Growing up in Georgia,
Jonathan Rogers played
in the swamps and river
bottoms and worked with
a guy who captured wild
boar for fun.
So it’s no wonder when Jonathan
reimagined the story of King David in
his Wilderking Trilogy, he populated it
with feechiefolk—swamp-dwelling, rowdy,
fun-loving creatures. Now in The
Charlatan’s Boy (WaterBrook Press),
he takes you to a time where no one
believes in feechies anymore.
That’s bad for con man Floyd and
the boy he passes off as a feechie, Grady.
When the two hit upon a plan for
revitalizing the feechie trade in
Corenwald, hijinks ensue.
Grady narrates this distinctively
American fantasy (think C.S. Lewis
meets Mark Twain) in his own hilarious,
mournful way: A couple of times Floyd
told me my real mama give me to him because
I was too ugly to keep.
“Grady sort of came to me,” Jonathan
says. “It’s like he knocked on the door
and said, ‘Here I am!’ And Floyd is an
amalgam of all those great frontier
hucksters.” Yet underneath all of the
flimflams and fun of the book is a deep
truth. “The idea that this world is full
of people who are beautiful and don’t
know it. People who think they are
unlovely, but they truly are loved,
more than they know.”
After getting his PhD in literature,
Jonathan spent five years working for a
technology company before returning to
his first love—stories. “I had my annual
review at work and it was not very good.
The same week, my mother was
diagnosed with lymphoma, and I was
really struck with how short life was. It
seemed like such a waste to spend so
much of it doing something I wasn’t very
good at, and so far from what I believed
my gifts and my calling to be. So I quit.”
Like most authors, Jonathan writes
more than just his own fiction to make
a living, especially since he has six
children, ranging in age from 6 to 14.
His kids are a big part of the audience
he writes for—but not the only one.
“Sometimes, when I’ve got a funny part
I’m considering putting in, I try it on
them first, and if they think it’s funny,
I put it in. Sometimes they don’t think
it’s funny, but I think it’s funny, so I put it
Jonathan is currently writing a sequel
to The Charlatan’s Boy (in stores fall
2011) as well as sharing funny stories
and feechie sightings on his blog,
Jonathan-Rogers.com. He also
contributes to a website called The
Rabbit Room, a group of authors,
songwriters and artists who share
creative vision and spur on each other.
And it is vision and worldview that
Jonathan hopes to pass along to readers.
“I always hope to expand a reader’s vision
of what the world
might look like,” he
says. “For all the
tragic things we see
around us, the universe,
in the end,
isn’t a tragedy, but
a comedy. Which is
to say, it ends
better than we
could have ever
hoped it would end.
In the end, it’s grace
and love that really
prevail, not the sadness
and the hurt
and the loneliness. I think that’s the
vision of the universe that can fuel a
whole career for a writer.”—Katie Hart