Even though The Revisionary released in 2017, it remains increasingly relevant to our times. After all, living in 2020 has somewhat felt like living in a dystopian novel (where anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong).
That said, my desire in writing The Revisionary and the other two books in the trilogy was to show hope through dark circumstances. Specifically, my characters find that hope by rediscovering America’s heritage. I want my readers to walk away feeling inspired to press on and do what’s right even if they’re swimming against the popular current.
I’m honored to share an excerpt from this latest book review. For more details and to learn more about this reviewer’s blog, keep reading.
“I’ve seen one dystopian movie and have never been particularly interested in the genre, but after looking at the reviews for The Revisionary, I decided to give this book a try. The Revisionary is the first dystopian book I’ve read, and wow, does it set the bar high for other books in the genre. Five stars is not a high enough rating. The plot is incredible, the characters relatable, and the settings chilling …
“The Revisionary is a powerful, thrilling read. Whatever your opinion of the dystopian genre, this is a book you have to add to your TBR list.”
I first met Kristen in a Facebook readers group and discovered we share two things in common. First, we spell our names the same way. If you’ve ever had someone misspell your name, you know how exciting it is to meet someone else who has the same spelling as you.
Also, we both write young adult dystopian fiction from a Christian worldview. I’m thrilled to share an interview with Kristen today where she talks about her new release, Apprentice, now available on Amazon.
Q: You’ve written several nonfiction books for teens. What prompted you to also branch into young adult fiction and the dystopian genre, in particular?
As a kid I was always reading, so fiction has been a life-long love for me. I have a bit of a soft spot for books like Brave New World, the Hunger Games and so on. I love a good story — one that keeps you on the edge of your seat reading to the end. It was fun to try and write one of those stories for myself.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this dystopian adventure?
First and foremost, I hope they’ll be entertained by the story. But I guess I hope people will also enjoy the themes it raises as it investigates the question of love: what is love, really? What does the word mean? How do we know love when we see it? The dystopian aspect of the story looks at the question of how love and power intersect. What happens when a political power takes a word we all care about and uses it for their own ends?
Q: You’ve lived in the UK, Sydney, and currently live in New South Wales. (That’s in Australia, for my American friends). Have any of the places you’ve lived or visited impacted the setting of this book?
Not for this one. There is another series I’m working on that was inspired by my local region. But this one was more inspired by sterile environments I’ve seen in images than by anywhere I’ve lived.
Q: When did you first start writing for teens, and why do you think reaching this age group through both fiction and nonfiction is important?
I started writing for teens when I was one (quite a long time ago!). For teens, I think they’re living through an age where life can be super threatening – where they are processing issues of identity and purpose and a general sense of “where do I fit in the world?” Fiction gives teens a safe space to explore those questions in a way that non-fiction doesn’t always manage as well. Fiction helps us to process issues that are often too threatening to deal with in real life. In fiction we get to see characters triumph over adversity. We watch the characters experiment with different actions and consequences, and make choices that we might not be brave enough to make. So through fiction, we learn to orient ourselves in the world even while we’re being entertained.
“Through fiction, we learn to orient ourselves in the world even while we’re being entertained.” ~ Kristen Young on @khogrefeparnell
Q: As writers, we often don’t get to see how our writing influences others. However, sometimes readers do reach out and share with us. What has been the most encouraging feedback you’ve received?
I received feedback on one of my books from a non English-speaking reader a few years ago – they tracked me down through Facebook to say that they’d managed to get a copy in their country. It was a little mind-blowing to find that my work had travelled so far around the world. That was super encouraging!
Q: What has been the most challenging and/or most rewarding part of being a writer?
The most challenging part is the waiting. The concept of ‘overnight success’ is a complete furphy (as we say in Australia). That is, it’s non-existent. It took me several practice novels and a lot of writing before Apprentice was born. In between, there were long, painful periods of waiting to hear from publishers and other professionals.
Q: Can you hint when readers might expect to see the sequel to Apprentice?
2021 is going to be a good year. Is that enough of a hint? 🙂
Meet Author Kristen Young whose new Christian dystopian novel for young adults is the latest extension of her heart for teens.
Kristen Young was born (and spent a memorable first few months of her life) in the UK, grew up in Sydney, but now lives in the Central West of NSW with her husband, three children, and slightly neurotic dog. She has been involved in church-based ministry for over 20 years, and loves helping people of any age to see how awesome Jesus is. Kristen has had a number of books published, beginning with The Survival Guide series of devotions for teens. What if? Dealing with Doubt is a book for anyone from high school age onward, and aims to help anyone struggling with doubts about God, Jesus, or faith. In more recent years she has been writing fiction, and Apprentice, the first book in the Collective Underground trilogy is being released through Enclave Escape in October, 2020.
The Love Collective is everywhere. It sees everything. Be not afraid.
Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy – home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.
Flick’s uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger’s nightmare over and over again?
Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she’s always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.
Happy first day of October! I’m pinching myself over here, because Florida actually feels like fall right now. This morning was in the 60s! Northern friends, just humor me here. That’s a big deal for Florida.
What better time of year to “fall” in love with fiction? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!) I’m excited to share that my young adult dystopian trilogy, The Rogues, is on sale from October 1 through 5 for only $.99 on Kindle!
The Rogues trilogy blends suspense, science fiction, and American history into a saga that offers hope through a rediscovery of heritage. One reader said:
“I’ve read my fair share of dystopian fiction, Christian and secular alike, and this is hands down my favorite to date. It’s unique, clever, inspiring, and challenging, and prompts me as a reader to revisit history not only to learn from, but engage with it.”
You all are in for a treat today! Hope Bolinger is a literary agent and multi-published YA novelist who has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. She’s an inspiration for young writers (and “young at heart” writers too), and today, she shares about her latest release in her modern-day Daniel series.
Q: What prompted you to write a contemporary fiction series on Daniel?
It all started in a college class. We were going over the Old Testament in a semester, and during the unit on Daniel, the teacher said, “Daniel and his friends would’ve been 14 or 15 when they were taken into the Babylonian captivity.” That always struck me. I’d thought of them as being 20 or 30. But these teens are standing strong in their cultural identity and are thriving. I wanted to see what that looked like now.
Q: Danny and his friends deal with serious drama and trouble from the schools they attend. Did any of your own experiences shape some of their situations?
Legally, I’m not sure how much I can spill on this, but in short, yes. One of the schools I attended, which shall remain nameless, contributed a great deal of content in the book. It’s so funny because when I talked with high schoolers on the book, they asked, “Legally, how is this possible?” And I said, “Actually, a great deal of what goes down happened on some level in my own experience.” All three books in the trilogy have a kernel of truth in what I experienced at said school.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this series and why?
Oh, Hannah. She’s basically Tumblr and Hot Topic meets Christianity. She never minces words and is everything I wish I could be if I didn’t have a filter.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?
I hope they walk away with some form of a discussion. This series tackles relevant topics from cyberbullying to school shootings to mental health. I know I don’t go easy on readers in this series, but teens deal with this stuff every day. If we don’t talk about the problem, the problems will never get fixed.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring young writers?
So many things I could put in this answer! The most obvious is, obviously, don’t give up. You’ll be surprised just how many steps it takes from writing that first draft to getting it in front of readers.
And second, learn everything you can about publishing. I started querying at 17 years old, only having written books for a year, and I did NOT know what I was getting myself into. It takes a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of learning.
Q: In addition to Den, releasing this week, you have another book scheduled to release next year. What can you tell us about it?
Yes, ma’am! So I have a superhero chat-fiction “Dear Hero” releasing with INtense Publications this September 2020. It follows the story of a Hero and Villain as they meet on a Nemesis-pairing app. Basically Tinder for heroes and villains. They fight, but they don’t expect to fall in love.
The sequel for that is projected to come out in April of 2021, and if the publisher gives the green light, the final book in the Blaze trilogy should release in August of 2021.
Meet Hope Bolinger, a multi-published novelist and literary agent whose Modern-Day Daniel series challenges young adults to confront the lions in their own lives.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent and multi-published YA novelist (Blaze, Den, and Dear Hero). When she isn’t busy racking up 60+ bylines, she loves to connect with readers at hopebolinger.com
About DEN: If You Don’t Want to Die, Don’t Sleep with Lions
Danny Belte barely survived his sophomore year at King’s Academy, having to deal with horrible initiation practices, stomach-churning cafeteria food, and the constant threat of arson.
His junior year doesn’t start off much better. Facing a series of mysterious suicide attempts that begin on day one–and a disturbing pattern that appears to connect them–Danny has a feeling something far more sinister is at play. He tries to narrow down a list of suspects as those closest to him disappear, one by one.
Can he protect his friends from a possible murderer on the loose? Or will he find himself trapped in a fate worse than a lions’ den?
Subscribe to Kristen’s newsletter for monthly book buzz about Christian fiction for adults and teens, plus be the first to learn about giveaways and personal takeaways for your everyday adventures.
When you join, you’ll receive a free copy of Kristen’s novella, A Cord of Three Strands, the prequel to her award-winning novel, The Revisionary.
Christmas in July keeps getting better! Earlier this week, I shared about the multi-author giveaway I’m taking part in. Now, I’m excited to announce that my entire Rogues trilogy is on sale for $.99 each on Kindle.
Maybe I’m guilty of overusing the word excited, but go ahead, just ask my husband how excited I get about deals. After our last visit to Khols and my semi-gloating on the 80% markdowns I’d snagged, James laughed and said, “You’re practically making money!”
Thank you. My point exactly.
Well, I’m not making money on this sale, and that’s fine by me. As an author and avid reader, I enjoy finding book deals and the chance to try new-to-me authors. When I have the opportunity to be on the giving end, that makes me just as happy.
Where can you grab your copies?
Just skip over to Amazon, and you can find all my books there. And if you come to love my characters and their adventures as much as I do, I’d be grateful if you’d take the time to leave a review.
Happy reading and happy Christmas in July!
Happy Christmas in July Book Sale! Get The Rogues trilogy on Kindle for $.99 each, now through July 30. @khogrefeparnell
Hey, friends! If you live in Florida (or anywhere in the south), you don’t need me to tell you that the weather is hot. If you’re wishing for cooler weather, I can’t help you. But I can bring the next best thing … a Christmas in July book giveaway!
In partnership with Celebrate Lit, I’m including a free Kindle copy of The Revisionary in this month’s multi-author giveaway.
About The Revisionary
Summer is 2149 is anything but steamy. In fact, it’s ice cold, and the political climate, even colder. However, nineteen-year-old Portia blazes forward in her plan to rescue her brother from his satellite exile the only way she knows how: by joining the ruling elite. Her plan derails when she’s wrongly accused of helping the Rogues fighting for freedom the rebel way, and she must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or join those who break them.
Enter the Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win one of two prizes: a $350 Amazon gift card or 45+ books. Click here to enter.
The event and giveaway is going on now through July 26! Open to US residents only.
Enter the Celebrate Lit Multi-Author Giveaway for a chance to win a $350 Amazon gift card or 45+ books, including my dystopian novel The Revisionary. @khogrefeparnell #giveaway
I met Bryan Davis at a writer’s conference several years ago and enjoyed getting to know him and his daughter Amanda (also an author). His books are favorites among the students I teach, and I’m honored to have him be my guest on the blog. In our author chat feature today, he shares about a brand new Christian science fiction series, with the first book releasing today.
Q: What prompted you to write this new series, or what was your inspiration?
This story began as a dream about a dystopian society with a tyrannical regime and a rebel faction trying to bring it down. In the dream, two rebels posed as fake doctors to deliver a toxic vaccine to regime troops, and the novel sprouted from that seed.
Q: What are some science fiction elements in the story that help drive or enhance the storyline (if you can share without giving away spoilers)?
The story has hovercraft drones, a scanner that can see a soul in the brain, a portal in the sky that has been breached by an alien race, weapons that shoot plasma spheres, and a missile designed to destroy a cross-dimensional conduit.
Q: Fiction often mirrors reality, even if the setting, time period, and characters are other-worldly. What aspects of the story might readers find paralleling their own experience?
In this case, the parallels are all too real. The story includes the threat of a contagion that will kill millions and a requirement to take a vaccine that is touted to be helpful but might be hazardous. I wrote the story long before the COVID-19 situation, and the current-events elements came to pass after I completed it.
Q: What message do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I try not to reveal specific story themes that I intended, because I want readers to glean for themselves, but in all of my stories, including this one, I hope to promote faith, courage, and self-sacrifice in my readers.
Q: You’re a household name for fans of young adult Christian fantasy. How is this new series different from some of your other books, and/or how is it similar?
It’s different in the target age—for older teens and adults instead of for middle-graders and younger teens. It is more science fiction than fantasy, though there are some fantastical elements. It is similar in that I continue to feature characters who display sacrificial heroism and other virtues, and the Christian world view never wavers.
Q: How have you seen God use your writing journey in unexpected ways?
In too many ways to describe here. For myself, I have seen God provide in miraculous ways during the lean years, which has helped me more fully understand His sufficiency as I practice contentment. For readers, I hear from them nearly every day that my books have helped them in their faith as well as their physical lives. For example, more than 20 readers have told me that my books kept them from committing suicide. Some have given my stories credit for helping them with drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and self harm. The feedback has been a huge blessing and an overwhelming one.
Q: I know you’ve taught teen track courses at writer’s conferences. What do you enjoy most about talking to teen writers, and what is the best advice you would give them as they work on their own stories?
Teen writers often have great story ideas, and their energy and passion are invigorating and inspiring. Most are ready to listen and learn, and they are looking to make a positive influence.
I encourage teen writers to learn the craft and to exercise patience. It can take years for a new writer to a create professional-level novel. Some, when they are unable to acquire a traditional publisher, jump to self-publishing even though their stories might not be ready to publish. I am not opposed to self-publishing, but I urge young writers to be ready for that step before leaping in.
Q: When can we expect to see the next book in the series?
I don’t have an exact date, and I don’t have a title yet, but it will probably come out early in the spring of 2021.
Enjoy this interview with best-selling author Bryan Davis who talks about his new Christian science fiction series. @khogrefeparnell
Bryan Davis is the author of several fantasy/science fiction series for youth and adults, including the best-selling Dragons in our Midst series. He and his wife, Susie, have seven adult children, and they work together as an author/editor team.
About Heaven Came Down
In the chaotic aftermath of apocalyptic war, the strange lights in the sky heralding the coming of unearthly beings seemed like an answer to prayer. When the heavenly visitors entered selected people and transformed them into angels who demanded obedience in exchange for the restoration of order, the majority accepted their new rulers.
But Ben Garrison and his siblings, Jack and Trudy, have seen a dark side to these so-called angels. They join a rebel faction with one goal: destroy the invaders and free the world from their tyranny.
When the rebels catch wind of an angel plot to invade the resistance region and spread a deadly contagion, the Garrisons embark on a crucial mission to swap the angel troops’ vaccine with a fake injection, stealing the real vaccine to save the rebels. The catch: Ben and Trudy, in disguise as doctors, must volunteer to become implanted by angels and fake their implantation.
The rebels’ plan, however, is soon exposed, jeopardizing the mission and their lives. Their only hope for rescue lies in an odd bounty hunter, a young angel priestess, and a mysterious spy embedded among the angels—a woman whose identity the rebels have yet to discover.
Sometimes, I wondered if this day would come. The search for the right literary agent has been quite the journey.
But the wait was worthwhile. I’m so honored to share that I signed with the Blythe Daniel Agency and Literary Agent Stephanie Alton, who will be representing me on a new Christian Romantic Suspense project I cannot wait for you to read one day!
About My New Project
The setting of this story is near to my life (and heart) as it takes my heroine from her ordinary world in Tampa to the snow-covered slopes of Beech Mountain. Both places are special to me, because I’m a Florida girl by birth, and my husband James proposed to me near Beech Mountain. You’ll get to experience so much of what I love about these settings in this novel.
Here’s a sneak preview of the premise:
Kaley just wants a carefree ski trip with her church singles’ group, but trouble follows her to Beech Mountain. When her last client of the day is murdered hours after she leaves for vacation, she becomes the target of an underworld celebrity who will stop at nothing to keep her secrets buried. The ally Kaley needs to survive is none other than her ex-boyfriend who won’t give up on her, even if she gave up on him.
You can be praying with me as my agent works to place this project with the right publisher.
Introducing My New Agent
Speaking of my agent, I’m excited for you to meet her! But first, some backstory:
It’s so neat how God works in unexpected ways. I met Blythe Daniel, the owner of the Blythe Daniel Agency, several years ago at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. I appreciated so much her professional expertise and also her gracious ability to connect with people on a personal level. Never in my dreams did I imagine that one day, I’d get to be part of her author community.
She connected me with her Blog About Blogger Network, organized by her colleague Stephanie Alton. For a few years, you’ve enjoyed the giveaways made possible through this network right here on the blog.
In March of this year, Faith Pitch on Twitter did a special #FaithOverFear contest where writers could pitch an in-progress project, and the participating editors and agents would each award one person a consultation. Although I figured it was a long shot, I pitched my current WIP (work in progress), and to my delight, won a consultation with Stephanie Alton, also an agent with the Blythe Daniel Agency.
Stephanie has been so helpful in answering my questions and a delight to communicate with. Long story short, I just signed an agreement for her to represent me on my new project.
Because we only see news (like this) and new book release announcements on social media, it often appears that just like that, the book is published.
But that’s not how the publishing industry works. In reality, it’s a slow process that often takes years.
All that to say, it could be over a year or even two before you have this novel in your hands. But in the meantime, I’ll be sharing the journey right here with you, along with other book news, the author chat features I hope you’ve been enjoying, giveaway opportunities, and as always, faith in the everyday adventures of life.
Thanks so much for being my friends and celebrating with me today!
Book News! I’m proud to partner with the Blythe Daniel Agency. @kjhogrefe
I’m excited to introduce you to today’s featured author, Jerusha Agen! This gal has been such a blessing to me as we’ve gotten to know each other through our writing journeys, and today, it’s your turn to be blessed by her. I hope you enjoy this author chat as much as I have!
Q: What prompted you to first write Christian romantic suspense?
The first novels I wrote, which became the Sisters Redeemed Series, were romantic women’s fiction. But a curious thing happened as I was crafting those stories—each book in the three-book series leaned increasingly toward suspense! I realized when I finished that series that I might as well stop fighting the urge to add suspense to everything and embrace it instead!
Since then, I’ve written suspense novels that allow me to revel in the excitement, danger, and fear-fighting courage of the genre. I especially love how suspense stories delve into intense, sometimes dark issues—the places where the love and hope of Christ shine the brightest.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I hope and pray readers will always find in my stories a greater understanding of Who God is and where He is in the midst of suffering. I want my readers to come away with an unshakable hope from the realization that even in the darkest, most difficult circumstances, the Redeemer is there, is in control, and is always good.
Q: How does your Fear Warrior Blog tackle the topic that plagues characters in suspense novels—and many people in real life too? How does your faith shape the way you approach fighting fear?
The Fear Warrior Blog is dedicated to helping people fight against fear in their everyday lives. And you’re right, Kristen, this is an issue that does plague the characters in suspense novels, as well as all of us in real life! Everyone experiences fear at some point in their lives, to varying degrees, and I love to write realistic fiction that depicts that authentic struggle in the lives of characters too.
The characters may face a more palpable or overt danger than many of us do in our lives, but their deepest fears are the same as ours. And the only way to gain victory over fear is the same for us too.
You pinpointed that answer when you asked how faith shapes the way I approach fighting fear. Faith in God is the only way anyone can truly obtain victory over fear and break free from the prison of anxiety, worry, and all forms of fear. The good news is that this faith isn’t a pie-in-the-sky make believe or ignorance of reality. And the other good news is I don’t have to muster some heroic degree of faith myself.
“Faith in God is the only way anyone can truly obtain victory over fear and break free from the prison of anxiety, worry, and all forms of fear.” ~ @SDGwords on @kjhogrefe
This faith that gives us victory over fear is simply acknowledgement of and belief in the truth. And this faith, thank the Lord, isn’t something I have to conjure or force, but rather is a gift from God Himself.
So my faith, the faith God enables me to have, is also the means by which He gives me victory over fear. This fear-fighting weapon is available to everyone who belongs to Christ!
Q: How have you overcome fear in your own life, and how has this experience helped you encourage others?
Since God started me on this journey of fighting fear years ago, He has granted me so many victories, but many of them are in the small steps forward on my path to eventual conquering of that fear.
The most remarkable fear God has enabled me to overcome is my stage fright. I shared the complete story of this victory and how others can beat their own stage fright at the FW Blog, but the short version is that God gave me the faith, wisdom, and radical shift in perspective that enabled me to break free of stage fright. Ironically, this breakthrough happened when I gave a live presentation on fighting fear!
I knew we as Christians could have victory over our fears because the Bible tells me so. However, this experience has equipped and encouraged me to speak this truth to others with even more conviction because I’ve seen the evidence of victory over fear in my own life.
Q: As writers, we often don’t get to see how our writing influences others. However, sometimes readers do reach out and share with us. What has been the most encouraging feedback you’ve received?
I wouldn’t have thought to receive feedback on my writing during a pandemic, but I got a hand-written note from an elderly reader the other day who shared that one of my books gave her comfort and helped her pass the time in an enjoyable way while she was quarantined alone.
I never expected a story I wrote would bring encouragement to a sweet woman alone during such a time. But God knew how it would be used, just as He knows how He will use each of the posts I write for the Fear Warrior Blog, where I have often been astounded and encouraged by feedback from readers who were strengthened for their battles against fear.
I am awed by the privilege to have my words used by God to help others!
Q: Can you hint about what next project you have in the works?
I’m delighted you asked this, Kristen, because I’m currently working on getting my debut romantic suspense novel ready to launch with Love Inspired! I’d like to share with your readers the official title, for the first time in public: Rising Danger.
Rising Danger, which will be among the first books published with Love Inspired’s new trade line, is slated to release in July 2021. The novel tells the exciting story of a woman and her explosives detection K9 who stand between a city and a bomber.
That’s all I can say for now, but I’ll be sharing more exclusive updates and insider peeks with members of the Fear Warrior Suspense community (my awesome newsletter subscribers) in the coming months. I hope you’ll all join me by visiting FearWarriorSuspense.com.
Meet Romantic Suspense Author Jerusha Agen whose Fear Warrior blog equips readers to fight fear in their everyday lives and whose suspense novels remind them of the One who provides the victory. @kjhogrefe
Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner, but knows God is there too. So naturally, she writes romantic suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Rising Danger, releases in July 2021.
With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is a speaker, writing instructor, and author of the Fear Warrior Blog, where she writes about fighting against fear in our everyday lives.
You’ll often find Jerusha sharing irresistibly adorable photos of her Furry Fear Warriors (three big dogs and two little cats) on social media.
Jerusha is giving away Introverted, a free romantic suspense story, to anyone who signs up to join the Fear Warrior Suspense community! Follow this link to get your free story at FearWarriorSuspense.com!
She never invites visitors. But visitors sometimes invite themselves.
When a winter storm brings more than snow, May Denver is forced to flee from her home and fight for her life. Can she trust an unwanted neighbor and risk her greatest fear in order to survive?
Have you ever talked to someone ONCE and come away thinking, “Wow, she’s so cool but totally down to earth, and I think we could be friends in real life?” That’s how I feel about award-winning author Lindsay A. Franklin. Although I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her in person, the emails we’ve exchanged make me hope that our paths will cross one day.
For now, though, I’m thrilled for you to meet her right here on the blog as she shares about her Christian fantasy series, The Weaver Trilogy, and its epic conclusion, The Story Hunter, releasing today.
Q: What inspired the fantasy element of “story strands” and the concept of “weaving stories” as being a special power some characters possess?
The series was inspired by the phrase “story peddler,” which I heard an acquisitions editor say in a workshop about the publishing process. She was referring to selling manuscripts to her publishing board, but I wondered what it might be like to be a “story peddler” in a world where art was magic and “story” had to be something a traveling peddler (in the more traditional sense) might sell—something physical. Why strands that solidify into crystal? I have no idea! It just came out of my imagination that way.
Q: Who is one of your favorite characters from the Weaver Trilogy and why?
I have a lot of favorite characters in this story, even when I’m forcing them to make terrible decisions (Brac comes to mind there). Digwyn is the most personal to me, as her story is the most based on mine, but something personal is poured into each of them. My love for my father is in Yestin. My close relationship with my daughter is in Tannie (on whom I based Tanwen, back when my daughter was only five). Kharn’s easygoing nature and his dorky dad jokes are a wink at my beloved husband. There’s a little something I love (or love to hate in some cases!) in each of them.
Q: The characters in your stories experience the loss of friends and family throughout their journeys. When Tanwen asks how she can make the loss stop hurting, she’s told, “It’s supposed to hurt. Because people matter. And when we lose them, it hurts. It leaves a void.” Why do you think this truth is so important to include in fiction, and how do you think it can help readers who have experienced loss?
It’s human nature to try to avoid pain. It leads to a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms. Avoidance. Denial. Numbing. I think it’s important to accept that some things are supposed to hurt. Life is hard. Our world is fallen. Pain is inevitable. Doctors tell us physical pain is important because it shows us where the injury is, where the disease lies, what’s broken. Emotional pain is the same. Allowing yourself to ride those waves of pain, rather than trying futilely to fight against or ignore them, is the beginning of processing your grief so you can heal and one day move into your new normal—one that will always honor and in some sense grieve the ones you lost but will allow you to live on without them.
Q: An important topic The Story Hunter explores is choosing forgiveness over revenge. Why do you think this message is so powerful, not only for a fiction story like this one, but also in real life?
Forgiveness can be profoundly difficult to practice. By nature, I’m a bit justice obsessed, to be honest. We have a long-running joke in my family of origin. When I was two or three years old, my older sister hit me and was made to apologize. She bounced over to me and threw out a flippant, “Sorry!” I glared at her and said, “The main thing is you did it.” It was utterly shocking and offensive to me that my parents expected me to forgive her just because she said she was sorry. It didn’t erase what she’d done in the first place! So, “The main thing is you did it” became something of catchphrase in our family—usually to poke fun at how ridiculously difficult it was for me to forgive someone who had wronged me.
But when I became a Christian at eighteen, everything changed. I was suddenly sharply aware of my own sin—the many ways I failed on a daily basis, and how woefully desperate I was for God’s grace. Because of Jesus’s atoning sacrifice, God never says, “The main thing is you did it” when we ask for forgiveness. He offers complete forgiveness freely, and it has been my life’s goal to model that in my life whatever way I can. Vengeance merely compounds wrongs. It doesn’t bring healing, it doesn’t bring peace. Vengeance says, “I want you to hurt because I hurt.” Forgiveness sets the offender and the offended free.
Q: Can you hint about what next project you have in the works?
Well…I can tell you it’s a YA portal fantasy, and my research will involve reading and rereading many classic works of literature. The project “code name” is Cosmic Library, which is fantastically terrible. I promise to think of a better title than that!! 😊
Meet author Lindsay A. Franklin who talks about her Weaver Trilogy, latest release, and the power of forgiveness. @kjhogrefe
Lindsay A. Franklin is a Carol Award–winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed marsupial named Wombatman. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and is also on Facebook.
About The Story Hunter, Book 3 in The Weaver Trilogy
Redeeming the past is a fatal quest.
In the wake of a deadly coup, the capital city of Urian has descended into chaos. Heartbreak and bloodshed await Tanwen and her friends as they discover the unlikeliest leader now rules Tir.
If they want to save the realm, Tannie and the Corsyth weavers must rescue Queen Braith and unmask the Master, ending the strife once and for all. But the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts.
The Master has a new target in sight: fragile, trauma-scarred Digwyn, whose unique weaving ability could turn the tide of any war. When the desire for vengeance proves too powerful for Digwyn to resist, Tanwen must face a terrifying truth: the fate of Tir rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl.