As an author, Lisa M. Clark takes joy in exploring a variety of categories, including Christian fiction, children’s books, and devotional books. She wraps up her dystopian series The Messengers with Revealed (Concordia Publishing): Time is running out, and the end is drawing near. Who will survive the battle to preserve the Message? In this interview, Lisa explains the world of The Messengers, her inspirations for the series, and how fiction allows her to wrestle with tough questions…
Lisa, explain for our readers the world of The Messengers novels…
Simon Clay, the protagonist of The Messengers, lives in Westbend, New Morgan, a country set in the near future. It’s a dystopian world where much is in decay and disrepair. Every moment of every day, Simon and the people of New Morgan are watched. There’s a timeless quality of the world that seems both new and very familiar.
No spoilers, but how does Revealed fit into the bigger picture?
“Bigger picture” is a great phrase because Simon definitely gets a sense of the bigger picture in the last book of this series. Slowly throughout each novel, Simon becomes more aware of the world around him, and his perspective widens a great deal in Revealed.
This becomes the case for the readers too. Simon begins to learn more about his role as a believer in the world and throughout time, and readers will hopefully evaluate their own roles with their brothers and sisters in Christ as well as with others who do not know the Message worth dying for. I hope readers question what it means to live in a world where they are not understood.
What were your inspirations or touchpoints for creating this series?
I’m a former high school teacher, and I was just finishing up graduate school when this plot came to me. My heart ached for teenagers who are trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian in a countercultural way.
I wanted to encourage them. I wanted to challenge them. And I wanted them to know that the fight is worth it.
I also wanted to help clarify what the “fight” is all about anyway. “Who is my enemy?” That’s an important question that Simon explores.
The bonus was that this fiction series helped me navigate tough questions myself, and I love to hear how many adults are reading them. Some are reading them for themselves. Others are reading with their kids, grandkids, youth groups, and students.
It’s a joy for me to know how many times Simon has sparked conversation across generations.
What are the benefits or challenges of worldbuilding as a Christian author?
World building in general is an interesting challenge! At first, it was great to let my imagination run wild. But by the second book, I had to be consistent! There’s an entire document now that my editors and I created simply to keep details straight.
As a Christian author, I wrestled with many questions about the world I was creating. It’s important to me as a Christian to be honest about reality. And that includes the fact that our world is not perfect. In order to talk about grace and forgiveness, we need to acknowledge the need for both.
The dystopian genre was a perfect way for me to explore some of the dark places in our lives while also shining the Light of the world. I tried to balance the dark places with hope, and I tried to write so that different readers with different maturity levels will take in certain themes in appropriate ways. That was especially the case in the last book.
Ultimately, I didn’t write anything that hasn’t already happened in one way or another, which was a way for me to stay honest in my setting.
What do you hope readers take away after reading Revealed?
I hope readers know that they are not alone. There are other believers who love them, and they have a Savior who considers each person precious.
I hope readers understand that the Word is as important as life or death and that we cannot take it for granted.
I hope readers look at their world and especially at the people around them in a new light. As Simon’s father said once, “People aren’t the enemy. They’re the prize.”
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The Messengers #3
Lisa M. Clark
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