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Friday, January 2, 2015

Eden Found by Dustin Lawson: Interview & Giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/26/-14 – 1/23/15 Genres: Epic Fantasy, Action/Adventure


Eden Found is like Romeo and Juliet, The Giver, and Lord of The Flies in the Garden of Eden and Jurassic Park.

If Jesus and Darwin teamed up to write a novel it would have been Eden Found.
The Garden of Eden, a peaceful world formed from Creation, and Valdar, a harsh survival of the fittest world formed from evolution, have existed side by side with only a river separating them for earth’s entire 72 year existence. The two worlds have had no interaction because domed over Eden is Innocence Guard, an invisible protective energy field that keeps anything from leaving or entering the garden as long as Eden is innocent. 

A half angel and half demon entity named Demjel sits in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil waiting to carry out his mission, which is to convince the first human sinner that their decision to eat forbidden fruit was a good choice. But in Eden’s 72 years neither Adam, Eve, nor any of their three hundred descendants have eaten forbidden fruit. 

The story opens with Demjel performing his favorite hobby, restlessly mocking sinless Eden for how ignorant and boring it is. Then Eden’s newest couple, Ariel and Lena, consummates their relationship under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a practice that has always been done under the Tree of Life. That night, alone, one of them comes back to the tree and eats forbidden fruit, eliminating Eden’s sinlessness and destroying the protection of Innocence Guard. 

Meanwhile, the most physically and mentally evolved creature in Valdar, a four armed flying self-aware beast named Sife, has been trying to find a way into Eden because he thinks the garden contains a higher level of evolution than what Valdar can provide for him. With Innocence Guard decimated he finally has his wish.

Will Valdar destroy Eden or will Adam find a way to restore Eden’s sinlessness, thus restoring Innocence Guard to full strength? Will Eve, feeling empowered by the knowledge of good and evil, thwart Adam’s goal of restoring Eden’s sinlessness? Will Demjel be able to show the first human sinner all the good that comes from having the knowledge of good and evil and in doing so convince the first human sinner that eating forbidden fruit was a good choice? Or will the first human sinner conclude that the evil of pain, death, and sin far outweigh the good of eating forbidden fruit? Why were these two worlds created side by side to begin with?

See the book trailer on Youtube!


Demjel looked up into the branches. “I assumed it would be only a matter of time before one of them gave in. But days turned into years, and neither of them ever touched another piece of this tree’s fruit. Now Adam and Eve’s children have had children, and their children have had children, and their children are starting to have children. There are now as many humans in Eden as there are pieces of fruit in this tree, and none of them have come as close to freeing me as Eve did that day. I thought the temptation would have been too strong for sinless Eden to have lasted this long. But no one else has even approached our tree, let alone considered eating its fruit. ”
Demjel ran a thumb over Almost. “I know you tire of me telling this story. I wish you could be liberated from your burden of having gotten so close to being the one that freed humanity. And I wish you could be freed from all the relentless mocking by the other pieces of forbidden fruit because you failed. I am glad I have you, though. You are the only one who understands what it is like to be an outcast, to no longer feel like you belong in the world you are from.”
The demonic angel then rotated Almost and ran a finger over a small hole in the middle of the fruit that a worm had made before Eve almost took a bite from it. “If only an animal eating forbidden fruit had the same effect as a human, then this wormhole would have been like a portal to another world, a new Eden.”
The angelic demon looked up at the clouds. Frustrated, he said, “I need change! I have become like the humans, repeating the same words and patterns over and over again every day. I cannot take this anymore! A human needs to eat this fruit!” More quietly, Demjel said, “I need to see Galatea again.”
Having completed his routine for the eighth time that day, Demjel sat silently and watched Adam and Eve continue mating. Eventually, he got frustrated with that and so started his routine again from the beginning, pacing back and forth on the tree’s lowest branch. “They will never see the good in evil. They will never experience the pleasure of pa—”. Startled, Demjel stopped talking and looked down at Almost. His fruit friend was moving on its own.
Almost then tried to pull free from Demjel’s grip. The angelic demon looked up. Every piece of forbidden fruit was moving on its own, but they were randomly pulling in different directions. He looked down at Eve who had her legs wrapped tightly around her man, screaming in ecstasy as Adam brought her to her finish.
Almost is not pulling toward her. Demjel scanned the Crucible and Middle Path, looking for someone who appeared out of the ordinary.
No one did.
Then the demonic angel noticed the blue light from Heaven’s Hole grow dimmer. Looking around his tree’s trunk, Demjel saw the white leopard enter its hole and portal back to Heaven.
Strange, Demjel thought.
Seth and Anthea, along with the couple that had just given birth, began walking down the Crucible. Almost was not pulling toward any of them.
Almost then focused its pull to Demjel’s left. The angelic demon quickly scanned that part of the Crucible.
There was nothing unusual.
Then Demjel noticed a lion leave the front half of Middle Path and begin to ascend the Crucible. Halfway up the hill it stopped, turned, and began scanning the crowd.
“It looks like it knows something that no one else does,” Demjel said.
Almost pulled again. The demonic angel swiveled his head, trying to pick out the human Almost was pulling towards. None of them stood out.
Demjel began to doubt the forbidden fruit’s premonition. Looking down at Almost, he said, “I think you and the rest might be mistaken.”
Almost pulled again, this time slipping out of Demjel’s hands. The angelic demon quickly reached below the branch and grabbed the fruit before it fell to the ground. He pulled Almost to him as if it were his heart that had fallen out and he was trying to put it back in his chest. “No. I believe you. I was wrong. The forbidden fruit never makes a mistake when it comes to this. It has just been so long.”
Demjel knew that all the forbidden fruit moving on its own meant only one thing. There is a human that possesses that same quality that no one has had since Eve almost ate Almost.

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About the Author:

Dustin Lawson was born and raised in central Ohio. All throughout high school and college he worked as a lion and tiger trainer at the Siberian Tiger Conservation in Gambier, Ohio (YouTube “Lions, and Tigers, and Lawson, Oh My!” for video). In high school he dreamt of becoming the next Jungle Jack Hannah traveling the world with his own Safari show. Instead, he went to college to become a preacher. During his junior year of college (2005) Dustin had testicular cancer and has been in remission ever since.
After college, Dustin passed on an offer to move to Vegas and help take care of Siegfried and Roy’s lions and tigers. Instead, he spent a year traveling all over North America, Europe, and the Middle East as the assistant to a preacher and author named Josh McDowell. Seeing McDowell’s daily discipline as a writer demystified the book writing process for Dustin and gave him confidence that he also could be an author. Along with writing, Dustin wanted to serve in the military. But because of his history of cancer, the military rejected Dustin 13 times over the span of five and a half years before letting him in. He is now an officer in the National Guard. During basic training Dustin won the Iron Man Award for having the highest physical fitness score in the company (over 200 soldiers). While waiting for the military to let him in, Dustin earned a master’s degree in Global Politics and worked in Washington D.C.
Eden Found was rejected about a hundred times before Dustin found a publisher. From all of his manuscripts he has received over 300 rejections. He kept a list of famous authors who were rejected many times before they received their break to keep himself encouraged and motivated.
The great writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” After lions and tigers, preaching, cancer, traveling the world, grad school, Washington D.C., the army, and all the rejection from the military and publishers Dustin feels he has stood and lived. Now he wants to spend his days sitting down to write.

Connect With Dustin Lawson:


Please welcome Eden Found author Dustin Lawson to Diane’s Book Blog. 

How long did it take you to write Eden Found?

Eleven months.  It wasn’t eleven months straight.  I had some gaps where I had to go do some military training.  But as far as actual writing, it was eleven months.  Being the first novel, it was a painful process trying to figure out my style.  It was way too long initially, almost 180,000 words.  As published, it is now 127,000 words.

If you were stranded on a desert island which of your characters do you want by your side?

The practical choice would be Sife since he is a four armed flying creature that could pick me up and fly us off the island.  But I assume you meant I had to be confined to the island with no hope of leaving. 
In that case, I would choose Eve.  I have had a crush on her for a long time.  I don’t know if the Garden of Eden story is actually true or not, but regardless, the idea of being on a deserted island with the first woman ever sounds sexy.  Especially, since she is already used to walking around naked.

What inspired you to write your first book?

One evening I had the thought: Jesus is the story of the one sinless person in a world full of sinners; what if the story was reversed and it was the one sinner in a world of sinless people?  I concluded that the best context for that plot was the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve didn’t eat the forbidden fruit.  Then, once there were a few hundred sinless people in Eden, one person finally gave in, thus becoming the one sinner in a world of sinless people. 

Also, I want a trademark of mine to be someone who puts ideas that are traditionally opposed to each other together in the same story.  That is why I created Valdar, the world next to Eden.  It is a world formed from evolution so that a world formed from evolution and one formed from creation exist side by side. 

Continuing with that same theme, the next novel is called “The God-fearing Atheist”.  Its premise is a man born with multiple personality disorder.  As the man grows up one personality becomes a believer in God and the other becomes an atheist.  In chapter one he dies.  Chapter two is his soul’s court case outside the gates of heaven:  how does a soul that has within it both a believer and an unbeliever to be judged?

Who or what inspired you to be a writer?

As early as I can remember, my mom took me to the library.  The library is one of my fondest childhood memories.  I loved walking up and down the aisles of books being surrounded by so many different worlds, so much limitless imagination.  And I devoured books.   I have always wanted to use my imagination to add to those book shelves.  Also, as I grow older I become more and more aware of what little I can control in this world.  So I like the idea of writing novels because I control those worlds and the outcomes that result.  I tend to see this world as largely run by chance, but in writing a novel I, in a way, am destiny that none of my characters can run away from. 

What books have most influenced your life?

It’s a cliché to say the Bible so I will specifically say the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes.  When I first read it I was stunned that this book was even in the Bible.  Its writer is supposedly the wisest person ever (King Solomon) and he is talking about how meaningless life might be and he has no idea if there is an afterlife, and doesn’t really have any idea if there is a god.  Basically, he is challenging everything.  Not too many preachers preach messages like that even though it is write in the middle of the Bible. I think Ecclesiastes is the greatest treatise on the virtue of open-mindedness ever written and dogmatic readers of the Bible refuse to realize this.  I used to be a very close-minded person before spending a year traveling the world as the personal assistant to an author.  That year shook up everything for me and caused me to realize how ignorant I and every other human really are.  Voltaire said it best: ‘doubt is uncomfortable, but certainty is ridiculous.’ (I want to be the 21st centuries Voltaire, bold statement, but it helps to have models for what kind of writer you strive to be)

When trying to figure out my style, more literary or more commercial, I sat a copy of Moby Dick (the epitome of literary greatness) and The Davinci Code (the epitome of commercial greatness) side by side and wrote a short list of why each was great at what they did.  The lists I came up with I try to incorporate into my writing so that I can try to be both literary and commercial. 

Fahrenheit 451:  One of my greatest fears is a world without books.  My fear now is a world full of books that nobody reads.    

What's your favorite book-turned movie?

Forest Gump: That movie never gets old for me.  I read Forest Gump a few years ago and was shocked to see how different it was from the movie (or how different the movie was from the book).  In the book, Forest Gump is six foot four, he is a math genius and becomes an astronaut who goes to space with a monkey, on his return flight from space he crashes in the jungles of Southeast Asia where he is held captive by a tribe that he has to escape from.  He is sexually promiscuous.  He goes to Hollywood and becomes an actor in a Raquel Welsh movie where he is reunited with his monkey companion from space. He does sleep with Jenny, but he doesn’t marry her in the end.  It was a shocking lesson about what little freedom authors tend to get when trying to get the movie to be consistent with their book. 

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ are maybe my two favorite novels.  These books epitomized for me what kind of writer I wanted to be.  Orwell could have written a nonfiction book that described the issues he wrote about and the book may have been good but not that powerful.  But by putting those ideas into a story format and not in a propagandist preachy way but in a way that challenged the reader to think for themselves instead of telling the reader what to think, they became timeless masterpieces that have changed the world. Basically, these books showed me how much potential the power of a message within the context of a great story has for changing the world.  

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I once read somewhere that ‘the only thing you can’t proofread is a blank page.’  I took that to mean that I should write whether I know what to write that day or not.  I refuse to sit and stare at a blank screen.   I will write nonsense until it starts making sense so long as I am still writing.  Just typing has a way of eventually sparking the creative engine.  My first drafts are often horrifically embarrassing in many parts because I wasn’t sure where the story should go but I kept writing anyway, no matter how ridiculous the ideas were.  But then when I print it off and start taking my red pen to it the true plot development starts to unfold more easily.  But I couldn’t do that with a blank page. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am working on the sequel to Eden Found (it is a trilogy).  “The God-fearing Atheist” I mentioned in the answer to an earlier question is finished and I will be pitching it to my publisher in the next couple of weeks. 

And right now I am trying to finish “The Ghost of Democracy.”  This is a novel that combines my lifelong love of horror movies with my degree in global politics.  The White House is haunted and the ghosts in the white house only haunt the president.  The book opens January 20th, 2033, inauguration day.  Newly elected president, Joshua Land, has endured the long day of the inauguration ceremony and parade and the inaugural balls.  Now, close to midnight, he goes to the Oval Office alone to have a moment there to commemorate his accomplishment.  He sits down at the Resolute Desk and opens the letter from the outgoing one-term president that he just beat, Daniel Manning.  President Land gets a shock because in the letter President Manning thanks Joshua for beating him because he could no longer tolerate living in the haunted White House.  He says that the White House was his white whale that, like Ahab, he chased relentlessly and restlessly for decades.  But then once he caught it, just like Ahab, the White House, his white whale, haunted him and continues to torture his soul.  And he warns President Land that the White House will do the same to him. 

I am working on a collection of short horror stories as well.  One of the stories is also a haunted house story.  But it is not a haunted house for people, but it is a house that ghosts are afraid to go into. 

Pornhibition is another novel I have started.  The premise is a pastor recruits a computer programmer in his congregation to start hacking into porn sites and infecting them with viruses and taking them down. After some successes, the pastor recruits many more Christian computer programmers to join his underground porn site hacking team.  Obviously, though, the porn producers will not go down without a fight. 

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