Have a Question? I’ve Got Answers!

In a recent newsletter I set up a survey for my subscribers. They’ve had a chance to respond, so I’d like to open this up to my blog readers as well.

Time for an author interview–and you’re in charge of the questions!

I’ve participated in lots of interviews over the years, including one that was live on internet radio. Most of them have been set up by bloggers or other authors, and not necessarily fans. It has been a while, so I thought it might be a good idea to post a fresh interview, and let YOU ask the questions.

What would you like to know, about me, my writing, or my book series? You can have some real fun with this and ask my characters questions too–they’ve all agreed to participate. The answers will be shared in my next newsletter and get added to my website for everyone to read!

CLICK TO TAKE THE SURVEY

 


Not subscribed to my author newsletter yet? Click to view my most recent newsletter. If you like what you see, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an edition–you’ll get a free ebook too! If you change your mind, you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

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Under the Magnifying Glass: Is it Getting Hot in Here?

Today I’m giving you a peek at my latest newsletter. These go out every couple of weeks, and in them I share deeper insights into my book world and inspirations. You’ll also get bonus stuff, like links to a wide variety of free books by other authors, Rafflecopter giveaways, and the chance to participate in surveys that shape my series. Additionally, when you subscribe, you’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of Ancient Voices: Into the Depths, the second book in my series.


Under the Magnifying Glass: Is it Getting Hot in Here?

Life really pushes us around sometimes, testing our strength, our patience, and sometimes our faith. Writers test their characters just as hard, sometimes harder. We can put them in situations we hope to never face ourselves, then either shove them over the brink, or pull them back at the last second and pick up all the emotional pieces left in disarray.

Now, you might think writers are really just like a mean kid with a bug and a magnifying glass on a hot summer day. But really, we don’t enjoy tormenting our poor characters. We feel their joy, disappointment, and grief just as strongly as if it is our own. In the process of exploring their circumstances and emotional reactions, we learn something about ourselves, and about people in general. Our writing is often an invitation for our readers to do the same–to put themselves in our characters’ shoes just as we have during the writing process.

Einar is tested to the limits of his sanity in Into the Shadow Wood. Likewise, Elowyn faces the greatest test of her young life in Ancient Voices (I won’t go into detail for the sake of those who haven’t read it yet). I dreaded putting her through it, going through a writer’s version of a stubborn, sulking, toddler-like tantrum where I didn’t write for months. I tried to talk myself out of it a hundred different ways, but as I followed all of those different possibilities to their eventual outcomes, none of them took Elowyn where she needed to go. Without that defining moment her life would have been simpler, happier maybe, but not nearly as rich or significant. She could never be the person she was intended to be.

I eventually came to accept that Elowyn’s test was bringing about a necessary pain. So I gave up my tantrum and got down to writing. I got angry. I shed real tears as I wrote, and if anyone had asked me what I was sobbing uncontrollably about, they probably would have thought I was crazy. Maybe writers have to be…just a little, anyway.

In my final acceptance of Elowyn’s fate was a real life lesson for me as well. Parts of my life have not been easy, and I’ve sometimes thought how much better everything would have turned out without them. If I had power over the master delete key, and could go back and remove all those difficult chapters where I was tested, would I? How would that irrevocably change me, since I am a far more complex being than a fictional character? Would my life have been simpler and happier? Would I be a better person without them? I have no way to know, and I am not done being tested, or growing as a result.

Yet I do have faith that what the Bible says in Romans is true, that God really does work for the good of those who love Him. He can take the horrible things we go through and use them to make us spiritually rich and significant in the lives of others–if we let Him. Elowyn can’t see my plans to turn her pain into a blessing. If she was real, she might very well think of me as a mean kid with a magnifying glass. I am equally blind to God’s plans for me.

In dire times it’s natural to wonder why God doesn’t stop the bad things that cause such pain. But if He has a magnifying glass, its purpose is not for torment, but to give clarity and a tool for self-examination. If I can use Elowyn’s trials to write her into her most beautiful future self, how much more so can the Author of all Life write my story into something more glorious than I could ever imagine?


Click to view the rest of this newsletter. I won’t always post peeks on my blog, so subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an edition. They’ll get sent right to your email twice a month, and if you change your mind, you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

How Good Should Your Heroes Be?

Reblogged from Lee Duigon

Fantasy fiction is awash with “heroes” who make everything look easy–especially the writing of fantasy. The Clever Thief With the Heart of Gold, The Roistering Barbarian, and the ubiquitous Invincible Female Warrior: please, No mas, no mas! I mean, what kind of a chucklehead do you have to be, to believe in such protagonists?

I would rather pattern my heroes after the heroes of the Bible, like Moses and Abraham, Peter and Paul–heroes who had to accomplish some exceedingly difficult things, and who keenly felt the difficulty, but nevertheless did what they had to do because they had faith in God and tried their level best to obey Him, whatever the cost.

They weren’t supermen. They couldn’t rely on really great kung-fu, powerful magic, super-powers, or any other kind of unlikely boons the writer might bestow on them. And their own personal flaws created more difficulties for them. Think of Moses pleading with God to get someone else to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and losing his temper when God had him strike the rock to bring out water. No, these weren’t supermen at all. But they got the job done in the end …

Continue reading: How Good Should Your Heroes Be?

World-Building Wonders – The Gliding Lands

Life is precious to me. I wanted to emphasis that in my writing. In my storyEnding Fear, there is a place called The Gliding Lands where they do not value life. Much like communist China, the Uppers are only allowed to have one child (this has recently been changed in China, but for many years this was law). In the world I created, if you try to sneak a second baby into the world, it will get thrown over the edge of the Gliding Lands, only to fall hundreds of feet to the earth below. Pretty horrific, am I right? And heaven forbid you get to keep and raise your own children. That’s what the governments for. It takes a village and all that jazz.

In The Gliding Lands you must surrender your baby to the PediaLab where they then will determine whether your baby is fit for society, or to be thrown over the edge like a piece of trash. Only beautiful and wanted babies will be kept. My main character is a fourteen year old girl named Fear, who was one of these babies…

Source: World-Building Wonders – The Gliding Lands

Indie Author Spotlight: Allison D. Reid

Today’s Sneak Peek Friday is a little different, giving  you a glimpse into the mind of the author behind the writing.  Hope you enjoy this very thoughtful interview conducted by fellow author and blogger David Wiley.

Author David Wiley

It is time for the May author of the month, and this is one I am excited to share with you. If you haven’t done so, you can read my review of Allison’s first book, Journey to Aviad, which is free on Kindle and Nook devices. Also, don’t forget that you can get a digital copy of King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology for free for a limited time by signing up for my newsletter (plus some other great books and prizes for signing up to other newsletters!)

Welcome! Please tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.

My name is Allison D. Reid—home business owner by day, editor and Christian Fantasy author by night. To be honest, nothing makes me draw a blank faster than asking me this question.  One of the hazards of being an introvert, I guess.  I’d rather talk about anything but…

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Medieval Monday: Illuminated Manuscripts

Many people assume that the Middle Ages were governed by ignorance and superstition.  Though there was certainly much that was not yet understood in the realm of science and medicine, people in the Middle Ages were not completely uneducated.

The ancient Greek writers were greatly respected, and their works translated into Latin so they could be made more widely known.  Topics of interest were geometry and mathematics, physics, studies of animals, politics, and medicine.  Medieval thinkers also studied the Bible, which was considered to be more important than any other field of study.  St. Augustine encouraged learning about other subjects, such as music, nature, and mathematics, with the idea that they would help people better understand God and the Bible.

At first monks, and those who wanted to have a career with the Church, were the only ones who sought a higher education.  By the 13th century, learning was available to a larger group of people, though typically schools and universities were still run by the monastic orders.

With the printing press not yet in existence, books for learning had to be written and copied entirely by hand.  Monasteries housed scriptoriums where Bibles, books of prayers, and other books of knowledge were produced. Beautiful, highly detailed illuminations often decorated the margins.  Some of what we know about medieval life today comes from these illuminations.  Where we don’t have archaeological artifacts to learn from, illuminations can take us back in time, showing us what the world looked like hundreds of years ago.

Because books were costly and laborious to make, they were shared as treasures between monasteries, even from one country to another. This is something I carried into my fictional world, where the tomes of knowledge are passed down through generations, copied and shared across monastic orders, and sometimes moved around to protect them from being destroyed by God’s enemies.

Enjoy browsing this small collection of illuminations, and wonder at the steady, masterful hands that made them.  There was no correction tape, no “undo” button, and no easy way to start over once a book was in production.

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