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Posts Tagged ‘Speculative Fiction’

Author Interview: Philip Dodd

In Author Interviews, On writing on April 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

Phillip Dodd

 

Today I am pleased to introduce to my audience the author of the Christian Fiction novel, Angel War.  I was pleased to meet him on Goodreads, and as his work deals with the same subject matter as my own I wanted to get to know him and appreciate his own take on the fall of Lucifer story.  Phillip has a degree in English literature from Newcastle University, and has been writing songs, stories and poems since he was twelve. Angel War is his first published novel. He was thirty four when he first began to write it in 1986 and sixty when he completed the final version of it in September, 2012. It took him twenty six years to write.

So lets get started shall we?

Tell us about your book Phillip. Why did you write it and who is it targeted towards?

My book, Angel War, was inspired by Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation, which speaks of the war in heaven, fought between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. The Bible only says that the war happened, but not why, so I decided to write my own version of the events of the war and its aftermath. My story is essentially the biography of Azel, the Prince of the White Castle of the Angels of Light, the one who begins the war in heaven and who later becomes known on Earth as Lucifer, the Devil, Satan. When I first read Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation, when I was a fifteen year old schoolboy,  I was astounded by the idea of there being a war in heaven, which led me to an interest in angels in The Bible, literature, painting and sculpture, and finally to begin to write, in 1986, when I was thirty four, what became Angel War.  My book could be called a work of fantasy fiction, rooted in The Bible. I think it would appeal to Bible readers and those who like to read fantasy fiction.

 

What were some of the biggest challenges in writing the book?

Though my book is a work of fantasy fiction, it is presented as a history, the history of the angels of the angel lands and how it came to affect human history on Earth. So the biggest challenge I had in the writing of my story was to make that history consistent and convincing. It was also a great task for me to create on the page my own versions of such people from The Bible as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Judas, Peter, John, Mary and Joseph, Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

 

What advice would you give other novelists?

When you have finally finished your story, understand that it is only the first draft, a base to build upon. When you have finished your final draft, you will know, for you will feel satisfied that there is nothing else you can do to improve what you have written. Study The Writers and Artists Yearbook and as many sites about publishing on the internet that you think will be helpful to you. Do not read narrowly. You may feel safe with your favorite authors and kind of book, but there are worlds elsewhere in other kinds of books. Learn from the masters. Classic novels have lasted for a reason, mostly because they are good tales, well written.

 

Tell us about your journey of faith. How did you become a Christian?

Looking back, I have happy memories of singing hymns and carols at junior school. I thought most about Jesus and The Bible at Christmas and Easter time, and when I went to Sunday school. Through my love of literature, I came to know more about Jesus from many different angles through the works of different writers. What truly drew me to Christianity is the story at its heart, the life of Jesus on Earth, which could not be more moving. That story has always been there in my life, so I have always been a Christian. It means more to me now, of course, now that I am sixty two, and I understand it more.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors and or books to read?

My favourite novelists are Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Mervyn Peake, J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Franz Kafka, Dostoevsky and Hermann Hesse. Mythology is one of my interests, so I like The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, Gilgamesh, The Elder Edda and Beowulf. Poetry is another one of my interests. My favourite poets are William Shakespeare, John Keats, William Wordsworth, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

 

Now that you’ve written your book, what other projects if any are you working on?

Recently, I completed the final version of my light-hearted science fiction story for older children and adults, called Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle. I hope to publish it in 2015. One day, I would like to publish a collection of my poems. At the moment, I am only writing verses, but I hope to write another story sometime in the future.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The basic theme of my novel is the battle between good and evil. If it has a message it is that whereas good is natural, evil is not natural and that it will be utterly defeated one day, as The Bible promises

 

When did you start writing?

When I was twelve, in 1964, I wrote on a scrap of paper the lyrics of my first song. It was the first thing I had written that was not for school. From then on, I have never stopped writing songs, poems and stories.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write simple, straightforward prose. I try to make it flow with no snag in its path and to sound close to poetry when I can.

 

How did you come up with the title?
I wanted the word angel in the title, as my book is concerned mostly with angels and their history, and I wanted the word war, too, so I reduced it down to those two words, put together, to form Angel War.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

In the final chapters of the book, there are references to events in human history, like the sinking of the Titanic, and the tension between America and the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980’s,  but seen in a new way, as events happening because of the war between the Dragon on his Citadel throne and the Father in Heaven, so the events are described realistically, but not as they are written of in human history books.

 

What books have influenced your life most?

The King James Version of the Holy Bible was the main inspiration for my book and it is the one that has influenced my life most. Since it was first published, it has had a greater influence on the history of English literature than some might think.

 

What books are you reading now?

At the moment, I am reading quite a few poetry books, some of them written by fellow members of the Poetry group on Goodreads, such as The Tenderness of Mountains by Lisa Marie Gabriel and A Rough Deliverance by Nancy Bevilaqua. After enjoying reading his collection of poems about his life working on river boats in America, called The Candle On The Reef, I will soon be reading a book of religious poems by Robert R. Whitford, called The Word, The Breath, The Saving Grace. Recently, I enjoyed reading the final, unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, called The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

 

Angel warWho designed the cover?

For the front cover of my book, I chose a print, called The Woman and the Dragon by Gustave Dore, one of his Bible illustrations, and for the back cover I chose another one of his prints, called The Fall of Babylon.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Having to discard chapters that I was proud of in order to make my story as short as possible was the hardest part of writing my book.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

When I was writing my book, I learned that characters truly do have a life of their own. Often a character would say or do something that I did not plan or predict. That is one of the great mysteries and pleasures of writing fiction. When you are actually inside your story, while you are writing it, things happen that can seem magical.

 

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Because my book is rooted in The Bible, I found myself rereading parts of The Bible and looking at books about The Bible, to get certain facts right in my story. That was a challenge, but an interesting, worthwhile and enjoyable one. The most challenging character to create in my story was its main one, Prince Azel, who later becomes known as the Dragon, Lucifer, the Devil, Satan. It was psychologically hard to get him right, even disturbing at times, to make him believable as a character, particularly when he speaks and writes his true thoughts, but I was pleased in the end with what I managed to get down on paper. I did my best. My book took me twenty six years to write. Often the writing of it was a struggle, but it was well worth the strain.

I want to thank Phillip for taking the time to be with us today and you can find Phillip’s book Angel War on Amazon

 

D

 

 

 

Author Interview with Carole McDonnell

In Author Interviews, On writing on January 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

Carole McDonnell

Today I would like to welcome author Carole McDonnell, author of the book The Constant Tower and the Wind Follower.

Thanks for allowing me to interview you Carol.  So tell us about your book. 

My newest release is The Constant Tower.  It’s Christian spec-fic.  It’s set on a planet where at the rise of the third moon, humans get tossed across the planet.  There are towers and longhouses, which have to contend with this problem and clans with different kinds of technology.  The theme is about being stuck in one’s tribe but the main plot is about a young prince who wants to please his father and flee his tribe.  But who can flee in a world like this?  Where would you go?

What were some of the biggest challenges in writing the book?

The first was finishing it.  I tend to work on so many things all at once that actually finishing a project requires effort.  The second was my memory of my first book Wind Follower.  Folks either hated it or loved it.  They complained that it was too Christian or not Christian enough, or too complicated or too sexual.  It’s very hard to write a second book when the success of the first book is aways in your mind.

Any advice would you give new novelists?  

It depends on if you want to self-publish or not. If you are aiming to be published by a traditional publishing company, you have to write to please the editors and you have to fit into a specific niche.  If you self-publish, you can write whatever you want to.  However, the important thing is to write well.  Get a good group of friends who will critique you and be open to suggestions.

Tell us about your journey of faith. 

How did you become a Christian?  — I really don’t know.  My family loved Jesus, going to Church, and the Bible.  There was no time where I said, “I will be a Christian now.”  I was always a Christian, always loving the Bible since childhood.  But there are many times when I grew deeper in my commitment to and faith in Christ.

Constant TowerWho are some of your favorite authors and or books to read?  

The Bible, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Henry James, various British poets.  I read a lot of poetry and memoirs.

 Now that you’ve written the book what other projects if any are you working on?

I’m working on two novels, two non-fiction books, some short stories, and a screenplay. The novels are a contemporary Christian young adult novel called My Life as an Onion, an adult contemporary novel called The Daughters of Men. The non-fiction books are Blogging the Psalms, and A Fool’s Journey Through the Book of Proverbs.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?   

I always try to write about God’s love and about how cultural identification works with one’s faith.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not really but I often write in a folklorist fairy-tale style.

How did you come up with the title?   

Wind Follower is about someone who follows God, who is the Breath of Life and the “Wind.”  The Constant Tower is about the search for the “constant tower” a place where one finds the true and constant God.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In the first novel, Wind Follower, I wanted to talk about the problem First Nations have because Christianity was often brought by imperialistic nations who had conquered them. The second novel, Constant Tower, is about how religious, racial, and tribal groups often argue with themselves when they should be battling the demonic world.  In addition, we are thinking of the wrong people as enemies, wasting our strength, being tools of the demonic, when the end of time is so near upon us.

How much of the book is realistic?

I often think Fantasy is realistic.  More realistic than mainstream novels which don’t show spiritual or supernatural issues, more realistic than Science Fiction which is a false hope because so many futuristic events and inter-planetary space flight probably will not happen before Jesus comes.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the events are based on my experiences but not that many.  In my contemporary WIP, however, there are many events that mirror my own life.  This has been a problem because it weighs down the story sometimes and I have to watch carefully lest I fill the book with grudges.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?  

I wouldn’t change anything but I would probably add some new stuff or clarified a few things. This happens a lot because one keeps thinking about the characters and the world.  I would also have proofed it a bit more to get rid of the typos.

I want to thank Carole for spending time with us today.  If you are interested in learning more feel free to check her out her writings at the following links.

 Fantasy Novel, The Constant Tower

Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction ebook

spirit fruit book

Wind Follower, a Christian multicultural fantasy