Jimmy Root Jr., has served as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God since 1982, including service in Nebraska, Missouri, and a seven-year term as a missionary in Colombia, South America. Jimmy is the lead Pastor of Family Worship Center of Smithville, a growing suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.
His writings, both in book form as well as his blog, are purposed to be a wake-up call to a sleepy American church that seems to be losing a truly Christian World View. Distant Thunder and its sequels, Gathering Storm, and Then Comes Lightning, will reveal to the adventure/thriller aficionado the reality of the coming fulfillment of Biblically prophesied events.
Jimmy will be on virtual book tour in August and September 2009 to promote his latest Christian thriller, The Distant Thunder. We interviewed him to find out more about his captivating new book.
Q. Thank you for this interview, Jimmy. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write a Christian thriller?
A. The foundation of Distant Thunder is a 2500-year-old prediction from the Prophet Ezekiel. Bible Prophecy has been a passion of mine since I was a child. It seemed only natural to form an exciting fictional story from something I know thoroughly and love to study.
Q. Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?
A. I began with just a brief sketch outlining the direction I wanted the story to go. Once I started, however, the characters took on their own personalities and the storylines came to life. There were moments when I was literally surprised and shocked at what flew through my fingertips and onto the screen. It wasn’t mystical in any way. It simply took on a life of its own. At times, I had to reign in that loose aspect of writing so that I could stay on track. As it was, I had no idea that the story would eat up one entire book and become a trilogy.
Q. Who was your favorite character in Distant Thunder and why?
A. There are two main characters in Distant Thunder. The first is Ty Dempsey, a suburban Kansas City pastor. His story is shared by many in our day. He has lost his brother to the war in Iraq. But in coping with his grief, he has discovered ancient Biblical prophecies that he once thought were meant to be interpreted figuratively. However, they are coming true before his eyes. His trouble increases when he preaches those prophecies to his congregation. A church conflict threatens Ty’s ministry until what he has preached comes true in a horrible way.
The other main character is an Israeli F-16 fighter pilot named Moshe Eldan. He is caught in the struggle to save his beleaguered country while struggling on a journey towards faith. He, like Ty, comes into contact with the ancient prophecies and sees them being fulfilled ten thousand feet beneath the wings of his jet. Of the two, Moshe is closer to being my alter ego. I am a pastor like Ty, but I always dreamed of being a fighter pilot. He is a true maverick and unsung hero. He perseveres even when his life is threatened. He is not afraid to say what he thinks. He is passionate about his country and his life. He is my favorite character in the book to this point.
Q. Who was your least favorite character?
A. There are several antagonists in Distant Thunder, including radical Islamic terrorists that you really want to see come to justice. But it is actually one particular individual, a Deacon in Ty Dempsey’s church, that makes me angry. He is a hypocrite to the worst degree, yet he maintains a guise of being helpful and wise. He is two-faced. He is the instigator of all of Ty’s trouble. I could hardly stand him.
Q. Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?
A. The story involves two settings. The first is in a small suburb of Kansas City. From there, my main characters experiences the horror of knowing that something terrible is going to happen without the ability to stop it. Kansas City is one of several target cities. Terrorists are poised to strike at the center of America’s heartland. Ordinary people must cope with extraordinary circumstances.
The other setting is built within the current struggles taking place in the Middle East, namely Israel. The Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel predicted a coalition of nations led by Russia, Iran, Libya, and Turkey, would attack Israel. We can see the formation of that coalition in the news headlines every day. I took an ancient prophecy and folded it into current events.
Q. What was the hardest part to write?
A. The most difficult parts to write were the aerial combat sequences. Though I always dreamed of being a fighter pilot, my life took a different direction. I have never flown an airplane. Therefore, I had to do an incredible amount of research. I also spent hours on an F-16 flight simulator in order to really get the feel of flying. I crashed most ever time I flew, so the sequences that included being shot down were much easier to write. The greatest compliments so far have come from a US Air Force Combat instructor and a commercial airline pilot. Both affirmed that the aerial sequences were not only accurate, but dead on. It is gratifying to know I got it right.
Q. What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?
A. The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel is the inspiration behind the book. Twenty-five hundred years ago, immediately after the Babylonian Empire destroyed Jerusalem, Ezekiel received an uncanny prophecy concerning a particular time in the future. That time would be highlighted first by the re-birth of the nation of Israel. He then named a coalition of nations that would rise up in an attempt to destroy the Jews once and for all. If you read the prophecy of chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine, you will see a Hitler-styled rabidity directed against the nation of Israel. No other nation will come to Israel’s rescue, so God will have to intervene.
The stunning aspect of the prophecy is that Ezekiel named names. Prominent among the people groups mentioned are Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Amazingly, in the last year we have seen the beginning stages of the formation of Ezekiel’s coalition. Not only that, we are witnessing the breakdown of the American-Israeli relationship that has existed since May 14, 1948.
Seeing the words of prophecy come to life gave me all the material I needed to create a fictional scenario that will lead the characters of Distant Thunder to the doorstep of Ezekiel’s prophetic fulfillment.
Q. Do you plan on writing more thrillers?
A. Distant Thunder forms the first book of a trilogy called The Lightning Chronicles. The second in the series, A Gathering Storm, has been contracted and is in the editing stage of publishing. The third and final book, Then Comes Lightning, is about half finished.
After the completion and release of this entire trilogy, I plan to write a multi-volume series based on the life of Old Testament Prophet Daniel.
Q. Thank you for this interview, Jimmy. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your new book.
A. It has been my pleasure. Readers can learn more about me and my books by going to my Web site at Lightning Chronicles. I also have a blog for prophecy buffs at Prophecy Alert, and a blog to encourage budding authors at Lightning Chronicles. My Facebook url is http://profile.to/jimmyrootjr/.