Jonathan Womack’s “A Cry for a Hero” was the grand prize winner of the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival. The story is a fast-paced action-adventure novel that centers on a man’s ability to leave his body and become an energy being with strange powers.
During one such out-of-body experience, our hero discovers the truth behind some terrorist activities and enmeshes himself in a plot to save the city of Boston from destruction.
While the story is fascinating, what’s even more remarkable are Womack’s own out-of-body experiences. He is a frequent lecturer on the topic and drew on his experiences to create the novel. Womack answers a few questions below from festival director Bruce Haring.
BRUCE HARING: Tell us about your background with comic books and super heroes. You mentioned the Superboy cartoon during your acceptance speech as being very influential. What else?
JONATHAN WOMACK: As a kid I would peddle my bike faster than a speeding bullet to the comic book store each Saturday, buying the latest Marvel and DC titles; Spiderman, Thor, Aquaman, Hulk, Batman, Wonder Woman, Sub Mariner, Fantastic Four to name a few. To me, Superman was king and I enjoyed the varying portrayals of different comic artists, some of my favorites being Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Kerry Gammill, Norm Breyfogle, and Alex Ross. Today, not much has changed except that I drive to the comic book store instead of riding my bike and I keep my comics bagged, boarded, and catalogued.
BH: Tell me about your personal background with out-of-body experiences.
JW: I began leaving my body as a young boy. My mom was religious and took us kids to church on Sundays. I was perplexed that most people had no idea of where they came from or where they go when they die. I had inclinations to speak out during sermons, thoughts of walking up to the microphone and asking the preacher to step aside while I explain to the folks that surviving physical death is automatic. There is no ‘saving’ necessary, the body dies while the soul lives on and returns to the spirit world; a natural process you could not change if you wanted to. That’s just how it is.
BH: The novel’s hero, Jack (who transforms into the superhero RAM), is very patriotic. Why did you feel that was integral to the story?
JW: I feel the founding fathers had the right idea and laid out the best system of government for human civilization to prosper and continue on. Since Jack/RAM is based on me you end up with an individual-liberty minded hero.
BH: The book has a lot of military background in it. What did you do for research?
JW: Two words: search engines.
BH: Why RAM for the super hero name?
JW: I wanted to dedicate the book to Robert Monroe and name the hero after Robert’s nickname, Ram. From that I came up with Jack Ramsey whose friends refer to him by his nickname, Ram. When Jack transforms into the astral superhero, he chooses Ram as his name.
BH: Did you envision this novel as a series when you began it?
JW: Yes, I left the story open for a sequel. I had several ideas for plot lines and I had plenty of OBE’s to draw from. At one point I thought ‘The Dolphinius Effect’ would be the next book in the series with ‘Ram I Am’ being the third book. I like my stories to be timely and due to world events ‘Ram I Am’ became the sequel and ‘The Dolphinius Effect’ will be the third book in the series.
BH: Will we see many of these characters in future editions?
JW: The core characters will be part of each sequel along with new villains and adversaries.
BH: What is your personal belief about the afterlife?
JW: The ‘afterlife’ is a misnomer. It should be referred to as the ‘pre-life’, the realm where we are born and where our souls return to when the body expires. It is ironic that most people think of the physical world as ‘reality’ when it is more comparable to the Holodeck on Star Trek. The spirit world is the real world; time/space is the fake reality created as a school for our souls to learn. The universe is one big Holodeck.