- Mr. Lyons, not many men can boast of being a pastor, former police officer, and private detective. You’ve done all three! Explain, please.
I can see where my roles might be perceived as confusing, though in my mind, they’re not. I grew up interested in law enforcement, and pursued that dream out of high school. I experienced a very difficult situation, placing me in a position of suspicion. Following that whole nightmare, I became a man of faith and wanted to choose the cases I took on. This led to the next role in my life, private investigator. Things were going well for me as an investigator, or so it seemed. Then, out of nowhere, I got this major prompting. Let me explain. God had been trying to get my full attention for awhile. Finally, after several major internal battles, I decided to trade my crime fighting years in and became a pastor. That decision came after a major prompting from God. Believe what you will, but my position as a pastor has pushed me into solving the most extreme cases of all. I don’t chase criminals now. I face demons.
- When you heard about the opening at Cherry Creek Community Church, you left your life in California behind. Why?
It was impossible not to leave. A well-liked pastor brutally murdered with no one willing to take his place, after almost a year. The situation both saddened and intrigued me. With my past experience in law enforcement, the late pastor’s pulpit, had my name written all over it. Part of me was actually scared by the prospect, but there was no way I could let my fear hold me back. My sixth sense, God sense, whatever you want to call it, was basically commanding me to go, while tempting me with the knowledge that something supernatural was behind the chaos in Cherry Creek. I’ve experienced horrors I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The Cherry Creek fiasco is at the top of that list, though I’ve discovered that out of the blackest of days, the greatest light can grow. Oh, one more thing was on my mind at the onset of this crazy adventure. A woman. I wanted a wonderful woman in my life. I wasn’t finding my match in California. Part of me hoped I’d find that special person in Oregon. I wasn’t disappointed.
- You mentioned facing demons. Are you speaking figuratively or literally?
Sure you’re ready for my answer? Sorry, it’s a subject most people, even some Christians, want to avoid. I won’t give you a history lesson, but most cultures and religions speak of demonic forces, or evil. Both angels and demons are alive and influencing us for either good or evil; by us I mean human beings. Humans under the influence of demonic forces are capable of atrocities that would make a sane person’s mind melt. I can’t tell you how close I came to melting in Cherry Creek. But I was the one folks were looking to for guidance. Thank God for His angels. They’re amongst us too, and many of us have entertained them unawares. In Cherry Creek, we weren’t unaware. We were in the middle of a spiritual battle, and in battles, people get wounded. Some people don’t get back up. So, yes, my answer is yes. Demons are real. Pretending they’re not is one of the worst things a person can do.
Excerpt from Soul Defenders: The Black Orchids:
Lily bolted upright. Disoriented and drenched with sweat she clutched her leopard print quilt against her throat. She peeked around her room, expecting to see some lurking creature or bloody scene out of a horror film. There were no monsters or murderers, at least not any she could see.
Why was she so afraid? And why was the house so quiet?
“Mom! Mom!” she called, her voice slicing through the silence.
Leaping up, she switched on the bedside lamp and hunted for anything she could use as a weapon, against what, she wasn’t sure.
The one thing halfway acceptable was her tennis racket. She grabbed it and flung her door open. Slipping into the hallway, she crept towards the family room where her mother often spent her evenings reading or visiting with friends. The lack of laughter was evidence of no meeting in progress. It was obvious the adults had made other arrangements.
Her mind raced with images of death and destruction. Stifling a gasp, she raised the old tennis racket ready to strike any would-be adversary crouched in the shadows beyond.
Someone was pounding on the front door.
She screeched, hating herself for her childish reaction.
“Lily! Are you okay?” several voices chorused.
Naomi Barber poked her head through the half-opened front door. “Honey, what’s wrong? Where’s your mother?”
Lily reached for Naomi, melting into her opened arms.
“What is going on here?” Naomi released her to inspect a dark puddle by Rose’s chair.
Fearing the worst, Lily stared at the floor. Not her mom too! One parent dead was already too much. She opened her mouth to scream when she noticed the overturned coffee mug. It was coffee, not the blood she’d imagined.
Other faces appeared in the doorway: safe faces, familiar faces, faces Lily had known for years from church. Others, like Naomi, were in effect part of her family.
“Get the child a glass of water,” prompted Louise Michaels as she assessed the situation. “Come, dear, sit right here and tell us what on earth is going on.”
The demon, Marcus, cringed at the sight of so many believers.
His charge, Lily Howard, was for the moment out of his control. His two predecessors, Senturus and Jocenlas, had stated she was close to renouncing her faith. It appeared not close enough. He made note that the two cowards had exited the second he’d arrived on the scene. What did he expect from the lying and scheming fiends? Marcus growled, gnashing his slimy fangs together, venom dripping.
“What am I doing wrong? This is my opportunity to prove to the Master that I am a cunning and capable warrior. I am a deceiver, trained in the arts of manipulation, deception, and deceit.” Marcus stomped across the room. His talons clicked on the hardwood floors, his wings extended in onyx perfection behind him.
He wished the humans could hear, or better yet, see him. It would serve them right. Let them gaze upon me and shudder.
Without warning, his thoughts made a sudden U-turn. Why did I leave Heaven anyway? I hate my job. His winged shoulders slumped in disgrace at the thought of what he’d become. He remembered his former beauty and position with longing. He could still portray beauty, but he used it as a temporary disguise to deceive and seduce his prey.
In a past, so distant it now seemed like a dream, he’d been a part of the heavenly orchestra alongside Lucifer. Like so many others, he had admired Lucifer too much. This undeserved admiration had forced Marcus and a third of the angels from the comfort of their original home – a memory that taunted and tortured what was left of his stone-cold heart.
He rebuked himself. Enough of this morose thinking! At least I have an opportunity to work minus the infamous troublemaker, Rakus. That demon seems to jinx all of Hell’s most critical missions. Yet he is repeatedly dispatched to serve the demons in charge of such coups. It’s Outrageous! Should he fail, Rakus would, without doubt, become his sidekick on future missions.
Sick of his inner turmoil and the pitiful humans now praying for God’s assistance, Marcus shot upward through the ceiling. His massive wings guided him into the night sky.
The luxury of rest he’d experience by having Lily under his control would be more than enough motivation to bring him to her. Yes, he would be back for Lily – soon.
Number of pages: 310
Word Count: 95,510
Cover Artist: fantasiafrogdesigns.wordpress.com
Will their prayers move Heaven’s Heart before it’s too late?
When Ted Lyons accepts the new pastorate at Cherry Creek’s Community Church, he has no idea just how handy his former law enforcement skills will become. A murdered pastor, the pastor’s kidnapped wife, and their runaway daughter are only the beginning in a series of problems he wishes were part of a bad dream. Ted soon realizes he’s facing a battle better fought on his knees, in prayer, than with his gun.
As ruthless demons, summoned by an international cult – The Black Orchids – take over the town of Cherry Creek, angelic warriors are dispatched to protect the weary residents and stop a diabolical plan of destruction. By surrendering their lives to God and forming an unlikely alliance, Ted and a rag-tag group of struggling believers work together to slay the shadows of evil that threaten their very existence.
This fast-paced tale of supernatural suspense will thrill fans of Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Randy Alcorn’s The Ishbane Conspiracy.
About the Author
Like most authors, Carol Van Atta is no stranger to the written word. She penned a short novel at age 12 (somewhat frightening illustrations included) and had a creative writing piece published in her high school newspaper. Devouring books from numerous genres, she developed a thirst for more reading materials and could almost always be found with her nose in a book. She has contributed to several popular inspirational anthologies and devotionals, published by Zondervan and Regal Publications, and was a regular writer for Campus Crusade for Christ’s Christian Women Today. Writing fiction is her greatest joy. Soul Defenders: The Black Orchids, is the first book in a trilogy of spiritual warfare thrillers.