Thursday, June 21, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: Sharon on Restorer, fantasy, and show tunes, Part 2

Welcome back to part two of my interview with Sharon Hinck, author of The Restorer.

Today I'm going to start off by playing a little bit of devil's advocate: Why did you use fantasy to tell this story of a heroic mom? Can't moms be heroic in the contemporary world too?

Sharon: I do also write contemporary novels about women making heroic choices. However, fantasy allows a way to look at things from a new angle. I think I chose the genre for purely selfish reasons. Sci-fi and fantasy novels have been among my favorites over the years. I wrote the book I wanted to read. :-)

C: I think both C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle each wrote their classics for the same basic reason. So you're walking with the greats!

And for those unfamiliar with Sharon’s other books, I would like to recommend them to check out her contemporary novels, The Secret Life of Becky Miller and Renovating Becky Miller, about a mom who makes—as Sharon would put it—heroic choices in the modern world.

Now obviously, you enjoy the sci-fi/fantasy realm. Yet this can be a very scary genre, especially when you look at some of the secular stuff. What do you see as the advantages of sci-fi/fantasy, especially CSFF?

S: Hmmm. I’m not sure that I think the genre has particularly scary stuff, any more than other genres. I do think speculative fiction can be a powerful way to look at old truths from new directions – and gain some different perspective. I’ve always been interested in the stories of the Judges, and in Deborah, and wondered what a modern woman would look like filling that sort of role.

C: I love CSFF for the same reasons. But nonetheless, scary or not, many Christians are wary of the genre because of its connections (perceived or real) with witchcraft and the occult. What encouragement or advice can you offer someone who's wants to try the genre but is afraid of getting mixed-up in the wrong stuff?

S: For someone who wants to try WRITING in the genre I think most writers benefit from both writing mentors and spiritual mentors. It’s great to have trusted critique partners who will say, “this section is not only dark, but it makes the darkness too appealing or intriguing” or “what are the theological implications of having this created culture function in this way?” I think the advice I’d give is the same whether you are writing pioneer historicals or chick lit or speculative fiction. Be plugged into your local church, be part of a small accountable community, seek prayer support, learn from others working in the genre.

For READING the genre you need the same discernment as you apply to any media you consume. Apply scripture, be sensitive to your conscience as it guides you, look at the effect certain kinds of books or stories have on you. Does it ultimately draw you closer to Christ, make you hunger to serve Him? Help you celebrate the universe He created? Stir you to love others? Even the light books I read for pure entertainment can sometimes remind me of important truths. Even the dark books that poignantly reflect the human struggle and the sin-sick world can stir me to deeper compassion and a desire to make a difference for those who are hurting.

C: So how has your faith intersected with the fantasy of Restorer? What effect has writing had on you or how have you grown through it?

S: I think some of the themes I write about come from struggles and questions that are fresh or immediate in my recent faith walk. But the interesting thing is, rather than “solving” those issues through the writing, I often seem to “live out” the challenges of my books again. While I wrote Susan’s story, I often reflected on some of the past roles I took up that were in-over-my-head tasks where I felt God had called me. Mission trips to Hong Kong, founding and directing an arts organization, being a parent (Lol!). I hoped the story could reflect some things I’d learned on those journeys.

Yet the adventure of writing a book, then stepping into the CBA world to offer it – the waiting, the “not knowing,” the strange and different culture, the taboos I blundered against, the mental discouragement – has been another whole challenging journey. These years after writing the book have given me ample time to practice faith in new ways, battle mind poison, and surrender to God more deeply, which I’m reminded about by Susan.

C: And neither your journey nor Susan's ends with The Restorer. Book two of The Sword of Lyric, The Restorer's Son, releases in September. What would you like readers to know about Restorer's Son, besides that it's your favorite?

S: LOL! Readers will get more glimpses into the cultures of nations surrounding the People of the Verses, Susan has even greater challenges in discerning friend from foe, and a favorite character runs amok. :-) Is that enough?

C: At least for now. :o)

Thank you so much, Sharon, for taking time to chat with me and answer all my questions. This has been both a pleasure and a privilege for me.

Thanks for inviting me to visit!

Your interest peaked? Click here to order The Restorer today!

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