I am drawn to a writer who lives his life in
the truth of God’s promises. I also like a writer who lists coffee as a
part of his life right up there with his friends and family! Dean
Briggs created a fantasy series that will draw you in and captivate
your heart, mind, and spirit. He writes with a humble strength that
challenges readers to draw near to the only One who is able to guide
them through the great adventure of life!
The Legends of
Karac Tor series has a unique beginning and was
born out of a desire to encourage your sons through a particularly
trying time. Tell readers briefly about your journey to publication.
I began plotting LoKT before my
late wife was diagnosed with cancer.
At the time, it was simply the heroic journey of four brothers through
a fantasy world in peril. But then the peril became an intensely
personal crisis inside my own home, eventually claiming the life of my
wife of sixteen years. I was a single father left with four boys under
the age of eleven. In the midst of my grief, I realized that this story
was no longer optional. It was more important than ever, for my boys
and me, because now it wasn’t just any story, it was our story. I’ll
never forget opening that first rough plot outline on my laptop and
editing it to include the passing of their mother. When you’re dealt a
life-altering blow, how do you live courageously? That’s the quest.
When you live long enough, you realize that’s not just my life or my
story. At some level it’s everybody’s story.
Just after the
second book in the series was released, your
publisher gave you a twist in the plot of life. How difficult was that?
What did you learn in the process? What was the outcome?
In the wake of the 2008
recession, my previous publisher (Navpress) cancelled their entire
fiction line. The Book of Names
had been out for only a few months when Corus the Champion was set to
go to press. Then, boom, sorry, it’s done, which made it hard not to
think the whole series was also done. Would another publisher want to
take on another’s project? For my boys’ sakes I wanted to finish this
very personal tale. It was one more experience of loss. I had to learn
to let go all over again, let my dreams fall to the ground, die to
myself, all of it.
But through it all, I came to
realize how invested God is in His
children. Just like I had a story I passionately wanted to tell, God
had a story of redemption for me—Dean Briggs, the father, the writer,
the man—and He is an even more passionate storyteller. God goes all in.
He is relentlessly committed to His own reality, which is life by way
of death. Resurrection isn’t a concept, it’s a spiritual paradigm most
of us avoid at all cost. But He knows the cost better than anyone.
There is no new life without the ending of the old life, period. No new
vision without the death of the old vision. It’s His pattern. So for
nearly two years I just shelved the series, let it die within me, and
waited for God to provide any evidence that this one was going to live
again. I moved on. Karac Tor was dead.
Eventually things rolled around
again. When the time came, it
happened in a matter of days and weeks. I’m with AMG, and they’re
committed to my full five-book series, whereas Navpress had committed
to only three. It was a better moment, better timing, a better deal.
And I was a different person to receive it back at that point.
your characters on your Website, “[they] must
live as Champions in spite of the odds against them. Together, they
must find their courage, battle overwhelming enemies, face their pain
and never quit searching for home.” What other truths do you hope your
readers will find in the lives of the Karac Tor’s heroes?
Winston Churchill was called the
Lion of Britain. Quoting his
comments to the students of Harrow School in 1941, I’ll just say,
“Never, never, never, never give up.” Note the date. World War II
wasn’t over yet. So while it’s a nice sentiment when a modern celebrity
says, “Hey, keep going, dude,” it’s totally different for a man like
Churchill, with history, battle scars, and huge challenges—who
literally helped turned the tide of history—to commend himself to young
people with such advice.
can readers find in the next saga of the Legends of Karac Tor?
The Ravaged Realm
is the fourth title and represents a shift that may surprise readers.
In a sense, it’s the most thematically
of the series. In all
the ways the first three books steadily built out the scope and scale
of Karac Tor’s growing conflict with darkness, this one, in a sense,
gets small again. We follow a couple of key story lines. We spend time
with the characters. We witness not only the outward ravaging of the
land, but also of any inner sense of spiritual leadership. We discover
more of the Nine Worlds and the interaction between them and Karac Tor.
It all circles to setting the stage for the final book, The
War of Swords.
character do you most identify with in your stories?
Since my kids stand in as
themselves, the obvious answer would include the autobiographical
characters. But I identify with the struggles of Sorge and Corus most
of all. Some days I’m Sorge, some days I’m Corus. And while I don’t
like to admit it, some days I’m most definitely Archibald.
Who is your
favorite character? What about him surprised you?
I don’t have one favorite. For
readers, Cruedwyn Creed is consistently a favorite, but he stands in
jeopardy now, which is actually kind of painful, since he’s been this
fun, larger-than-life guy. The larger arc of the story was leading
Cruedwyn to a place I did not first envision or expect him to go when I
started the first title, The Book of Names. Ahh, but
I should be quiet, because now I’m unfairly hinting toward Book 5.
witnessed how God can work through fiction to reach young lives. Why do
you think writing good fiction for a young adult audience is important?
Admittedly, serious events
inspired the series but without diminishing the escape factor you want
in a good novel. My goal has been to create a thrilling series in the
Tolkien tradition of “High Fantasy” where everything is on the line and
nothing less than the bravest acts of heroism will win the day. Young
people need stories that invite them to that kind of life. They need
the freedom to imagine their own lives as having that level of
consequence. So the takeaway of how my own life experiences have shaped
the story is a degree of “realness” that both adults and young adults
appreciate. Yes, it’s a fantasy world, but the struggles are real and
people get banged up. Everything is not a cakewalk for the main
Do you have
any nonfiction projects waiting in the wings?
I pastored for eleven years. I’m
a student of the Word and also a teacher. As God permits, I’d like to
share some thoughts on various topics: keys involving prayer, suffering
and perseverance, discipleship, and also a reexamination of the
church’s mission in the world. Some are finished manuscripts. Some are
still in formation.
What is God
doing in your life now?
Sometimes life feels like a
whirlwind of chaos and never-ending “To Do” lists, but every now and
then things come into focus. God is ever new to each of us, but my task
is pretty much the same as it was yesterday and same as it will be
tomorrow. Eugene Peterson called it “a long obedience in the same
direction.” God is teaching me to love my wife, strike a better balance
of encouragement and firmness with my kids, wake my sleepy head up in
the morning, and give of myself without thinking what I should receive
in return. I have the Holy Spirit. I have the Word. I have family and
friends and coffee. That’s a pretty full day.
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons both nearing the end of high school, Kim’s
life is full and blessed. She enjoys singing, writing and spending time
with her family. She blogs at: Window
To My World