"Aram" is the first book in a trilogy by A.K. Frailey.
Though characters experience many adventures and trials in the Deliverance Trilogy by A.K. Frailey, the message is simple: "Let God be God."
"Aram" is the first of that trilogy, which also includes "Ishtar's Redemption: Trial by Fire" and "Neb the Great: Shadows of the Past."
I recently interviewed Frailey, a Fillmore, Ill., resident, who has quite an interesting and busy life. A native of Milwaukee, Frailey spent some time in the Philippines while working with the Peace Corps. She has a background in Spanish and in teaching.
For the past 19 years, she has been married to John Frailey and together they have eight children, ranging from age 4 to 17. She is a homeschool mom and enjoys teaching her own children.
I had to know one thing -- "How do you write with eight kids?"
"I trained my kids," she said. "They’re really good people. The kids all have jobs at home. With homeschooling, we start early. And then everyone helps rotate jobs. I kind of manage things. After dinner have an hour to an hour and a half that’s writing time.
"We’ve copied Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. They have their own writing time. On Fridays we share our writings or drawings and it’s really a lot of fun. "They’re great writers, too."
On Saturdays Frailey doesn't write anything. But she spends a couple of hours on Sunday creating prose.
Her husband, who has been dealing with leukemia for the past four years, has been very support, she said.
Even their friends have pitched in. She said all of the covers for her books are taken locally or they are photos friends have taken in Alaska. "It’s kind of cool," she said. "It’s a very personal book -- a very family book."
The trilogy came from Frailey wanting to do some creative writing/fiction writing. She is a Catholic Christian and wanted to do a book from an Old Testament view, but do it like Tolkein did in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
The main character of the first book, Aram, lives in the time before God's first covenant -- before Abraham. Aram was in Ur, which isn't a particular place but a land.
His experience is of slavery and pagan gods. His wife and son died, so Aram is left wondering where they went. He remarries and begins having social interaction with a clan of slaves who are being chased after.
He learns some of the ancient stories of God and gains some comfort and understanding from that, Frailey said.
"It's a journey story of who am I? Where am I going? and Why am I here?" she said.
In the second book, "Ishtar's Redemption, "Neb is leader of the slave raiding clan. His son, Ishtar, meets these people and realizes he doesn’t want to conquer them. Ishtar leaves his father and tries to help these people instead."
Frailey said, "The second book is basically the story of Ishtar. He ends up falling back into his slave raiding ways. He enters into a human sacrifice to appease the gods, but doesn’t know who the gods are. So he goes into the desert, meets Arab nomads for the first time. He has his own personal God experience. When he quiets down, he can hear the whispering in his heart."
The third and final book is "Neb the Great."
Neb was a cruel man, but was smart, Frailey said. She wrote Neb's story because her kids wanted to know how he got to the point he was in life.
"Neb the Great" shows the great-grandfather of Ishtar, who is telling his own children about their ancestors, how he was raised and and how Ishtar broke free from all of that. It ends in a positive note she said. Ishtar said his sons will not be raised under the chains of his great-grandfather.
"It takes you through the kinds of journeys we go through," she said of the trilogy.
"My next two books continue the same family line," Frailey said.
"Aram" is in the finalist for the Tuscany Prize. It was one of four finalists out of 300 submissions.
Her hope is that the next two books will be published in a year.
"It’s been a long proces," Frailey said of writing the trilogy. "They all have different tones. 'Ishtar' is a little more sad. 'The Great' has some grim reality. They don’t leave you in sadsville though. It is a life of struggle and toil and they have some hard, hard questions to answer. The way 'Neb' ends is one of my great, great joys. It really ended on a positive and opened up to a whole new adventure."
And in the end, Frailey said her books show there are some things we shouldn’t meddle with. "Let God be God," she said.