Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meet Travis Perry, the Visionary Behind Mythic Orbits

This is revolution #1 of 3 of my interview with Travis Perry, the visionary and editor behind the 2016 Mythic Orbits anthology.  AND (drum roll!) Mythic Orbits is now available in paperback! Click on the book link below.

Welcome, Travis! I guess the obvious first question is . . . When did you come up with the idea for the 2016 Mythic Orbits anthology? What prompted you?

Travis:   I think I was in part inspired by another anthology called "Realmscapes" which was for the Realm Makers conference in 2015 (a conference focused on Christian Speculative Fiction writers). Like a number of anthologies I have participated in of late, Realmscapes had a theme, in this case, the theme was escape. Every story submitted had to be about escape in one way or other.
I submitted a story that was not accepted for the anthology. It occurred to me that it would be nice to do an anthology without any common theme, letting authors submit their personal best stories, because it can be difficult to be inspired when somebody else hands you a theme. "Who wouldn't want to see a collection like that?" I thought. "An anthology of stories by Christian authors which were the best stories they happened to have available."

At the Realm Makers Conference in 2016 I asked around and in fact created a sign and hung it on myself, saying I was interested in the best stories people had available. I got a number of respondents in the anthology from doing that, including Kerry Nietz, Richard New, Kat Heckenbach, Lisa Godfrees, Cindy Emmet Smith, Linda Burklin, and Sherry Rossman. But obviously I eventually cast the net wider than simply contacting people I met at Realm Makers (only half of the 14 stories in Mythic Orbits 2016 come from Realm Makers alumni).

The interesting thing perhaps is my choice of Christian authors. For me, that was something I simply wanted to do. I am a self-identified Christian author and wanted to promote the works of other Speculative Fiction authors who self-identified as Christian. Primarily to demonstrate that we really are able to create some interesting stories.

Mark:  What is your definition of Speculative Fiction from a Christian or faith perspective?
Travis:   I know Christian authors who feel that being overtly Evangelical should never be done because it is either too pushy or winds up being terrible writing. Others of course feel a Christian MUST be overt. 

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 Christians should be overt about their identity as believers.

Revolution #2 of my thought-provoking interview with Travis to come soon . . .

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