CSFF Blog Tour – The Enclave by Karen Hancock


When I think of Karen Hancock (pictured here, circa 1960), author of this month’s CSFF Blog Tour feature, The Enclave, I think of “groundbreaking” … and envy.

Yeah, OK, for whatever reason, I’ve been doing a lot of True Confessions of late. Here’s the story. As far back as 1991 I finished book one of a fantasy series. Though it caught the attention of the director of a local writers’ institute and ended up at the pub board of a noted Christian publisher, they rejected it.

So years passed. I picked up a hobbyβ€”painting in watercolorsβ€”and continued to dabble in writing. Until the day God opened an opportunity for me to approach my writing seriously.

As part of that endeavor, I attended a different, smaller, local writers’ conference where an enthusiastic conferee pulled out a copy of a book entitled Light of Eidon, a Christian fantasy by an author and watercolor artist named Karen Hancock.

And here’s the confession. She’s living the life I want, I thought. Publishing books, selling paintings! I want to do that. YIKES! That’s hard to put out there for public consumption. That’s pretty much the definition of envy, I think.

So here’s one of the important things I’ve learned, and I have Karen to thank in part, though of course she has no way of knowing it: God uses the process of writing fiction and the way the book business works to refine my character. Big news flash, right? πŸ˜€

I’ve had to learn the envy lesson and many others along this writing journey (patience, trust, humility, kindness, any number of things). God is faithful. He uses the very things He calls us to, to teach us more of Himself.

But what’s the “groundbreaking” part? Karen has stepped out time and again to do something risky as far as the Christian publishing industry is concerned. Her first published work, Arena, was a fairly straightforward science-fantasy allegory of the Christian life … something that hadn’t been done since, oh, I don’t know, Pilgrim’s Progress?

I had no idea at the time what an anomaly it was for a Christian publisher to do such a risky thing as dip into fantasy. πŸ˜‰ But there was more ground to break.

Karen began a true fantasy, the epic Legends of the Guardian King series. The story had a male protagonist, too, which supposedly Christian publishers frown upon. And after book one, which worked well as a stand-alone, the series morphed into one epic tale (much as the Harry Potter series did). Wonderfully, Karen’s work has been well received. In fact, as far as I know, she is the only person who has won four Christy Awards.

But back to “groundbreaking.” In this day when authors are expected to get out and plug their books, Karen maintains a blog and website, but does no speaking or book signings (that I know of) on principle. She wants to invest her time on the job God has given herβ€”writing fiction.

Here’s another one. While any number of writers are turning out books every six months, Karen takes a year or two with her writing. Her care with craft shows.

Needless to say, I’m happy the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Enclave. As it happens the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance will also be touring it starting on Thursday. A whole week of book buzz!

By the way, a number of CSFF bloggers will be giving away copies of The Enclave, so you’ll want to visit the other participants on the tour:

This list was updated Thursday morning, July 23. Click on a check mark to go directly to the post.

And check out what Karen Hancock is saying in connection with the tour.

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Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 11:24 am  Comments (16)  
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