Introducing The Author: Paul Regnier


Speculative author Paul Regnier may not be a household name. I haven’t seen a lot of interviews with him or followed a blog tour that featured him. He does have an active presence on social media in places like Facebook and Instagram, but for some reason—maybe because of the dwindling of active blogs—Paul doesn’t have a lot of “guest appearances.” Happily, Speculative Faith, where I write every Monday, has had him as a guest contributor.

But typically, when an author generates content, he’s more apt to talk about his book or writing or some other related topic. Most don’t talk about themselves much.

That’s OK because, as it happens, I know Paul personally. Until he moved, I was in two writing groups with him.

I first met Paul at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A mutual friend introduced us, with the idea that we might want to include him in our small group of speculative fiction writers.

Since then Paul has gone on to co-teach a youth workshop at Mount Hermon. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our group decided that he would be a good fit. He is a believer in Jesus Christ, a writer who loves various types of speculative fiction, a family man who, at the time, lived in the greater Los Angeles area, which is where all of us in the group live.

When Paul came into our little group of Christians writing speculative fiction, he was transitioning from screen writing to becoming a novelist. In fact, I think the first work of his that I read might have been a screen play.

I noticed a couple things in those early days. One, Paul had a great sense of humor. Some of the lines coming from the mouths of his characters had members of our group laughing out loud! Two, he was really, really good with dialogue. I mean, essentially dialogue is all that screen plays are. That and some stage direction to introduce scenes. (Obviously, I’m not a screen writer!)

At any rate, as Paul moved into the realm of novels, it was pretty clear that “work on your dialogue” was never going to be a critique any of us would offer.

Paul’s first publishing effort was a foray into self-publishing. The book came out before he had much of a social media platform, and I’m not sure it’s even still available. Let’s just say, he learned a lot through that experience.

From that first effort (fantasy, if I remember correctly) Paul moved on to Space Opera. He wrote the first book of his Space Drifters series, The Emerald Enigma, and after moving on from his agent, found a home for it at Enclave. He went on to complete that series, which became a trilogy, all with the same publisher.

Shortly after Paul joined the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers to which I also belong, he and his wife decided to move. With two young children, they determined that there were better places to raise kids than Southern California (imagine!) Paul and his family now make their home in Treasure Valley, Idaho.

Believe it or not, that first original writing group still “meets” from time to time. We were doing the online meetings before the Covidvirus made so many turn to Zoom in order to “gather.”

After completing Space Drifters, Paul went on to write and self-publish the Paranormia books which I’ve introduced here at Spec Faith (here and here).

I’m a big fan of the way Paul tilts a genre by making humor as integral to the story as the adventure. I think it’s a gift—the sense of humor but also the ability to write it and to make it a part of his characters so that it doesn’t feel forced or contrived.

In the long run, besides knowing that Paul “is a technology junkie, drone pilot, photographer, web designer, drummer, Star Wars nerd, and a wannabe Narnian with a fascination for all things futuristic,” what matters the most to readers are the stories.

Maybe the Paranormia books, because of their unique blend of genres, will put Paul on the map and make him that household name so speculative readers will start looking for his books with regularity. I don’t know. I do know that he’s a talented writer, and he keeps getting better. I don’t think readers will be disappointed if they choose one of his books in their search for a new exciting series or a stand-alone novel.

Published in: on June 29, 2020 at 4:03 pm  Comments Off on Introducing The Author: Paul Regnier  
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If It’s Friday, It’s Time For Fantasy


GoldenDaughtercoverI haven’t discussed fiction much of late, at least not here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, though I still post about fiction in general at my editing site and about Christian speculative fiction every Monday at Speculative Faith. It feels like it’s time to get back to my blogging roots for a day. 😉

When I first started blogging, Christian fantasy was almost an anomaly. Only a handful of writers were putting out true fantasy with Christian underpinnings. Donita Paul and Bryan Davis burst on the scene to join Stephen Lawhead and Karen Hancock, but back in those days fantasy primarily meant stories written in a medieval-type setting that included the equivalent of magic.

However, as the fantasy genre expanded in the general market to include urban fantasy, dystopian fantasy, fairytale fantasy, and more, the stories Christians wrote also ventured away from the classic form.

In addition, new authors have emerged—Jill Williamson, Andrew Peterson, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Patrick Carr, R. J. Larson, John Otte and more recently Nadine Brandes, Ashlee Willis, and Mary Weber.

Over this time, publishing has changed, too. More and more small presses featuring Christian speculative fiction have come into being. First was Marcher Lord Press founded by the visionary Jeff Gerke. But others soon followed: Splashdown Books, AltWit Press, Castle Gate Press, and others.

This past year Jeff Gerke sold MLP to agent Steve Laube. The house now operates as Enclave Publishing and has just hired a director of sales and marketing. One of the goals for Enclave is to get their books into bookstores, something that can only enhance their visibility, even as the digital market expands.

Publishers with a long standing “no fantasy” policy have broken from their mold and are now joining the ranks of others with a growing group of fantasy authors.

By fantasy, of course, I mean this broader, more encompassing genre, which fans of Lord of the Rings might not recognize. Is this a good thing?

I absolutely think it’s a great thing. All types of fantasy stir the imagination. Dystopian or post-apocalyptic fantasy or science fantasy may not tell stories about sword-wielding, dragon-fighting heroes, but they still create a different world and show a struggle between good and evil. This latter, after all, is the single most important fantasy trope.

Interestingly, the once familiar good or evil fantasy creatures have been turned on their heads. Hence dragons may be good, and in the case of Donita Paul’s minor dragons in her DragonKeeper Chronicles, even cute and cuddly.

Still there remains an identifiable evil that characters must choose to fight. In Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series, for instance, there was no one villain but a system readers can equate with the world system that finds solutions to life’s problems by escaping into entertainment and pleasure.

Despite this expansion of the genre, epic fantasy seems to retain its popularity, as evidenced by the great success of first time novelist Patrick Carr’s A Cast of Stones and the following two books of the Staff and Sword trilogy.

And I haven’t yet mentioned self-publishing. With the changes in digital publishing, a writer can now publish their book with ease. Finding a readership remains the great challenge, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more and more viable stories out there among the self-published.

One of the functions Speculative Faith plays is to catalog Christian speculative fiction in the Library. Any book written with an overt or symbolic or suggestive worldview pointing toward some aspect of Christianity—regardless of publisher—may be included in the database. It’s a great tool to use to find books that might fit the genre or audience age a person is looking for.

Other developments have also enhanced Christian speculative fiction, not just fantasy—specifically the Realm Makers Conference which is planning for its third year in 2015, and the Clive Staples Award which will be entering its fifth year of operation.

My hope, of course, is that readers are finding these great fantasy books. If publishers are to continue producing them, readers need to buy them.

I’m happy to report I bought a fantasy today—Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s soon to release Golden Daughter. How about you? What fantasy have you recently purchased or read?

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