Skip to main content

Thanks for checking out this series by fantasy writer BENJAMIN T. COLLIER! If this is the first blog you’re reading on ‘Writing Speculative Fiction as a Christian’ then please see Ben’s intro on post #1 for context on the reason he’s put this series together.

By Benjamin T Collier

Last time we discussed the idea of a multiverse and the possibility of people living in these other worlds, so the subject to jump into next is…

Are humans still unique?

Yes. Humans have the unique characteristic of being made in the image of God. What exactly that means is up for debate (to the best of my knowledge). One parallel I see is that God is a Trinity and we humans are a kind of trinity ourselves (body, soul and spirit but one being) though not the same kind of trinity as God. I assume that humans are the only beings in known creation to have this three-fold nature since angels may have soul and/or spirit but no body, and animals have bodies but not souls or spirits.

Another common interpretation is that God has free will and so do humans, and that is the sense in which we are made in God’s image. However, this position seems to suggest that angels lack the faculty of free will, in which case the rebellion of the fallen angels makes no sense.

When writing a story that contains both humans and other sentient races, whether they be aliens in a space story or mythical creatures in a fantasy tale, one of the features I attribute to humans more than other races is in fact their capacity for free will. Other sentient beings may still have free will, but not at the same measure as humans. It’s what gives mankind the capacity to produce strong leaders, but also makes us potentially more devious, and is the reason many races simply don’t trust us.

What about humans in fantasy worlds?

Although it can be assumed that in most space adventures the human characters are all descended from humans that once lived on earth, and therefore have inherited the same problems we all inherited from Adam & Eve (except probably Star Wars), the same assumption may not make sense when applied to a fantasy world. It depends if your world has its own creation mythos, and what it says about the origin of Man in that world. With some fantasy worlds, you can get away with implying that the first human settlers had traveled there from another realm. You could also assume that what your characters refer to as ‘humans’ are not actually humans but just creatures that are very similar to humans.

You run into a problem if you both suggest that these characters are human in the same way that we are human, and imply that they were created by a being other than God, because then how could they have been made in God’s image and therefore possess one of the most defining traits of being human? It may be useful in such circumstances to take the approach of recreate over create, and suppose that these creative entities are making new people from materials already given to them by another.

You may still run into a question of how to make your human characters relatable if their struggle with evil is not the same as our own struggle with sin, if their ancesters had never eaten from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Since the initial problem of the fruit is disobedience, I find it easy to come up with fantasy-based parralels when needed, to show that these humans faced a similar test and also failed. But depending on when your fantasy story takes place, in relation to events occuring on earth, it’s possible that your humans had traveled into this new fantasy world sometime after Eden, or that they were made using materials from Adam & Eve’s descendants.

Next time we’ll discuss how people of other worlds might deal differently with the issues of sin and evil…

~ Ben

To find out more on other topics Ben blogs about go to

Welcome, Sara Davison! We’re eager to know, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have two early memories, or “light bulb moments”, in my childhood that helped me to see that this is what I wanted to do with my life. As a kid, I pretty much lived in the library, which was in a big old house with creaky wooden floors in our little town. I have a vivid memory of walking up and down the aisles of that library one day when I was nine or ten, running my hands along the spines of the books and thinking, All these people wrote a book. It can be done. I can do this. Another light bulb moment for me came after a grade four field trip. When we came back to the school, we had to do a write-up about our day away. Mine was chosen for the school newsletter, and I can still remember that feeling of seeing my words in print and knowing people were reading them, the thrill that gave me. So the desire to write and have my work published was sparked in me at a very young age.

Why do you write?

The easy answer is that I write because I have to. There are times when I am gripped so strongly by a story or scene idea that it feels like I will explode if I don’t get it down on paper. What drives me more than that, though, is the absolute certainty that this is what God has called me to do. He has given me a gift that I have to use for His glory in order to find any joy or fulfillment in life. And equally strong as this urge to write, is the desire to have my words read. I found a quote recently that shed light on this desire for me. The quote was by Max McLean, founder of the Fellowship for the Performing Arts, who said: “… I am amazed at the communicators who have never quite understood that a story is not a story until it has been received.” That revelation struck me like an apple falling from a tree and bouncing off my head: The stories I write are incomplete until someone reads them. It is in the reading that the connection is made, the process is completed, the circle is closed. So I write out of obedience to the calling God has given me, and pray that, as I write and others read, God will use my words to have an impact on the hearts and lives of others.

[Tweet “The stories I write are incomplete until someone reads them. – @sarajdavison”]

When do you find time to write?

Now that my kids are getting older, it’s becoming a bit easier to find time to write. When they were young, I did pretty much all of my writing between nine at night and one or two in the morning. Thankfully, I am a night owl, so that worked okay for me. Even now, with two of my three kids doing online education from home, it can be tricky to find extended periods of quiet, uninterrupted time to work. I tend to take advantage of shorter time periods, such as the half hour I am waiting for my son to come out of his guitar lesson. And of course, I do still work late into the night, which is always my most productive time. Something I have found to be of tremendous value is going away once or twice a year on a week-long writing retreat. I go with a couple of friends and we spend our time writing, enjoying great meals, going for walks, more writing, then reading our work to each other in the evenings for feedback. I can’t tell you how relaxing, refreshing, and productive those times are, and highly recommend that every writer considers gifting themselves with those times away from the demands of everyday life.

Where did the idea for The Seven Trilogy come from?

The trilogy is set about forty years in the future, in Canada, and has a bit of an end times feel to it. The funny thing about that is I would have considered myself the least likely person to write on this topic. Movies such as The Mark of the Beast and other graphic apocalyptic films were very popular when I was in my teens, and I saw several of them at my church. Like they did for a lot of people, the movies terrified me, and for years, I didn’t want to read or watch or talk about anything to do with the end times. Then a few years ago our pastor led a study on the book of Revelation. Through that study, I began to see the beauty and the power in the book, and the hope it offers for the future of every believer. That planted the seeds for this series.

Fascinating, what is the theme of this book? Of the series?

When I first began writing The Seven Trilogy, some of the things that happen seemed a little far-fetched. By the time I was done the first book, The End Begins, however, those same events felt like they had been torn from the headlines of the daily news. There is no question that Christians in North America are at the very beginning of experiencing the treatment that Christians in other parts of the world have been undergoing for years. So far we cannot claim to have encountered true persecution, but there is an increasing hostility toward believers, spurred on by media bias and misrepresentation, that will inevitably lead to harsher and harsher treatment. According to the Bible, while this is inevitable, it is also a good thing. The church in North America is untethering itself from society. The gap between believers and the world is widening, and before long there will be no middle ground. Everyone will have to choose whether they will take a stand for or against Jesus Christ. While these times may be scary, they are also incredibly exciting. As the apostle Paul put it in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” As the times become more difficult, Paul promises that not only will believers grow in perseverance, character, and hope, but we will experience to a greater degree than ever before, the sustaining love and presence of God. And that is the main theme of The Seven Trilogy.

What do you hope your reader will take away after reading this book?

While there is uncertainty ahead, and it is easy to be afraid when we watch the news and see everything that is happening in the world today, the truth is that God does not want us to live in fear. Over and over again in the Bible, He tells us not to be afraid. We can rest secure in his promise that He will never leave us or forsake us, and in Jesus’ assertion in John 16:33 that, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Instead of facing what is to come with fear, we can face it with hope. As one of my characters, Jesse, says in Book 3, The Morning Star Rises: “I used to be sure of so many things in life … Now I only know two things to be absolutely true. God is still on his throne. And he has not abandoned us.” So I pray that after reading this trilogy, what the reader will take away with him or her is hope, that whatever happens in the future, God will carry us through. And that those who persevere to the end will enjoy His presence for all eternity.

[Tweet “Whatever happens in the future, God will carry us through. – @sarajdavison”]

What is the best feedback you have received?

Author Nancy Rue did an endorsement for The End Begins. She called the book, “important” which meant a lot to me. Other readers have commented that after reading The End Begins they were inspired to read and study their Bibles more, in case, like the characters in the book, their Bibles are ever taken away from them. Many have said that they were motivated to contemplate the future, and ask themselves if they are ready for what is to come. That kind of feedback, evidence that God is using the books to prepare believers for the future, is incredibly thrilling and humbling to me.

What are your future writing plans?

Book 2 of the trilogy, The Dragon Roars, releases in April. I am currently working on revising and polishing the manuscript of Book 3, The Morning Star Rises, which comes out in October. After that, I hope to continue to put out books through my amazing publisher, Ashberry Lane. I have a two-book romantic suspense series that I want to go back and revise and edit and then submit for possible publication in 2017. Other than that, I will wait to see what God’s plans are for my work. I don’t come up with the ideas for the stories myself, they come from Him, so as long as He continues to give me the stories, I will continue to be obedient to the call and to produce work that is as excellent as I can make it, for His glory. As I say in the dedication section of all my books, It is all from Him and for Him.

Thank you so much for joining us Sara! If you want to learn more about Sara Davison’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

[products ids=”259,263,1164″]

Thank you for joining us Benjamin T. Collier, What inspired you to become a writer?

I suppose the catalyst for that was the Lord of the Rings films. Up until that point my interests were in the development of movies and video games. But when I saw the first LOTR film and remembered that it was based on a book, I read through the trilogy and realized that the kind of stories I wanted to tell could work in a book format.

You’ve written an auto-biography as well as a number of novels. Which do you find easier; fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction is easier to organize. I know that within a plot certain events need to happen before others. Non-fiction (what I’ve written so far) is a bit trickier when it comes to deciding what information needs to go where. When editing my bio, a number of sections got moved around because my editor and I realized some things fit better in different places, but when I was actually writing it I was just jotting down information as it came to mind over a span of a few years.

Although I find non-fiction easier when it comes to knowing what to say. Because I know the reader knows that it’s coming from me as my own thoughts, so I just need to be honest about my experiences. In fiction, a character’s words may be something I agree with or something I don’t, and the reader doesn’t always know which is which, so I have to be more careful with how it comes across.

What lead you to write about your experiences with Autism?

I suppose it was time. I had been secretive about my condition during my teen years and early twenties, because I functioned more or less like the average person but with a few odd quirks. I needed to know that I could make friends and have people accept me as I was without needing to explain myself. Once that was fulfilled, I started sensing a tug from God that this was something He wanted me to be more public about. I realized that I actually had a story that would be an encouragement to a lot of people, and I needed to share that testimony.

Has it had any effect on the way that you write?

Not that I’m specifically aware of, but it’s possible. There are traits associated with autism that can come in handy for this kind of work. I know many individuals on the autism spectrum have vibrant imaginations, an ability to focus on things they’re passionate about, and great attention to detail. I like to think I’ve got those traits.

What encouragement would you offer anyone also looking to write about their own personal challenges?

Be honest. Anyone who picks up a book about another person’s struggles is looking for a glimpse into someone else’s dark times as well as their triumphs. They will lose interest if the author only talks about the good times or paints everything rosy.

I think this is a particular temptation for Christian authors because we worry more, not just about how we make our faith look but we worry about making God look bad if some aspect of our life is unresolved. But based on books I’ve read, and feedback from people who have read my own story, people are actually encouraged by us speaking honestly about the struggles and the dark times. It lets them know that they can go through struggles too, without knowing the answers, and still come out alright on the other end.

[Tweet “People are encouraged by us speaking honestly about the struggles. – @benjaminfrog”]

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing?

The editing. Lol.

Not editing my own work, but going over another person’s edits of my work. It may be linked to an insecurity thing, or fear of exposure and judgement. Even if they love my work, the process of dealing honestly with what needs fixing and how to resolve it is especially strenuous for me. I’ve actually had to allow myself more time than the average author when going over an editor’s work. Not sure if it’s a common autistic scenario or if I’m the only one with that difficulty. I haven’t heard of many other autistic authors yet.

Have you found it easier to work through this challenge the more books you get edited?

It doesn’t seem to have gotten easier yet. It’s probably a tough-skin thing that most authors (and other artists) are supposed to acquire but that hasn’t happened to me yet. I’ve gotten better at managing it though. I’ve learned to better pace myself and tackle things a little bit at a time. It makes for a slow, steady progress, but it’s better than being repeatedly daunted by a ton of work and then procrastinating. I find, in the end, I get projects done quicker that way. I’ve been blessed so far to work with editors who don’t mind my unusual schedule.

How does your faith feed into your writing?

It changes depending on the project, and how direct I want to be about it. A lot of my work is allegorical, meaning it won’t use specific Christian terms but have fictional scenarios that parallel real world Christian struggles. Other novels, like Singularity, don’t really deal with faith issues, either directly or allegorically, but my personal beliefs will inform how I think the characters should interact with each other without being jerks.

In either case, I’m not keen on shoving my faith down people’s throats. I know how I feel as an audience member when someone does that to me. When writing anything about my personal life, I am of course very open about my faith there, as it is such a big part of me. But I am open about my struggles as well as my joys, and I think that’s why my readers don’t feel like I’m being preachy (even when I’m basically preaching).

Where do you go for inspiration?

That also changes depending on what I’m working on at the time. For fantasy, unfortunately, the inspirational material is fairly shortlisted apart from Middle Earth. But as a gamer as well, I’ve spent a lot of time in Skyrim taking in the people and environments of that world. A number of games will also let you play through the world as a character of your own design, which allows me to throw these characters into different situations and see how they handle it.
Singularity involved watching a lot of Star Trek. I had to learn common terminologies for different futuristic tech. but it also helped to get a feel for the environment I wanted to create.

What are you working on now?

I have a fantasy book scheduled for release in May, set in the same world as my first published novel The Kingdom. The writing and editing is already completed; it is just formatting work to be done now.

I have a number of other works-in-progress, but what I’m currently working on is another fantasy story set in a more classical fantasy world involving elves and wizards and dragons. Quite a lot of time was spent just putting together the history of that world, before I decided on an actual story to use it for. My current plan is to use it as a template for future works and possibly springboard other stories off of it.

That’s my current plan. Not sure if God has something else in mind. But as any project nears completion I will keep everyone informed. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 will hold.

If want to learn more about Benjamin T. Collier’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

[products ids=”38,36,17″]


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)