What books have you written and successfully published?
I have published seven juvenile/young adult/adult Christian fantasy novels in a series known as the “King of the Trees” series. The titles are: The King of the Trees, Torsils in Time, The Golden Wood, The Greenstones, The Downs, Kyleah's Mirrors, and The Birthing Tree.
All of these titles are available in softcover or as e-books through my website, http://www.greencloaks.com as well as on my publisher’s website, http://www.winepressbooks.com, and on Amazon.com in addition to brick-and-mortar retailers. The first title in the series is also available on CD/DVD in audio-book format exclusively through our website. (I read the entire book unabridged, including the narration and the voices of the characters.) Readers can also learn more about me and my series on Facebook (search for “Windsong the Griffin”) and on my blog at: http://www.kotbooks.blogspot.com.
What has been your inspiration for this series?
After cutting my teeth on Tolkien's works, I later discovered The Chronicles of Narnia while working at Oregon College of Education (now WOU). God then laid on my heart the desire to create a work of fantasy combining Tolkien's cosmological depth with Lewis's allegorical richness. Whether I have succeeded in that ambition I will leave for others to decide; suffice it to say a number of my readers have compared my series favorably to Narnia. (My plots and symbolism are unique to me, of course.) Ultimately, the Holy Bible remains the inspiration for all my titles—past, present and future. Each one begins with a Bible verse that encapsulates the main message of that particular title, and each book recapitulates Christ's redemptive sacrifice and victorious resurrection for humankind. In The King of the Trees especially, I also draw heavily upon my childhood experiences.
Who is “The King of the Trees”?
The King of the Trees is God, essentially. In my series, He goes by the name of “Gaelathane” and first appears to Rolin in the guise of an old man in white robes. He possesses all of God’s attributes, including independent self-existence and pre-existence, omniscience, creativity, immortality, holiness, righteousness, mercy and love.
What is the central metaphor of the series?
The series revolves around what I call the “Torsil-principle.” Torsils are trees that transport climbers into other worlds. In my books, a towering tree known as the “Torsil of torsils” leads not only to all Gaelathane’s worlds, but also to His home, a deathless paradise called Gaelessa, symbolic of Heaven. Since this Tree of trees is the only torsil to Gaelessa, it represents Christ, Who is the only way to Heaven. As Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” Moreover, the Tree gives its life for the salvation of all torsil worlds. It’s important for readers to remember, however, that I’m not trying to remake Christ in the image of a tree, any more than C.S. Lewis was attempting to recreate Him as a lion.
When readers finish one of your books, what do you want them to come away with?I would like readers who are embarking on my series to fall in love with my characters and fantasy worlds—and to fall in love with Jesus Christ. I’d like them to come away with a hunger to read more about the ways of Gaelathane, who is the God-figure in this series. I further hope readers will find in my books a welcome refuge from the darkness and oppressiveness of this present world. I feel it is important to provide young people in particular with Christian alternatives to Harry Potter and the other dark, soulless fantasy works currently in circulation.
What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?I scrupulously avoid the use of magic in my series. Instead, I introduce a God-figure Who specializes in working miracles, especially those of the heart and soul. My characters pray for wisdom, guidance and divine assistance. By contrast, most modern fantasy authors create imaginary worlds and settings that are cosmologically humanistic. That is, there is no room for God, unless it is a pagan god. Characters in these humanistic fantasies must rely upon their own wits and resources, sorcery, and/or their unique super-powers in order to resolve conflicts. My characters are at their best and strongest when they are trusting the God-figure to help them.
Have you received a particularly memorable reader response or peer honor? Please share.
Here is some online feedback regarding my first title:
This book is better by far than C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.” I read this book to my four-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. They loved it as much as I did! Each character is developed well, and the plot surpasses any that we have read this year. If you read one book, please let it be this one. This is the perfect gift for any age, especially pre-teen and teen. Rolin’s adventures . . . lead him to discover not only a world he did not know existed, but also how important he is to that world and others. Do you have a sythan-ar? “May your leaves never wither.” A. Minick