EDWARDS — Faith and espionage. Norma Horton has beautifully blended these two ideas into one compelling thriller. Her debut novel, “When Camels Fly” is a contemporary suspense with threads of romance and hints of humor within every chapter. There are also quite a few camel cameos.
Set in the backdrop of modern day Israel, Horton takes readers on an adventure of archaeological digs, ecological crisis and the rolling tides of family and faith. Throughout the book the characters face hostage situations, murder, a water shortage and a lot of humpbacked travel companions.
In the midst of a frantic escape, readers meet Horton’s main character, Dr. Grace Madison, a middle-aged archaeologist with a Christian world-view and a strong maternal instinct.
Throughout the novel, Horton paints a picture of the daily challenges and struggles Grace finds in balancing her work and her family in such a hostile environment.
“Living back home in Dallas and even moving out here, the soundtrack of our lives holds the tunes of sirens, car horns, rivers and birds,” said Horton. “The soundtrack for archeology is heavy artillery.”
Inspired by her many trips to digs in Israel, Horton’s story reflects the trials, terrors and joys she has experienced herself. Though not entirely based upon her own life, Horton admits that some of herself “may have made its way into Dr. Madison’s personality.” She explains how her main character is quite different than one would expect to find in a novel founded on faith.
“Her character development is like hardening plants,” Horton said. “You cannot just place a plant outside in freezing conditions and expect it to survive. But if you condition it to, say the temperature of your garage at night, over time it becomes acclimated to the harsh conditions it is surrounded by.”
Dr. Grace Madison certainly finds herself becoming accustomed to harsh conditions, facing situations both strengthening and stretching her faith.
This unique perspective dictates Grace’s decisions, her reactions and her questions, and is woven in seamlessly throughout the contemporary suspense elements within the novel.
Since publication in mid-May, it’s been a whirlwind journey for Horton. From handing it to traditional publishers to journeying into the deep, dark unknown that is self-publishing, Horton is thrilled with the feedback she has received from readers.
Horton will be discussing her book, her own experiences and displaying a stunning collection of photographs from her personal trips to Israel and the surrounding environments Friday at The Bookworm of Edwards.
She adds that it will be an exciting and rewarding event for all.
“I hope it’s a party!” Horton said. “There will be Middle Eastern food, Middle Eastern music and, of course, many pictures of me on top of a camel.”