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Author Interviews

Laura Lond
Laura Lond is the author of The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres: The Journey (Xulon Press, 2003). Here she discusses her writing and the challenges facing new writers today.

EBG: Who is Jecosan Tarres and what sort of scrapes does he experience in The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres: The Journey?

LL :
Jecosan, or Jeco, as he goes by in the book, is a 12-year-old village boy working as a blacksmith’s apprentice. Taught by the local priest, he knows the truth and tries to serve the Lord of the heavens the best he can—which is not easy in the surroundings where the majority of people do not care about such things and live their lives the way they please.

One day, Jeco is visited by a special messenger who commissions him to go to the capital city of Kanavar, join the king’s service and somehow prevent the coming war. He gives another short instruction that sounds more like a vague prophesy that Jeco is supposed to figure out when he gets to the king’s palace, and warns him that “the journey will not be all bright and rosy.”

This proves to be true. Since the boy must reach the palace at a certain time, the dark forces are doing their best to stop or at least to delay him. Jeco loses a dear friend, gets arrested and accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and ends up in the iron mines from which there is no escape… Unless the heavenly power steps into the picture.

EBG: What age group is the book intended for? Since the main character is a boy, is the story intended for children? Or is it suitable for adults who enjoy a good, clean adventure story as well?

I did not write it specifically for children, though the novel is perfectly child-appropriate, and kids enjoy it as well as adults. I would say it is a story for all ages. At the moment, my youngest known reader is 8, and the oldest is 101.

EBG: How are the themes of the Christian faith illustrated in Jecosan’s story?

One of the central themes is being called and staying true to your calling no matter what, even if things go wrong, and you no longer know what to do. Sometimes God lets us reach the end of our rope—and that’s not a pleasant place to be—but if you hang on, He will catch you right there. This is what happens to Jeco.

Another theme is the spiritual warfare, the battle between the Light and the Darkness. Although we do not actually see spiritual beings fighting, the whole story is shown in the light of that battle. There is God’s will—for Jeco and for his country; and then there is the dark force that wants to achieve the opposite.

EBG: What is the greatest benefit that you hope readers will receive by reading this book?

First of all, I hope they will enjoy a good story. And I want this story to offer encouragement—encouragement to do the right thing, to trust God and hang on to the end, even though it might feel like all hope is lost. I have been there myself, more than once, so I know the need.

EBG: How did you get started writing The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres? How long was the process from starting the book to publication?

I began working on Jecosan’s story about ten years ago, so it’s been quite a long project. I had started and finished a few other projects in between, which of course slowed down this one. Having a full-time job, I could only write in the evenings, on weekends and holidays… Okay, I confess: sometimes I would write at work too—when my boss wasn’t around and when I’d have all my regular tasks done. I was caught once, and although I didn’t get in trouble, my creativity was shut down for a few days after that!

EBG: Do you have any tips or suggestions for beginning writers, especially in the field of Christian fantasy fiction?

Well, with five major publishers totally controlling the market and encouraging the policy of NOT publishing new authors, it is very hard to get your book in print. So my biggest advice would be this: Be strong, and be ready to fight for your dream. Do not let those rejection letters break your spirit—Frank Peretti had received over 50 of them (or was it 70?...) before he got "This Present Darkness" published, now a huge bestseller. Keep working and keep writing; don’t give up. Pray. When depression kicks in, kick it back out. If God gave you this gift, He wants you to use it!

Now regarding the writing craft, particularly fantasy fiction. It is no secret that most fantasy authors are inspired by the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien; the temptation to use similar plot lines, settings, or characters may be great… Fight it!! Nobody wants another Middle-earth or Narnia re-packaged. You can create your own world, and your readers will love it.

EBG: What are some of your favorite books and authors?

C.S. Lewis is definitely number one, I love both his fiction and non-fiction. I also like Frank Peretti, Stephen Lawhead, and Terri Blackstock. As to classics, I enjoy Charles Dickens, his writing is so rich. Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky shows remarkable psychological depth, as well as spiritual insight... I could go on and on, I love reading.

EBG: When not writing, what are some activities you enjoy?

Reading! That’s the only activity I can enjoy without feeling guilty for not writing—I tell myself that I need it to sharpen my writing skills (which is true). I guess I was just born to write... On a more serious note, I do have some hobbies, of course. I enjoy British comedy ("Keeping Up Appearances" with Patricia Routledge is one of my favorites); I like to watch a good movie with my husband, no particular genre, just something that we both would enjoy. I also love parks, I could just walk in a park all day. As to sports, I’ve never enjoyed any except for bicycling and swimming. I exercise once in a while, just to stay in shape, and that’s about it.

EBG: The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres: The Journey is the first book in a trilogy. What is the title of the next book and when should we look for it?

Book 2, The Palace, is already completed, and I hope to have it out by Easter 2004.

EBG: Is there anything else you’d like to add for readers at the Edenstar web site?

I would encourage the readers to endorse authors whose books they enjoy, especially new authors. As I’ve already said, it is extremely hard make it in the publishing world these days. Money rules, and if you don’t have any to promote your book, you’re out of the game—unless your readers step in and help.

So I would like to ask readers: if you’ve read a great book, please take a few minutes and do something to spread the word about it. Leave a review at websites like Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, share about the book on a Christian forum, tell your friends, send them a link to the author’s website. It will not cost you anything, and it will be a great help to the author.

EBG: Thank you, Laura!

Contact info: Learn more about Laura Lond at her web site, laura-lond.tripod.com.

November 28, 2003

By Laura Lond
The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, by Laura Lond
The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres: The Journey
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