Hello Lovelies! Today I have author Angela R. Watts on the blog sharing about her new novel which has released today! At the end of the post you will find all her social links and book summary below!
Every novel writing process, for me, is different. However, I’m a firm believer that every work I write should scare me in its own way. (Ironically, when I attended Realm Makers, Brent Weeks said the same thing. It was funny to have that mindset before hearing it from a NYT bestseller!) And The Divided Nation scared me from the start.
The Divided Nation began as a roleplay, which lasted for a couple years, but when my roleplay partner left for good and told me to do with the story as I wished… I was both lost and ecstatic. It wasn’t the first time a roleplay had gone “wrong”. But it was the first time the story didn’t leave my heart and it baffled me! After all, how could I do this story justice? It was a long series. I couldn’t handle that. “It isn’t the time,” I kept saying to myself. “Dystopian is hard, you will have to research so much.”
After a while, I told those voices to shut up and I listened to what God said. And the journey began. It started with a short Christmas prequel that I whipped up in one day during winter. I liked it. A lot. I couldn’t believe how much I’d enjoyed it, so I promptly got it ready to publish for that December. I had dipped my toes into the world I’d tried to avoid… and came out of the story absolutely in love. Emmanuel is currently free on Amazon but it is priceless to me. Why? Because it proved that these books are not out of my hands. God gave them to me. I just had to grab the bull by the horns. Emmanuel helped me do that on a super small scale.
I had pages and pages of notes, scribbles, snippets, plot ideas, character sheets, etc, for the series before I ever wrote a first draft of The Divided Nation by myself. I gathered all of this together, added some, wrote a real outline… And started writing the first draft in February 2019. Draft one took around a month to finish and I printed it out, wrote out all that needed changing, and started draft two.
After draft two, I self edited a great deal before… beta readers. The beta reader stage was quite a wild ride. Dystopian is a strange genre and not one many Christians read, or so I thought. I had betas loving the novel. I even brainstormed with a few and got epic ideas I hadn’t thought of before… Even if this meant replotting the whole series, but I don’t mind so much.
I wanted to self publish this novel with the new knowledge I had learned: a book should sell itself. How does it do that? 1. The story must be good. This is obviously up to interpretation, but make sure the book is solid, not tossed together. 2. The cover and formatting need to make people WANT that story even more. People like pretty things. If the story is good and the book is nice looking… You won’t have to work so hard later on.
So I hired a cover designer, formatter, and finally decided I’d take the wild ride of using KDP and Ingram to publish… and the rest is history. It took hours of work, hours of talking with the great people I hired to get what the book needed, and hours of research as I figured out Ingram. But it was all so worth it.
And now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on the big lesson that writing and publishing this novel taught me… Changing your lane. What do I mean? Well, all I’ve published thus far is Christian fiction. Clean content, by most standards, nothing too dark. Christian readers have generally enjoyed my previous works. The Divided Nation is different. I knew this from the start. It is one reason I was afraid to write and publish the series. Because these books aren’t limited to the Christian market. They aren’t super clean. They aren’t for people with faint hearts. So, what was I supposed to do? Most of my friends write and read Christian market fiction! And no one published dystopian anymore (that’s incorrect, by the way, I was just blind)!
I had a decision to make. I knew this novel was for readers in search of a story that shows the reality of the world without Jesus, of how every person is a sinner in need of Jesus… This book is for them. Not strictly for Christian readers or secular readers. I wanted it to be flexible. That’s why I decided to market this novel as general fiction with Christian content instead of Christian fiction! I’m so glad I did. This decision was encouraged when I attended Realm Makers this year. “Is it possible?” I asked Robert Liparulo. “To publish a novel with strong Christian content but market it for general audience?” He said it was, reminding me of all the authors who have done just that (TED DEKKER, ANYONE?) so I ran with it. I haven’t looked back. I encourage every single one of you… be bold. Even if it isn’t the norm, even if none of your friends are doing it, even if you don’t get a lot of support… Be true to God and your story. And run with it.
Angela R. Watts is a Christian fiction author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She’s a homeschooled highschooler living at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.
WHEN THE NATION DIVIDES, THE INFIDELS MUST RISE.
The United States has fallen. Three years after the 2024 presidential election and the declaration of martial law, the nation is at war against itself. Gangs battle, civilians struggle for survival, and officials of the United Nations thrive. West Johnston, heir to the most powerful ganglord in the country, refuses to continue the family legacy. But, in order to defeat his father, he must become him: bloodthirsty and willing to do whatever it takes for control.
West gains control by helping fellow gangsters, Nate and Simon, when they form an alliance with one of the last remaining townships in America. After years of surviving and winter fast approaching, Springtown is in desperate need of supplies from the two teenagers. When the town leader’s daughter, Rene’, is kidnapped by an unknown rival, Nate and Simon risk their reputations to save her and the town they now love. But without help from West, their rescue mission will fail.
Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE DIVIDED NATION steps into a future where brotherhood bonds must be stronger than iron to survive a broken world, and faith without courage is dust in the wind.