Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Influence of Karen Hancock

I first heard of Karen Hancock at my second writing conference. I was still pretty new to the world of writing and hadn’t even figured out what kind of stories I liked to write. But people invariably asked what was I writing, and I would try to describe it. The response I got was nearly unanimous: Have you read Arena yet?

The whole conference seemed buzzing about this new release by one Karen Hancock and apparently everyone but me had read it. Or that’s how it seemed at the time. So what choice did I have? I checked the book out from the library and read it.

I was disappointed.

The writing was good—must have been, for several images and most of the story have stuck with me to this day. But I got bogged down in the middle and though I finished the book, somehow it didn’t live up to the extravagant praise I’d heard. (My apologies to Ms. Hancock, if you’re reading this.)

Nonetheless, Arena introduced me to the realm of modern Christian science-fiction and fantasy, stories beyond Tolkien, Lewis, and L’Engle. It showed me that CSFF did exist, if you looked hard enough, and after that, look hard was exactly what I did.

I moved onto Kathy Tyer’s Firebird, books by Stephen Lawhead, and of course, The Legend of the Guardian-King by Karen Hancock (I can’t wait to get my hands on book four, which this tour is featuring, Return of the Guardian-King).

Thus partly because of Karen Hancock and Arena, I became the ardent proponent of the genre that I am today.

Feet on the ground, head in clouds,
Chawna Schroeder


chrisd said...

I have questions for you unrelated to this tour, but I'll ask later.

I have not read Arena, but also happened across Stephen Lawhead and was delighted that it was "Christian" or Christian based.

That's a big debate in some parts.

Looking forward to reading your blog tomorrow.

Rebecca said...

First books ... we all write them. (Not that I can say, I haven't read Arena either.)

It is good to know what you thought of it, though. I urge you to move on to the Guarding King series - I think you will find it worth the investment.

Valerie Comer said...

I didn't enjoy Arena nearly as much as the Guardian King series, so I get where you're coming from!