Twelve ancient sites. Twelve stone structures. They are called the Gates Of Heaven and they were placed in the world to prevent evil from gaining a stronghold. But they’ve been destroyed and the Keepers are gone. Now evil is spreading across the realm and the people of the realm have to fight it.
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE THE LAND OF DARKNESS AND THE GATES OF HEAVEN SERIES?
I wanted to create an original series using fairy tale elements we are all familiar with. I’ve always loved fairy tales and thought it would be interesting to take something like a six-page fairy tale and turn it into a full-length novel. So I started with drawing from my favorite tales and reworked them to be completely new stories with biblical subthemes and metaphor. The Bible is so full of imagery and metaphor, and has so many tales that seem almost like fabulous fairy tales. I only came up with the series idea after the first book, The Wolf of Tebron, was completed and I took a trip to Stonehenge with my husband. That sparked the idea of the sacred sites and creating seven books each featuring a different site in a different locale in my fairy tale world. The neat thing about fairy tales is that they often feel very real and start off with characters in their ordinary world, but then magic intrudes. Like Jack in the Beanstalk, where Jack is off to market to sell a cow so he and his mother don’t starve.
I got the idea for the Land of Darkness by surfing around looking for fairy tales. I was familiar with the story called The Water of Life and I used some of those elements in Map. But I came across the Alexander Tales from the 4th century, one of which told of a land of darkness where Alexander the Great finds the water of life. I also wanted to do a variation of Pilgrim’s Progress and have a bridge that spanned the great chasm separating us from God. This book is all centered around Isaiah 53 and the parables of Jesus.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
The biggest influence on me as a fantasy writer is Patricia A. McKilip. She is hands down the most amazing fantasy writer in the world. I strive to write as beautifully as she does but don’t think I come close. I enjoy Stephen Lawhead’s writing and stories a lot and I feel I write in some ways like C. S. Lewis, or at least I’d like to think so.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
I wrote a few novels years ago for the commercial market and am still trying to sell those books. But I seriously prayed to God to tell me what to write for him, and he led me to writing these fairy tales.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
I’ve been writing all my life and come from a family of professional writers so although I never intended to become a novelist, it was meant to be. . .
WHAT DO YO MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
I want them more than anything to be drawn to God, to get a feeling that he is an awesome loving God who has a plan for their lives and offers an unbelievable hope for the future. Every novel I write is for those who don’t know God. Although Christians will enjoy all the biblical references and Scripture, the books are written for those who know nothing about God or the Bible.