hope the story is a voice for tolerance and respect and the importance of the dignity of every human being. 

  Sacrificial Lam Blurb 

When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off.  A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he's used to stirring up controversy on campus.  It's just part of the give and take of life.  Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake.  He can't imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs. 

When his home is broken into and his wife's business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can't find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs. 

What will it cost to survive?  


When he dropped Lam back to the pavement, he said, “You dodged a bullet Friday afternoon. My bad. But I won’t miss this time.” And then the attacker stepped away and waited, breathing hard.

Another shock of fear and clarity ran through Lam. The car had been trying to kill him. He’d been a fool. He thought of Susan, sitting with the boys on the sofa, watching TV and sipping a glass of wine. He couldn’t let go of her, he couldn’t bear to leave her and the boys, lying there in an empty parking lot. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He had imagined dying hundreds of times—cancer, car wreck, drowning, plane crash—but never this, beaten to death by a lunatic who didn’t like his politics.

A desperate sound, short, high, and strained, broke from him. Blind without his glasses in the dark, he was helpless, but he refused to lie there and be killed without a fight. He tried again to stand. But as he struggled to his knees, a blow to the side of his head sent him sprawling against the bike rack, and he thought he was passing out.

The voice came again, “Time’s up, Lambert.”

When Lam looked up, the man stood above him with something, a knife Lam thought, in his hand.

The voice said, “You were warned.”

Buy Links for Sacrificial Lam, by Gary Guinn 


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