Following novels set in the worlds of epic fantasy and techno-thrillers, Thomas Locke (Davis Bunn) now turns his sights on interplanetary adventure.
As internationally-acclaimed author Davis Bunn, he’s sold more than seven million books in twenty languages. But under his pseudonym Thomas Locke, Davis has been applying his literary skills to science fiction and fantasy—and reaching a whole new set of readers with his mind-bending stories. In this exclusive interview with FamilyFiction, the author explains the mission behind his Thomas Locke books, what he has in common with J.R.R. Tolkien, and the faith at the base of all of his novels.
“The crucial element in writing speculative fiction is NOT the speculation. The key to these stories being successful is in anchoring them somehow to reality.”
Under his own name, Davis Bunn has sold millions of books to readers of thrillers and historical fiction. When an author is on such a winning streak, why create a new name and tackle a different genre altogether?
“For the past several years, I’ve grown increasingly concerned over the all-pervading darkness that nowadays forms the core of both character development and story within the fantasy and science fiction genres,” he says. “I fundamentally dispute this mind-set of exclusively focusing on the new, the dark, and the hopeless.”
As part of his mission to bring a new light into an entire category of fiction, Davis Bunn created the pseudonym “Thomas Locke.” So, far he’s launched the Legends of the Realm series (epic fantasy), the Fault Lines series (techno-thrillers), and now he transports into interplanetary SF with his brand-new epic Recruits (Revell).
For these novels, he follows the classic Greek structure at the base of the fantasy genre. “All the Thomas Locke projects hold to the original Greek structure of inherent value, what Hollywood refers to as ‘leave-behind,’” the author explains. “In Recruits, the principal characters rise from nothing to forge an alliance that has profound and far-reaching impact, simply by accepting the challenge of their own self-worth.”
With Recruits, he’s returned to the stories that framed so much of his early reading: “The characters are beset by impossible circumstances—yet arrive at a point where they can not just survive, but achieve greatness.”
He points out that while the Thomas Locke books are written from a Christian worldview, they are not overtly evangelical stories. Instead, they harken back to what J.R.R. Tolkien did with The Lord of the Rings.
“Tolkien was a survivor of the trenches in World War I,” Davis explains. “When war returned with World War II, the darkness he saw was difficult for him, personally. He felt as if the world had not healed. In The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he offered a new concept of lore that acknowledged the grip of war, the darkness people faced that had to be combatted, and the courage that was required.”
And that, precisely, what Davis aims to do with his Thomas Locke series.
“I’m not putting forth a Christian message for believers,” he says. “I’m creating a new kind of story that includes the positive aspects that come from our life walk: Courage in the face of hardship. Growth. Change. The meeting of life’s challenges. The need for a greater vision. Compassion. And above all, hope.”
While speculative fiction is relatively new territory for Davis, he has a firm grasp on what makes these stories successful.
“The crucial element in writing speculative fiction is NOT the speculation. The key to these stories being successful is in anchoring them somehow to reality. With most speculative fiction, this comes down to making the emotions of the characters, and the characters themselves, come alive so powerfully that their world and their adventures become real as well.”
He’s accomplished this with Recruits, which is populated with characters that readers will connect with and root for. Unlike the “choose your side” characters in the gaming market, Locke’s characters espouse heroic values. And though the Christian themes are below the surface, they are at the center of who the author is as a person.
“My faith is center to all my works, both those intended for evangelical publishers and those aimed at the mainstream,” he says. “There is no difference except whether I openly express my devotion.”
MORE BY THOMAS LOCKE
Series: Legends of the Realm
The Captive: A Legends of the Realm Story
Emissary (Legends of the Realm #1)
Merchant of Alyss (Legends of the Realm #2)
Series: Fault Lines
Double Edge: A Fault Lines Story
Trial Run (Fault Lines #1)
Flash Point (Fault Lines #2)