I want to introduce
you to a series you may not have heard of, but one any spec fiction fan should
read. I’ve been following Jeremiah’s series from the beginning and have enjoyed
the story’s development thoroughly. He’s published with P&R, which is also
my publisher for The Quest for Truth series.

Brock:  Jeremiah thanks
for joining us here at Family Fiction. First will you tell us how you came up
with the idea for Dark Harvest?

Jeremiah: A friend
of mine sowed the first seeds of Dark Harvest several years ago when he
suggested to me that I read about the Synod of Whitby, a real event that
occurred on the island of Britain in the kingdom of Northumbria in AD 664.
After reading about the outcome of that synod, the questions arose: what if the
synod’s decision had gone the other way? What would be the implications? Would
the losers sit back and accept defeat, or might they try again, years later?

Brock: Northumbria
just sounds like a fantastical world, yet it really existed. Tell us about the
main characters. Who are they, what makes them unique? And will you give us one
fact about each that no one else knows?

Jeremiah: Morumus
is a monk for whom life is as serious as death. His seriousness stems from two
sources. First of all, he is intelligent and introspective by nature. But
secondly, horrific memories stalk the corridors of his mind.

As the younger son
of a king, Oethur is a prince turned monk. He is possessed of an easy humor,
yet beneath the surface he is solid. When grim events force him to forsake the
monastery for the battlefield, he will confront both foe and fear – and learn
the true nature of courage.

Urien is a woman
imprisoned from her youth in a world of dark rituals. When she comes to realize
the true character of her childhood faith, she rejects it. In time she comes to
appreciate the beauty of the faith of Morumus and Oethur, but struggles to know
whether or not it is actually true.

All of the above
you can learn from the books. But here are a few things you may not know …

Morumus’s mastery
of several languages is the embodiment of my own love for foreign languages.
Yet unlike Morumus, I have yet to become fluent in anything beyond English.

Oethur’s persistent
dislike of peas is another echo of my own personality. I’ve heard it said that
tastes change as we age. In some cases, that has proven true for me. But not
for peas.

Of all the
characters in the series, Urien was the one who changed most from the first
conception to final conclusion. In the first draft of The Dark Faith,
she was not introduced until near the end, and shortly thereafter became a
convert. But another friend convinced me that her conversion was too easy, and
my editors persuaded me that she needed to arrive earlier in the story. And so
I began to rework Urien’s tale, fleshing out her history and taking her along
the tortuous path from paganism to skepticism to inquiry… and finally to faith.
By the end of the trilogy, something quite surprising had happened: Urien
became the main and most important character in Dark Harvest. The whole
story begins and ends with her.

Brock: It is
interesting how a character who we (authors) don’t intend to be significant can
soon become a favorite. This happened with Obbin in my series. I never intended
for him to continue from the first book and we’ll he’s still there four books
later. In three sentences tell the FF family what this book about?

Jeremiah: The
Threefold Cord
brings the theme of Dark Harvest – that there is an
enemy far deadlier than dark magic – to its climax and resolution. It shows the
reader how this theme irrevocably changes the life of each of the main
characters. And finally, it demonstrates that every outward conflict in history
is but another cycle of the great “invisible war” (to borrow a title from the
late Donald Barnhouse).

Brock: That’s one
of the things I connected with most in this series; the “invisible
war.” Too often we (Christians) don’t consider how it’s affecting our
daily lives. Can you expand on the biblical background or basis for the series?

Dark Harvest is based on the
overall biblical contrast between the Christian gospel and every other religion
in history or today. The gospel of Jesus Christ is insistently exclusive, yet
persistently gracious. Every other religion (or attempt to blend religions) is
ultimately a manifestation of humanity’s darkest impulses toward self-salvation
and self-worship.

Brock: That’s a
great explanation. Are any other books planned for the Dark Harvest series?

Jeremiah: Though The
Threefold Cord leaves several cupboards cracked and threads dangling (real
history usually does), it is the last planned volume in the series.

Brock: Sad, but
understandable. Life is a continuing story that never truly concludes, it
carries on from one generation to the next. Did you outline the Dark Harvest
trilogy, or do you write as you go and let the characters take control of the

Jeremiah: From the
beginning, there was an overall outline to the series and a rough outline for
the first book. Yet as I’ve alluded to above, The Dark Faith underwent
some serious changes, and these cascaded into the sequels. The main story arc
stayed the same, but there were several developments that I did not foresee
when I first began. Chief among these was the transformation of Urien’s
journey. But there were lesser surprises as well: the storming of Cuuranyth in The
Scarlet Bishop, and the discovery of Melechur in The Threefold Cord. Neither
of these existed in the original trilogy notes.

These confessions
aside, I am a stubborn proponent of outlines. After the changes to The Dark
Faith, I made it a practice to create detailed outlines for The Scarlet
Bishop and The Threefold Cord. After these outlines were drafted, I
reviewed them with my editor. Having a complete outline in place allowed both
sides of that conversation to examine the story as a whole, and surprising as
it may sound, it was the process of thorough outlining that enabled me to work
in creative developments. Because I could see the whole landscape clearly, it
was relatively easy to know where I could make changes that would enhance the
story without disrupting its overall movement.

Brock: Being that
this book has some roots with an actual historical event, what sort of research
did you have to do? What things did you come up with on your own?

Harvestis based in a world that intentionally parallels our own
cultures and history. As you might expect, then, it involved a fair amount of
research. Yet most of this research came through life experience. I spent many
hours of my young adult life walking wooded paths and reading fantasy stories,
and I enjoyed many semesters in seminary studying Ecclesiastical history and
theology. As a late teen I had the privilege to visit the cities of London and
Edinburgh, which gave me the opportunity to walk through castles, cathedrals,
parks, and palaces.

Where life left
gaps, friends and further research filled the voids. I corresponded with an
antiquarian book expert in order to describe certain aspects of a Dark Ages
library. When I wanted to see a picture of a Roman bridge or an old church, I
used the Internet.

Brock: Certainly
our ability to use the web for research has increased the accuracy to factual
representations for our stories. I know for one of my series I used Google maps
to walk inside places I was describing; it was amazing and a lot less expensive
than flying there. What are your hopes for your future as an author?

Jeremiah: As the
pastor of a mission church in a diverse community, I hope to author resources
aimed to help bring the unchanging Christian faith to a rapidly changing

Brock: What can you
tell us about any future releases you have planned?

Jeremiah: I am
working with my publisher to edit a new edition of The Westminster Shorter
Catechism in Modern English that will include Scripture proofs.

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About The Author

Jeremiah W. Montgomery is the pastor of Resurrection Presbyterian Church (OPC) in State College, Pennsylvania, and has been a pipemaker, a blogger, and an essayist. He and his wife have four sons, all of whom love to read.