Welcome to Worldbuilders, a series of guest posts and interviews by my fellow authors of Christian speculative fiction. Today’s interview is with Tyrean Martinson, author of The Champion Trilogy.
Next week, we will join Annie Douglass Lima on the blog tour for her brand new book, The Gladiator and the Guard, the sequel to her YA action and adventure novel, The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Now let’s talk to Tyrean!
Tony: Before we get into your book and your writing, I have to ask you the most important personal question a person could ever ask:
Coffee or Tea?
Tyrean: Currently, coffee with honey and vanilla coconut milk, while at home. I’m fan of earl gray tea when visiting coffee shops, unless I can get the rare cold brew Italian soda with orange and vanilla. I’m kind of picky about my coffee at home, so I don’t expect a coffee shop to make it the same way that I do.
You know, I have the same exact problem with my coffee. Home brewed coffee is simply the best. Of course, that’s probably because I brew mine so strong that my biker mom can only have a half a cup before she hits the road.
Before we get into your writing, tell us a little about your real life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Tyrean: Interruptions are part of my daily life, but my family, job (part-time), and church life all inspire my writing. My family members are ambitious individuals who inspire me with their hard work ethic and passion for their work, studies, and hobbies. My part-time “job” involves working with teens and pre-teens as a homeschool cooperative writing teacher, and they inspire me with their enthusiasm for life. A friend of mine who teaches at a private school requested a study guide for my first book, Champion in the Darkness, so I created one for her and then published it. Plus, I enjoyed visiting her classroom and meeting her students. My church life is encouraging on many levels, from my faith life to my writing. My pastor, Peter Churness (also a Christian fantasy/historical writer), has encouraged my writing through conversation, and has even prayed for it during a small worship service. (I was kind of blown away by that.)
Tony: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Tyrean: I’m a reader of fantasy, speculative fiction, and science fiction. I’m a big fan of reading the Bible daily (I’m on my 7th read-through because I take the Bible slowly), and I have done a bit of acting and fencing in the past.
The acting experience helps me with character development when I write because I go through some of the same thought process, like this: what would a villain with the power to drain all of her minions of their strength do in a battle, and how would she act, talk, walk, and show emotion? I try to visualize my characters like actors on a stage or in a film.
My fencing experience has helped with my sword-fighting scenes, although I didn’t get very technical in my descriptions in The Champion Trilogy because I didn’t think it would fit the story to get into terms like: fleche, croise, and envelopment. Those terms may show up in my current WIP because one of my characters will be just starting to learn swordplay.
All of my experiences work into the Christian fantasy, speculative fiction, and even the bit of contemporary fiction and nonfiction that I write.
Tony: Which taboo subject do you think is the hardest sell for a Christian speculative fiction author: ghosts, vampires, magic or aliens?
Tyrean: Magic. In a recent hand-raise survey in a few of my writing classes, it turns out that many families allow basically any book that doesn’t include outright magic, with the exception of The Chronicles of Narnia. Zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens, and hordes of the undead are accepted in many homes for tv, movie, and book entertainment, but not “magic.” This boggles my mind, since I have a preference for magic or aliens over any kind of undead.
Tony: What is the “message” of your writing?
Tyrean: I have different purposes in different books. Champion’s Destiny is about a strong heroine who must rely on the Lord – the purpose is to show that even with great skills, we can’t stand completely on our own.
Tony: How did you get started writing speculative fiction? Why do you think it’s important?
Tyrean: As a teen, I started writing contemporary fiction because it seemed to be what my teachers and family members wanted me to write. The adage, “write what you know,” haunted me. I kept all my fantasy and science fiction story starts to myself, even when I had a teen friend who wrote fantasy stories. Finally, after college, I became brave enough to “own” what I really wanted to write. Plus, I decided that “what I know” as far as emotional truth, social struggles, and faith can be written in speculative fiction settings for a more powerful impact. Hadn’t I learned true courage from The Hobbit? Hadn’t I discovered that I could be kind instead of grouchy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Didn’t I know the hard truths of manipulative bullying and a hero who has compromised for victory from Ender’s Game? Yes, I’ve read contemporary fiction books and historical fiction books that deal with that same knowledge, but none of them struck a deep chord with me like the speculative fiction books I read. I wanted to write like that. I want to open up wonder and truth, and even gritty struggles, in speculative worlds where readers can adventure with imagination.
Tony: Well then, it’s only fair to ask: What is your favorite speculation fiction book? movie? TV series?
Tyrean: Favorite? How could I just have one favorite? Inconceivable! I’m going to age categorize this one, even if I still love all of them. Favorite book at age 9: The Hobbit by Tolkien; favorite book at age 11: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis; Favorite book at age 18: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card; Favorite book at age 41: Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (best first line ever!); and recent favorite for this year: Firebird by Kathy Tyers.
Favorite movies and tv series, combined: Star Wars: A New Hope, The Princess Bride, Galaxy Quest, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Tony: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Tyrean: Champion’s Destiny returns readers to the world of Aramatir, where Champions arise in times of extreme trouble to lead their people in a spiritual and physical battle against the forces of darkness. Champion Clara has accepted her destiny, which she believes will require her to sacrifice her life to save her people and the allies who have joined them in a battle against the joint forces of the Dark Sisterhood and the Drinaii Army. With a small group of allies, Clara plans to infiltrate the Dark Fortress and fight one-on-one against Kalidess, the Mistress of the Dark Sisterhood. Kalidess has power to draw from all those who are linked to her through blood sorcery, but Clara’s allies will also launch a joint attack from outside the fortress. The story hinges on a secret that Clara hasn’t entrusted to her allies.
Tony: What is your current WIP?
Tyrean: Currently, I have a mix of non-fiction, short fiction, and fiction projects moving along at various speeds and places at the same time. I’m copy-editing a writing curriculum for home-school students, working on an experimental micro-fiction fantasy series, and writing the first draft of my next larger fiction project with the working title Patience, which starts with a wedding ceremony interrupted by a raiding band of shape-shifting dragons bent on redressing wrongs done to them. The title doesn’t fit the story that well, but it comes from my WIP first line: “I am patient.”
Tony: Where can we buy you books? How can fans connect with you?
, along with the first two books in The Champion Trilogy
can be found at Amazon
, Barnes and Noble
, and Kobo
. The first book, Champion in the Darkness
, is currently free for e-readers who would like to start the trilogy right away.