Day three of the Edenstar Blog Tour… Looking through all the books listed on that site has recalled to me my own speculative fiction roots and I thought I’d start my stint of posts here on Speculative Faith with a trip down memory lane.
My first memory is of a book of fairytales I received as a little girl. There were jewels hanging in the trees of the forest and a white stag. And there was a giant who kidnapped a maiden and kept her in his cave where he cut off her feet and locked them in a cupboard so she wouldn’t be able to escape. Of course the prince found her and they got her feet out of the cupboard, put them back on and she was delivered…
A bizarre story to remember, yes, but it has stayed with me as surely as the jewels and the white stag. I didn’t even blink at the notion of feet cut off and kept in a cupboard, then popped back on like a pair of shoes when it was time to go! Maybe that willingness to suspend disbelief is one reason I have always loved the literature of the fantastic. Well, I’ve loved literature of history and adventure and spying and westerns and mysteries… best not get into that. Science fiction and especially fantasy, though, have always held a special place in my heart.
As a child I don’t recall there being much to choose from. The fairy tale book, Miss Pickerel Goes to Mars (Ellen MacGregor), A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth. Does Pooh count? I’ve always loved Winnie the Pooh… I used to watch the creature feature in black and white on our old TV every Saturday afternoon. More crazy stuff to fill the well.
Then in the seventh grade, I found Andre Norton’s Judgment on Janis and I was hooked on SF for good. I read everything of hers I could find, then I read everything of Robert Heinlein’s I could find. And then I just started reading everything in the SF/F section of the library — I loved Dune (and had absolutely no idea they were doing drugs and having orgies until the third time I read it). At the same time, Star Trek came on the scene. After that ended its run, I spent some time with Westerns — Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, and other historicals. I read The Hobbit in High School, followed by Lord of the Rings, but they didn’t really capture me. C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy was interesting but Perelandra was soooo boring! (Until I read it again, about ten years later as a Christian; then it was my favorite of the three).
I was married and one year out of college when I was complaining to my husband about a John Jakes book wherein the protagonists were rolling amorously about in the hay by the third page, and my husband suggested I write my own novels. I decided to take his advice.
I’d already written a western and a Star Trek ripoff novel in high school. Now, having recently become a Christian, I was gungho for Christ and decided I would write a Christian western (I was blissfully, profoundly ignorant of all things relating to publication at the time). Six months later Star Wars came out and it blew me away. The analogies that movie sparked wouldn’t let me go. I threw the western aside and began to write a science fiction adventure allegory.
But not an obvious allegory. I wanted to show just how cool the Christian life was, without all the baggage that I, having been an unbeliever for 21 years of my life, knew existed out there. I had carried so many misconceptions about it all myself, that I was eager to present something that would clear them all up. I also wanted to tell a real story, with deep and believable characters, not the cardboard figures I’d noted in other allegoriacl stories.
I think at the time the Christian market for fiction was virtually nonexistent — prairie romances, biblical historical fiction and Grace Livingston Hill were about it. I had no interest in any of that, and never even gave thought to going in that direction. The focus was always on ABA. That’s what I wanted to write for, that’s where I saw my books as being published.
Sometime not long after that, someone told me SF was evil, so I switched to fantasy (I have since changed my mind about that…). Abramm Kalladorne took shape on a long, hot dayhike in the Blue Wilderness of central Arizona and shortly thereafter I began the book that would one day become The Light of Eidon, Book One in THE LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN-KING.
To be continued…