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Bryan Davis Interview

by Kevin Lucia

"I would count C.S. Lewis as my greatest human influence. His Chronicles of Narnia and Perelandra helped my fantasy fires burn brightly." -- Bryan Davis

Bryan Davis is the author of the four book Dragons in Our Midst series, a contemporary/fantasy blend for young people. The first book, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004. The second book, The Candlestone, followed in October. Circles of Seven debuted in April of 2005, followed in November by Tears of a Dragon. He's also written the Oracles of Fire series.

Bryan lives in Winter Park, Florida with his wife, Susie, and their children. Bryan and Susie have homeschooled their four girls and three boys. Although he is now a full time writer, Bryan was a computer professional for over 20 years.

Kevin: When did you first decide you might like to become a writer?

Bryan: Twelve years ago, I wrote a story for my children in order to teach them how to write. That story grew into a novel, and the joy of creating a story that moved my heart and the hearts of my children ignited a passion to write that continues to burn today. That story never got published, but I still count it as the first stepping stone in my long journey to becoming an author.

I understand the concept for your first novel Raising Dragons came in a rather unique way. Do you mind sharing that with us?

About ten years ago I had a dream about a boy who could breathe fire. I told my eldest son about it, and we brainstormed the idea that sprouted Raising Dragons. At first, he helped me write it, but as he grew bored with it, I took over. Eight years and twenty-four rewrites later, the final version of Raising Dragons finally emerged. Now that's a long labor and delivery time!

What do you see as the greatest challenge in writing Christian fantasy? What do you see for the future of speculative Christian fiction?

The greatest challenge is to convey a spiritual theme without being "preachy." I want to provide a great takeaway value for my stories, but I want the value to be received by my readers naturally. On the other hand, I don't want the value to be so hidden that readers don't get it. This balance is very difficult to achieve.

I think the future is bright. Before Raising Dragons came out, there had been little Christian fantasy produced for many years. Now there are several series and more on the horizon. As publishers learn more about the genre and get experience in identifying the jewels as they come across their desks, the genre will gain more acceptance and success.

Raising Dragons by Bryan DavisGrowing up, were you a big fantasy fan? What was it that drew you to this genre, and whom would you count as your greatest influences?

I was not a big fantasy fan. Much of it was dark, and, even if it wasn't dark, the characters often escaped their dilemmas by a contrived magic power or through someone who happened to come along just in the nick of time. What finally drew me to the genre was the dream I had. I later studied the manner of teaching that Jesus used and noticed that He used fantasy elements to teach. That inspiration led me to the conclusion that fantasy could be used to communicate eternal truths in a way that could prove more powerful than any other method.

I would count C.S. Lewis as my greatest human influence. His Chronicles of Narnia and Perelandra helped my fantasy fires burn brightly.

How did Raising Dragons make it into the publishing world? Was it your first work of fiction to be published?

Yes, this was my first published work of fiction. I met my publisher's acquisitions editor at a writers conference in Florida. He was interested in a non-fiction work I was doing called The Image of a Father and gave me a contract for it soon afterward. Not long after that, he happened to be visiting a friend in my town and asked to visit me at my home. During our talk, he asked what else I was working on, so I told him about the fantasy series. Although his company had never published fiction, he indicated interest and took the manuscript with him. They loved it so much, they decided to take a chance on launching a fiction line with it, and the rest is history.The Candlestone by Bryan Davis

I see you have written several non-fiction titles in addition to your fantasy series. Which do you prefer working on the most, and which do you find more challenging to write: fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction, I think, is far more challenging than non-fiction, and I very much prefer writing fiction. I believe in the power of story. I have seen stories, especially the fantasy variety, change so many lives, this truth seems undeniable to me. From little girls who report fearless nights after weeks of nightmares to teenagers who pass from plans of suicide to new reasons for hope, I have seen the power of story break through brick walls of fear and desperation. For me, writing fiction is not a job; it is mission that fulfills a divine calling.

Any thoughts of what literary horizons you’d like to turn your attention towards when you finally feel finished with Dragons In Our Midst?

I have a new series I'm developing, another young adult fantasy/adventure. It will have nothing to do with the Dragons in our Midst series, so it's a new adventure. I'm looking forward to announcing more details, soon, I hope.

Tears of a Dragon by Bryan DavisAs a reader, when you walk into a bookstore now, which author is the first one you pick up?

It's still C.S. Lewis after all these years. His ability to infuse deep spiritual truths into his stories continues to captivate me even after reading his works many times.

What’s your advice to aspiring writers?

If God has called you to write, if what burns in your heart is the passion to deliver the oracles of God through stories, never give up, no matter how discouraging the path may seem. When you get your one hundredth rejection notice, think about the fact that I had double that amount before I finally heard the "yes" I had been seeking, the open door that God finally opened at the right place and the right time. I now know that the endless string of rejections was an integral part of God's amazing plan.

While you're waiting door to swing open, work on the craft of writing. There is always room to grow and learn. As you do your part in honing your skills, focus on the inner call and keep on trusting.

Kevin LuciaKevin Lucia Kevin Lucia writes for The Press & Sun Bulletin and The Relief Journal. His short fiction has appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner, The Relief Journal, All Hallows, Darkened Horizons Vol. 3 & 4, NexGen Pulp Magazine Issues 1 & 4, From the Shadows, Morpheus Tales Magazine, Bohemian-Alien, Shroud Publishing’s horror anthology, Abominations, and Tyndale House’s inspirational anthology Life Savors. He’s currently writing a novella for Shroud Publishing’s upcoming novella series, The Hiram Grange Chronicles. He resides in Castle Creek, New York, with his wife Abby, daughter Madison and son Zackary. He teaches high school English at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, New York; and is finishing his Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at Binghamton University. Visit him at his website and Myspace page.