Eric Wilson, Author – CSFF Blog Tour, Day 2

Eric WilsonYou may be more familiar with Eric Wilson as the author of the novelization Fireproof. Or perhaps you know him for his book version of Facing Giants. As it turns out, this prolific author, when writing “from scratch,” creating his own characters and his own plot line, writes speculative fiction.

Okay, he also has a couple suspense novels out there too, but his most recent work is speculative—the vampire novels known as the Jerusalem Undead Trilogy. This month the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring book two, Haunt of Jackals, but I wanted to find out a little more about the writer.

Happily, one of our tour participants, By Darkness Hid author Jill Williamson, who has met Eric and who wrote an endorsement for the book, interviewed him. In addition, Brandon Barr pointed to a fairly lengthy interview in his tour post.

The thing that caught my eye most, however, was a callout box on Eric’s bio page at his Web site:

I was first inspired to write by the imagination in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. My childhood influences ranged from J.R.R. Tolkien, to S.E. Hinton, to Arthur Catherall. As a teen, I turned to Alistair MacLean, Robert Ludlum, and John LeCarre.

What an eclectic group of writers. But it started with fantasy. Is it any surprise, then, that Eric, in writing about vampires, wanted to return the tradition to it’s original overtones:

“It is really a modern version of ‘The Screwtape Letters’ by C.S. Lewis mixed with a traditional vampire story,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen a lot of vampire books come out recently with a post-modern approach to vampires where they are not even a question of good or evil or spirituality but just a fictional form of the monster. I wanted to go back to a traditional vampire story …” (“‘Fireproof’ novelist wrestles with the supernatural” by Ken Beck, The Wilson Post)

The “traditional vampire story,” it would seem, calls evil by its name and establishes a clear connection between Christ’s death and its defeat.

So why, I ask myself, do I not like vampire stories? Lots of people do. Eric clearly desires to throw light on God’s redemptive work, at one point equating his work with that of a missionary:

“I see my writing being missionary work but kind of in a tent-making mode (the apostle Paul made tents while spreading the Gospel), telling stories that prod and challenge people to think.”

Fantasy roots, a good versus evil motif, a desire to present the truth of the gospel through story. I should be in love with Eric’s vampire stories. I wish I were.

See who else on the tour thinks as I do and who has become a fan of the Jerusalem Undead Trilogy:

11 Comments

  1. Nonbelievers who read the books might be pointed in the right direction, and the fact the the Collectors behave badly and take joy in turning others toward evil may cause readers to examine their own lives, to look for the places they’ve compromised or been lead around by desires. I know that one book — The Oath by Frank Peretti — did that for me, causing me to take a hard and uncomfortable look at my sin.

    On the other hand, I can understand why some Christian readers may not “click” with a story involving vampires. After all — to my mind — there’s no mythical creature who so resembles Satan as does a vampire: the mind-control, the sucking away of life, the attraction of immortality that blinds one to the repulsive nature of one’s existence after accepting that form of immortality, and so on.

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  2. I’m curious if you’re having a hard time putting your dislike into words or if you’re holding off until tomorrow — simply because, while I knew I didn’t like this book much, it took me a long time to figure out how to express my feelings. I’m still not sure I’ve done a good job of that. Fred Warren also seems to be having a hard time putting his thoughts into words :).

    I find the Screwtape connection fascinating and can (like Keanan) see how these books could help readers take a look at their own sins and areas of compromise.

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  3. Oh, this is great RLM. I really like it. Took the best of Eric and posted it here. Great job! I enjoyed it.

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  4. You know, one thing I have to give Eric kudos for is that he never “glamorized” the vamps. I think that is the temptation/stumbling block in a vamp story. These were no Tom Cruise/Robert Patterson shiny hotties in leather. They were horrorific! They were realistic!
    Just a thought 🙂

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  5. […] to check out the other blog articles discussing the book (a list of these is posted at the end of my Day 2 […]

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  6. Keanan, I agree that these books may have an effect on someone who needs Christ. Perhaps believers would feel free to give this book to their unbelieving friends. I do wonder, though, if it will find an audience as “Christian fiction.”

    While Eric says it’s a modern version of Screwtape letters crossed with the vampire story, I didn’t find it so. In Lewis’s work, I felt convicted of my sin and saw it for what it was—siding with Satan. That insight for Christians seems absent in Haunt, from my perspective.

    Becky

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  7. Rachel, I knew I was going to feature weaknesses in my review, but I didn’t want to come across as if I saw no value in the work or in the writer’s aims. Hence this post.

    I want to be honest in my reviews without “panning” (Mike Duran’s term) a book or author. It’s a bit of a balancing act when I come across a work I really don’t like. I’ve said before, anyone can find something positive to say and something that could be better—it just may take a little work.

    I knew going in that this wasn’t my genre of choice. I probably should have sat this tour out—disqualified myself as an objective reviewer from the start. But the time or two I’ve done that, I regretted it. 🙄

    Becky

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  8. Krystie, I agree. Eric has done a good thing, as far as I’m concerned, in returning vampires to the realm of evil.

    I can see a story that humanizes them and paints them as people in need of a Savior. But the more recent stories I know of make them strong enough to withstand their evil inclinations, and thus glorify the “good ones.”

    Becky

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  9. I watched twilight, and yes, I probably had a bit harder time with this, but … I hastely admit I was very much into Ann Rice years back and found the appeal of this probably because of that.. so.. I guess what I’m saying it could have the effects of drawing someone who is on the edge like Keanan said and bring them over or at least question their life..

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  10. Now this makes better sense… I can see where the author is coming from and what he’s trying to accomplish.

    P.S. – I loved the Screwtape Letters! I always wondered why there weren’t other works of a similar nature. They were very powerful.

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  11. […] Another reminder: those who are able to post each day will be in the running for the CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award. After the tour, be sure to take time to vote in the poll at A Christian Worldview of Fiction for the blogger that posted your favorite three articles. Don’t forget, CSFF Blog Tour members who do not participate in the tour officially can still comment on other blogs and vote for the Top Tour Blogger. Opting in and Out of the Tour. Your tour participation status remains the same from month to month unless you make a change. Please take time to check your status. The current list of participants appears at the end of this post: https://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/eric-wilson-author-csff-blog-tour-day-2/ […]

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