Realm Makers, the conference for speculative fiction from a “faith-based worldview,” has done a great job bringing in quality keynote speakers right from the start. I couldn’t find a list on the web site, but I know they’ve had Jeff Gerke and Tosca Lee. And this year Thomas Locke will fill that role.
Some may not know that Thomas Locke is the speculative pen name for Davis Bunn. His author bio gives us a glimpse of the man:
Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total world-wide sales of seven million copies.
His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.
Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, the University of Oxford. He holds a lifelong passion for epic fantasy, science fiction and techno-thriller stories.
Thomas’s screenplay adaption of Emissary is under development as a feature film with a British production company.
And this is the man who has included Realm Makers in his busy speaking schedule.
Although much of his writing (as Davis Bunn), is not in the speculative genre, his latest work is a fantasy. Merchant of Alyss (Revell, January 2016) is the second in his Legends of the Realm series. Emissary, book one in the series, introduces readers to a reluctant hero and takes him on a journey to save his world. There’s magic and romance and adventure and fantastic creatures. Good fantasy stuff!
Locke is a full time writer who loves to surf, though he doesn’t get much chance to ride the waves since moving to England. His new passion is cycling.
I’m not sure how he finds time because he is also writing a near-science fiction series. Trial Run is book one of the Fault Line series, with the free ebook short story Double Edge introducing the series. Meanwhile he still writes his historical adventure books as Davis Bunn.
Locke’s fiction, while fitting into the classification of inspirational, is not geared toward Christian readers, but toward a broader range, much like Tolkien’s books. When he first decided to write fantasy, he did so because he found the current in the genre to be overly dark. He wanted to infuse it with some of the elements of classic fantasy, particularly the journey-quest structure and the marriage of internal goals with external ones.
He also has a unique perspective on where he fits as a Christian writer:
Emissary is a Latin word that means ambassador.
My wife, Isabella, and I live for part of the year in the UK and the other part in the US. Increasingly, in our ministry efforts outside of writing, she and I are the only Christians in the room. We feel as if we are emissaries to the world.
During the time we live in the US, it’s easy to become insular. It’s a simpler and more comforting existence if our world is restricted to the community of believers who see the world the same way we do. In the US, our friendships and contacts can mostly be centered around fellow Christians.
Both situations feel right. But the direction we’re feeling called is to this community outside our faith community: the general university system, general entertainment, the growing world of nonbelief. (from Davis Bunn, The Gentleman Adventurer)
Emissary has received a good deal of attention and acclaim. From the back cover:
With his twenty-first birthday, Hyam begins a journey that will lead him to his destiny–or his doom.
Hyam has always shown a remarkable ability to master languages, even those left unspoken for a thousand years. But now the shadow of suspicion that was cast upon him as a child prodigy at Long Hall is lengthening, and he must keep his identity hidden–or face annihilation.
As Hyam’s mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall before he settles down to farm his land. This journey born from duty becomes an impassioned quest for the truth. War is coming swiftly, and Hyam must rely upon his newfound powers and the friends he meets along the way in order to unravel the puzzling past and ensure that he–and the realm–will have a future.
“Book one of the Legends of the Realm series is a wonderful journey away from the real world. This universe is one of fantasy with good and evil, magic, and creatures both mundane and fantastical. The young hero and his companion animals will soon have readers wanting to go on adventures with them. A fine start to this intriguing series.”–RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
“Readers of inspirational fantasy will enjoy [Locke’s] foray into a new genre.”–Publishers Weekly
“A superbly crafted fantasy adventure novel that engages the reader’s total and rewarded attention from beginning to end. Very highly recommended.”–Midwest Book Review
For anyone interested in learning more about Thomas Locke and his fantasy, Alton Gansky, director of the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference, interviewed him at Writers Talk. The video is nearly thirty-four minutes long, so if you have some time, you’ll get some interesting, behind-the-scene information as well as learning a bit more about who Thomas Locke is.