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14 March 2012

Demons and Demon Fighters

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

*note: our apologies for a misprint in the original post in Chawna's response about her favorite books. It is now corrected.**

I've heard speculative fiction lends itself to spiritual exploration. It's kind of hard to talk about demons without thinking about faith, don't you think? And who better to write about the battle between good and evil than a follower of the victor, Jesus Christ!

According to Chawna Schroeder, author of Metamporphoses, it is the faith aspect that draws her to this genre. She writes speculative novels not for their weirdness or fantastical settings, but to explore what faith looks like by pushing circumstances to extremes. While the resulting big questions are not safe and may have no clear answer, she believes those questions can increase our understanding of who God is. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys studying biblical Hebrew and Greek, working on her fiberarts (weaving, spinning, and crochet), or watching Castle, Person of Interest, and Murder, She Wrote while eating ice cream topped with Froot Loops.

Chawna Schroeder has written for twelve years, resulting in several unpublished novels. As a member of ACFW, she won the Genesis’s speculative category in 2008.

Chawna, those are impressive credentials. To write that well, I imagine you're an avid reader. I've been chatting about some of my favorite science fiction novels and movies, and I'd love to hear from you. What's the best science fiction novel you've read. Yes, I know ... with so many phenomenal stories to choose from, how can you possibly select a favorite?

From the perspective of a Christian reader, my favorite novel is Firebird by Kathy Tyers. I fell in love with her spirited protagonist, Lady Firebird, from the first pages, and for me, this story represents one of the best balances of good craft and good content.

As a writer, I would have to say The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It deals with a dark topic, has a fair amount of violence, and is definitely not a Christian worldview, so I cannot recommend it without reservation. But the craft is top-notch, and the story raises some good questions.

We can learn a lot from a wide variety of authors and novels, can't we? Now tell us about yours. What aspects will we relate to? What aspects will transport us into another world?

The setting of Metamorphosis is your stylized medieval world of fairytales like you would see in Disney’s Cinderella or Beauty & the Beast: Princesses and kings, swordfights and castles, hunts on horseback. So the world will be familiar from its common use in popular culture, and yet readers will experience it anew because we see it through the eyes of Beast, who has lived among dogs almost her entire life.

Oh, that sounds enchanting! (Read the excerpt here.)

Who's your favorite character and why?

I have to choose? That’s a hard, if not impossible, choice.

I know, I'm being impossible, aren't I?

I love Beast because her heart mirrors mine in many ways. But I think my favorite to write was a secondary character named Tracker because his actions were so unpredictable. Of course if you ask me the same question in a month, the answer might be totally different.

Which character do you feel your readers will most relate to and why?

I hope they will relate to Beast. No matter how successful, beautiful, gifted, or smart we may appear outwardly, we all sometimes fear that if others ever saw the “real” us that they would reject us. Beast personifies that fear, and so I hope readers will undergo the same metamorphosis as Beast as she grows into the truth.

Did any of your personal history, struggles, or triumphs, seep into your book?

Only metaphorically. None of the external circumstances look anything like my life, but story captures one of my common heart struggles, learning to accept God’s unconditional love unconditionally.I've learned, from talking with others, many share a similar struggle. I suppose it comes with living in a fallen world. I imagine your novel will hit a very real felt need. What are you working on now?A young adult science-fiction novel involving androids.

That sounds intriguing! I'll have to start creeping your blog to see if I can't find out more. :)

Readers, you can do the same. Seriously. It's allowed. I bet she won't even press charges. And if she does, you can always morph. Visit her online at her website, chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com

Join our cyber chat via the comments below, and who knows, you might even win a free book! Remember, we're giving away Diana M. Graham's I am Ocilla! To enter our drawing, leave a comment, FB share this post, or tweet it.

About I Am Ocilla:
Open your heart and mind to the simplicity and complexity of a name.
I know only my name. Beyond that is confusion, a void where fantasy and reality swirl together. Fairies, Giants, Elves, Dwarves, ancient Keepers, and...Dragons? A dark soul threatens the Five Kingdoms, but I am powerless to stand against him, overwhelmed by phantom memories, broken and lost.

Somehow, I must live. I must find my purpose. There are friends to love and battles to fight.

I know my name. Perhaps that is enough.

I am Ocilla.

This is my story.

This has been a fun clash! I can't wait to see who YOU choose to be our next literary champion. And this time, the winner receives an extra special prize--consideration by Astraea Press! Woo-hoo! (Which means they very well could return to our ring as a published author in the near future.)
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Item Reviewed: Demons and Demon Fighters Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jennifer Slattery