What are the challenges of creating a fantastical world while keeping your story grounded in biblical truth?

The challenge is that there are so many different interpretations of biblical truth, it’s impossible to please every reader. In every world I create, I make my own list of rules and truths for that world, then I can measure characters’ actions against that standard. But biblical truths depend on the story and my goal for the story.

The Kinsman Chronicles were allegory for an Old Testament world that would become a New Testament world, so I was able to make a lot of biblical parallels. A story I’m currently working on is about a much subtler biblical truth of being created in the image of God, so that story won’t have as many biblical parallels for every little aspect of the story and world.

King’s War is your twentieth book. (Congratulations!) What have you learned as an author that you wish you’d known starting out?

Thanks! I wish I would have better understood genres. I wrote whatever I wanted to write, as long as it was speculative, and I think that confused my readers in the beginning. I might have done a better job establishing myself and connecting with readers had I stuck with writing fantasy for my first ten or so books, rather than dabbling in science fiction and contemporary and dystopian and childrens.

I have some readers who liked all those genres from me, but overall, I hear from readers who like my fantasy and want more, or like my contemporary and want more. It’s been challenging to decide what to write next and how to brand myself.

In the time since you started, fantasy stories have continued to become more mainstream. (i.e., Harry Potter and Twilight went from being outliers to the norm.) How does that affect you as an author?

It makes me want to write a story for the general market! Ha ha. It also makes discoverability much more challenging. With so many fantasy books out there, it becomes more and more difficult for people to find out that my books exist.

It’s the difference of being in a pool of one hundred fantasy books published in a year compared to one thousand. But I’m glad there are so many books out there for voracious fantasy readers.

Click through to find out how Jill writes fantasy and science fiction for different age groups…

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