This is the 3rd and final revolution of my interview with Travis Perry, the driving force behind the Mythic Orbits anthology. In this installment I admit to my struggles as a writer of speculative fiction who also identifies himself as a person of faith.
Mark: Early in my writing journey I struggled with the type of stories I wanted to write. As a person of faith, do I write fiction from a purely evangelical slant (ala Frank Peretti or Tim LaHaye) or could I expand beyond that while still framing stories to some extent within a Christian worldview? I actually feared backlash from the church community. Then I discovered Stephen Lawhead. I love the way he weaves a Christian worldview into his stories while not being overtly evangelical.
Travis: I tend to believe God is involved in the act of inspiration for those who are committed to him. By "committed to him" I mean I think it is possible for a Christian to shut out God from his or her thoughts and write something that in fact contradicts what God would want a person to do. So a Christian author or other creative type who is Christian should be careful to maintain a close relationship with God and examine each work individually to see if it matches up.
But other than what I just said, I think following inspiration where God lets it lead is what we are supposed to do. I assume that the God who put such variety in nature will inspire us as Christian authors in myriad ways. Some of us will be overt and very evangelical. Some will be more subtle. But there is room for both. And all varieties in between.
I should add that while I believe in following God-given inspiration in how overtly Christian stories should be, I think under most circumstances, Christian authors should be clear that they are Christian. Perhaps if you were facing possible severe persecution it would make sense to keep your faith secret- -say you were an Afghan living in Afghanistan, who was secretly a Christian. But otherwise I think Chistians should be overt about their identity as believers.
Mark: What are your plans for Mythic Orbits beyond 2016?
Travis: I intend to continue the Mythic Orbits series as long as I can, God willing, every year. I want to recruit new authors into writing for it and raise the bar on the quality of stories if I possibly can.
I have kicked around the idea of another anthology based on stories with exclusively Christian themes. Perhaps the more overtly Christian tales from Mythic Orbits would be included in that. But that probably won't happen for several years, if at all...
Thank you, Travis, for taking the time to talk with me. I found our conversation insightful and very interesting. It's always a pleasure to collaborate with you.