The Enclave – Interview with Karen Hancock

Time for another CSFF tour, and I’m excited to feature The Enclave, the latest book from Karen Hancock, of Return of the Guardian King fame. This book is set in modern times in a genetics research facility in the desert near Tucson. Researcher Cameron Reinhardt is glad to have a final chance to prove himself in his field at the exclusive Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute. Lacey McHenry is looking to move past tragedy in life and find a future. After a lab accident triggers a series of strange events, the two are forced together to confront an even greater mystery.

I’m very pleased to have an interview with Karen Hancock today. I’ll follow with a review and other thoughts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Even though the interview is long, take time to read it, and you can find links to my other tourmates below it. For more information, check out her website and blog.

1. The Enclave as a science fiction/suspense novel is a departure from your last four books, the fantasy series The Guardian King. How was the process moving from a world of your own creation into more of “the real world”?

It really wasn’t all that much of a change. I had to do a lot of historical research for my Guardian-King fantasies and then a lot of thinking about the resultant world-building to ensure it all made sense within itself and within “how people operate” in general.

For The Enclave, I had to do research as well – on underground living, the construction of skyscrapers, research facilities, etc. I could draw perhaps a little more from my actual life experiences, but I did that a lot even in the fantasies (and in Arena as well) so the change wasn’t that noticeable.

The hardest part was the spiritual aspect, because when you start talking about Jesus directly, some people get riled; when you start bringing up scriptures, talking about doctrines, people say you’re preaching. There’s always a danger of getting carried away in that area, of course, but even if you don’t, you still may be accused of doing so. I just had to go with what I thought God was leading me to do and accept that some readers were not going to like it.

2. There’s a lot of scientific detail in The Enclave. Will you describe your research behind the book?

My research for The Enclave was wide-reaching, as I alluded to above – archaeology, building construction, research publication protocols, mythology, Nephilim, Afghanistan, cults – in addition to the science. It helped that I have a degree in Biology. I also worked as an animal technician in college, so some of Lacey’s experiences were drawn from my own (the escape of the frogs, for example). However, though I studied genetics as part of my degree, the field has advanced tremendously in the interim and continues to do so at such a pace there’s a danger of one’s book being obsolete before it even gets into print. Therefore, to brush up on things I bought a copy of my friend Edward Willett’s Genetics Demystified to use as my base reference, and relied on the Internet for the rest.

One thing I reminded myself of constantly, though, was the fact that I was writing a novel about people involved in genetics research, not a genetics textbook. Readers were not going to want to wade through a lot of scientific technicalities, so I tried to keep my scientific details clear, spare and to the point – just enough to make my premises understandable and believable without bogging down the story. Whether I succeeded or not will probably depend on the individual reader.

The Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute that provides the setting for my book is based upon a real research facility north of Tucson, known as Biosphere 2, which was in the news in the 80s. Like KJ, the Biosphere had cultish roots and practices. Not only did I follow the controversial project through the local news reports (which I saved for later reference) I read participant Jane Poynter’s memoir, The Human Experiment: Two years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2. Poynter was one of the eight people who spent two years sealed inside it, and her book provided a wealth of information and ideas.

I also read a literary novel on cancer research (Intuition by Allegra Goodman) which not only gave me more information about life in a research facility, but provided illustration of how to integrate the scientific material into the story in an interesting way.

3. There’s a lot in the media lately regarding new developments in cloning, stem cell research, and genetics. What does The Enclave have to speak about this?

The developments in those areas are opening the doors to us being able to literally recraft our own bodies and much of the life around us. Many are concerned now about how genetically altered food will affect our health, but there are also a wealth of innovations in the genetic alteration of animals, not only for food but for producing other things like medications, antibiotics and other substances that can be used in the manufacturing. There is talk of producing designer children and Michael Crichton’s recent book, Next, even presents a number of grotesque possibilities of genetically altering organisms for use in advertising!

All of this recalls the events in Genesis 11 where instead of scattering as God had commanded them, the people gathered together to build a city and a tower that would reach into heaven. Were they trying to literally get into heaven or were they just going to make sure, in human power, that if God ever sent another flood they’d be ready to deal with it? I don’t know. Maybe both, but their motivations undeniably echo the temptation Satan put to the woman in the Garden to eat the fruit so she could “be like God.” (Which was in turn an echo of Satan’s own original motivation/sin to be like Him, as stated in Isaiah 14:13, 14)

What did God have to say about the unified activity of mankind on the plain of Shinar? “Behold they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.”

With the explosion of advances in science we’re seeing these days, particularly in the field of genetics, we’re moving into a similar situation. The Enclave suggests that just because we are capable of doing whatever we purpose to do as a race, doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. In fact, it’s obviously not or God wouldn’t have put such a sudden and thorough stop to it the first time.

4. In reading your blog, it sounds like there was a real struggle in the process of writing The Enclave. Will you please share the take-away message you got from creating this book?

God’s the one who’s in control, not me, and He does things in His own way and timing. My job is not to try to guess where He’s going, not to try to take control and solve all the problems, but only to be available to His leading and at peace with the fact that it’s His gig, not mine.

5. The CSFF Tour has a lot of aspiring writers in its ranks. Do you have any advice for those of us attempting the writing life as well?

Read as much fiction as you can, in a variety of genres. Write a lot. Read as much as you can about how to write and how to write fiction. If you can find other writers who are also seeking to learn the craft, consider working with them in a critique exchange situation. It’s best to have a number of exchangees so you can see how others respond not only to your work, but to others’ work as well.

Beyond all that, though, seek first and foremost the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, not as unto men. Do not seek the favor of men but of God and do not let the pursuit of the goal of writing and getting published take you away from your relationship with Him. If you strive to please men, you will not be a bond-servant of Christ. Remember that God’s ways are not our ways and His version of success doesn’t often look like ours. What will it profit you if you gain the whole world, yet lose your soul in the process?

6. I know the writing process always takes the story in unexpected directions. What was one aspect of The Enclave that especially caught you by surprise?

The fact that the story ended up being more about Cameron Reinhardt than Lacey – though perhaps I should have guessed when the first two words of the story that came to me were his name. I had no idea of his military history when I started, especially not that he had problems with post traumatic stress syndrome. When the first flashback burst into the story I was completely blindsided.

7. Can you give us a sneak peak into what you have coming next?

My tentative next project is a science fiction novel I began developing right after Arena sold. Set on another world completely unrelated to our own, it has a Romanesque culture whose set-up echoes the seven churches of Revelation. Of course there will be action, adventure, romance, heroes, hidden identities, underground cities, aliens, terrorists… and faith.

Unless the Lord sends me off on another track, that’s the book for which I’ll soon be sitting down to assemble a proposal. I have started the world-building, developed a number of the characters and written several chapters. Because the second book of my contract was just a “second book” not a specific second book, Bethany House will have to approve the proposal before I can actually call it my “next” book. Stay tuned to my blog for further information.

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Canadianladybug
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Heather R. Hunt
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Mike Lynch
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Stephanie
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Elizabeth Williams

The Enclave – Interview with Karen Hancock

Time for another CSFF tour, and I’m excited to feature The Enclave, the latest book from Karen Hancock, of Return of the Guardian King fame. This book is set in modern times in a genetics research facility in the desert near Tucson. Researcher Cameron Reinhardt is glad to have a final chance to prove himself in his field at the exclusive Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute. Lacey McHenry is looking to move past tragedy in life and find a future. After a lab accident triggers a series of strange events, the two are forced together to confront an even greater mystery.

I’m very pleased to have an interview with Karen Hancock today. I’ll follow with a review and other thoughts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Even though the interview is long, take time to read it, and you can find links to my other tourmates below it. For more information, check out her website and blog.

1. The Enclave as a science fiction/suspense novel is a departure from your last four books, the fantasy series The Guardian King. How was the process moving from a world of your own creation into more of “the real world”?

It really wasn’t all that much of a change. I had to do a lot of historical research for my Guardian-King fantasies and then a lot of thinking about the resultant world-building to ensure it all made sense within itself and within “how people operate” in general.

For The Enclave, I had to do research as well – on underground living, the construction of skyscrapers, research facilities, etc. I could draw perhaps a little more from my actual life experiences, but I did that a lot even in the fantasies (and in Arena as well) so the change wasn’t that noticeable.

The hardest part was the spiritual aspect, because when you start talking about Jesus directly, some people get riled; when you start bringing up scriptures, talking about doctrines, people say you’re preaching. There’s always a danger of getting carried away in that area, of course, but even if you don’t, you still may be accused of doing so. I just had to go with what I thought God was leading me to do and accept that some readers were not going to like it.

2. There’s a lot of scientific detail in The Enclave. Will you describe your research behind the book?

My research for The Enclave was wide-reaching, as I alluded to above – archaeology, building construction, research publication protocols, mythology, Nephilim, Afghanistan, cults – in addition to the science. It helped that I have a degree in Biology. I also worked as an animal technician in college, so some of Lacey’s experiences were drawn from my own (the escape of the frogs, for example). However, though I studied genetics as part of my degree, the field has advanced tremendously in the interim and continues to do so at such a pace there’s a danger of one’s book being obsolete before it even gets into print. Therefore, to brush up on things I bought a copy of my friend Edward Willett’s Genetics Demystified to use as my base reference, and relied on the Internet for the rest.

One thing I reminded myself of constantly, though, was the fact that I was writing a novel about people involved in genetics research, not a genetics textbook. Readers were not going to want to wade through a lot of scientific technicalities, so I tried to keep my scientific details clear, spare and to the point – just enough to make my premises understandable and believable without bogging down the story. Whether I succeeded or not will probably depend on the individual reader.

The Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute that provides the setting for my book is based upon a real research facility north of Tucson, known as Biosphere 2, which was in the news in the 80s. Like KJ, the Biosphere had cultish roots and practices. Not only did I follow the controversial project through the local news reports (which I saved for later reference) I read participant Jane Poynter’s memoir, The Human Experiment: Two years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2. Poynter was one of the eight people who spent two years sealed inside it, and her book provided a wealth of information and ideas.

I also read a literary novel on cancer research (Intuition by Allegra Goodman) which not only gave me more information about life in a research facility, but provided illustration of how to integrate the scientific material into the story in an interesting way.

3. There’s a lot in the media lately regarding new developments in cloning, stem cell research, and genetics. What does The Enclave have to speak about this?

The developments in those areas are opening the doors to us being able to literally recraft our own bodies and much of the life around us. Many are concerned now about how genetically altered food will affect our health, but there are also a wealth of innovations in the genetic alteration of animals, not only for food but for producing other things like medications, antibiotics and other substances that can be used in the manufacturing. There is talk of producing designer children and Michael Crichton’s recent book, Next, even presents a number of grotesque possibilities of genetically altering organisms for use in advertising!

All of this recalls the events in Genesis 11 where instead of scattering as God had commanded them, the people gathered together to build a city and a tower that would reach into heaven. Were they trying to literally get into heaven or were they just going to make sure, in human power, that if God ever sent another flood they’d be ready to deal with it? I don’t know. Maybe both, but their motivations undeniably echo the temptation Satan put to the woman in the Garden to eat the fruit so she could “be like God.” (Which was in turn an echo of Satan’s own original motivation/sin to be like Him, as stated in Isaiah 14:13, 14)

What did God have to say about the unified activity of mankind on the plain of Shinar? “Behold they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.”

With the explosion of advances in science we’re seeing these days, particularly in the field of genetics, we’re moving into a similar situation. The Enclave suggests that just because we are capable of doing whatever we purpose to do as a race, doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. In fact, it’s obviously not or God wouldn’t have put such a sudden and thorough stop to it the first time.

4. In reading your blog, it sounds like there was a real struggle in the process of writing The Enclave. Will you please share the take-away message you got from creating this book?

God’s the one who’s in control, not me, and He does things in His own way and timing. My job is not to try to guess where He’s going, not to try to take control and solve all the problems, but only to be available to His leading and at peace with the fact that it’s His gig, not mine.

5. The CSFF Tour has a lot of aspiring writers in its ranks. Do you have any advice for those of us attempting the writing life as well?

Read as much fiction as you can, in a variety of genres. Write a lot. Read as much as you can about how to write and how to write fiction. If you can find other writers who are also seeking to learn the craft, consider working with them in a critique exchange situation. It’s best to have a number of exchangees so you can see how others respond not only to your work, but to others’ work as well.

Beyond all that, though, seek first and foremost the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, not as unto men. Do not seek the favor of men but of God and do not let the pursuit of the goal of writing and getting published take you away from your relationship with Him. If you strive to please men, you will not be a bond-servant of Christ. Remember that God’s ways are not our ways and His version of success doesn’t often look like ours. What will it profit you if you gain the whole world, yet lose your soul in the process?

6. I know the writing process always takes the story in unexpected directions. What was one aspect of The Enclave that especially caught you by surprise?

The fact that the story ended up being more about Cameron Reinhardt than Lacey – though perhaps I should have guessed when the first two words of the story that came to me were his name. I had no idea of his military history when I started, especially not that he had problems with post traumatic stress syndrome. When the first flashback burst into the story I was completely blindsided.

7. Can you give us a sneak peak into what you have coming next?

My tentative next project is a science fiction novel I began developing right after Arena sold. Set on another world completely unrelated to our own, it has a Romanesque culture whose set-up echoes the seven churches of Revelation. Of course there will be action, adventure, romance, heroes, hidden identities, underground cities, aliens, terrorists… and faith.

Unless the Lord sends me off on another track, that’s the book for which I’ll soon be sitting down to assemble a proposal. I have started the world-building, developed a number of the characters and written several chapters. Because the second book of my contract was just a “second book” not a specific second book, Bethany House will have to approve the proposal before I can actually call it my “next” book. Stay tuned to my blog for further information.

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Canadianladybug
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Heather R. Hunt
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Mike Lynch
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Stephanie
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Elizabeth Williams

CSFF Tour – Cyndere’s Midnight, Day 2


Hey! Day 2 of our CSFF tour featuring Jeffrey Overstreet and his new book, Cyndere’s Midnight. I gave an introduction to the book yesterday, and listed multiple links to check out if you’re curious about the unique approach Jeffrey has when it comes to his writing: other’s in the tour, reviews of his previous book, Auralia’s Colors, and links to Jeffrey’s websites.

Jeffrey was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had, so please check out his replies below. Tomorrow I’ll wrap up with my review of Cyndere’s Midnight.

1. What are your writing influences?
It’s tough for me to point to influences. I imagine readers will have a better sense of that than me. But I can tell you who I found inspirational while I was writing.

Annie Dillard writes about the natural world with passion, honesty, and stirring prose. Her attention to the wonders and horrors of our fantastic, fallen world are compelling, awe-inspiring, and sometimes truly disturbing.

I read a lot of poetry while I work on The Auralia Thread. I’m especially fond of Scott Cairns, Jane Hirshfield, and my wife Anne’s poetry, which takes me to so many vivid places. Anne and I spend a lot of time exploring the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest and in the Southwest, and I’m sure that the places we go inspire my writing more than any writers do.

I don’t think many fiction writers have had much influence on The Auralia Thread. I’m sure there are echoes of Tolkien, Lewis, Macdonald, and especially Richard Adams and Frank Herbert. But when it comes to style, I often revisit Patricia McKillip’s The Book of Atrix Wolfe and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series for the music of their language and the phantasmagoric detail of their worlds.

2. What was your inspiration for the Auralia’s Colors series?
My wife Anne and I had a conversation about make-believe while we were hiking near Flathead Lake, Montana. Anne said something about how most people reach a certain age where they stop using their imaginations, stop expressing themselves creatively, and put make believe behind them. I started thinking about that while we walked through this beautiful, forested landscape.

I began to imagine a kingdom in which the people bury all of their creative expressions. And then I envisioned an artist who wandered into that culture, and who was both celebrated and persecuted for her vision. That’s where it all started.

3. You are known for your work in film critique. How did your film influence affect your writing?
Film reviewing has taught me to pay attention to small details, and to cherish those experiences in which characters take you into places and situations you’ve never thought about before.

It has also taught me to think about beauty, and how a picture can say so much more than a lesson or an allegory. So I focus on painting pictures in prose, trying to share images instead of morals, questions instead of answers.

The movies that stick with me are those that don’t preach, but instead offer me encounters with beauty and imagery that give me new insights every time I enjoy them.

I want to write a story that does that. I don’t want to tell readers what to think–I want to invite them on an adventure, and let them have their own unique experience, develop their own interpretation along the way.

4. What is your opinion about the state of Christian fiction in the CBA world and culture in general?
I don’t have much time to read, so when I do, I read a lot of poetry and literature that has proven itself to be timeless and beautiful.

Unfortunately, very little that is published in the CBA market stands up to that kind of test. “Christian fiction” is usually notable because of the “message.” It is very rarely written with the kind of artistry that will stand up to critique. I don’t want to write stuff that will only be read by people who believe what I believe. I want it to be read by people who love imaginative storytelling… and I want them to still be reading it a hundred years from now. That’s why Tolkien, Lewis, and L’Engle’s books are standing the test of time. They’re imaginative, rich with truth, and beautiful.

I don’t read stories because I want a message. I read because I want to have an experience. I want to use my imagination. I only get the chance to read a limited number of books in my life, and I want to read the most beautiful, rich, meaningful stuff I can find. I firmly believe that that how we say something is just as important as what we say. Christian bookstores are full of books that say good things. But many of those books say good things very poorly, or without much imagination.

If a book is well-written, many readers all over the world — Christian and non-Christian alike — will find that book compelling. That’s why most “Christian books” are only ever read by people who shop in Christian bookstores.

5. What would you like people to know about your two current books that they may not know already?
I hope that readers will open the pages of Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight out of curiosity and a desire for an adventure.

If they come expecting an allegory, I think they’ll be frustrated. A lot of reviewers have said that this is a story about Christ, or the Christian life. Fine… there’s nothing wrong with that interpretation. But that’s not what I was thinking about when I wrote them. You might just as well read tehm as a story about an artist’s struggles and temptations, or a story about talents and gifts, or a story about beauty and what it does to us. Readers have discovered themes that have pleasantly surprised me. But I know where this story is going, and it doesn’t work as an allegory.

I’m very interested in hearing what readers think the story is about. Fantasy is a mysterious genre. We learn about each other when we share our experience of a work of art. I never want to write a story that has an obvious “moral” or “lesson.” Why bother? If I wanted to do that, I would just teach lessons and not bother with a story. No, I want to tell stories the way Jesus shared parables — I want to tell a story that teases readers’ minds into contemplation, that gets them arguing about what it all means. I know what they mean to me, but that keeps changing. What do they mean to you?

CSFF Tour – Cyndere’s Midnight, Day 2


Hey! Day 2 of our CSFF tour featuring Jeffrey Overstreet and his new book, Cyndere’s Midnight. I gave an introduction to the book yesterday, and listed multiple links to check out if you’re curious about the unique approach Jeffrey has when it comes to his writing: other’s in the tour, reviews of his previous book, Auralia’s Colors, and links to Jeffrey’s websites.

Jeffrey was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had, so please check out his replies below. Tomorrow I’ll wrap up with my review of Cyndere’s Midnight.

1. What are your writing influences?
It’s tough for me to point to influences. I imagine readers will have a better sense of that than me. But I can tell you who I found inspirational while I was writing.

Annie Dillard writes about the natural world with passion, honesty, and stirring prose. Her attention to the wonders and horrors of our fantastic, fallen world are compelling, awe-inspiring, and sometimes truly disturbing.

I read a lot of poetry while I work on The Auralia Thread. I’m especially fond of Scott Cairns, Jane Hirshfield, and my wife Anne’s poetry, which takes me to so many vivid places. Anne and I spend a lot of time exploring the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest and in the Southwest, and I’m sure that the places we go inspire my writing more than any writers do.

I don’t think many fiction writers have had much influence on The Auralia Thread. I’m sure there are echoes of Tolkien, Lewis, Macdonald, and especially Richard Adams and Frank Herbert. But when it comes to style, I often revisit Patricia McKillip’s The Book of Atrix Wolfe and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series for the music of their language and the phantasmagoric detail of their worlds.

2. What was your inspiration for the Auralia’s Colors series?
My wife Anne and I had a conversation about make-believe while we were hiking near Flathead Lake, Montana. Anne said something about how most people reach a certain age where they stop using their imaginations, stop expressing themselves creatively, and put make believe behind them. I started thinking about that while we walked through this beautiful, forested landscape.

I began to imagine a kingdom in which the people bury all of their creative expressions. And then I envisioned an artist who wandered into that culture, and who was both celebrated and persecuted for her vision. That’s where it all started.

3. You are known for your work in film critique. How did your film influence affect your writing?
Film reviewing has taught me to pay attention to small details, and to cherish those experiences in which characters take you into places and situations you’ve never thought about before.

It has also taught me to think about beauty, and how a picture can say so much more than a lesson or an allegory. So I focus on painting pictures in prose, trying to share images instead of morals, questions instead of answers.

The movies that stick with me are those that don’t preach, but instead offer me encounters with beauty and imagery that give me new insights every time I enjoy them.

I want to write a story that does that. I don’t want to tell readers what to think–I want to invite them on an adventure, and let them have their own unique experience, develop their own interpretation along the way.

4. What is your opinion about the state of Christian fiction in the CBA world and culture in general?
I don’t have much time to read, so when I do, I read a lot of poetry and literature that has proven itself to be timeless and beautiful.

Unfortunately, very little that is published in the CBA market stands up to that kind of test. “Christian fiction” is usually notable because of the “message.” It is very rarely written with the kind of artistry that will stand up to critique. I don’t want to write stuff that will only be read by people who believe what I believe. I want it to be read by people who love imaginative storytelling… and I want them to still be reading it a hundred years from now. That’s why Tolkien, Lewis, and L’Engle’s books are standing the test of time. They’re imaginative, rich with truth, and beautiful.

I don’t read stories because I want a message. I read because I want to have an experience. I want to use my imagination. I only get the chance to read a limited number of books in my life, and I want to read the most beautiful, rich, meaningful stuff I can find. I firmly believe that that how we say something is just as important as what we say. Christian bookstores are full of books that say good things. But many of those books say good things very poorly, or without much imagination.

If a book is well-written, many readers all over the world — Christian and non-Christian alike — will find that book compelling. That’s why most “Christian books” are only ever read by people who shop in Christian bookstores.

5. What would you like people to know about your two current books that they may not know already?
I hope that readers will open the pages of Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight out of curiosity and a desire for an adventure.

If they come expecting an allegory, I think they’ll be frustrated. A lot of reviewers have said that this is a story about Christ, or the Christian life. Fine… there’s nothing wrong with that interpretation. But that’s not what I was thinking about when I wrote them. You might just as well read tehm as a story about an artist’s struggles and temptations, or a story about talents and gifts, or a story about beauty and what it does to us. Readers have discovered themes that have pleasantly surprised me. But I know where this story is going, and it doesn’t work as an allegory.

I’m very interested in hearing what readers think the story is about. Fantasy is a mysterious genre. We learn about each other when we share our experience of a work of art. I never want to write a story that has an obvious “moral” or “lesson.” Why bother? If I wanted to do that, I would just teach lessons and not bother with a story. No, I want to tell stories the way Jesus shared parables — I want to tell a story that teases readers’ minds into contemplation, that gets them arguing about what it all means. I know what they mean to me, but that keeps changing. What do they mean to you?

Link to Interview with Dean Koontz

Last week Novel Journey put up a great interview with suspense master Dean Koontz. I really don’t know very much about him, to my chagrin, but it was a very good interview. If you didn’t catch it, go here and read it. It has especially good comments regarding using metaphors and similies, something my writing can definitely use work on.

I’m going to take a little pause from reviewing books over December so I can catch up on some other books, including reading some Koontz!

Link to Interview with Dean Koontz

Last week Novel Journey put up a great interview with suspense master Dean Koontz. I really don’t know very much about him, to my chagrin, but it was a very good interview. If you didn’t catch it, go here and read it. It has especially good comments regarding using metaphors and similies, something my writing can definitely use work on.

I’m going to take a little pause from reviewing books over December so I can catch up on some other books, including reading some Koontz!