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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Reading Next Week of My Novel "Imaginary Friend"

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To my delight, I've been invited to do a book reading from my atheist-thriller novel "Imaginary Friend at the Humanist program on Saturday, April 14 for the Humanist Community of Central Ohio.  It  will be held at their new office at 1550 Old Henderson Rd, S150, Columbus, OH 43220. (I'm told that because the meeting space is on the north side of the building, it would be best to park in the back of the building and enter through the rear entrance on the north side).  The program starts at 1p.m., and I will probably start my reading (half hour or so) shortly thereafter.

Before I wrote the novel I worried that it would be hard to find an audience for a fictional treatment of atheist themes, but a thriller seemed an appropriate vehicle for some of the outrage I feel at the despicable treatment atheists often get from the world at large.  It's one of the few remaining minorities where casual discrimination is widely accepted, even applauded.  The hero of my novel, a lawyer who accidentally becomes a national figure due to an act of heroism when a football stadium explodes at halftime (which occurs in the first chapter), makes the mistake of saying he's an atheist on national TV, for which misstep he pays a heavy price.  I took an ad out for my novel in the leading atheist magazine, Free Inquiry, and since I did that the novel has been selling a respectable number of copies.  I plan to sell a few more ($10 each) at the book reading next Saturday.

The Free Inquiry Ad

Although the book has a large number of "thriller" episodes (kidnapping, drive-by shootings, torture of children, and other human horrors), at the book reading I suspect the Central Ohio Humanists will be more interested in the portions of the book in which my hero must battle anti-atheist bigotry, so the two portions of the book where that is prominent will be the focus of my reading.

If interested, please come next Saturday.  The members of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio are great people, and would welcome anyone who wants to attend.  The Related Posts below contain more information about and even portions of "Imaginary Friend," which is available both in a paperback edition on Amazon.com and as an ebook on Kindle.

Here are all the current reviews of the book on Amazon.com:
4.0 out of 5 stars
Devil in the Details, September 30, 2008
This review is from: Imaginary Friend (Paperback)

Imagine if: After the horrors of 9/11, a man who bravely helped rescue some 50 odd survivors in a highly visual fashion was videoed doing this incredible feat. He'd be a proclaimed a hero, paraded around, commended by The President and promptly shoved on some news show (ala Larry King Live) and made to talk about the experience. What would happen if he decided (with a little alcoholic lubrication) to say to a caller that God was not there to give him the strength to save the survivors, but that following an "imaginary friend" was exactly why terrorists were killing people.

Thus is the premise of "Imaginary Friend." Franklin Whitestone, hero of a 9/11 styled attack on a football stadium finds his life turned upside down when he announces what he really thinks about God on a national television show. He and his family swoop from American Heroes to American Pariahs in the scope of two days, once the faithful feel threatened more by a single atheist and his family than multiple bands of terrorists. Whitestone, his son Todd and his former wife Mary now have to dodge a marauding press corps, Money Grubbing Mega-Church leaders, old girlfriends, unhappy employers and gun toting ChritsoFacists if they want to live through a quintessential American Nightmare resulting from not being very careful what you say in front of a live microphone (or post on the internet).

Inventive and well thought out characters make this a compelling read, as does the detailed writing style. The description of Nan and Dan's gun collection is alone enough to give you the creeps. Todd Whitestone, the precocious and gifted 16 year old son, is also a highlight of "Imaginary Friend" as he tries his best to help his father from a jam. Catherine, Franklin's alpha-mother, gets the best laughs as the Queen Bee of the Whitestone hive. Add the satirical bent of our instant-celebrity culture (an agent who advises Franklin just how rich he can get with a good PR man), and you get an entertaining novel about just how absurd the world of organized religion can get.


5.0 out of 5 stars
A Foxhole Atheist, November 3, 2008
By Joseph Mensch (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Imaginary Friend (Paperback)

The atheist movement, slowly growing in this country, has been given a sudden boost from an unknown author named Douglas Whaley whose new novel, "Imaginary Friend," combines an impassioned polemic with a sophisticated thriller. The attempt alone would have been enough, but the end result is more powerful and entertaining than anything the atheist movement (or, for the most part, the thriller movement) has come up with so far.

The story is about a lawyer, Franklin Whitestone, who rescues 53 people from a burning stadium but becomes a hunted man when he speaks candidly about his atheist views on national TV. The breathless chase across Ohio involves not just Franklin but Franklin's family, whose escape from their demented kidnappers is one of the high points of the novel. Franklin meets some colorful characters along the way, including Corbin Milk, a gay ex-C.I.A. agent who helps Franklin with his disguise, and Jonathan Harker, a PR agent who insists that Franklin can make tons of money from his ordeal. Even the God-fearing militant hunters have their virtues and sympathies. One is often pleasantly surprised, even relieved, by the humor that Whaley mines from the darkest and grisliest situations.

For many years the atheists' cause has rested on the shoulders of writers like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and most recently, Christopher Hitchens, whose logical arguments, while unassailable on their own terms, often fail to take the fight where it would really count, namely, the psychological realm. Religious fanatics will not be swayed by any number of scientific arguments that disprove the possibility of talking snakes; they hold the trump card of "The Lord works in mysterious ways." But if you can tap into their basic sympathies for their fellow man and demonstrate how destructive religion has been to innocent people (including all the deaths at the football stadium, bombed by an Islamic terrorist), you might be able to turn some heads. This is where "Imaginary Friend" succeeds so well.


5.0 out of 5 stars
frightenly feasible outcome, February 13, 2012
By V. Sandy "V" (Prescott,AZ) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Imaginary Friend (Kindle Edition)
and unfortunately in this post 9-11 world, with all the christian religous militancy tossed about by politicians... everything that befalls the unlikely hero of this tale is frightenly feasible  

5.0 out of 5 stars
Life with Religious Differences Brought to Life, February 18, 2012
This review is from: Imaginary Friend (Paperback)
Exciting! Doug Whaley has opened new territory with his engaging novel "Imaginary Friend." Although much has already been written debating questions raised by religion, Whaley is one of the first to use fiction to bring to life the experiences of people living with those religious differences. "Imaginary Friend" should be read by anyone who cares about religious freedom.

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Related Posts:
“Catholicism and Me (Part One),” March 13, 2010
“Superstitions,”March 21, 2010
“Catholicism and Me (Part Two),” April 18, 2010
“How To Become an Atheist,” May 16, 2010
“Imaginary Friend,” June 22, 2010
“I Don’t Do Science,” July 2, 2010
“Explosion at Ohio Stadium,” October 9, 2010 (Chapter 1 of my novel)
“When Atheists Die,” October 17, 2010
"Escape From Ohio Stadium," November 2, 2010 (Chapter 2)
"Open Mouth, Insert Foot," November 21, 2010 (Chapter 3)
"Rock Around the Sun," December 31, 2010
"Muslim Atheist," March 16, 2011
"An Atheist Interviews God," May 20, 2011
"A Mormon Loses His Faith," June 13, 2011
"Is Evolution True?" July 13, 2011
"Atheists, Christmas, and Public Prayers," December 9, 2011
"An Atheist's Christmas Card," December 23, 2011
" Urban Meyer and the Christian Buckeye Football Team," February 19, 2012
"Intelligent Design, Unintelligent Designer?", May 12, 2012
"My Atheist Thriller: Another Book Reading," May 17, 2012
"'The God Particle' and the Vanishing Role of God," July 5, 2012
“Update: Urban Meyer and the NON-Christian Buckeye Football Team,” August 24, 2012
“Atheists Visit the Creation Museum,” October 4, 2012
“Mitt Romney: A Mormon President?” October 17, 2012
“The End of the World: Mayans, Jesus, and Others,” December 17, 2012

2 comments:

  1. Hi Doug! This is Julia (coordinator) from the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. (www.hcco.org) For those attending the event Saturday, park in the back of the building and enter through the rear (north) entrance. We will be meeting in conference room 131. Also, I wanted to let you know that I cross promoted your blog post on facebook and will be linking your blog in our weekly update.

    Thanks,
    Julia, coordinator@hcco.org

    ReplyDelete