What are the challenges of building a fantastical world while keeping it grounded in a biblical worldview?
Actually, I think the way that you phrased it is kind of the answer to the challenge, at least for me. As I begin to build a new story-world, I intentionally think about the themes and the symbolism that will be woven into the story and into the structure of the world and whatever natural or magical systems power it.
Those themes and symbols are “grounded” in Scripture. And so there, in the very building blocks of my world, my characters, and my plot, I hope to weave a string of biblical DNA, if you will.
Our God is a Creator and He is infinitely creative. I love seeing God’s creativity in the world around me. Just take a peek inside the ocean if you want to be totally wowed and awed by beauty and diversity!
As a fantasy writer, I love that I get to explore this aspect of God’s character, His creativity, on a very tiny scale. And as I explore and let my imagination run wild, fueled by Scripture, I want the stories I tell and the worlds I dream up to leave readers longing to understand the Great Story that God has been weaving in our world since He created it.
What do you hope readers come away with after reading Song of Leira?
Hope. Song of Leira drops the readers into a world that has been broken and torn by the events of the previous books in the series. During the time that I was writing this book, there were multiple heart-breaking events that happened within my close community and among families that I knew or was connected with online. I was struck with how broken our world is and how helpless we can feel in the face of that.
And yet, in Song of Leira, I wanted readers to be able to enter that place of brokenness and weep, and yet also to be drawn beyond by the story toward restoration, toward the great reversal, toward hope.
So when it came time to write the dedication for the book, I knew what the words needed to be:
To all who long for restoration
For broken hearts to be mended
And weary souls to be renewed
This tale is penned for you.
What was the most challenging part of writing this trilogy?
Because I wrote this trilogy over a span of several years, one of the most challenging parts for me was picking up threads that had been set in place back in book one, Orphan’s Song, and then weaving them into the climax of book three, Song of Leira.
And the story grew and grew and grew. I remember hitting 100,000 words and realizing how much of the story still needed to be told!
But once it was finished, seeing how all of those threads had come together so beautifully—many of them in ways I had not initially imagined—was my favorite part of writing the whole trilogy.
As you were writing these books, were there any characters who surprised you?
Yes, actually, so many of them! When I am writing, I really try to get inside the heads of all my characters, including my antagonists and secondary characters.
And I am often surprised to root out what is really driving each of those characters which can lead to surprising moments in the story that I might not have anticipated otherwise.
So in Song of Leira, I was surprised by several characters who wound up acting or reacting in ways that ultimately made sense, but that I would never have planned if I hadn’t taken the time to really get to know them.
Click through to learn how faith impacts her as a storyteller…