I recall the first time I saw a Wayne Thomas
Batson book, I was in a Borders (I miss those stores and their apple cider.) in
Peoria, Illinois. There on a table in the teen section sat Isle of Swords, I couldn’t help but pick it up and read the back
cover. At the time I had just finished college, and hadn’t yet been immersed in
the world of publishing. Still I was drawn in by the story and quickly made the
purchase. Well I’m proud to say that seven years later and almost as many
books, Batson is still delivering exciting fiction. Without another word, check
out my interview with him about his new trilogy (Thomas Nelson).
Brock: How did you come up with the idea for Dreamtreaders?
Wayne: I found an article online about the
science of dreams. It blew me away. I mean, dreams have always been a
curiosity. Sometimes they leave us with such a feeling of “I’ve been somewhere
new” or “That was so real.” But to discover that there is actually a field of
science devoted to dreaming, that was news to me. After a little more research,
I realized that dreams may be worth exploring in fiction.
Brock: That sounds cool. I know I’ve woken up in
the middle night, thinking wow that was just weird. Tell us about the main
Wayne: Archer Keaton has the same issues
as any other high school freshman: fitting in, standing out, bullies, crushes,
etc. But he’s got one additional issue: he’s a Dreamtreader, one of three
people chosen each generation to protect humanity in the realm of dreams. Rigby
Thames is another freshman, but he’s arrived halfway through the school
year and carrying a suitcase of mysteries, including a Mad Uncle who might have
been guilty of murder. Kara Windchil is a young lady with plans. Also
just a freshman, Kara knows what she wants in life and how she’s going to get
there. She’s always seen something special in Archer, but when Rigby arrives,
she becomes distracted. Her ambitions change and a secret hobby threatens to
lead her into uncharted territories. Honestly, the plot of the story came
first. But once I had the general storyline, all these people leaped into my
mind to carry out the story.
Brock: It’s amazing how characters come to life.
In three sentences what is this book about?
Wayne: What if dreams were much more than we ever imagined? What
if a threat loomed within the realm of dreams, a threat to everything and
everyone we hold dear? And finally, what would happen if people gained the
power to control their dreams?
Brock: Intriguing! What is the Biblical
background or basis for the series?
Wayne: Dreams play a pretty significant role in
the Bible. Just do a search, and you’ll see that some very important events
occurred due to dreams. So, the general topic (dreaming) is of Biblical
importance. But as the story developed, a new theme began to dominate: the idea
of having anchors of truth. When people have God and the Bible as their
anchors, they can withstand any storm. But when we lose sight of those anchors,
we invite disaster.
Brock: That’s so true. How many books are
planned for this series?
Wayne: Three books. Book one will be out May
6th. Book two, later in the year.
Brock: Any certain research
required for the book, or is it all straight from your imagination?
Wayne: I had to do a bit of research on the
fields of sleep science, sleep physiology, and lucid dreaming. This wasn’t too
taxing, however, because it’s all very cool stuff.
Brock: What do you hope kids take away from the
Wayne: Back to the “anchor” theme. No generation
in the history of the world has ever seen its moral compass destroyed then this
generation’s has been. Politics, news media, entertainment, music, social
media, peers, and even ill-informed parents are sending mixed messages (at
best) or false messages to our children. And we dress up those messages with
lacey labels like “tolerance” or “fairness” or even “loving,” but it’s really
societal poison. If kids don’t have anchors, the solid truths they will stand
on no matter what, then they will get washed out to sea and drown in sin.
Brock: Is it difficult to be accurate to
Biblical perspective/facts when writing fiction fantasy?
Wayne: It’s not difficult to write fantasy
fiction from a Biblical perspective. Not hard at all. What’s difficult is
having to break through walls of “well intentioned” Christians who object to
just about anything on the ground that it’s not Biblical because they wouldn’t
do it that way. Drives me crazy how some Christians go after other
Christians—why? Just because they are uncomfortable with the means by which the
Gospel of Jesus is being spread. Can’t Heavy Metal Music spread the Gospel? Is
God so powerless that He cannot touch a child’s heart through a story with
unicorns or wizards? The apostle Paul would want to slam his head against a
wall if he saw the picky attitudes of some Christians today. He was the one who
immersed himself in a variety of cultures just so that, by any means, he might
save a few. There is freedom in Christ, remember? And that freedom extends to
Brock: What are some of the strongest influences
on your writing?
I’m an author’s mutt. I mean, I’ve read so many authors in so many genres that
I really have no idea whose style I most emulate. I suppose Tolkien’s sense of
the grand adventure is something I really want to capture. But I like the
pacing of modern authors better. And I like to include a lot of poetic
technique in my writing. In poetry, one thing you learn very quickly is not to
waste words. That’s really handy for writing novels too.
Brock: How do you write? What’s a normal writing day like for
There’s no such thing as a normal writing day for me. I’m a full
time English teacher at a public middle school in Maryland. I have four teenage
kids, a wonderful wife, and a handful of very close friends. But, as a result of
these blessings, the one thing I do not and cannot possibly have is a regular
time to write. It just isn’t there. Therefore, I write whenever I can. An hour
here, two hours there, fifteen minutes too. It all counts.
Brock: Wayne thanks so much for the interview.
Wayne: One last thing for readers to remember:
Anchor first. Anchor deep.