Former teacher and now local author and publisher Brian L. Thompson will be back at his old teaching grounds today at Newton High School to promote the upcoming release of his first novel "The Lost Testament." The book signing and reception will be held in the school’s media center from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
After extensive research, Thompson began work on his novel in 2002 and finished it in 2003. However, after sending out multiple query letters to have the book published, Thompson was rejected repeatedly. Not to be discouraged, he went back and revised the story several times and kept trying to get the novel published, though he would be denied each time. This refining process would last Thompson seven years.
It would not be until Thompson’s meeting with famous Christian author Stephanie Perry Moore that he began to find his calling. Moore was visiting Newton High School, where Thompson was teaching at the time, to speak with students about the difficulties she faced in the writing and publishing industry.
"She told me that with the economy, with the way things are right now in the publishing industry, they’re really reluctant to begin with to publish new authors," Thompson said. "She advised that I self-publish, sell 2,000 books, write another book and then maybe go the conventional route."
Thompson would resign from teaching that month, though becoming a publisher was not the main reason for his resignation. When Thompson first started teaching at Newton High, he had given himself five years before moving on to something else.
"It took a lot of prayer and consideration, but I felt God telling me I had five years in Newton High School," Thompson explained. "Around December and January, I found him reminding me my five years was coming up. I wasn’t really sure I was going to be publishing after I resigned until I got into the meat of things and realized it took up most of my time.
"I wanted to become my own publisher because in examining exactly how selfpublishing works, I found it to be more advantageous if I did it myself," Thompson continued. "I get more of the profits so I’m able to do more things that way. Another reason I wanted to be published was I really wanted to make sure I left something for my daughter."
The novel, set in 1962 during the civil rights era, follows Pastor Darrion James as he seeks to rebuild himself after a public scandal sends his life out of control. During his journey, he crosses paths with a peculiar Jewish writer who claims to possess the writings of Christ — written after his resurrection. The pastor follows the text of "the lost testament," which eventually begins a spiritual revival in the town, only to spur the anger of the local Ku Klux Klan.
"The Lost Testament" explores the subject of racial tensions, economic prejudices and the strength of the human spirit. Thompson describes his novel as "a faith-based tale with plausible characters engaging in a thrilling plot."
Thompson plans to donate proceeds from his book to the Newton High Relay for Life team, a cause that is close to his heart (His father is currently in treatment for prostate cancer and his grandmother is a survivor). He will also award a 32" HDTV flat screen to the faculty or staff member who sells the most books.
Thompson hopes to expand his publishing company in the next five years, to the point where he can just go back to concentrate on writing. He hopes to help other struggling writers publish their works in the near future.
"You just can’t give up," Thompson said. "It’s been eight years in the making. I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted nothing to do with this book anymore. It sat on my shelf for some time, and I would try again and so on. So you just can’t give up and you have to be sure of the road you want to travel."
Thompson will be hosting a book release party at Blue Mark Studios in Atlanta on Sept. 18. "The Lost Testament" will officially go on sale Sept. 21. For more information or to preorder the book, visit www.thelosttestament.com.