R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals and is suspected of eating chocolate and potato chips for lunch while writing. She lurks online at Facebook
R. J. lives in Colorado with her husband and their two sons. The Books of the Infinite series marks her debut in the fantasy genre.
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When the inspiration for Prophet [finalist in the 2013 Clive Staples Award] first hit me in early 2010, I dismissed it almost immediately. How could I possibly trust an idea that had emerged in a dream-fragment? Presenting beloved storylines from the scriptures in a fantasy realm seemed, well, delusional.
After I drank my coffee, however, I was forced to reconsider my initial decision. The dark-haired girl I’d glimpsed in my dream now had a name—Ela—and her storyline was unfolding even as I tried to ignore it altogether.
Ela had been called to serve as her Creator’s prophet—her world’s first female prophet—knowing that she’d die young. Knowing that she couldn’t live without Him.
I had to admit that I was intrigued by the idea, but harbored doubts. Would the Lord’s Word carry weight with readers in a fantasy realm? What about the theological quandary—if the Messiah died only once for all our sins forever, which included every sin in the entire universe, how could I possibly portray another world compiling its own Bible to honor our Creator? Didn’t Israel stone scribes for such offenses in ancient times?
Ignoring the storyline for three weeks didn’t help in the least. I emailed my agent, begged her forgiveness for abandoning my work in progress, and told her that I had to write this story before it drove me insane. When she graciously agreed to present Prophet to publishers, I sat down and wrote a record three chapters that week.
With each chapter I prayed. Whenever I was compelled to write dialogue between Ela and her beloved Creator, the Infinite, I prayed and studied the scriptures for reassurance. What had the Lord said to His prophets in similar situations on planet Earth? Could I merge storylines to create fresh other-world scenarios, yet remain faithful to the Word?
Presenting the Scriptures in a fantasy realm allowed readers to view our beloved Bible through new eyes, and many have written letters to share their feelings after reading the series. Yes, the Messiah had truly died only once for all sins forever, yet my main characters were able to honor His promise and look forward to their future as followers of the Infinite.
And, no . . . stoning hasn’t yet been mentioned.
Above all, I was astounded at how easily the Lord’s living verses could be woven together in a different realm with its own history. Because our Creator is unchanging, and His Word is eternal and alive, the Scriptures translate beautifully into other realms.
The story continues . . .