2/07/2007

The "dark side" of LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS

As a contributing author for LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS, I'm not going to attempt to sway your opinion of the anthology by praising up my stories or those of the other authors. I believe, as with any good book, you will need to make a decision about it for yourself and that the unbiased individuals offering reviews throughout the world have the responsibility to guide you toward reading it or not in the first place. But, today is a day in the LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS blog tour and it happens to be my day to post, so in sticking with that theme, I'm going to offer up a little more insight into the "dark side."

The three stories I've contributed to LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS are all supernatural suspense stories, or horror to the average reader. Personally, I see a distinct difference between the fiction I write and the horror you would find on your average bookstore's shelves, but discussing that isn't my purpose today, so I'll save that for another day. What I'd like to discuss today is the darkness in LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS.

The concept of good vs evil, light vs darkness is as age-old as day and night. Actually, biblically speaking, perhaps the concept of good vs evil is even older than day vs night (think Lucifer's fall from heaven). Anywho, when writing supernatural suspense, one is, by definition, scribing a tale that incorporates elements of the supernatural or unexplainable within the context of a suspenseful tale. That is exactly what I've set out to do.

TAKEN is a terrible "what if" scenario, as in, what if I woke up inside a house where the crazy inbred inhabitants seemed bent on mutilating me and everyone else who had ended up there with me for no apparent reason? Not a pretty picture. TAKEN isn't a tale of gore, however, it's a tale about choices and outcomes. The choices we make in life determine who we are/will become, and the toughest choices of all are the ones that reveal our true character. To make things more interesting, the main character in TAKEN has an unusual gift and what he chooses to do with it could be the difference between life or death.

SEEING BLIND is a science fiction/supernatural suspense blend that adds and interesting twist to a New Testament Bible story. I won't give away too much, but the story takes place on a dying alien planet where an unusual race of monstrous creatures is about to destroy everything. One man is trying to save what's left while the powers-that-be have allied themselves with the darkness and are bound to forge an unholy alliance. Can one man stop hell from coming to his world?

GUILTY is twisted haunted house tale where nothing is quite what it seems. Guilt is one of those things that clings to many people, that weighs them down and follows them into the most secret places. Couple guilt with grief and anything is possible. In GUILTY, anything becomes reality to nightmarish proportions. GUILTY is the most "graphic" of my tales in the sense of any kind of gore or disturbing imagery. But carefully examined, every image, every moment is merely a reflection of the character whose story you share.

All three of these tales start off in dark places. These characters, each with different reasons and life experiences, are all at a place from which their lives can't get much darker. In some cases, they've abandoned the light. In other cases, they've never known the light. Regardless, I have intentionally pitted them in dark, dark places.

Why you might ask? Because it is human nature to turn for help and open ourselves to the supernatural at our most vulnerable, helpless state. When there is no where else to turn, when all hope is lost, the most desperate souls search beyond reason and practicality for hope. When life is skippy and grand, people often forget about God and what He does for them. When there is no darkness, some people forget to acknowledge the light. Every good thing in life becomes some result of their own efforts or actions, instead of a blessing from their Creator. So, for the sake of bridging to the light, my tales often begin in the dark.

Should darkness have such a pronounced place in Christian fiction? Now there is a question I've seen debated when it comes to this genre. The key here, is that we don't in any way glorify these things or powers of darkness. When you see evil in any of my stories, there is never a moment where the reader should be identifying with the darkness in a positive way. The parallels between good and light, and darkness and evil are clearly identifiable here. Some might argue too easily identifiable, and perhaps so, but for the purposes of these stories, necessary. You won't find some demon at the center of one my stories having a sympathetic back story that makes you pity him or identify with him. Evil is evil. And when you are talking supernatural evil, there is only one brand: demonic. It is within the human soul, the very core of humanity itself, where darkness exists alongside hope. The most vicious, cruel human being can have redeeming qualities because within him still exists the potential for good. Helping him find that good, helping him reach the light, is a journey worth sharing.

When you read the stories collected in LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS, it is my sincere hope that you walk away entertained and encouraged. Christian or not, these are not revolutionary themes or overbearing sermons. These are tales written either from a Christian worldview or showcasing Christian characters. These are tales about the troubles and tribulations, the dark times that every soul experiences at one time another, yet simply shared through a speculative medium. These are tales about Everyman's struggles with Everyday problems told in an anything but everyday way.

Out there on the web, there are several places that you can find out more information about LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS. Please visit some or all of the links below to find out what other writers and readers have to say. If so compelled, you can preorder your copy of LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS today at http://www.thewriterscafepress.com/

A few Reviews, Blogs, and more:
The Christian Fiction Blog Review
Wayfarer's Journal
Virtual Book Tour De Net
Grace Bridges' Blog
Lost Genre Guild

3 comments:

Adam Graham said...

I've read drafts of at least two of the stories and they were excellent in their earlier forms and I have to say that they had a way of drawing me in. Dan's stories are worth the cost of the book.

Andrea Graham said...

Everyone who says things like, "Dan Weaver is one to watch," are dead on. In my estimation, in his genre, he's the best. If any of us ever end up with six figure writing incomes, the name on the check will be Weaver.

Of course, the best in my genre is my husband (he pays me to say that j/k) ;)

Lydia Daffenberg said...

Hi, Daniel.

I particularly like what you said about darkness having a place in Christian fiction. I would ask the naysayer, "if it's not appropriate here, then where?" Clearly, this genre is the perfect form to show the dichotomy of good and evil. Light over darkness.

I immediately thought of Christian writers such as Tolkien and Lewis who also exemplified these two polar characteristics within their works. Perhaps your own works are of a darker nature (although the ring wraiths are extremely scary in their purely-evil nature), but I feel this can further show the extreme of both good and evil. And, let's face it, Hell is an extremely scary place when the reality of it strikes. I think the majority of people in our society tend to be desensitized to the horrors that really exist there. And, oppositely, Heaven is extremely good in its purity. Again, the goodness or holiness of it seems downplayed by society. So, for me, a horrific tale of evil that is triumphed by ultimate good is appropriate in showing the extreme of each characteristic. So, why not shake 'em up a little, eh?

I look forward to reading your work and being scared into deeper thought and understanding. :-)