In the 1980s, Frank Peretti changed the face
of Christian fiction with his tales of angels,
demons and the power of prayer in
Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.
Following in Peretti’s footsteps—and
honoring the Bible’s focus on the spiritual
realm—here are five authors who challenge
readers to think beyond the physical world.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of FamilyFiction Edge digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!

James L. Rubart

James L. Rubart’s goal for his latest novel, Soul’s Gate (Thomas
Nelson), was to pen a story that reflected how much freedom
there can be in Jesus, without any intention that it be a novel
about spiritual warfare. “I discovered,” explains Jim, “it’s impossible
to write a story about freedom without depicting the warfare
we have to get through to gain that freedom. Look at the New
Testament: angels, demons, war. Look at the Old Testament: angels,
demons war.”

The Well Spring Trilogy centers on four ordinary
people, subject to a prophecy long ago that they would
bring great healing and freedom to the nations. “They
do this in extraordinary ways such as sending their
spirits inside other people’s souls, teleportation,
entering other spiritual realms, and learning to hear
the voice of the Spirit with great clarity,” says Jim.
Choosing not to resort to stereotypical fanged,
drooling demons or 10-feet tall, blinding angels, Jim took another
approach. “Not wanting to give away too much, I will say it was
stimulating to develop angels and demons that interact in ways
I think become almost too believable at times.” That said, Jim is
very conscious of readers’ expectations to have a biblical basis for
what he writes.

Jim’s desire is for his readers: “More freedom. Deep healing.
Unfettered joy. I love getting those kinds of notes from readers
when they say those things have happened for them.”

Ian Acheson

Debut novelist Ian Acheson began writing Angelguard (Kregel)
more than 10 years ago and always knew it would feature angels
and demons. “All my life I’ve loved thrilling, suspenseful stories
of good and evil. I think we all do—super heroes, to Tolkien, C.S.
Lewis, Ted Dekker and so on. Frank Peretti’s Darkness books had
a big impact on me when they first released.”

In Angelguard, Australian scholar Jack Haines is stunned when
angelic guards charge him with a special mission after terrorist
bomb blasts rock London, Los Angeles and Sydney. “Angelguard reveals the timeless supernatural war that continues unabated and its intersection with our physical
world,” shares Ian. “In bringing the warring angels
and demons to the forefront of a rollicking tale that
crosses the globe, I wanted to highlight the ferocity of
this conflict.”

Angelguard’s angelic warriors have excellent fighting
abilities, a higher sense of holiness and a strong
sense of compassion for humans. Surprisingly, some
are also female. Ian explains, “Angels and demons are created
beings. Certainly I don’t believe there is any reference to a femalelooking
angel in the Bible, but I believe it was Thomas Aquinas
who proposed angels could assume whatever form was needed to
do God’s work. So why not, a female?”

Ian’s story gives readers much to ponder with three truths paramount:
“There is a spiritual battle going on around us, prayer is
powerful, and salvation is a great supernatural act we experience
as humans.”

Lis Wiehl

The East Salem Trilogy (Thomas Nelson) reveals journalist and
author Lis Wiehl’s worldview that good always wins and that
faith sustains you. “In a position such as mine, always chasing
the next big story, you see some heinous things; and as a mom
and Christian, it’s hard to process the evil in our world. This series
is ultimately about good versus evil and the battle that rages
around us in the spiritual realm between angels and demons.”

Waking Hours and Darkness Rising are part of a
gripping three-part supernatural mystery thriller in
which a pair of unlikely detectives—forensic psychiatrist
Dani Harris and retired football player Tommy
Gunderson—find themselves in the middle of a spiritual
war between good and evil where demons and
angels vie for souls, and the future of mankind hangs
in the balance. Like many of us, Dani and Tommy have
a hard time acknowledging that supernatural powers
are at play, but ultimately it becomes undeniable.

It made sense to Lis to write about the spiritual realm: “Readers
are fascinated by stories touching on the supernatural because
we’re naturally intrigued by its presence in our daily lives.”

While unearthly beings inhabit her story, Lis was firmly in this
world when she created the town of East Salem for her trilogy.
“It’s been really enjoyable to craft this series, which hits close
to home—East Salem is a fictional town based on Westchester
County, where I live.”

Heather Burch
Heather Burch’s Young Adult Halflings Trilogy (Zondervan) is
populated by heroes who are half-angel and half-human. Raven,
Mace and Vine vow to protect 17-year-old Nikki Youngblood
as she is hunted by men and demons in Halflings, Guardian and
Avenger. Once the story idea came to Heather, she couldn’t shake it.
“I had to tell the story of these superhero young people; but there
was something else going on, as well. I had been asking myself,
“How do you show what a gift salvation is?” It hit me:
Create a race who aren’t offered it. What if that race
still chose to serve God with no promise of eternity?”

A Scripture verse in Genesis that talks about the
sons of God marrying the daughters of man piqued
Heather’s imagination. “Some people think this could
be half-angel beings. We really don’t know for sure;
but as an author, my mind started wondering, “What
if a race such as that existed? What would it be like
for them now?” That was just too interesting not to explore in the
confines of fiction.”

Underlying all three books is the theme of sacrifice. “The
Halflings make sacrifices to protect Nikki,” Heather says. “In the
end, she will be called on to make a most extreme sacrifice for
them. To me, this is the take-away of the books. What would you
be willing to sacrifice for those you love?”

Andrew Farley
In a bold move, and in honor of the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’
death, minister and author Andrew Farley has penned Operation
Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual War
(Baker Books), a sequel to
Lewis’ classic, The Screwtape Letters. “I wanted to honor what
Lewis brought to the fiction world in terms of style and voice,”
shares Andrew. “At the same time, I introduce all-new themes
in Operation Screwtape. My book centers on topics such as grace,
forgiveness and identity in Christ.”

Andrew is a character in his own story, as the premise
highlights: Expert linguist Dr. Andrew Farley
encounters a device containing thousands of archived
files revealing a worldwide spiritual conspiracy.
“Operation Screwtape” is the largest of these files and
details the intelligent scheme to steal, kill and destroy.
“Essentially, the book is about getting over ourselves
and our sins and fixing our eyes on Jesus
instead,” Andrew says. “Many of the enemy’s tactics involve tantalizing
distractions that seem so spiritual but really get us off
track. Operation Screwtape shows how not to be a sucker for his
sales pitch.”

While an entertaining and modern read, Andrew prays for
more. “My hope is that Operation Screwtape will enable readers
to see how loved, how forgiven, how clean and how close to God
they really are.”

That’s not all! More Supernatural and Speculative Fiction Authors Here

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