Tuesday, 27 November 2007

I love Stephen Lawhead.

Seriously. There’s no other author on the planet who has contributed so much to my daydreams, my literary enjoyment, my personal fantasies, and my writing aspirations.

When I daydream, I often find my thoughts drifting off to vanished Atlantis, to faraway Fierra, fantastic Albion, historical Istanbul, present-day Scotland, or the misty hills of Wales and Ireland. Charis and Taliesin, Orion Treet, Quentin, Aidan the monk, James and Jennifer, and the mysterious Mr. Embries aka Merlin – these populate my imagination and provide an extended family for my own Faith and Mariah and Caitlin and Blake, and all those others bouncing around in there since my childhood – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Kirk and Spock. Kardia and Gaal. Aslan and the Professor. Need I say more? No doubt Bran and Will and Mérian will soon join their ranks as they go down in literary history.

I believe it was about seventeen years ago when Taliesin was first placed in my hands. Ever since, the effect of alternating viewpoints has fascinated me. Taliesin’s tale, told in third-person, and Charis in first, may seem hard to get into at first, but it’s more than worth the effort. And later, after they meet, the reason for telling it thusly becomes clear: it is Charis penning both their stories.

Stephen is largely responsible for my literary education. I used to hate English in school, but when it came time to pick books to analyse for examinations, I chose Arthur above those schoolroom classics the teachers wanted to insist on. And so at the age of fifteen I dedicated much time to memorising passages about battles fought with prayers, and the sword coming loose from the stone in Arthur’s hand to the displeasure of the gathered lords. In my mind I can still see the candle-lit scene where the young king steps into the church, sword in hand, as the lords are observing the Christ Mass.

And so, how could it be otherwise? Every word I write myself is spurred by the aspiration to such depth of feeling as Yarden “talking” with the empathic fish on the planet Empyrion, or Taliesin singing his son to life and prophesying over him, or Aidan’s first view of the Golden City from a Viking vessel. Dome’s final destruction, Myrrdin’s conversations with the wolf, the Cymbrogi’s pursuit of the Grail, incredible journeys to the Holy Land. I do earnestly wish that Stephen would write more sci-fi – that early stuff was brilliant – but I tip my hat to the continuing flow of novels from his pen. Each one is a gift to the world.

I am writing this away from home, so I have none of these books on hand to refer to just now. But they are engraved in my memory forever. Will I ever attain such sparkling prose? I do not know. In any case, I am blessed with a shining example.
Thank you, Stephen.

Other participants in the CSFF tour for Scarlet:

Trish Anderson Brandon Barr Wayne Thomas Batson Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer CSFF Blog Tour D. G. D. Davidson Chris Deanne Jeff Draper April Erwin Linda Gilmore Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Andrea Graham Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Kait Karen Dawn King Tina Kulesa Mike Lynch Margaret Karen McSpadden Melissa Meeks Rebecca LuElla Miller Mirtika or Mir's Here Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Ashley Rutherford Hanna Sandvig Chawna Schroeder James Somers Rachelle Sperling Steve Trower Speculative Faith Robert Treskillard Jason Waguespac Daniel I. Weaver Laura Williams Timothy Wise
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