We talked about loads of topics, including my use of the pen name “Thomas Locke” for two new series Revell is publishing.
Archive for the ‘Author Q&A’ Category
Q: Does the idea of an emissary parallel anything specific to your own experience?
Davis Bunn (aka, Thomas Locke): It absolutely has a personal connection. Emissary is a Latin word that means ambassador.
My wife, Isabella, and I live for part of the year in the UK and the other part in the US. Increasingly, in our ministry efforts outside of writing, she and I are the only Christians in the room. We feel as if we are emissaries to the world.
During the time we live in the US, it’s easy to become insular. It’s a simpler and more comforting existence if our world is restricted to the community of believers who see the world the same way we do. In the US, our friendships and contacts can mostly be centered around fellow Christians.
Both situations feel right. But the direction we’re feeling called is to this community outside our faith community: the general university system, general entertainment, the growing world of nonbelief. In the Creative Writing class I recently taught at Oxford, for example, I had 29 students. Four of them were devout Muslims. If I am going to honor their creative efforts, I have to do it from the standpoint of explaining where I’m coming from, in terms of my own world view. But our differing life experiences and world views cannot color the way that I view the quality of their writing. I have to live out my faith in a way that speaks without words.
This has been a main reason for writing Emissary. I’m trying to reach out and to communicate a sense of hopefulness in a manner that meets my readers where they are.
Q: Have you had any “ah ha” moments in regards to your personal decision to be an emissary?
Davis Bunn: Isabella and I marked a turning in our own outreach when we were invited by a seminary in Easy Germany to travel there about a week after the Berlin Wall fell. We arrived the day the East German government granted permission for churches to open after they’d been shuttered for 40 years.
We walked to what had been the main cathedral in the city and saw a young man standing in the doorway. He was staring at a poster that showed fields blowing in the wind and had the Bible verse, John 3:16. The young man looked at the words in absolute, complete confusion. He’d never seen them before.
During that moment, my wife and I both got the sense that this type of ministry was where we wanted to be.
Q: Many of your readers are drawn to the Christian message that permeates your stories. Now that you’re writing under the Thomas Locke pen name, will you stop writing inspirational fiction?
Davis Bunn: My hope and prayer is that I have many new faith-based stories to tell. In fact, several are in the works.
As with C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories, the books I’m writing under the Thomas Locke pseudonym present a clear moral structure, but the Christian message is far more muted than in my other works.
For details, see my answer to “Why are you using a pen name?”
The discussion continues on my Thomas Locke blog. Check out these posts:
Why are you using the Thomas Locke pseudonym for your upcoming fantasy novel, Emissary?
Emissary is book 1 in a three-book series called Legends of the Realm. This series and an upcoming techno-thriller series for the mainstream market will carry the Thomas Locke pen name.
When you pick up a Thomas Locke book, do not expect an evangelical story. Instead, these stories harken back to what J.R.R. Tolkien did with The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was a survivor of the trenches in World War I. When war returned with World War II, the darkness he saw was difficult for him, personally. He felt as if the world had not healed.
In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he offered a new concept of lore that acknowledged the grip of war, the darkness people faced that had to be combatted, and the courage that was required.
That is precisely what I am trying to do in the Legends of the Realm series. I’m not putting forth a Christian message for believers. I’m creating a new kind of story that includes the positive aspects that come from our life walk: courage in the face of hardship. Growth. Change. The story is intended to draw in a mainstream audience. I would love for my current readers to be fascinated by this new direction I’m taking. But Emissary is not intended to be another Davis Bunn book.
What is the significance of Thomas Locke?
Thomas is my legal first name, and Thomas Locke was the first of my ancestors to immigrate from Wales to the United States. He was a cabinet maker – a skilled laborer who took a gamble by starting a new life in a distant place.
Thomas Locke’s grandson was Francis Marion, a military officer in the Revolutionary War known as “Swamp Fox.” In the movie, The Patriot, Mel Gibson plays a character loosely based on Francis Marion.
I have always admired the adventuresome spirit of my ancestors, and I hope these new adventure stories will honor the Thomas Locke name.
The discussion continues on my Thomas Locke blog. Check out these posts:
The first reader reviews of Emissary are in! Click here to see what they’re saying.
Many of you are aware that January 2015 marks an exciting new direction in my writing career. My upcoming novel, Emissary, is an epic fantasy story for a mainstream audience, and will be published under my pen name, Thomas Locke.
In my next few posts, I’ll answer your questions about why I’m publishing Emissary and the other two books in the Legends of the Realm series, plus another three-book series, as Thomas Locke.
I will also continue to publish many new faith-based novels as Davis Bunn.
The Q&A series will take place here at DavisBunn.com and at my new Thomas Locke blog, http://tlocke.com/blog/.
Other than this introductory post, I’ll be blogging about entirely different topics at TLocke.com, so I hope you’ll subscribe to “News of the Realm” so you can receive my e-newsletter and my latest blog posts.
Click this link to sign up now: http://eepurl.com/5cnH5 (be sure to click “Receive Blog Posts” in the Subscription Options.
I’m also active (as Thomas Locke) on several social networks. Hope you’ll join me!
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tlockebooks
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/thomas_locke
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tlockebooks
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tlockebooks/
Why did you choose to write epic fantasy and technological thrillers for the mainstream market, when many of your recent books have been contemporary suspense for the inspirational market?
For the past several years I have grown increasingly concerned over the all-pervading darkness that nowadays forms the core of both character development and story within the fantasy and science fiction genres.
Last autumn, Publishers Weekly held a global forum on where science fiction and fantasy were headed. A panel that included some of the largest New York publishers and editors in these fields brought several key elements to light. Here are the four points I found of crucial importance.
First, in this last publishing cycle—from January to June 2014—not one book has been released in either fantasy or science fiction that hearkens back to the classical heroic structure of by-gone days.
Second, both of these genres have become redefined by the electronic game industry, which is soon expected to top Hollywood films in terms of both profit and revenue.
Third, the key impact of e-games on both character and story theme was described as “grey-scaling.” This means there is no longer room for either heroes or villains. This is important in e-games because the player is offered the chance to take on every role. None are deemed wrong, or bad. All are equally valid.
Fourth, the classical story structure has been deemed passé. This structure formed the basis for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and for C.S. Lewis and the Narnia series, and has its roots in the ancient Greek heroic structure, many of which were told as fantasies.
Do all readers want dark, hopeless stories?
Long before this conference confirmed my growing suspicions, I felt the question these NY publishers overlooked was, “What has happened to the readers of classical fantasy and science fiction? Are readers satisfied with the direction that these publishers have chosen to take?”
I do not disagree with the new direction as a concept. But I fundamentally dispute this mind-set of exclusively focusing on the new, the dark, and the hopeless.
Twenty months ago, I began working on a new project so far removed from anything I had ever done before, I feared there would be no chance of finding a publisher. But the idea ignited me to the point where I needed to follow this creative passion.
Epic fantasy for modern readers
Emissary (book 1 in the Legends of the Realm series) follows the original Greek concept of ‘epic.’ Nowadays the term has been redefined to basically mean nothing more than, long. Originally, an epic tale was one where the principal character sought to achieve a quest. The hero’s journey, both externally and the hero’s need to conquer inner demons, formed vital life-lessons for the audience.
My aim with this fantasy was to fashion an epic that would suit modern tastes. I threw out what has become the standard format for fantasy novels, with their long-winded descriptions and elaborate settings. Instead, I used the sentence structure and pacing of a mystery. It is tight, with what I hope will be seen as a smooth and seamless action-flow that leads to a satisfying crescendo.
This project adheres to the original Greek structure of inherent value, what Hollywood refers to as ‘leave-behind.” In Emissary, the principal character rises from nothing to forge an alliance that has profound and far-reaching impact, simply by accepting the challenge of his own self-worth.
Free eBook Short
Get a taste of the Legends of the Realm series with The Captive, a free short story excerpted from Emissary. Visit http://tlocke.com/ for handy links your favorite online bookseller.
I’m anticipating the release of The Patmos Deception, the first book in a new contemporary suspense series, on November 1, 2014. I’m teaming up with my publisher, Bethany House Publishers, to give away copies of the book, starting this coming Monday, October 20.
Next week’s giveaway will take place on my Facebook page:
Each, day, I’ll give you a different prompt, and you simply like the post or comment on it to enter.
On Monday (starting at 6 a.m. PDT), watch for the picture to the right on my Facebook page, and like it to enter Monday’s giveaway.
I’ll announce each day’s winner after 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, so be sure to check my Facebook page every evening to see if you’re that day’s winner!
Click here for the Official Rules.
Here’s some behind-the-scenes information about The Patmos Deception that I thought you’d enjoy:
Why I write
I came to faith at age twenty-eight, and started writing two weeks later. Up to that point, I had never written anything longer than a business report. I studied international economics and finance at university, and had assumed my life would be focused on business.
But the day I started writing was a turning point on many levels. At that time, I had no idea what the spiritual meaning of ‘gift’ might be. Since then, I have experienced a myriad of lessons through the creative process, and through the sense of spiritual responsibility that has come with it.
I remain so very, very grateful for the chance to write. It was an invitation, on one level. There was no divine command. And yet by recognizing this as an open door, and then walking through it, I allowed the divine plan to unfold in my life.
I wrote for nine years and finished seven books before my first was accepted for publication. During that time, I doubted my abilities and my future on numerous occasions. But I remained utterly certain, then and now, that this was a true divine gift.
The character in The Patmos Deception with whom I identify most
With every book there is one character in particular with whom I identify.
In The Patmos Deception, Carey was by far the easiest to write. But Dimitri was the one who called to me most deeply. I think partly it was due to the life course I was on prior to coming to faith at age 28. I drove a sports car and traveled extensively, skiid in Switzerland and surfed in the Indian Ocean.
There were all sorts of opportunities and darker temptations, and the world would have certainly considered me a success. But deep down, just as with Dimitri, the lonely aching void gnawed at me. I knew there had to be something more.
Preview The Patmos Deception
Start reading the book right now. Click here for free access to chapters 1-3. Please let me know what you think!
I was recently a guest on WORLD Magazine’s LISTENING IN podcast segment called “Writers on Writing,” with host Warren Cole Smith.
The show also features interviews with author Philip Yancey and songwriter and novelist, Andrew Peterson.
My clip is from 5:00-14:40.You can listen to it right here on my blog, or here:
There’s a full text transcript, too, at https://www.worldmag.com/mobile/article.php?id=31216
I’m a person of faith and appreciate so much that important aspect of Hidden in Dreams—people with, without, and struggling with faith. I love that Elena knew where to go for comfort, strength, and wisdom. Even in her drug induced state she was able to cling to her Source and faith. The fact that Elena, Reed, Jacob, Bob, and even Rachel were blessed with the support and comfort of like minded friends was a beautiful touch in the book. Please keep writing—what a blessing you give us all.
I am deeply grateful for your insights, which really did bring to mind all the hopes and aspirations I had regarding the faith element when I began this project. Your enthusiasm means a very great deal.
I had read The Great Divide and took a shine to Marcus so I read Winner Take All and liked it also, especially the descriptions of the coastal environment. However, there is a minor booboo in the latter. Somewhere a Cadillac SUV is referred to as an “Esplanade.” I think you meant “Escalade.” Thanks.
Wow, what a total error. And in ten years, you are the first to see it. Thank you so much! I really appreciate this alert.
FYI, a number of people who have ‘shined’ on Marcus have come back to say they took to a newer character, Marc Royce. He is the lead in a series that begins with Lion of Babylon. If you read it, I hope you enjoy the ride.
Winner Take All was fantastic!! I have read several of your books, but this one was the best and I don’t usually like suspense and that much drama. It was hard to close the book at the end of each chapter.
Thank you so much for the lovely note. I’m delighted you gave Winner a chance, even though it is suspense. If I could make one suggestion, a number of other readers who are not drawn to suspense have written to say how much they enjoyed Lion of Babylon. If you’re looking for another of my titles, perhaps you’d like to give that one a try.
I am enjoying many of your books, many I’ve found in our church library, and some in the county library.
I found the titles of your Rendezvous with Destiny series books, with books on Rhineland, Gibraltar, Sahara, Berlin, and Istanbul, but I have been unable to locate these books. Are these long gone?
I have traveled the world all my working life—I’m 83 now—and love books on foreign places, many of which I have visited.
I’d appreciate news on how I might be able to find these to enjoy.
Thanks for your Christian writing—so good to have books with none of the bad words and sex found in so many of the “world’s” books. God bless you.
Alas, the Rheinland series has been out of print now for over a dozen years. There are some rather dog-eared copies available via Amazon’s used book sales groups. In case you haven’t already come across them, more recent books of mine with an international scope include the following: Gold of Kings, The Black Madonna, Lion of Babylon, and Rare Earth. I hope you enjoy them as well.