CRESTVIEW — Events following the rapture, a mysterious, end-of-times event when believing Christians will levitate to Heaven while non-believers stay grounded, take focus in a Crestview resident's latest book.
"The Morning After: The Messenger" is Paul T. Barnhill's second book, a fictional account of a man's journey following a biblical rapture. It raises numerous questions, including how much time is left for life on this planet and how much longer a Christian has to make his or her choice for salvation or damnation.
"I read the Bible and this is what the Book of Revelation said to me," said Barnhill, who doesn't consider himself to be a biblical scholar or even particularly religious.
"I don't attend church like I should, but it doesn't mean I don't believe," he said.
Nevertheless, he said the book should serve as a cautionary tale to those not fully committed to Christianity.
"I would like to see it passed out to those who attend church for the first time," Barnhill said.
Although his latest page-turner might interest Christians, its theme is a departure from prior creations.
"A Demon in Plain Sight" — his first book, released in 2011 — follows a charismatic wealthy man with the split personality of a serial killer.
Barnhill's passion for writing goes back to creating comic books at age 12.
"Most of my teachers said I should be a writer," Barnhill said.
However, that occupation came later in life.
Barnhill turned to construction work, framing houses to make his living, before 2010's Deepwater Horizon oil spill threatened his livelihood.
"I did really well until the oil spill ... I had to close up shop," Barnhill said, adding the time off allowed him to write.
Construction work eventually became available again; it helps pay the bills, but stands second to Barnhill's true passion.
"I wish I could make enough with book writing because that is all I would do," he said.
Barnhill said he wants future generations to read his literary works, but recognizes the publishing industry's stiff competition and hard knocks.
"I want my writing to be my signature, saying I was here at one time," he said. "I figure my grandkids will probably make more profit from my books than I will."
A lot of hard work goes into publishing a book, not the least of which is finding a publisher that will green-light the project.
"Most people don't realize that publishing (companies) in America will not touch a first-time author," he said.
Self-publishing allows ambitious authors to spread their stories, guaranteed. The only risk is the financial investment. Self-published authors must cover all production costs and handle all promotion efforts.
But that shouldn't deter people with stories to write, Barnhill said.
"You just have to put it out there and don't let anyone tell you that it isn't worth it because it is," Barnhill said. "I am a firm believer that anybody can do anything."
To get a copy of "The Morning After," visit amazon.com or authorhouse.com, both the printed and electronic editions are available.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.