David Meigs is a novelist with a background in youth outreach, specializing in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though his writing is enjoyed by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family lives in Seabeck, Washington.
Genres That Change Lives, Part 2
As a youth minister and writer, I pay close attention to what teens are reading. In recent years, blockbuster hits such as Harry Potter and Twilight have exploded onto the scene, drawing teenage fans by the millions, from all walks of life, including Christian youth. These novels have spurred much debate within the church community. In my congregation, this controversy prompted many parents to seek my recommendation on similar novels for their teens—books that support their Christian worldview and morals.
Twenty years ago, the number of novels on my recommendation list was limited. Even ten years ago, the pickings were not much better; and almost nonexistent if the reader craved epic fantasy stories, science fiction, or thrillers. Fortunately, in the last few years my recommendation list has swelled to include many wonderfully written novels from all across the spectrum of speculative fiction genres.
Among the shortlist of books that have earned my highest recommendation are By Darkness Hid (Book 1 in the Blood Kings series, Marcher Lord Press) and its recently released sequel, To Darkness Fled by emerging novelist Jill Williamson. Moreover, I am not alone in singing Williamson’s praises. As I write this, By Darkness Hid has achieved a well-earned place as a winner of the highly coveted Christy Award.
Author Bio: Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. She writes stories that combine danger, suspense, and adventure for readers of all ages. Her first book released in April 2009 from Marcher Lord Press. By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, Book 1) is a medieval fantasy. Jill has served alongside her youth pastor husband for the past ten years and loves working with teenagers, especially to encourage young writers. She gives writing workshops at churches and schools. You can learn more about Jill on her Website at www.jillwilliamson.com.
Interview with Jill Williamson:
Jill, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with our readers. Please tell us a little of your journey as a writer.
I spent some time speaking to teens and teaching classes at church. I thought it would be fun to become a full-time speaker. I heard that articles in magazines and newspapers can help a speaker, so I started writing articles. One of the Harry Potter books came out, and a new barrage of debate within the Christian community flared up as to whether or not these books should be read by Christians. It inspired me to write my own novel for teens, to write fast-paced adventure stories for teens that glorified God.
Have you always had a passion for writing inspirational speculative fiction?
Young adult speculative fiction novels are my favorite kind to read, so it never occurred to me to write anything else. My husband is a youth pastor, and we’ve been working with teens for the last twelve years. It’s the ministry God have given us. So for me to be able to write fun stories for teens . . . it’s the best of both worlds.
Are there any key elements that are unique to writing inspirational speculative fiction?
Just the inspirational part. God’s truth—the hope He brings—is what sets a Christian fiction novel apart from a general market
one. The rest of it is whatever you, the author, want to write about. Speculative fiction is diverse. We can write about anything.
Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists who wish to write inside the speculative fiction genre?
Write, write, write. Finish your first draft. Don’t agonize over perfection until you’ve got a finished draft to agonize over. Besides, the beginning of the story might change once you know the end, so don’t waste time poring over every sentence until later. Save that for the rewrite stage. But don’t get stuck there either. Finish that book, send it out, then write a different book.
And try not to be impatient. Work on making each book the best it can be. When you finish a book, send it out. While you’re waiting to hear back, write another one. I wrote six novels before my first book was published. I’ve heard the same from many authors. So, try to have fun. I know it’s discouraging to wonder why you aren’t getting published. But God is in control. Randy Ingermanson once said it takes writing about a million words to get published. That was almost spot on for me. A million words is ten 100,000-word novels! Or ten full rewrites. For me, writing ten novels was a lot more fun.
What can Jill Williamson fans look forward to in the near future?
I have one more book to finish in the Blood of Kings trilogy. I’m also polishing up some of my other books to submit to publishers. I have a teen spy book and a story about cloning that are both a lot of fun. And I have lots of new book ideas, but only so many hours in each day. Sigh
About To Darkness Fled.
Enter Darkness . . .
They had no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights flee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.
Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason, as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home. Though he would not be very wise if he did.
Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claim is so far fetched. First, that there might only be one god, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.
Each setback Darkness brings seems minor compared to the one choice only Achan can make. What will he choose?
You can read an excerpt here.