Monday, June 24, 2013

Featured Author Interview: R.J. Larson


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R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as The Women's Devotional Bible, and Seasons of a Woman's Heart.

Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre, the first book in the Books of the Infinite series, acclaimed Christian fantasy fiction inspired by Biblical prophets and kings.

She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons, and is suspected of eating chocolate and potato chips at her desk while writing. 

The following is a June 2013 interview with R.J.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW

One copy of the winner's choice of either ProphetJudge, or King

Contest open to international entrants.

Contest runs from June 24-30 NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an ordinary person who happens to write—my effort to deal with my huge imaginary inner world. Writing allows me to pour my daydreams (and nightmares) into the computer, ridding my mind of its excesses. However, my imagination retaliates by concocting new storylines, which threaten to take over my every waking thought. Not good when I’m working full time and trying to keep track of my busy family!  

Writing is also my quiet ministry. I love to reach people’s hearts and souls with my stories!


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
I never intended to become a writer, but I’ve always had classic author traits. I began imagining stories almost as soon as I could form full sentences. As soon as I learned to read at age five, I read everything.  Vitamin labels, cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the dire warning tags on furniture, and every book my parents handed to me—in addition to all the books I carried home from our local library.

I simply loved-LOVED to read.

Writing professionally, however, never crossed my mind until my sister-in-law, Kathi Macias, became an editor. I was in my twenties when she showed me a manuscript she was editing. I don’t remember the author’s name or even the book’s subject. I looked at that neat stack of pages with all those words, and I thought, “I can do that!”

I wrote a 300,000 word medieval tome, which is still unpublished, but a terrific apprenticeship. While I was writing, I showed a few chapters to Kathi, and she promptly volunteered me as a contributor to a collection of devotionals. More devotionals followed, and my circle of publishing contacts grew.

One of my editors later became an agent and she asked if I was still writing. By then, I’d moved into the Biblical fiction realm, and offered her a manuscript, The Heavens Before, which was published under my true name. Within five months, Moody Publishers offered me a contract for a three-book series, which is still in print.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction offers food for the soul, and eternal hope, which is rarely found in secular fiction. Humans are born with the innate need to connect with their universe and to worship—a longing which must be expressed and experienced. This longing to worship often turns inward, with self-worship. Or we worship idols, sometimes in the form of Hollywood stars, or royalty. But for those who are searching—no matter what they believe or worship—fiction helps readers clarify their personal values as they enjoy other lives through the printed word.

This is why soul-inspiring fiction is so vital, and why I pray over each manuscript as I’m working. Fiction provides a neutral realm for readers to sort through many of life’s difficult questions. Moreover, Christian fiction entertains and serves those who believe in the Lord and who seek eternal, Biblical ways to deal with modern problems, or ancient ones.

For writers, that’s a big responsibility. Scary, even….

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

Above all, I want them to love the characters and react with them as they confront the challenges and fears we all face. I’d also hope that my protagonists will allow readers to explore the ancient Scriptures from new perspectives, offering fresh views on the Book we all love.


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?
When a reader contacts me and writes, “I was in the same situation. I suffered the same hurt,” I always pause and pray.  When a reader writes, “This story made me dig deeper into the Word…” I celebrate!!!


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
My worship, my adoration of the Lord has deepened.  I have always loved Him and honored Him, but as I noted earlier, I pray over each new story for His will. I’m always amazed by the Lord’s boundless love and grace in every aspect of my life. Writing has been an unexpected gift from my Creator!


Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?

To eventually be the very best worst grandmother in the world. I’m already practicing my line: “Yes, whatever you want, honey!” Not to mention my smile as I hand the kid back to his or her parents! Hehehe!


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have very little spare time right now. I work forty hour weeks and write and market when I’m off. I hope to retire early within the next two years, or at least cut my hours in half, allowing myself time for other things. Cooking. Sewing. Tatting. Visiting family members. Did I mention spoiling certain kids???


What can you tell us about your latest novels?

The Books of the Infinite series [Prophet, Judge, and King] is inspired by our beloved Old Testament prophets, heroes, and kings. Inspired by the Scriptures, I place familiar storylines and quite a few verses in a fantasy realm. Quite a few readers have been reading the books specifically trying to pick out the stories and verses that inspired me as I wrote.

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King

Fantasy Meets the Old Testament in a Novel That Will Reach Readers of All Ages

Akabe of Siphra, I have brought your enemies low and lifted you from the dirt.  

Against his wishes and desires, Akabe Garric has been chosen by his people to be king. A warrior at heart, he'd never dreamed of such a swift, unexpected rise to power. Determined to prove his worth to the citizens of Munra and honor his Creator, Akabe undertakes a monumental task: to rebuild the Infinite's Holy House in Siphra.

Only this I ask: Restore My temple and let Me dwell again among the people.

Akabe soon discovers that the land he needs is held by the Thaenfalls, known Atea-worshipers who will give up their claim only if he marries into their line. Though he seeks direction from the Infinite, his pleas are met with silence. Frustrated, Akabe makes an impulsive decision, sweeping his nation into a lethal storm that threatens his plans for the temple. As questions of love and faith become tangled with lies, ancient feuds, and treacherous plots, can Akabe, his mysterious queen, and his trusted friends Ela and Kien Lantec find the Infinite's path...or will they fail as so many others before?

Will your faith hold strong when I am silent?
Child, can you be My king?

"Larson makes the fantasy genre thrilling even for readers who wouldn't normally venture into mystical realms. Though the battles waged resemble tales from the Old Testament, there is no preaching here, merely a compelling story of good versus evil in which good is sure to triumph." --Booklist

Prophet (Books of the Infinite #1)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

Judge (Books of the Infinite #2)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

King (Books of the Infinite #3)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 
Right now I’m working on another scripturally-inspired manuscript, which is not under contract. It’s loosely related to The Books of the Infinite series, but takes the storylines in new directions. 


What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

You’re the best! I love hearing from you and realizing that even if I can’t yet travel the world, my books are there, visiting with you!


Do you have any parting words?

Ellie, thank you! Readers, thank you!

Come visit with me on Facebook , or if you prefer, email me through my website.



Buy R.J.'s Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Be in to win one copy of the winner's choice of either ProphetJudge, or King
Contest open to international entrants.
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