When did you first decide to become a writer?
I first started writing in August 2007. Prior to that, I thought I had no aspirations to write. I was living my life, homeschooling my kids. But I turned thirty-seven and
something clicked. Mid-life crisis, maybe? Whatever it was, I found myself
telling my husband that I felt like I needed to do something, but didn’t know what.
He looked at me and said, “I’ve told you, if you want to write a book I’ll be supportive.”
I said, “I never said I want to write a book!”
He said, “Yes…you did.”
The next thing I knew, I was at Barnes & Noble and memories were flooding me. Mainly of my teen years and my attempts at writing, which I blew off because I didn’t think I was cut out for it. I could draw—I was an artist, plain and simple! But writing?
A few days later, I sat in front of the computer and told myself that if the words came, I’d pursue writing a novel. If they didn’t, that was it, I was done. They came. I kept going. The end result was my YA fantasy, Finding Angel, which released September
2011. And I’m now nearly done with the sequel.
What attracts you to the fantasy genre?
Everything! Magic and dragons and Elves and enchanted forests and castles and unicorns and…
Seriously, I grew up on fantasy. While other kids were reading Black Beauty and Nancy Drew, I was reading books like The Phantom Tollbooth and A Wrinkle in Time. I honestly don’t remember a time when I didn’t love the genre. If I could put a finger on it, I would. It’s just always drawn me. Everything about it.
Why do you think fantasy is so popular among young people?
It is pure imagination. It’s something that lets kids have adventures, travel to other lands, and have powers they can’t have in the real world. That’s the surface answer. But I also think fantasy is a natural pull for many kids. There’s something inside us that tells us there is more than the world around us. Fantasy is an expression of that pull.
Some Christians see fantasy as anti-Christian, as something kids should stay away from. But I think it’s the opposite. Fantasy makes us think outside the limits of our physical world. When I think of fantasy, I think of going beyond what can be seen with my eyes and touched with my hands. Fantasy says, This can’t be all there is. Before it is drilled out of them by secular society, kids know in their hearts there is something, Someone, greater than this world, and they are drawn to it.
Tell us about your new book, Finding Angel.
Angel Mason was found wandering with amnesia at the age of six. She was taken in by a loving foster family, but she always feels like she doesn’t quite belong. She’s a bookworm, and has a particular fascination with fantasy stories—drawn to them because something inside her wants desperately to believe magic is real.
At the age of thirteen, she meets a boy named Gregor. He knows who she is and where she’s from, but isn’t expecting Angel to not remember. One evening, he’s forced to save her life—with magic—and it triggers the return of Angel’s memory of the night he saved her life before, seven years prior, when she was lost from her homeland.
Angel insists on being taken to her real home, where she learns that, like Gregor, she has magic. While she waits for her parents to return, strange things happen that convince Angel the madman who attacked her as a child has returned, and she is determined to discover her role in stopping him.
Do you believe that science and magic are related? If so, how? If not, why not?
That is a tricky question. Since I don’t believe magic is actually real, I can’t say I think they are related. In my novel, I use magic
is a symbol, though, of the supernatural. It is representative of the way we are able to do more than we are actually capable of if we allow Christ to work through us. And I believe Christianity and science are related, because science needs to be looked at in the context of a Creator.
I hold a bachelor degree in biology, which means I spent several years having evolutionary theory drilled into my head. Everything I was taught was in the context of there being no God. But it didn’t sit right with me. If anything, all the complexity and improbability of life pointed directly to the existence of God. Same facts, different conclusion. Same facts, different world view.
I tried to capture that in my novel by having science with magic, and ordinary science that doesn’t see its existence. It’s by no means a direct correlation, because God can’t be simplified like that. But the idea gets across—you look at it based on your perspective. If you have magic, you’ll see it manifested in the physical world just like having faith allows you to see
God’s signature in everything around you.
And speaking of God’s signature, I have to say…my favorite character in Finding Angel is an Elven musician named Kalek who can “sing the songs of the stars.” After Angel hears him play and thanks him, he says to her, “…it is the stars in the heavens
you should speak to…They are the song-makers. We merely carry their proclamations to your ears, so you can see the evidence of the handiwork around you.” His ability is inspired by Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
What advice would you give to young people about magic?
Remember the difference between fantasy and reality. There is fantasy magic and real-world magic, and they are very different things. The Bible warns against “sorcery” but it’s not the “sorcery” found in fantasy novels, with wizards and wands and such. What the Bible warns against is tapping into the powers of demons and trying to summon the dead. In other words, reaching beyond this realm in search of powers not meant for us.
Fantasy magic is an innate ability, or an innate quality of an object. And it’s pretend. It’s fairy dust and making things move with a thought. Fantasy magic isn’t about having power over others, it’s just about being able to do more than we’re capable of doing here.
Finding Angel is a finalist in the Indie book awards.
Congratulations! What other recognition have you received during your writing career?
Thank you! Yes, I’m super excited about the Indie award!
Finding Angel is also a finalist in the 2011 Grace Awards and the 2012 Compton Crook Award.
Also, a short story of mine, “Willing Blood,” won Editor’s Choice in 2009 in a magazine called The Absent Willow Review. (Unfortunately, the magazine no longer exists, but I loved the stories it contained and I was very honored!)
Thank you so much for coming by to spend some time with us. We wish you much success in your writing
Thank you, too! I had fun!