Q&A: Brian Reaves
A monster from hell. A champion from God. And one man caught between them.
Thomas Richardson was dead. For four minutes. But when paramedics manage to revive him after a car wreck, he tale he tells his brother Ian is too terrifying to imagine. Thomas went to hell... and something followed him back. Now Ian finds himself in a very real nightmare fighting an enemy that he can't even bring himself to believe in... and that cannot die.
Chase The Shadows is the follow up to Stolen Lives.
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE CHASE THE SHADOWS?
Chase the Shadows is a sequel to my previous novel Stolen Lives. It is about a man who has a near-death experience only to find that he didn't return from it alone. I had read of a few documented cases of people talking about seeing hell after they were revived and just thought it would be interesting to pit a normal man against something supernatural that might have followed him back. In Stolen Lives I introduced my lead character Ian Richardson, an agnostic P.I. who happened to be best friends with a pastor named Levi. During the course of the novel, Ian's agnostic beliefs are challenged by the irrefutable evidence he sees in this demonic killer after his brother...but is it enough to force a change of heart?
The major message I wanted to get across was simple: no matter what comes against us - even if it is from hell itself - it is no match for the overwhelming power of God. The challenge was to present that in such a way as to make it interesting to any reader out there, no matter what their spiritual beliefs, without making it sound "preachy". I hope I was able to accomplish that.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
James Byron Huggins opened my eyes to how cool a "Christian Fiction" novel could be with The Reckoning and Leviathan. Both books were incredible examples of reading something with a Christian theme without compromising action and story. Dean Koontz is also an amazing author who I feel can write some of the best scenes in fiction today without resorting to graphic violence or profanity. His novel The Face is one of my favorite novels of all time. To round out my top three, I'd have to say Ray Bradbury pushed my imagination more than anyone else with his short stories. It's safe to say reading Chase the Shadows more than any other novel I've written will give you a feeling of the influence from all three in my writing.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
I have never understood an author who apologizes for their Christian beliefs, or tries to distance themselves from the title. It's simple: I am a Christian who writes stories that I hope will reach those needing Christ, and I hope will encourage those who have already found Him. When I wrote my first novel Portal in 2003, I had an editor offer to do something with it if I would put some profanity and sex into it to reach a broader audience. It was such a temptation for a little while to consider it, but ultimately I independently published the book so I could keep the "church stuff" (as he called it) in there. God gave me the desire to write, and He has supplied the ideas from the beginning for every short story and novel I've written, so I'm not going to be ashamed to thank Him for it with every chance I get.
I try not to turn my books into a sermon, but at the same time I won't water down the Christian tones throughout. I want to show the goodness of God wherever I can in my writing. He is my hope and strength in life.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
I've been an avid reader all my life, but it wasn't until I was in my early 20's that I decided to try writing a book myself. I worked on a few short stories and started a novel, but nothing truly materialized until 2003, almost a decade after I'd started. Once I held my first novel in my hands and saw something I'd written actually in print, I was hooked. The thing I never realized was how much effort it really does take to put together a good novel. Chase the Shadows took over eighteen months to write and edit, and then folks finish it in a few hours and ask when the next one's coming out? I have a lot of new found respect for authors who can turn out a couple of good books every year now!
WHAT DO YO MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
This is probably going to sound strange, but I hope readers can get the idea that being a Christian is actually a pretty cool thing. We get bad press and ugly things said, but there's really nothing greater than to stand up for what you believe in. In my novels, the Christian characters are not "props" or background noise. Instead, they are very vivid and vital parts of the plot, often unapologetic about their beliefs but not some "shove it down your throat" kind of people. They are, hopefully, people you would love to call friend and would come to in time of need. And just like real life, every character does not become a Christian at the end of my books. Some people just keep searching.
I want readers to finish my novels, close the book, and say, "Man, that was fun!".