Best Book Cover
Readers of Clean Fiction Magazine voted for their favorite book cover and named The Withering the winner!
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
"Patton has crafted a redemptive tale of brotherhood, sacrifice, and hope."
—Emily Hayse, award-winning author of Seventh City, the 2020 Realm Awards' winner for Book of the Year
"The Withering is a compelling story set against a stark dystopian landscape. Patton has put together a gripping scenario that combines suspense, intrigue, and a truly likeable cast of characters to cheer on. This smartly written, tautly paced, and carefully plotted tale will linger with you long after you turn the last page."
—Shana Dow, Author of The Keepers of the Balance series
"I stayed up into the wee hours and read the whole thing. Superb storytelling … Compelling and thought-provoking. It will be a great witnessing tool for the sci-fi/fantasy community!”
—Daphne Self, author of When Legends Rise and Into the Unknown: Seven Short Stories of Faith and Bravery
“I really felt those Perelandra vibes throughout, and the mix of tension with (superbly done) supernatural elements made me feel like I was reading a peer of Peretti or Dekker.”
—Kate Stein, Author of the Earthbound series.
About THE WITHERING
Their world has reached its end... the fight for their future has only just begun.
The moon will soon collide with the surface of Noloro, and three orphaned teens have nothing left in the world but each other. As the apocalypse threatens to end all life on their world, Rho is desperate to protect his little brother and secure a future for themselves, while Jeema falls captive to her dark past. A sardonic traveling magician offers them a way off their dying world, but at what cost? Their search for an escape will force them to face questions of flesh v. spirit, natural life v. eternal life, and physical death v. spiritual death. Family, faith, and courage are at the heart of this end-of-the-world adventure.
Title: The Withering
Author: P.S. Patton
Publisher: Ambassador International
Genre: YA Fantasy/Adventure
Release Date: July 26, 2022
Available Formats: Paperback + eBook
Price: US $17.99
Page Count: 391
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P.S. Patton is a speculative fiction author and songwriter based on the Central Coast of California.
He is a thirty-something husband and father who spent his early years reading superhero comics, writing and illustrating comics of his own, learning the secrets of the ooze, the balance of the force, the deeper magic from before the dawn of time, awakening the wind fish, shooting marbles and slamming pogs, collecting and trading Pokémon cards, rescuing Hyrule, becoming the Hero of Time, searching the scriptures, studying eschatology, and feeling just as—if not more—fascinated with the worlds of Shakespear, Dickens, Melville, and Steinbeck; as with those of Rowling, King, Lewis, and Tolkien.
He currently resides in the small town of Templeton, CA with his wife Andrea, his two children Sophia and Phin, and a rambunctious Boston Terrier named Rocket, who more than lives up to his name.
Q: Tell us about yourself and your faith journey
I can’t remember a time when I did not have a strong faith. I never had that moment which most Christians speak of where they make a decision to accept Christ, I had just always known Him, and have spent my life getting to know Him better. In high school, I became absolutely fascinated with the STORY of the Bible from start to finish, the use of actual human lives and the rising and falling of empires as metaphors and symbols to convey a deeper message to the reader. It instilled in me the incredible truth that God was the first and best author, and that my passion for creating a complex interwoven story comes from the fact that I was made in His image. Deep dives into the Bible helped me to develop a passion for seeking the truth where it is concealed. Proverbs 25:2 declares “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter (KJV),” which is something I have taken to heart as both a challenge during my studies and as an example to follow in regards to my own writing.
Q: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I spent my childhood and teenage years drawing/writing comics, writing/playing songs on my guitar, and wandering the house with a video camera, trying to convince my little brothers to make a movie with me. Inspiration was all around me, from the films I watched which sparked my imagination, to the comic books I read and tried to emulate, to the song lyrics I admired that kicked off my passion for songwriting and entertaining. As I grew older and began to fall in love with literature, I was so intrigued with stories that weren’t afraid to go deeper, and employed strong uses of symbolism and metaphor such as East of Eden (my all-time favorite), The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. In the other direction, I couldn’t help but wonder at the sheer adventure and creativity of many a genre fiction series such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, The Dark Tower, and C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. Film franchises like Star Wars, The Matrix, and pretty much any good sci-fi/fantasy of course had an enormous influence on my drive to write as well. All in all, I would say that my decision to become a writer was much like my decision to become a Christian - it never really WAS a decision at all; it had been happening all my life.
Q: How does your faith influence your writing?
I can only write from my own life-experience. Seeing as how my faith is the biggest influence on my life, I don’t see how my faith could not influence my writing. That being said, I am not writing stories to preach or to exclude. I am writing stories that feel real to me, the kinds of stories I would like to read. I've enjoyed reading stories with characters with beliefs contrary to my own. For example, I enjoyed reading Siddhartha, and yet, I didn't feel as if I had to be a Buddhist to enjoy that story. I enjoyed reading Ready Player One, despite the not-so-subtle disparaging comments toward Christians. Christ is present in The Withering, as are the forces of the enemy. The spiritual battle over Rho and Jeema is central to the story, and I won't shy away from that. My characters are struggling with their faith, with feeling cheated by the harsh world they've been born into, and with the idea that they may not ever have a chance to fall in love, have children, or to grow old. As their circumstances become more dire, they are forced to make decisions about who they will trust, who they will follow, and what it is that they truly believe.
Q: When did this particular story first stir in your heart?
I think it was 2009, and I had finished reading Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. I fell in love with the author’s voice, and with the unbound depths and brilliance of his imagination, yet I was utterly unsatisfied with his lack of direction and purpose (not to mention downright appalled at some of the grotesque imagery). Often, general market fiction will not point to God intentionally, but will do so indirectly with a strong message of that which is good standing strong, enduring, and eventually overcoming that rising and seemingly insurmountable force of evil which threatens the world as our characters know it (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.). However, the world of the Gunslinger was one of an unquenched hopelessness. Reading it turned out to be one of the most inspiring wastes of time ever. It was somewhat of a glittering generality; beautiful, powerful, and ultimately meaningless. Upon finishing, I was left with a new inspiration to tell a story set in a similar world—one of hopelessness, despair, and darkness—but to infuse it with the truth that there is in fact a light, that there is redemption, and that there is always hope, even in the most dire and seemingly inescapable situations. You can read a story on two levels, and so Stephen King’s 55k word assertion that there is no real meaning or purpose to any of this became the spark which ignited my 98k word reply to that eternal incongruity.
Q: Do you have other books?
Yes! My short story Safeship is included in a sci-fi/thriller anthology called Into the Unknown: Seven Short Stories of Faith and Bravery. It's available as an eBook only and can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play. You can also go to www.pspatton.com to find the links to purchase it.
I have a lot of projects in various stages of (in)completion, and I’m not sure exactly when or what will be ready to share next. I have two completed manuscripts which are the first two installments of a children’s picture book series that I have not found time to properly pitch to agents just yet. I have one manuscript that I feel really good about that I’ve finished the detailed outline phase and have moved on to the first draft, though I’ve only just begun. I am also hard at work on the first installment of a fantasy series which I’ve been chewing on for over a decade now, and has undergone many, many variations, but I've finally been able to wrap my head around how enormous this world is and start writing. This is a world that I’ve given much thought to, which is brimming with interesting characters, races, incredible spiritual phenomena, and complex stories I’m still figuring out exactly how to tell. I have a pervading feeling that the stories in this particular star system will be my favorite and most exciting bit of writing, so I’m taking my time and letting the ideas flow out at their own pace. I'm also working on a middle grade adventure that is turning out to be really fun.
Finally, I’ve written a lot of songs lately, including worship songs that I have plans to share in the very near future. Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are interested in hearing more on those!
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I hope that readers will take away an experience, a journey, and characters that they loved getting to know. At the end of the day, if readers wanted to hear the Gospel, they’d read the Bible or go to listen to a sermon. That's not why I'm here. Readers pick up a novel because they want to go on a journey, and while Christian readers would hope that the underlying message is one of truth, they still want the journey to be incredible and impactful. They want to see something new and inspirational, and they want to feel a range of deep emotions. I hope that all readers will fall in love with these characters and love every minute of their journey. I hope that Christian readers in particular come to the final page and feel inspired to create something of their own that rings true, and feel challenged to create something even better and more entertaining as they shine their light into the darkness.