1/05/2007

Interview with author Joseph Ficor


What is your motivation for writing?

I have always wanted to be a published writer since as far back as I can remember. My sister and I would write our own stories from time to time. I usually never finished what I started. I was influenced by a lot of science fiction TV and movies in my early years. I did not become a committed reader until I was placed in foster care at the age of thirteen. It was my escape and anchor during these years. Reading helped me get through many of the trials of living with strangers.

My major motivation in my teenage years for writing was to become famous. This changed after I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of seventeen. I really wanted to glorify Him. My role models over the years have been C.S. Lewis, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, David Weber, and David Drake.

Why do you write Biblical speculative fiction?

I write Biblical speculative fiction because the regular speculative fiction market has neglected God over the last century. The science fiction community has been preaching a gospel of utopianism solely based on science and humanism. Most science fiction writers claimed that a belief in any kind of deity was a sign of backward primitivism. They predicted that God would be dead by the late twentieth century and life would be peachy and grand. God is still very much alive and we are worse off than we have ever been. People need to know that no matter how technologically advanced we become, we will always be sinful creatures and that God is still in the business of rescuing a lost world (John 3:16-17).

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

I do not see why there should be any conflict between speculative fiction and Christianity. For over a century, speculative fiction has given us a glimpse into how future technology can change our lives and society. It has done its best to examine the ramifications of new technologies in both positive and negative terms. Christians should be writing in this genre so that they can show world--and future generations of Christians--the Biblical response to the effects of technology on future generations.

What length of fiction do you prefer to write?

This is an area that I am still trying to figure out in my life. There are some stories that I believe that can be told in a short story format and others that need novel length treatment.

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

I am still trying to work on a formula for all of this in my own writing career. I am currently more comfortable with just sitting down and beginning a story and seeing where it goes. I do a very rough outline of the story that I am flexible enough to change as needed when it has to be.

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

I will have to say that the major life experiences that most shaped my writing would be my mother's introducing a love of reading to me and my sister, my time in foster care, my salvation, my time in the Marine Corps, and attending an international church.My mother was a big reader when I was little. She encouraged us to read a lot. Reading was a big escape for me when I had been put in foster care. This had been a tough time for me. I spent of my time with two good foster families. They had even encouraged my reading. One of them even really guided me toward science fiction. I gave my heart to Jesus when I was 17. He gave me a new love and desire to write science fiction that would witness to those who had been fed the garbage that there is no God and that He is a useless anachronism in our lives.

The Marines was a big influence on my writing because it allowed me to see several different countries and get a perspective on cultures different from my own. It was during my time in the military where God gave me a great love for the Japanese people and their culture. The next biggest influence is my attendance of an international church in Southern Illinois. It has broken my mindset that the best example of Christianity was presented by the West. The international believers at my church have shown me that God does not favor one region or ethnic group over another. He can use anyone who has given their hearts solely to Him for His maximum glory.

Any advice to new writers? Christian writers?

My advice to new writers, especially Christian writers, is to ask God to give you wisdom as to what genre that He wants you to write in and do it with all of your heart. Also, be willing to accept correction and reproof to your work. Your writing is not Scripture, so it can be subject to change and improvement.

When do you write?

I usually write when I have free time available. I try to write once a day, even if it is only for a few minutes. I write wherever I have the opportunity.

Do you do any research for your writing?

I have to admit that I do not do as much research as I want. I am a little impatient and I want to get to writing the story as soon as I can. God is working on me to be patient and do research when needed.

Who do you think would most likely enjoy your fiction?

I think that my fiction will be enjoyed by individuals who want a clean and uplifting story that does not make them depressed after they had read it.

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

The common theme or message that I want to convey to my readers is that no matter what we as sinful humans, God is always ready to forgive and turn around any situation to His glory.

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

My major motivation in writing “The Timeship of Semak” is to show my readers that God has created us uniquely for the time and place that we live in. He has a purpose for all that He does in our lives.

The main character of Joe is loosely based on my own experiences in foster care. When times got tough, I thought that it would be so cool for benevolent aliens to come and take me away from the bad situation. I always also wished to go back into time to change mistakes that I had made so that things would turn out better.

I want to show through the experiences of Joe and the alien that God is in control at ALL times and that He will work out even the bad situations to fulfill His will in our lives and situations (Romans 8:28).

5 comments:

Daniel I Weaver said...

Sounds like you've got a wealth of life experiences to draw from, Joseph. I may just have to pick your brain one of these days. I look forward to reading your story in the anthology. God and aliens. Sounds good to me.

God Bless,
Daniel I Weaver
www.danieliweaver.com

vbtenery said...

Joseph:

I can identify with your reasons for writing speculative fiction. I enjoyed your anthology story, and look forward to reading you next submission.

I was touched by your childhood experiences.

Blessings,

Virginia

Deborah Cullins Smith said...

What a full life you've led already, Joseph! It always amazes me that God can allow us to go through the difficult days, then turn around and USE those experiences to His glory.

Wonderfully uplifting interview. It's a pleasure to get to know you better.

~deb

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that I haven't been around.

You are very well spoken and God has given you a lot of experiences to draw on.

Blessings!

Susan said...

I agree with everyone else -- your experiences could provide hope for so many and a voice for those who may not feel like they have one.