Today I have the privilege of sharing an interview graciously given by Speculative Fiction author Kathy Tyers. I first met Kathy through the Speculative Fiction email Loop of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers.) At the time I had no idea the extent of her author experience or wealth of knowledge she would humbly impart to this fledgling author. I would learn these truths when I participated in a Webinar taught by Kathy through the Christian Writers Guild.
I have come to deeply respect Kathy, not just for her great books, but more for her heart for the craft of writing and for those who strive to master it. If you like science fiction and fantasy or just love a good read from quality authors, I know you will enjoy Kathy’s books and her message.
And you can find her most recent projects, including the Annotated Firebird Trilogy, at Marcher Lord Press.
Please Welcome, Kathy Tyers
Kathy Tyers has published ten novels in the Christian and general markets, including two authorized novels for the Star Wars expanded universe. If she isn’t writing, she might be teaching a flute lesson, mentoring a hopeful author via the Christian Writers Guild, or battling quackgrass in her vegetable garden. Kathy lives in Montana, has one son and a wonderful daughter-in-law.
- How long have you been writing Speculative Fiction? Have you ever written in any other genre? Non-fiction?
I’ve written speculative fiction since 1983. That summer, I found myself inspired by the third Star Wars film, “Return of the Jedi;” the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird’s air show in my home town; and my infant son’s two-hour naps. Yes, I’ve also written a bit in other genres. Several years ago, one of my friends produced a series of coffee-table books and asked me for a text for Exploring the Northern Rockies. I also assisted my friend, guitarist Christopher Parkening, with his memoir Grace Like a River.
2. Why do you like writing Speculative Fiction and what got you started?
It’s a genre I have enjoyed reading since I was about eleven. A friend gave me a copy of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and I liked it so much I went looking for more at the public library. I started writing Firebird that summer of 1983, then joined a local writers group and learned to self-edit. That group changed my life. I’d never dreamed there was so much more to storytelling than simply putting ideas on paper.
3. Those of us writing Speculative Fiction in the 21st Century have the groundwork and inspiration laid by you and others to help us in our writing and publication. Who laid the foundation for you? Why were they inspirational to you?
I’m sure that my junior-high and high-school trips through Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings laid the groundwork for a love of a well-crafted imaginary world. I love the writing styles of Dorothy L. Sayers and Lois McMaster Bujold, among others. I’ve also enjoyed C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, although some of their novels seemed too dense to enjoy until I grew up a bit! My favorite end-times novel is the little-known Father Elijah by Michael O’Brien, since it approaches the apocalypse from an unexpected direction. No spoilers here!
4. The Annotated Firebird Trilogy is available from Marcher Lord Press. I remember last year I was the reporter for Jeff Gerke’s session for the 2011 ACFW Conference and he was so excited to announce its release. Tell us about the process and experience of doing this annotation and working with MLP.
It was fun to read all three novels after a long time away, reminiscing with a book and a legal pad, making notes whenever a plot event (or prop, or character’s name, or anything else) stirred a memory. Jeff was gracious enough to let me come up with as many annotations as I liked, without setting an upper limit. We knew the book was going to be mighty thick, even without annotations.
5. Why do you think some fans of Christian Fiction struggle with the concept of coupling a Christian worldview with Speculative Fiction writing? Give an argument or two for why this skeptic reader should read Daystar, Firebird or other quality Science Fiction and Fantasy.
A tragically high number of Christians in our culture seem to think that science fiction, fantasy, etc. is harmful or even Satanic. But I disagree. I’ve read many speculative novels (not all of them written for the Christian market!) that wake the sense of the numinous and illustrate truths about God and His kingdom. Readers today have been raised in an entertainment-rich but joy-impoverished culture. They’re starved for stories that affirm something they know deep in their hearts — that God is real, truth is deep, and there is joy beyond all sorrows — and they’ve almost forgotten how to believe in the unseen. Something wonderful really is out there! By writing speculative fiction, we can help those joy-starved readers realize that deep down, they still have a spark of God-given faith. They yearn for the Holy Spirit. They want to find God. We can link that longing with spiritual reality.
6. Can you divulge what is up ahead for you as an author and Christ Follower?
I’m listening for God’s voice and watching for his leadings, and meanwhile I’m doing more mentoring and freelance editing than original writing. That, however, is subject to change at a moment’s notice.
Kathy, thank you for sharing with us today. We deeply appreciate your generous gift of time and expertise.