“Thou shall not steal. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Thou shall not kill…unless it’s torture.” When Oklahoma Christian University alumnus Luke Swanson began writing his debut novel, “The Ten,” back in high school, he was hoping to combine the concept of Old Testament law with his passion of murder mysteries.
Now, the 2017 English writing graduate has added three more stories in Limitless Publishing anthologies to his resume of published works, including “Olympia the Whipple,” which was released in April.
“As long as I can remember, I have had an interest in writing,” Swanson said. “I would read and watch movies as much as I could and then started forming stories and characters. Getting published was just something that accidentally ended up happening for me.”
During his time at Oklahoma Christian, Swanson was involved in the Honors Program, Psi Epsilon, the President’s Leadership Class and The Talon. The Honors Program required him to complete a Catalyst Project, a senior-level capstone project that encourages students to go above and beyond the set requirements of their chosen major.
“An upperclassman gave me the advice of using the project as an excuse to do something I had always wanted to do,” Swanson said. “I had the novel, ‘The Ten,’ written as a first draft, so I decided to give it another revision, read through it a few more times and just started shipping it out. A lot of ‘no’s’ later, I got the one ‘yes’ I needed and now here I am.”
During the process of publishing the book, Swanson looked for publishing houses taking unsolicited manuscripts and, through a Google search, stumbled upon Limitless Publishing.
“With Limitless, they are very helpful—they have great editors and great communication and they are extremely small,” Swanson said. “But, they got the book into print, which was, in my head, just about as good as it gets. It’s in print and digital. You can get it from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, so that was kind of the end goal from my standpoint. The book is cool to hold and, to use a lame term, it’s a great resume builder.”
According to Amazon’s description of his novel, “The Ten” tells the story of Abel, who “believes he is chosen by God to rid the world of the unrighteous. One by one, he hunts down those who break the Ten Commandments and plots heinous deaths. Abel’s goal is to smite one sinner per commandment, and with that, start a revolution. Up until now, there has been no one smart or brave enough to stop him…that is, until Jason Flynn.”
“It’s a murder mystery, which is a genre I really enjoy,” Swanson said. “Growing up as a Christian, for as long as I can remember, there has been this idea of happy Jesus and mad God. So, this book kind of stems from the idea of Old Testament wrath and asking what if someone ignored the grace aspect of New Testament and took Old Testament law to the extreme. It gets a little dark, but I think it’s fun. There’s a mystery to it, fun characters and in the end, it’s a page turner.”
In addition to “The Ten,” Swanson has published three other stories in Limitless Publishing anthologies: “The Six-Foot Ladder” in 2016, “Sacrifice” in 2017 and most recently, “Olympia in Whipple” in April 2018.
“This is my third contribution to an anthology genre they call horror and dark fiction,” Swanson said. “I don’t really watch or read horror, so whenever they first approached me about a contribution for their anthology, I asked if I could do something a little more thoughtful, a little more ‘Twilight Zone.’ I hope I have managed to stand out in that way with being a little quieter through my stories in the anthologies.”
As Swanson continues to hone his writing talents, he said he is currently working on a future publication over the next two years, which he hopes will reach a wider audience.
“I like ‘The Ten,’ I’m proud of ‘The Ten,’ I wouldn’t have worked so hard to get it published if I didn’t like what I had created, but it’s a murder mystery and there’s a ‘dime a dozen’ of those with NCIS and things like that,” Swanson said. “What I am working on now is a little more unique—it’s a comedy—and I think if I stick the landing with a more wide-spread publisher, I think it could possibly take off.”