by Brandon Barr and Mike Lynch
BLOG DAYS OF SUMMER
BB: Books that influenced my life are certainly different than books that have influenced my writing. Besides the Bible (which my entire life rests upon) here are some books that have had a exhorting effect on my life: God Smuggler by Brother Andrew, In God's Underground by Richard Wurmbrand, Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Cross and The Switchblade by David Wilkerson.
KM: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
BB: Above all, I'd have to say C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury, their fiction has influenced the way I write profoundly. But I also must add Bruce McAllister (who has worked face to face with me) and Lars Walker.
KM: What book are you reading now?
BB: Knowing God by J.I. Packer. And I'm currently leafing through my horde of unread books to find a good fiction to read.
KM: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
BB: There are some authors who are new to me, though they've been around for a while. The most incredible one being Lars Walker. I now own everything he's ever written. I read The Year of the Warrior and it blew me away. He's a master storyteller, and really an undiscovered gem. Every Christian who enjoys fantasy or historical fiction needs to read that book.
KM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
BB: I like the word "entity". It reminds me of the Michael Crichton novel, Sphere. Well, I can name a few supporters outside family. In the beginning it was the Online Writing Workshop (http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/). The OWW is a critique group that gave me incredible feedback early on in my writing efforts. I learned so much, and I can't say enough good things about that forum. Where else can you have your manuscript critiqued by top authors? Also a huge support was a local Critique group in my hometown headed by Bruce McAllister. And lastly, I certainly feel that the blogging community has been a big encouragement for me. Friends like you, KM, help to keep me going.
KM: Wow! I agree with you, the blogosphere has been a great encouragement to me also - including those like you and Mike!
So what inspired American Midnight?
This is a two part answer. First, American Midnight sprang from my own experiences as a teenager growing up in our morally confused culture. As young Christians, we grow up surrounded by poison ideals fed to us through TV, movies, Internet, and every other media source. Morals are just your own personal tastes, and fame, popularity, image, money, and ones own immediate satisfaction are the goals of the world around us. In typical polar-opposite fashion, Jesus said to first love God, and then to love others as your own self. In American Midnight, our main character, Tania, is immersed in this self-absorbed culture, she's given up on God because she feels He's left her. Even still, she feels the emptiness of life without God.
Second, the novel explores the growing polarization between Christians who believe in absolute truth and unmovable standards set by God, and a world who wants nothing to do with "old fashioned systems of belief". And if you've read the novel, the story plays this out to its extreme ends. The Jewish people had their world turned upside down in Nazi Germany, one day, that could play out again in new ways, and with new sophistication.
KM: What was the hardest part of writing American Midnight?
It takes a lot of effort to create real, fleshed out characters who come alive. We went through dozens of drafts, refining dialogue and some of the more deep character POV moments.
KM: Do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your readers?
I hope we don't take for granted our own freedoms we currently have. Our world, our country, and our culture are changing quickly. Honestly I see a future where many young Christians are swallowed up by the world's view of life and reject their Christian faith (and they reject it for good reason, because they were set up to have shallow faith to begin with). I fear too often parents are teaching their children to have only an emotional, feelings based faith. Christians are more and more abandoning the intellectual side of Christianity. I see Christians scared of science, scared of philosophy, abandoning reason, and simply having faith in faith instead of having faith in Jesus who is Truth, who created science, and who the chief end of philosophy leads to. Jesus claimed to be the way, the TRUTH, and the life.
KM; What is up next for Mike Lynch and Brandon Barr?
There's an archaeological adventure story on the horizon. We're hoping it will be out sometime next year!
Stay tuned. Wednesday I will post my interview with Mike Lynch!