Chawna: What is your favorite part of your job as a writer and why?
Bryan Davis: My favorite part is that I get to do what I love for a living. I can pour out my ideas and passions, encourage readers to do great things, and do it all as a ministry with my family. I’m living a dream come true.
C: In both your dragon series and Echoes from the Edge, multiple dimensions come into play. What fascinates you about this concept?
B: Fantasy almost always revolves around a journey that opens our spiritual vision. Since my stories are set in the real world, in order to expand the mind of the reader, it’s important to add a big “Wow!” factor that transports the mind to something beyond physical sight. With my Dragons in our Midst series, I opened up Hades and allowed readers to explore the horror and despair therein, a real place that exists but most likely must be on an alternate plane.
In the Echoes from the Edge series, I wanted to do a bit of time travel, but every time travel story I have read contains at least one paradox, and the impossibility of the situations always took away from the story. So, I invented parallel worlds that existed at different points in time, allowing my characters to travel, in a sense, through time. If they altered something in the past, it didn’t create a paradox, because their actions didn’t affect their own world.
These journeys fulfilled my hope to expand readers’ spiritual vision while exploring the great “what if” questions without an annoying logical impossibility. Alternate realms allowed for a generous dose of the coolness factor while still providing a sense of reality, because my characters kept going back to the real world. I think readers enjoy that, because the story does the same for them, providing a doorway to another world from the safety of their reading chairs.
C: Another common factor in both sets of books is the involvement of the genius teen (Ashley in Dragons and Daryl in Echoes), yet these kinds of characters are rare in YA books. What lead you to include them in your stories?
B: I want readers to understand that using the intellect is as important as using muscles. Sure, a character sometimes has an exaggerated intellect, but that aids in making brainpower obvious. Still, characters who rely too much on themselves, whether by brains or brawn, often run into trouble in my fantasy worlds. Every story shows that the spiritual side is essential.
I had wondered if an inflated intellect would be something readers couldn’t relate with, but I have received an amazing amount of feedback that the opposite is true. Many readers feel left out because of their relatively high intellects, and they find it satisfying to read about heroic teens who use their brains. In Echoes from the Edge, Daryl, the smart one, is by far the favorite character in the series.
C: I have to agree--I love Daryl!
So how did writing Beyond the Reflection's Edge affect you personally?
B: I portrayed the hero, Nathan, as a strictly raised homeschooler, someone with a spiritual background much like my own children’s. As I watched him navigate a culture with which he is unfamiliar, it helped me examine what I teach my children. Are they ready to face the strange world out there? Can they cope with people who are so different and do so with resolve to stay pure while displaying compassion? How will they use what they have been taught when their teachers are absent?
These questions have led me to use Nathan’s adventure to query both my children and myself as I slowly open up their horizons to the world outside our home.
C: What would you like your readers to take away from Beyond the Reflection's Edge?
B: I hope my readers will remember to look deeper than what they see on the surface, to allow people to change, to show compassion toward those who are different without compromising their values. As readers progress in the series, I hope they will be impacted by the power of real forgiveness and the joy of true reconciliation.
C: What one book would you recommend to your readers (excluding the Bible and your own works) and why?
B: I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the fourth time. The power of this story is amazing. I love Atticus Finch and his journey to right the wrongs in his culture by the power of his character and his resolve to do what is right in spite of the overwhelming opposition in his own hometown. If we could all emulate these qualities, this world would be transformed.