BRYAN DAVIS: Dragons and Heroes
His books sell like hotcakes. Readers of all ages tell him how his books have changed their lives and brought them closer to Christ. Yet starting out, Bryan Davis garnered more than 200 rejections over eight years before finding a publisher for his first novel, Raising Dragons (AMG).
Now with more than a dozen novels in print and eager readers clamoring for more, Bryan spends his days writing, editing and marketing his books, sometimes visiting more than a hundred different venues a year. “My main focus in promoting is visiting schools and homeschool groups,” he says. “I travel across the country and speak for free, hoping to demonstrate that I really believe in and live by the standards I write about. I also have a good Internet presence— blog, Facebook, email newsletter and message forum. I make frequent updates to these outlets and keep my readers informed about news and tour updates.”
Most of Bryan’s books are contemporary fantasies—stories set in our current world with strong fantasy elements. His two current series, however, take readers to entirely new places: the human planet of Major Four, and the faraway planet where dragons keep humans as slaves, Dracon. Jason Masters, a young swordsman, finds a portal to Dracon in Starlighter (Zondervan), and teams up with a slave girl, Koren, to rescue those kept in bondage. Jason’s older brother, Adrian, finds another route to Dracon, but his plans are destroyed by the impetuousness of swordmaiden Marcelle in Masters & Slayers (AMG).
The books also stretch Bryan’s skills in other ways beyond new worlds. While the Dragons of Starlight series (Zondervan) is written for Bryan’s typical teen audience, his companion series Tales of Starlight (AMG) is written for adults.
One wonders whether two series with two different publishers might force him to compete with himself. “It might be too early to make a judgment, but I haven’t seen a problem so far,” Bryan says. “I think readers of either series will want to read the other series to get a full picture of the story world. So far, both have sold well. I think they complement each other.”
Bryan often hears from parents concerned about fantasy literature. “Parents are right to watch what their children read, because there’s a lot of damaging material on the market,” the author says. “I’m a conservative homeschooling father of seven children, and I would not put anything into their hands that isn’t trustworthy. I’m not going to write any messages outside of traditional Christian values.”
Homeschooling his children was actually what turned Bryan toward writing. Unable to find a curriculum for writing that met his family’s needs, he began crafting a story to demonstrate the process, and the story grew into a novel. That was 16 years ago.
Today, his family continues to play a large role in his writing in their Tennessee home: His wife, Susie, edits his books while his children provide ideas and feedback. Bryan loves that he can set his own schedule and be home with his family while writing full-time.
But his favorite part of being a writer is the ability to make a difference in the lives of his readers. “The heart of all my novels is selfless sacrifice,” he says. “I try to create heroes and heroines who rise above the mediocrity that so many find to be acceptable and normal. My stories tell readers that they can be courageous; they can conquer their fears and doubts; they can rise up and be all that God has called them to be.”