Thursday, February 21, 2013

FAQ: Are You Trying To Make Me Believe...?

No. No. And No. I write fiction. My writing is a form of art. The words, just like a painter's brush strokes, are supposed to be thought provoking. Things that happen in the story should evoke feelings and emotions in you, the reader, based on your personal experiences. With that in mind, the experience of reading the Soulkeepers is going to be different for different people, and that's okay.  The story isn't meant to lead you to any particular conclusion, it's supposed to entertain you and challenge you to critically think about diversity and self-acceptance.

The Soulkeepers is a story that takes place in the Bible belt (southern Illinois) and is based on Judeo-Christian mythology. The main character resists the pressures around him to conform to the beliefs of his family and community, and even in the end does not believe in a higher being in the same way as anyone else in the story believes. He connects to his role, the small part he plays in defending good against the evil in his world.

This is vastly different than Christian literature where the main character accepts Christ specifically as his or her personal savior. Nowhere in The Soulkeepers does that happen because, as an author of fiction, that's not the story I wanted to tell with this book. I'm really not concerned with what you believe. Your beliefs are as personal and individual as you are, and you should find them for yourself.

What I am concerned with as an author is this concept of traditional cultures merging with modern secular society. There are those who would say that as science and technology advances, we have no need for any religion or personal spirituality. There are others who think that as our society moves forward, we need those things even more. I am interested in this conversation, this clash of opinions, and it influences my writing.

I usually get the follow up question of, 'What religion are you?'  I am now a practicing ELCA Christian. I was raised Catholic but converted after spending a short time identifying with other religions. I have an open heart and an open mind. I like hearing about how other people find their own personal peace.

So, if you read The Soulkeepers and it brings you closer to your personal faith or makes you think about faith in general and its place in our society, I'm happy about that. I hope my story made some difference for you. But if you are one of the very few (usually those who don't finish the book and make assumptions about how it will end) who thinks that the books are Christian propaganda, I'm sorry to say that you didn't read very carefully, and most likely those feelings came from within you, projected onto the work.

And if you are one of those people who just wants to enjoy the action, adventure, romance, and intrigue of the story itself--YAY! It's fiction after all. Enjoy!

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