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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick. http://www.faysampson.co.uk

From Vicar to Teen Fantasy Author

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 14, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My guest today is the reverend Philip S Davies, Chair of the UK Association of Christian Writers and author of the young adult fantasy novel Destiny's Rebel which releases tomorrow—September 15— in the US. It released last week un the UK. Philip had his launch at the prestigious Blackwell's  Book Store in Oxford and today it is #1 on Blackwell's bestseller list for young adults.                                                                                                                                                             Sensing that writing a teen fantasy ovel might be something of a departure for a Church of England vicar, I asked Philip to share with us how he came to write Destiny's Rebel:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The idea for Destiny’s Rebel came in a dream. I awoke one morning in January 2006 able to remember a vivid story, and it’s remained largely the same through to the published book.

It was the story of Kat, a seventeen-year-old girl who is about to become Queen. And she’s dreading it, because of the conflicts and responsibilities it will bring. So she runs away. The tale became her struggle to accept her destiny, and whether she could save her Kingdom from disaster.

I made some notes about it (and I’m so glad that I did), but had no thought then of writing a novel, because at that stage I was a full-time Church of England Vicar. Looking back, I was wrestling with the demands and expectations of my calling as a minister, and so shouldn’t be surprised that I dreamed a story about running away. So Kat’s adventure is my adventure, as we both grapple with our identity and purpose.

By autumn 2009 I was a part-time minister and finally had the creative time and space to try my hand at writing. I wrote it first of all for myself, as a story I wanted to read. The fantasy setting of an imaginary world came naturally to me because I’m a medieval historian by degree, and have always enjoyed stories with castles and kingdoms, swords and sailing ships. Only later did I discover that it was Teenage or Young Adult Fantasy, because of the age of the protagonist, and the pace, tone and themes.

But I didn’t know how to write a novel. The story was there, but I’ve spent the last six years endeavouring to learn and improve my craft. And I’d been bitten by the writing bug. Since 2012, after fifteen years as a Vicar, I’m now a full-time author of fantasy novels for young people. So why am I doing this instead of that?

 Over the years I’d become concerned about the older children, teenagers and young adults in our society. We’re told that they’re open, seeking, and even spiritual, but by and large they don’t find their answers in organised religion or institutional church. So if they won’t come to us, then I had to go to them, to wherever they are.

Young people are in school and college, of course, and they’re on mobile phones, on social media and the internet, playing computer games, watching TV and films, and – some of them – reading books.

Then I discovered what is being published in Teenage and Young Adult fiction today. Apart from the vampires, werewolves, zombies and fallen angels, many books include self-harm, eating disorders, terminal illness, cruelty, abuse, torture, suicide, murder, curses and the paranormal. The stories are often tragic and depressing, and the dividing lines from adult fiction in terms of bad language, sex and violence have become blurred.

I defend the right of authors to write as they wish, and to tackle the issues currently facing young people today. But it wasn’t enough for me to feel wretched or complain about this when I could do something, by continuing to write my own stories, and seek to get them published. For me, each generation of teenagers and young adults deserves a choice: to read more positive, wholesome, uplifting and inspiring stories if they so choose. These still need to be exciting and well written, but does everything have to be “gritty” and “edgy”?

Stories can embody deep truths about life and death, our identity and purpose, and all the other questions and answers that young people seek. They’re powerful and memorable, speaking to us deeply because we become involved in the stories.

Destiny’s Rebel was accepted for publication by Books to Treasure, and is now released in paperback. I’m thrilled that it’s targeted at the general market, at young people with no church contact, as well as at the Christian market. My hope is that Kat’s story might touch young and old, Christian and not, and that we find within it resonances with our own.

 Find Destiny’s Rebel on Amazon.com: here.

And on Goodreads: here.

Website: www.philipsdavies.com

Find me on Facebook: here.

And on Twitter: here.

 

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Reader Comments:

This is a wonderful story, Philip, thank you so much for sharing it with our readers. I certainly wish I could have been at your launch party at Blackwell's!
-Donna, September 14, 2015

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