For those of you also from the United States, happy Fourth of July.
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Already I can see what fun we’re in for starting next week, when fantasy authors Wayne Thomas Batson, Sharon Hinck, Bryan Davis, and Christopher Hopper take to the road for the Fantastic 4 Fantasy Fiction Tour.
Be sure to check out the web site and read the latest article available about the Fantasy Fiction Tour. And don’t forget to pray. With this talk of settling Pepsi/Coke differences with the swords, I’m starting to worry! 😀
Kidding aside (and not kidding about the “don’t forget to pray” part), I want to continue introducing these authors. Yesterday, I highlighted Bryan Davis, the author of this group who I know best.
Today, I’m bringing you an interview with the author I’ve most recently “met.” This is a virtual meeting, since I haven’t had the privilege of a face-to-face get-together yet. (If not soon, then in Heaven. 🙂 )
I am referring to Christopher Hopper, author of The White Lion Chronicles (Tsaba House).
Enjoy getting to know him through his thoughtful answers.
RLM: What age group do you write (and why) for?
CH: First off, I’d say I write for me (how self-centered!). Confessions of a Published Author: I hated reading in school. In fact, if my teachers knew how many book reports I bluffed my way through, I might still be in high school. But one day when I was 18 years old, a good friend handed a copy of Steven Lawhead’s “Song of Albion Trilogy” and it changed my life. I thought, “If I ever write a book, I want to write like that.” Why? Because I found it entertaining. And that was the first rule I learned about writing: if I like writing it, chances are that my audience will like reading it.
Another mark of good writing is that is stands the Age PH Test. Which brings me to the second part of my answer. I want teens to love my writings as much as grandparents. Take for example Wayne Thomas Batson’s work. He teaches writing to 5th and 6th graders. Naturally, he’s going to write for them. But I’m nearly 30 years old and I couldn’t put his books down! Bryan Davis is the same way. I’ve run into kids that find out I’ll be touring with him this month and their mouths hang open. But then their parents look at me and say, “Really?” Why the sudden parent interest? Because they’ve read all his books, too! The fact is, we all love a good story, no matter how young, or “seasoned” we are.
I’m a teen & college pastor at a wonderful church in northern NY. So my “day job” is spent thinking how to reach young adults, how to communicate the truth of God’s Word to them so that it changes their lives forever. But also how to relate to them and befriend them to that point of trusting what I have to say. A book is very much the same. I have to work for the trust of my readers. I have to build credibility with them. Only then will they receive what’s written. If I fail there, then I am a poor writer–a poor communicator.
In the end, I’d have to say that I write for people with a child-like heart.
RLM: Why did you decide to write a fantasy series?
CH: I’m a natural dreamer. Some of us are just born that way. My childhood was spent roaming the woods and building forts, creating stick villages by a creek-side and losing myself in the mountains. So writing fantastical stories is merely a life-long, childhood obsession that I’ve never grown out of. That’s the intrinsic side.
The moral side of things has to do with the principle of parables. I love what C.H. Dodd said: “At its simplest a parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought.” (C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961, p. 5).
At a very foundational level, I have to look at the difference between non-fiction and fiction. Non-fiction is relating facts about the past or present, what is attainable and what the confines of human operation are and are not. But the world of fiction opens the mind, and ultimately the heart, to a whole new realm; I would argue a deeper realm, one that transcends understanding.
C.S. Lewis had much to say on the subject. He wrote that fictional stories have a way of going around the dragons that we set up to guard the front gates of our minds; art has a way of going in the proverbial “back door” of our intellect, in affect making new thoughts easier to digest, and certainly more palatable.
So why fantasy? Because I believe it is insanely powerful. That, and my biggest role model used it more often than not, especially when trying to teach (Jesus).
RLM: Tell us a little about your story.
CH: The White Lion Chronicles log the plight of a perfect world, sinless from its beginning, through the perilous and reoccurring temptations of Morgui, or Satan as we know him. Instead of this world’s Adam and Eve being deceived and entering into sin, Dionia’s first-born refuse the lies of the tempter and drive him out of their midst. But would an enemy so deeply pitted against the Creator be so easily repelled?
Instead of Dionia falling all at once to the fate of The Fall, they endure a slow and often mysterious battle, a seduction into sin that takes them by surprise.
Rise of The Dibor, book one of the series, outlines the plot of Dionian’s Kings to counter Morgui’s mounting power through training up an elite war band of youth, known simply as the Dibor. But plagued by evil they had not deemed imaginable, the Dibor are scattered throughout the realms, reeling from the carnage.
Book two of the series, The Lion Vrie, sees the group of friends through to an eventual reunion, but littered with mysterious summonses and the unfolding of forbidding harbingers. By the end, they find themselves in the ultimate battle, not only for their lives, but for life as they know it–and then there’s book three! (Coming June 2008).
RLM: What makes your fantasy unique?
CH: I had to ask my wife and brother-in-law who are sitting here at the table with me, simply because a response from me seems a bit self-serving, and I’m more interested in what they have to say anyway:
Jennifer: “Your writing doesn’t merely entertain the mind of a reader, but captures the heart and soul of the reader.”
John: “They way you describe your world, and how you paint your characters, makes everything seem so real–like you’re actually there.”
Wow…sounds like something I should read!
Honestly, I want to entertain people. It’s just fun. But I want them to be challenged. Changed. Even transformed, if I could be so hopeful. So that requires that an “it” factor be present, that “something” that you can’t quite put your finger on.
RLM: Who is your favorite character (and why)? (Pick one! 😉 )
CH: My favorite character has to be Li-Saide. He is a dwarf from the Tribes of Ot, sometimes whimsical, most often shrewd, and always full of wisdom. With his billowy, patchwork hat and frumpy cloak, he has a way of bringing peace and reassurance into whatever situation he is in. He also has a habit of showing up when you least expect it.
I think he’s my favorite because he is the one character that reminds me most of the Holy Spirit. He never minces words, always has the answers, and isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, even when it’s hard to hear; but yet there’s something you just love about him even though you can’t explain why.
Thanks for the great questions! Hope my answers are insightful and inspire you to pick up a good book this week! Blessings!
RLM again. Thanks, Christopher. I appreciate you taking the time in the midst of the busy-ness of getting ready for ICRS and the Fantasy Fiction Tour.
For those of you interested in seeing what other CSFF bloggers are saying about the Fantasy Four, check out the list of links at the CSFF Blog Tour site.