1/15/2007

Interview with author C.E. Lavender

What is your motivation for writing?

My motivation for writing comes from my creator, God. I believe He instills us with desires and passions, and that He will equip us with the skills and knowledge to fulfill His will through them.

I haven’t always wanted to write. It may have been a confidence issue, but my creative imagination won out. I haven’t been much of a consistent writer, but I plan to work on that in 2007.

I first started toying around with the idea of writing in my freshman year of college, seven years ago. I never thought that what I started in a booth of a little Subway would have propelled me into the chair I’m sitting in today. For some, a single short story in an anthology may not mean much, but for me it’s a nice accomplishment. I give thanks and glory to God for that.


Why do you write Biblical speculative fiction?

I write Biblical speculative fiction because it is what interests me. I wouldn’t find much joy in writing something that didn’t hold my attention. Growing up I was hooked on movies like
Star Wars. I had my He-man collection. I could always go for a good thriller or horror flick. At the time I was emerged in epic fantasies such as The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, and The Sword of Truth.

There were many parts of speculative fiction that intrigued me. In fact, when I first started writing I hadn’t even considered writing for God. He soon chose to show me differently.
Even for someone that doesn’t hold to the same speculative background that I do, it’s not hard to see why he or she clings to it. Take a close look at the Bible. David and Goliath. Jesus turning the water into wine. Angels. Demons. A war in Heaven. The list goes on and on. If you look at these stories they mirror much of what you would find in Biblical Speculative Fiction today. Not to say those stories are fictional. They provide a good solid true story base for speculative writers to lean on.


The Christian community has varying opinions on the appropriateness of speculative fiction. Can you explain your take on the compatability between speculative fiction and your Christian worldview?

See above. I pretty much got to this before I got to it. I think a lot of times many Christians want to hide behind closed doors. Well, for some people they want to come out. And my thing is, if a Christian wants to read a book for entertainment, why not Biblical speculative fiction versus secular speculative fiction? When it comes to my daughters, I would much rather see them reading
Daniel I. Weaver versus Stephen King.


What length of fiction do you prefer to write?

Personally, I have found that my taste buds find novel length writing to be more satisfying. The challenges that I met in writing “Protected” for
Light at the Edge of Darkness were interesting to say the least. I learned, the hard way, to treat it like a single chapter in a novel length story. Writing it to ensure that the reader could pick up the story in the beginning and have a since of closure at the end. In the end my imagination just can’t seem to stop with just on chapter of writing.


What writing techniques work best for you in terms of character, plot, setting development?

This is quite interesting. I feel rather new to writing. I really don’t do much in the line of character bios. I run the story through my mind much like I am watching a movie, so the characters come across vividly in my imagination. However, I have found that detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines works well for me. Especially if there are several twists and turns.


Have you had any life experiences that have (positively or negatively) influenced your writing?

I guess earlier I told a little fib. When I was a sophomore in high school I began writing poetry. For three years I never even dreamed I would even attempt to write full-length novels. At the time I mostly wrote poetry for others. Mainly situations or events that a friend or loved one had encountered along life’s way.

As it turned out, when that person read their emotions put into words it greatly helped them in their struggle to recover. It really amazed me that God would give me such a talent. One that a person just couldn’t learn, but an ability to put emotions and feelings to words. I felt that in my own little way, I was making a difference. And that is what drives me to write even today.


Any advice for new writers in general? Christian writers?

I’d say to always keep your head up. I remember a little over a year ago, I let someone read a few chapters from my work in progress. This person ripped it up one side and down the other. I gave up. I totally quit on my writing. It really struck me deep. This guy was in the business of writing and that really broke me. But I learned that writing is tough. You just can’t sit down and write what comes to mind and expect it to be published. It’s about writing and re-writing and re-writing. And if you’re me, you go through that a few dozen more times. In this business persistence pays.


When do you write?

I have a two-year-old and an eleven-month-old. I have a 40+ hour a week job. I’m an ordained minister. I write as time allows.


Do you do any research for your writing?

Yes, I’m currently in the process of researching for my current work in progress. Unless you are pretty knowledgeable of the subject matter, you’ll never get published without a little bit of research. There will always been someone to point out your every fault and flaw. Pick up a book by one of the most successful writers, Michael Crichton. You will notice a plethora of reference to credit his information.


Who do you think would most likely enjoy your fiction?

Hopefully, everyone enjoys my fiction. But I have heard some people say that it gets a little too intense, creepy, or scary for them. I’d have to say that if you are looking for something that will keep you on the edge of your seat and take you for a thrill ride, then you’ve found the right author.


Do your stories/ novels have any common themes or threads? Do you try to provide a message for your readers?

Yes, I am extremely fascinated with the spiritual warfare that ensues today. My goal is to use a little bit of fiction to shed light on the truth. Many of us want to overlook this warfare but its existence is clearly outlined in the Bible. I want to expose the darkness with the Light of Truth, and I hope to have contributed my part of that in Light at the Edge of Darkness.


What can you tell us about “Protected” included in
Light at the Edge of Darkness?

My inspiration for “Protected” is that a lot of us are easily deceived by the powers of darkness. Most of the time it is not plainly seen as it is in my story. The scripture says that darkness cannot live with the light; I chose to use characters that represent the light to bring the darkness to the . . . light. I believe it's representative of everyone’s situation. No matter what evil you’ve done or what sins you are currently committing, it’s never too much for the Lord to overcome. No matter what the odds, the light always triumphs over darkness.


C.E. Lavender's bio
Rise-Up Alliance: Sermon Blog

6 comments:

vbtenery said...

Hi Chad:

I'd never thought of Bibical speculative fiction from the bibical point of view, ie David and Goliath, etc. I found that both interesting and helpful. Great interview.

Virginia

Anonymous said...

Virginia,

I plan on going into more detail on Biblical speculative fiction from the Biblical point of view in my post on the 25th. Thanks for the comment.

Daniel I Weaver said...

Chad, I've seen how you've developed over the last few years. You've come a long way, and I'm very glad you didn't give up. Sometimes it takes that outside opinion to really open our eyes (if we let it), but you need to always take everything with a grain of salt. God wired us all differently and we just have to do the best with what he gave us.

Keep writing. Never give up. Trust in Him to guide your way. I look forward to seeing the story beyond "Protected" when you get it done.

God Bless,
Daniel I Weaver
www.danieliweaver.com

Andrea Graham said...

I appreciate your comments on the bible and speculative fiction. For the follow-up novels to Heaven's Mark especially, Adam and I borrowed quite a bit from bible stories, including parts of Gideon's story. My biblical speculative fiction is at times what you'd think it would be to hear it.

Susan said...

I'm glad you didn't give up! And, yes, attaching words to whatever we are dealing with helps us heal and overcome. Wonderful interview, Chad!

Deborah Cullins Smith said...

It's always hard to persevere when others discourage us. And all too often, the discouragement comes from those closest to us. I'm glad you didn't give up, Chad.

Great interview.

~deb