There’s only one more day to wait for Earth Quaking, book two in the Anelthalien series, to release!
Anelthalien is one of my favorite books, and H.A. Pruitt is such a gifted writer, who boldly pens every word God gives her as this beautiful story continues to unfold.
If you’d like to learn more about this fantastic series, read the synopsis below and check out my review of Anelthalienhere.
If you ever knew something wasn’t quite right, Anelthalien is waiting.
Shaken from their encounter with the cloaked figure, Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew continue their quest across Anelthalien to find and end the evil throne. Fractured by a secret among them, the heroes escape into a forest trembling with Anelthalien’s memories. Their goal to reach the evil throne dims, though, as the elements, obscure foes, and the past push them to doubt their mission and even if they can trust one another.
Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew must remember who they can trust or their disunity will rip all hope away from them and Anelthalien.
Earth Quaking is the second book in the Christian fantasy series Anelthalien. Anelthalien begins the story of four teens who are transported to a strange land when they find mysterious necklaces. The four teens learn they are heroes who are tied to the salvation or demise of the land of Anelthalien. The Anelthalien series can be enjoyed by middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. Anyone who loves reading portal fantasy books with a deeper message would enjoy Anelthalien.
Earth Quaking is a fantasy adventure but also teaches spiritual truths and answers difficult questions of faith such as: Why do bad things happen? Who can I trust? Can I trust God and how do I know? How can I discern God’s voice from other voices?
Although Earth Quaking provides an escape into a wondrous fantasy land, it also equips readers with encouragement and Biblical truth that will help them in daily life.
More about H.A. Pruitt:
H.A. Pruitt is the Christian fantasy author of Anelthalien. She lives with her rowdy herd of guinea pigs and her sarcastic husband. She never wanted to be an author and would have been content to remain unknown to the world, but God decided that she would be perfect to hear the story of Anelthalien and share it with the world. Now H.A. Pruitt’s goal in all she does and writes is to listen to, obey, and glorify God.
Please add Earth Quaking on Goodreads and come back tomorrow to read a special excerpt from the book! I can’t wait to share it!
Haven’t read Anelthalien yet? I know of a few retailers who can solve that problem 😉
“Sally stood up, scanning the room filled with chattering, jostling garden gnomes. ‘I have one gnome who has not yet shed his wishdrop… I think he’d be pleased to help you out,’ she said, still scanning the room. ‘Cott? Cott? Where are you, Cott?’ Sally called. ‘I have some visitors for you!’
Luna lifted her head and noticed the conglomeration of gnomes on the staircase begin to shuffle and squeeze, as if making way for someone to pass through.
A stubby gnome popped out of the group, waving his hands in the air.
‘I’m here, Miss Sally!’ he hollered, continuing to weave his way through the crowd.
Luna noticed two gnomes trailing behind him. One had two cute braids sticking out from under her pointed hat. She wore a blue dress and had rosy cheeks. Behind her was a gnome who was even shorter and stubbier than the others. Luna knew right away he was a child – even though he had a large, white beard. He held onto his mother’s hand and waved cheerily at every individual they passed.
When the three gnomes finally reached Witch Sally, they bowed politely and introduced themselves.
‘The name’s Terracotta Glaze. ‘Tis a pleasure to make your acquaintance.’ He lifted his leg and showed them an inscription on the bottom of his boot. It said: 100% Terracotta. Then the gnome bowed humbly once again. His red pointy hat seemed to be so firmly attached to his head that it didn’t even wiggle as he bowed. Luna thought he was quite charming.
‘This here is my lovely wife, Dripdrop,’ Terracotta gave her a peck on the cheek, making a clinking sound like two glasses bumping into each other. He gestured to the smaller gnome. ‘And our son, Bert.’
Terracotta had a cheerful face and a shiny white beard – made of the same hard material as the rest of him – framing his face. He reminded Luna of the pictures her family, the Robbins, always hung around the house during Christmas time. What did they call the man with the red suit and white beard? But the gnome wasn’t wearing a red suit, just a red pointy hat. His clothing was blue, matching Dripdrop’s blue dress.
Edwin stepped forward, ‘It is an honor to meet you, Mr. Terracotta Glaze.’ Edwin extended his hand. ‘I am Wizard Edwin – an old classmate of Witch Sally’s.’
Terracotta extended his own little hand, reaching up to shake Edwin’s. Seeing the size of the garden gnome’s hand, Edwin corrected himself and instead of his entire hand stuck out a single finger, using it to shake hands.
‘Pleasure ta meet ya’! And call me Cott. My friends all call me Cott,’ the little gnome insisted, smiling warmly.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel sure that Terracotta Glaze is a friend worth having!
Get to know him better and join him as he helps return Hoover to his owlish state in Hoover’s Horn, book two of The Cottonwood Chronicles!
And check out these fun, whimsical coloring pages that Erica Richardson designed herself! I can’t wait to color them 🙂 You can see more and download your own coloring pages here!
And be sure to follow Erica’s writing journey on Instagram!
Next week, something different is coming…
Earth Quaking by H.A. Pruitt releases June 30th, and the celebration is just beginning!
Luna’s first adventure with her newfound friends has hardly ended, and the next one is already beginning…
Wizard Edwin is up to his magical tricks once again, and Hoover – Luna’s beloved (and sometimes grumpy) owl friend – has paid the price.
Transformed into a fierce rhinoceros and none too happy about it, Hoover demands to be turned back into his dignified, feathered self this instant.
But it will take all of Edwin’s magical resources and friends to undo this latest mishap, and they’ll soon learn that their hope rests on one noble gnome, Mr. Terracotta Glaze.
It seems impossible, but you never know, young reader. With a few willing friends and a wish fulfilled, Hoover might regain his feathers yet.
Hoover’s Horn is a wonderful continuation of The Cottonwood Chronicles. I continue to be delighted by Erica Richardson’s God-given gift for taking a whimsical tale full of child-like wonder and adventure and then filling it to the brim with heart-warming reminders of true friendship and what’s really worth treasuring in life.
If you’re longing for a story that’s sure to bring your family together for an adventure full of magic and delight, look no further than Hoover’s Horn, book two of The Cottonwood Chronicles, and all of the magical adventures yet to come.
If you’re just discovering the wonder of Erica’s magical tales, you can find a copy of Luna’s Rescue on Amazon!
While you’re there, you might as well grab a copy of Hoover’s Horn, so you don’t have to wait a moment to find out what happens next 😉
When you’ve finished, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads! It’s the best and quickest way to help out your favorite authors!
You can join Erica’s writing adventures on Instagram 🙂
This Thursday, I’m sharing a special excerpt from Hoover’s Horn and a peek at the coloring pages that Erica designed for her stories!
I’m overjoyed to welcome Kimberly Duffy to the blog today! She shares what drew her to writing historical fiction, how struggles with grief and doubt wove their way into her stories, and what’s in store for her next book, Every Word Unsaid!
This interview was such a delight, and I hope you enjoy!
Grief and doubt are topics we often dance around, but you confront them with a remarkable honesty and courage. What led you to address both in A Tapestry of Light?
I have always struggled with fear. Some of my earliest memories are of OCD flares (which I was diagnosed with post-partum after my second child was born) and I can’t think of anything that scares me more than losing a loved one. As a reader and writer, I process through story. Through imagination and words. As someone who suffers with OCD, it is nearly impossible for me to turn those thoughts off. They are relentless, coming at me with a ferocity that sometimes has me paralyzed. They are graphic and disturbing. And for brief moments, when my breath is coming short and shallow and my heart is twisting, I think, “How would I survive this if it was more than intrusive thoughts?”
So I pour it all out in my stories. I live vicariously through my characters. I watch them suffer and struggle and, ultimately, discover they can survive. And that offers me a bit of hope. We’re resilient. We’re created for more than this place, these bodies, even the love we’ve discovered here.
And doubt…it’s something I’ve struggled with for about a decade. I have no idea where it came from. No idea what triggered it. My faith walk is split into the before and after—before, when I was certain of everything I’d been taught, and after, when nothing was as it should be. I deconstructed—that’s a buzzy word. Deconstruction. Thankfully, I didn’t wallow in the shards of my shattered faith. I cut myself loose of all the extraneous stuff that had nothing to do with Christ. Like Ottilie, I protected that fragile, single seed. And every time I found myself doubting, questioning, I said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” It was enough. For YEARS. And then I began reading through the Bible. I filled myself with the word. I read apologists and great minds like CS Lewis and Chesterton. And eventually, the doubt began to flicker. It didn’t completely extinguish—every once in a while it is fed a little bit of oxygen—but mostly it leaves me alone.
Unfortunately, I felt very alone the entire time of my struggle. No one was talking about it. No one was addressing it. It was dismissed. And I don’t want any other Christian who struggles with it to feel as though they have no one walking beside them.
What first drew you to writing historical fiction?
I love history. I spent six months in tenth grade digging deep into the ancient Etruscans. Another six months in Ancient Rome. A good part of my 11th grade year researching everything I could on the Civil War. Most days, I shoved aside my history textbooks in favor of historical narratives, autobiographies, classic literature (I never studied a moment for any of my history exams yet I got a nearly perfect score on the AP test. I’m a big believer in learning history through what Charlotte Mason called “living books”.) I spent a bit of time scared of writing historical fiction—choosing instead to write contemporary romance—but my love for it eventually won out and from the moment I typed the first line of A Mosaic of Wings, I didn’t look back (or forward?) I love that people don’t really change. The same things we want and struggle with today are the same things they wanted and struggled with a hundred years ago. Human nature is fairly constant and, as a woman and mother of three girls, I’m fascinated by the amazing things women achieved in times when it was nearly impossible to step outside expected social norms and carve a path for themselves.
Historical fiction is an extremely popular genre. What do you think gives historical figures and events such a unique ability to speak into our present-day experiences?
I think there’s a comforting kind of familiarity that’s tempered with enough differences—enough years—to give us a bit of distance. It’s like seeing someone you know in the same stage of life dealing with something adjacent to your own personal struggles. It’s not exactly the same so you can comfort yourself by saying, “Well, that’s not happening, at least” but it’s close enough that you can watch and see how they handle it. Learn from their experience.
The descriptions in your novels are so stunning. What helps or inspires you when trying to bring a certain location or period to life for readers?
Thank you! I work hard to immerse my readers in every scene. I want them to feel and taste and see and hear everything my characters do. I’m lucky that I write during a time when photography was becoming more widely available and there are a ton of photographs available online. Especially when I was researching for Tapestry, there were so many of Kolkata during the 1880s-90s. I could see the streets, houses, fashions. I spend a lot of time collecting images in Pinterest boards and searching them for any detail I can add that will lend an engaging sensory detail to my stories. I also read a lot written during the time I’m writing. There’s no contemporary essay or article or book that can replace the authenticity of actual personal accounts.
What are you currently reading? Do you have certain books that you’re always recommending?
Currently I’m reading two nonfiction health books (I’m usually reading a health book of some sort) and trying to work through my TBR. I got super behind while I was on deadline. I just finished The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel which was fantastic. I started The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch (her books are always very engaging) yesterday and am planning on finishing up doing a read aloud of The Hiding Place with my older two girls soon. I can’t say there’s any particular book I recommend all the time because it just depends on who is reading and what they enjoy.
Can you share any details with us about your next book?
I’d love to! Every Word Unsaid releases November 2, 2021 and it’s about Gussie Travers—globetrotting, adventure seeking, unintentional trouble making photographer who, through no fault of her own, creates a scandal and escapes to Poona, India—landing right in the middle of a bubonic plague epidemic. There’s an adorably geeky doctor hero, fun scenes set in some of India’s most beautiful cities, and a heroine who, no matter how hard she tries, can’t seem to escape the reach of the words that chase her.
Thank you so much, Kimberly, for doing this interview and offering such thoughtful, heartfelt answers!
“Sometimes little things held more strength than the grand.”
For Ottilie Russell, life has been an unending pattern of loss.
First, her father and siblings, wrenched away by illness.
Then, her mother, stolen away in a senseless accident that leaves her with the daunting responsibility of caring for her grandmother and younger brother, Thaddeus.
Ottilie is determined, though. Amidst the swirl of doubt and grief, she steels herself to use her unique gift for embroidery to honor her parents’ legacy and provide for her family.
But Ottilie soon learns that her mother’s plans for them were quite different than what she expects, and plans have been set in motion that promise to rip away everything that is familiar.
Everything comforting and reassuring.
As much as Ottilie has wrestled with her British and Indian heritage, she is about to find herself more torn between the two than ever before. The only way forward is to carefully gather the smallest scraps of faith and courage she has left and discover if they will be enough to make something with real strength.
Kimberly Duffy’s books are absolute wonders and a gift to anyone who reads them. In A Tapestry of Light, the pages are filled with characters who hold their darkest struggles up to the light with a courage and vulnerability that is exceedingly rare.
Readers will be comforted to know that they are not alone in their doubts or pain, challenged to ask the hardest questions, and emboldened to face their long-held fears.
There are countless lessons and comforts to be found in the pages of this book, but, by far, the most important one for me is this:
Sometimes, it is the smallest stitches that transform a tapestry into a work of stunning beauty, and, often, it’s the seemingly insignificant seeds of faith that make a person radiant with the hope that even a life fragmented by loss can be daily made whole.
A Tapestry of Light is available on Amazon and Bookshop, a really fantastic site that supports indie bookstores with every purchase!
I’m so excited to share my interview with M.H. Elrich! She shares the heart behind Etania’s Worth, the inspiration she hopes readers find in the story, and her plans for the rest of The Daughters of Tamnarae series!
Etania’s Worth is such a powerful, redemptive story. What inspired you to include characters who are struggling to receive grace and accept God’s calling on their lives?
First off, thank you for the compliment. I definitely wanted that to come across in my book, so it makes me happy that you discovered it! I was actually inspired by real life circumstance. I have also struggled with receiving grace and accepting God’s calling on my life. For a long time, I vacillated between doing an office job and teaching. Eventually, God convinced me to teach, albeit kicking and screaming, and I discovered he was right, I love it! So I can relate to Etania very much about not being sure if this is what God really wants. I also have thought I didn’t deserve God’s love or grace, so writing that for Etania came through easily.
What made you choose to write in the Christian fantasy genre? How do you think this genre uniquely speaks into readers’ fears or struggles?
I chose to write in the Christian fantasy genre because I realized it was impossible for me to separate my faith elements from my fiction. Many people are able to write clean fiction without faith elements, and maybe one day I will be able to do that. But right now, I find it easier to have a God character in Melchizedek and focus on the Christian audience. I think this genre speaks uniquely to Christians in that it inspires them in their faith. I think that more Christians need books that help them grow in their faith, and not through nonfiction, but through the fiction format. Plus, this helps the nerds like me out there who love fantasy, but also love God.
Parents are typically absent from young adult stories. I love that your book is different! What led you to give the parents such pivotal roles in the story?
I actually want to reverse reader expectations, so that’s a good catch. 😁 As a reader myself, I saw the absentee parents trope and thought: that’s not realistic! Most people have one or two parents. So I wanted to create a relationship dynamic with parents that was realistic. As a young woman, I wasn’t as close to my father as I am now. Formulating Etania’s relationship with Jakin was easier because of these experiences. I haven’t gone through exactly what Etania went through with her mother, but I know how I would feel if I did. Thus, I created parents that reminded me of my own, but different.
I walked away from Etania’s story with a fresh understanding of Who God is and who I am in Him. What do you most hope that readers take away from reading Etania’s Worth?
Honestly, that is the message I wanted people to take away from my story! I’m so happy you got it! 😀 I recently added to the novel the key verse, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies.”-Proverbs 31:10 KJV. I want every young woman who reads this book to realize that God loves them and values them far more than rubies.
Can we look forward to a sequel to Etania’s story?
Yes! Finally, after two years of finishing my credential and the draft of Etania’s Calling, I am able to work on finishing it. I hope to come out with the sequel in December, God willing, and publish the next book in Etania’s series the year after that. Therefore, Etania’s story will take place over three novels, Etania’s Worth, Etania’s Calling, and Etania’s Destiny. After I finish working on Etania’s stories, I intend to start publishing three books on Etania’s daughter, Lavanna, and at least one book on Etania’s mother, Tala. That should complete my Daughters of Tamnarae series, but who knows? God may inspire me to write more. The best way to stay tuned to my book progress is to join my email list or to follow me on Instagram.
I talk about it more on those two platforms than anywhere else.
Thank you so much for the interview!
Thank you so much for doing this interview! Follow M.H. Elrich’s writing journey at the links above, and be sure to grab a copy of Etania’s Worth on Amazon or Bookshop!
Next week, I’ll be featuring my review of A Tapestry of Light and an interview with the author, Kimberly Duffy! I can’t wait!
What a delight to share this wonderful story with you this week! Read my full review of Etania’s Worth by M.H. Elrich below! And come back on Thursday for a special interview with the author!
“Etania. She felt Melchizedek’s voice, warming her whole body… Lean on me.”
The land of Tamnarae and its people are at terrible risk. Melchizedek is no longer amongst them, and the forces of Malstorm, known as the Skazic, are rising once more.
Yet, there are those blessed with Neuma – unique gifts bestowed by Melchizedek Himself – who remain loyal and are willing to risk all to fight for what is good and true.
But when Etania, along with her family and friends, is called to join the fight, she discovers that leaning on Melchizedek in faith is the greatest battle of all…
Etania’s Worth is such a remarkable story. Full of adventure, love, betrayal, and courage, it’s a novel that is sure to entertain readers of all ages and challenge them to face their fears with bold faith.
The characters struggle with real brokenness and doubt, but what truly sets this story apart is the redemptive arc that most of the characters experience. Reading a novel where many characters learn to receive grace and healing was so refreshing. I’m sure that readers will agree, as they turn the last page, that we need more stories as brave and full of faith as Etania’s Worth.
I’m so grateful that I had the chance to read this remarkable story!
Pick up a copy for yourself and a friend at Amazon or Bookshop (a wonderful site that supports independent bookstores with every purchase)!
Join me on Thursday as I share a wonderful interview with M.H. Elrich!
I’m excited to welcome D.M. Sonntag, author of The Lightning Bride, to my blog today! She shares news of her upcoming book release, what encourages her amidst the challenges of being an indie author, and what she believes sets her book apart from other YA fantasy!
Read on below and check out my full review of The Lightning Bridehere!
The Lightning Bride includes both mythical creatures and characters with magical powers. What inspired you to include those elements in the story?
I’ve always been fascinated with magical powers and constantly think on all the various ways someone could manipulate an element, like fire. I wanted to give the main character of The Lightning Bride, Maylie, something more than just one elemental component, so I made her an energy mage and explored the boundaries and usages of that magical power.
While I enjoyed the Little Mermaid as a child, I didn’t really get into those mythical creatures until Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stanger Tides. The movie introduced the concept that mermaids could walk on land once they dry, and be somewhat malevolent. I was fascinated and wanted to do something more on that. I wondered how they reproduce and got the inspiration from vampires that these somewhat malevolent fanged mermaids bit women to make more mermaids.
What’s your favorite thing about the YA fantasy genre?
I love the escape into another world with fantasy in general, and when it’s YA the main characters are typically teenagers thrust into life changing situations. It’s empowering to read about young characters who overcome trials and accomplish their goals when the world said they couldn’t due to being “just kids.” It was challenging enough when I was a young adult in the real world, so I loved reading stories about characters just like me in fantasy worlds where I could escape my reality and gain inspiration from their triumphs. If they could ride dragons or slay monsters, I could pass that physics test.
YA fantasy is an incredibly popular genre and there are a lot of books to choose from. What do you think sets The Lightning Bride apart from other YA fantasy novels?
I have yet to read a popular YA fantasy book centering on pirates! I could be very wrong and they are out there, but normally if I pick up a YA fantasy book, it’s either about faeries or vampires the majority of the time. Neither of those creatures are in my Kingdom Isles novels, because I wanted to write something that isn’t overdone and sets it apart from other YA novels.
Pursuing indie publishing presents unique challenges. What has encouraged you through those challenges? What are some ways that you encourage/support other authors?
Finding a community has definitely encouraged me. I could not have accomplished everything that I have alone, and it’s strengthening to know that there are others struggling with the same things that I struggle with, because we can help each other and hold each other accountable. Some ways that I encourage and support other authors is reading their books and promoting their works. As an indie author myself, I know how important reviews are, not only to help the authors become seen but provide feedback on how to improve their writing. I also try to market books that I’ve read and loved as equal if not more than my own book, especially in my day job or to my family and friends.
Are there any fellow indie authors you’d like to give a shout-out to?
Absolutely! I would not be where I am today without Genevieve Crownson, author of The Argos Dynasty trilogy and Cage of Glass. She convinced me to self-publish and gave me the tools and resources to get my foot in the door.
Matthew Romeo has become one of my good friends in the writer community on Instagram, and we’ve learned we’re very similar in our writing styles and elements that we enjoy to read. He just completed his sci-fi fantasy trilogy, The Maven Knight!
Luke Courtney is also another fellow, whose fantasy worldbuilding is absolutely incredible and I call the new indie Tolkien. He is always super supportive of my writing and we’ve bonded over our shared love for the Witcher series.
A. M. McPherson is about to release her debut novel, The Guardian’s Daughter, in September! We met through beta reading of my prequel novella, The Mermaid’s Shadow, and became immediate friends (similar to that scene in Stepbrothers) by finding out the fandoms we’re both into.
What can you tell us about upcoming projects or releases?
The Lightning Bride is just the first of many! The Mermaid’s Shadow is already out, and it is a prequel novella following the mother of my main character in TLB. The Golden Wolf will be Book Two in the Kingdom Isles series which I hope to release in August, and there will be a third and final book in this series. I also have two more prequel novellas planned, though am unsure if one is getting released before or after Book Three.
After the Kingdom Isles, I have so many projects! My most immediate is a YA trilogy about werewolves and vampires in a small-town theater, then after that a generational seven book steampunk series.
Thank you so much for joining me for this interview!
This week, I’m sharing my book review of D.M. Sonntag’s YA fantasy novel, The Lightning Bride! Read on for my full review and come back here on Thursday for a special interview with the author!
Have you ever wondered where you belong?
Maydeline Shadow is wondering the same thing and all the more as her family’s life and reputation in the Northern Kingdom begins crumbling.
Reviled for their connection to a world of mermaids and magic, it seems that the Shadow family is relying on Maylie to find a husband who can restore their standing.
But as Maylie searches, she realizes that her family is swept up in a story years in the making, hunted by a crazed mage who is desperate for revenge. And as the days pass, the most urgent question becomes if the Shadow family will survive the danger at all…
The Lightning Bride is an action-packed, YA fantasy novel that blends myth and magic in an exciting and unique way. Whether you’re looking for adventure on the sea or longing to know what dangers might lurk beneath the waves, this story will have something to intrigue and delight YA readers.
The biggest difficulty I had while reading The Lightning Bride was finding Maylie unrelateable at times. I struggled to connect to her character, and it made it difficult to root for her throughout the story.
That being said, there are many strong aspects to this novel. I particularly loved the way that so many different cultures were included and explored.
All in all, D.M. Sonntag has created a unique world, one that readers looking for a fantasy adventure will enjoy!
The Lightning Bride is available on Amazon! Once you’ve finished the adventure, please leave a review on Goodreads! A simple review is one of the very best ways you can support authors!
You can connect with D.M. Sonntag on her website and Instagram, so you don’t miss out on any writing updates or news about new book releases!
This Thursday, D.M. Sonntag joins us for an author interview!
What are some of your current reads? I’d love to know who your favorite indie authors are and always welcome ideas for books and authors to feature on my blog!
I’m so excited to share my interview with C.D. Hulen as we continue to celebrate the recent release of his sci-fi novel, Abort!
Read on to learn more about the inspiration for Abort, C.D. Hulen’s advice for fellow indie authors, and his thoughts on how to include a powerful, faith-based message in novels!
I really enjoyed reading your novel! What inspired the story of Abort?
Thanks so much! Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me, outside of God of course (as all things work according to His will). This particular story concept came to me almost fully formed, which wasn’t super common for me. I thought it would make a good book, so I wrote down the idea and then promptly forgot about it for about 6 months. But obviously, I found it again, and here we are.
One common pro-life argument that is used to confront abortion is that of comparing unborn children to people in a coma who are going to wake up (both are dependent on others, neither are highly responsive, and both are in their respective states for a limited amount of time, i.e., the person in a coma will wake up and the child will be born). This particular argument was definitely an inspiration. After the initial stages of writing, I drew inspiration from other sources, such as my Christian faith, my Dad’s suggestions, Ray Comfort’s videos on abortion, and Paul Washer’s articulation of the gospel, in order to add more depth to the story.
Throughout the story, Mason wrestles with divided loyalties and the distinction between right and wrong. Was he a difficult character to write? What do you think makes characters like him so compelling?
Definitely one of the most difficult things about writing Mason was keeping the reader from being completely disgusted by him. What he’s trying to do is terrible, and readers generally don’t want to root for that, so it was a struggle to balance the sympathetic aspects of his character without excusing his actions. I think his relatability and understandability help make him compelling. Although the reader hopefully won’t agree with his mission, they can understand why he’s doing it, and can relate to the many trials he faces on the HS10.
Christian sci-fi isn’t a genre that I, personally, hear much about, and it was exciting to read your novel! What about sci-fi do you believe uniquely positions the genre to share a faith-based message?
There’s definitely not much Christian sci-fi in mainstream media—none in film that I’ve seen, and not a ton in literature. But anyway, I think science fiction can be uniquely poised to tackle current issues as well as delve into compelling allegories. The concept of Abort was perfectly setup for a science fiction setting—I didn’t even consider another genre! I also believe that with science fiction you have something that Fantasy can struggle with—a real presentation of the gospel. This can be done in contemporary and historical fiction for sure, but fantasy generally relies heavily on gospel allegories if it wants to approach the Christian theme (Jesus). Science fiction has the privilege of dealing with the real thing.
What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced as a self-published author and what enabled you to overcome them? Do you have any encouragement to offer fellow writers who want to follow that same route?
I think the battle against anonymity has been the hardest. I can learn how to write good prose, design a book cover, and develop compelling characters, but as an author who started with zero platform, it’s been challenging. I think what’s to be learned is that it’s all up to God. If He wants the book to go far, it will. If not, it won’t. I have to hold my dreams loosely, trust His plan, and be faithful. If the marketing of this book has taught me anything it’s that God is in control.
A note of practical advice for writers: keep writing, keep getting feedback, and write again. It’s a long slog sometimes, but the more you do it, the better you get. And if you’re a Christian who is writing fiction, don’t tack your faith onto it. What I mean is that the gospel isn’t an afterthought, so if you’re a Christian and writing a story, don’t force the gospel into it, allow it to permeate the entire thing. Don’t sprinkle the gospel onto your story, soak your story in the gospel. All or nothing. Don’t be afraid to be preachy but tell a good story, make it real, and give it over to God.
Can you share any details with readers about your current or upcoming projects?
Well, I don’t want to share too much, but I’ve always got story ideas in my head. People who’ve followed me for a while know that I’ve wanted to write a musical, as well as refurbish and finish my historical fantasy trilogy. I also have some more Christian sci-fi stories brewing which address the current issues of the woke church and Christless conservatism. All that to say, I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, but whatever it is, I want God to be glorified.
Thank you so much to C.D. Hulen for joining me for this interview!