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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Introducing Christian Fantasy Author and Reviewer Kimberly A. Rogers


I'm delighted to feature up-and-coming  Christian fantasy author Kimberly A. Rogers. I've been reading her work for some time now because we share a love for Lewis and Tolkien and fantasy world-building. She has long impressed me with her writing abilities, her vast imagination, her industriousness and her solid Christian faith.  I very much recommend her blog for readers, especially parents, who want to know specifics without spoilers for fantasy stories. She will very soon join the ranks of the published with her own fantasy works, and I can see nothing but success in her future.

I'll let her tell you a bit about herself.

I never expected my blogging experience to work out quite the way it did. When I created So You Want to Write Christian Fantasy, it was with the intention of writing articles about the ins and outs of Christian fantasy. However, I quickly found that it is a lot easier to write book reviews than focusing solely on how-to articles, especially since I have a busy academia life right now. My blog is intended for writers but it is also intended for readers who are searching for fantasy with a Christian twist or at least will be cleaner than many of the secular offerings.
Part of the reason my blog focuses on reviewing fantasy books is because I am a fantasy author and I firmly believe in the advice that you should be familiar with the genre you're writing. When I first started writing, Christian fantasy involved dragons and that was pretty much it, which was scary for me because my books weren't about dragons. I prefer to write about shapeshifters but I did NOT want to write the sort of stories that the secular branch of fantasy was offering. When I started collecting fantasy books to review, I was pleasantly surprised to find the non-dragon Christian fantasy books did exist . . . in the indie publishing realm.
The talent present in the books, even the ones that occasionally needed more editing help, has astonished me. I read and reviewed over twenty books for my blog last year and only three books truly disappointed me. But the goal of my reviews has been to provide help for both readers and the writers since I grade the book on its plot, content, and technical before giving an overall grade. My hope is that the authors will see my notes and take away a positive critique instead of dealing with the frustration of having readers who know "something" isn't working but they can't express it clearly enough to be of help to the author. As a fellow writer, I know how frustrating vague feedback can be but as a reader, I also know how frustrating it is to get a book that only has glowing if vague reviews but it has serious content issues such as gratuitous sensuality, violence, and language. Therefore, I try to write reviews that assess possible issues, taking into account that what bothers me might not bother other Christians and vice versa, without giving away too much.
By focusing my blog on the book reviews, I have also established many new connections in the world of Christian indie and hybrid fiction. This is definitely an unlooked for bonus from my perspective since it has led not only to more books for review but also to establishing a better sense of camaraderie with fellow Christian authors who have been where I am on my own writing journey. Although, I must admit that my absolute favorite part of blogging is when I receive a review copy. I currently have one that I've been bouncing off the walls waiting for newly arrived and it's taking everything to sit here and write instead of reading.

This year I am looking forward to reading more books by new favorites and discovering new must-reads. My blog has taught me that not only am I not the only one writing Christian fantasy but the reviewing process also helps me to grow in my own writing as I learn from other writers' mistakes and triumphs. Some of the books I've reviewed have been clearly influenced by the author's faith even when the story was not meant as an allegory and others struggled to weave faith with fiction, either coming on too strong or too weak. Both the struggles and the triumphs of writing Christian fantasy experienced by other writers reminds me of why I started writing ten years ago. I write for God and myself first. I am writing the stories I want to read—the fantasies that range from urban to epic to a sweeping medieval-esque romance—and all of them are written to honor God. My characters are not always human; in fact, my first book, Tiger's Paw, focuses on shapeshifters trying to protect their secrets in a world of humans and elves, but I hope when others read my stories they will still see how my faith influences my writing.




Kimberly A. Rogers writes in-depth reviews of Christian and secular fantasy as well as articles for Christian fantasy writers at her blog So You Want to Write Christian Fantasy? Of course, only when not in the midst of writing papers and taking exams in the pursuit of her Masters in Religious Education. Kimberly lives in Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains add inspiration to an over-active imagination originally fueled by fantasy classics such as the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Her first book, Tiger's Paw, is scheduled for release in May 2015.

Connect with Kimberly on:

Twitter - http://twitter.com/KimberlyRWriter

Blog - http://kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com



8 comments:

  1. Welcome, Kimberly. My oldest (almost 20) is a big fan of fantasy. I fully expect him to publish a book someday. (He writes mostly fanfic at the moment, but I figure that is good practice for him.) I'll have to send him over to your blog.

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  2. Thank you. Actually, I found fanfiction to be an excellent training ground for sharpening my own writing skills. If I hadn't ventured into fanfiction after finishing my first novel (which is still in the editing doldrums), I probably never would have dreamed of writing Tiger's Paw in first person.

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  3. Kimberly, you have such conviction when you say you write what you like to read. Some people write for years and are never satisfied yet don't know why.

    I don't read too many fantasies, but I do like well-written shape-shifter stories - but not the dark ones. There's too much darkness in this world already.

    I'll be looking for Tiger's Paw.

    Deanna, thank you for bringing Kimberly and her stories to our attention.

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    1. Thank you, Anita. I grew up reading Tolkien and Lewis so they're the greatest inspiration for my writing. I've never really tried to follow the writing trends in CBA publishing because the stories in that genre did not connect with me deeply enough to inspire me to write. I've always wanted to see more wholesome fantasy and when I couldn't find enough, I set out to fill the need because I enjoy fantasy and the different lessons it can teach the most.

      I completely understand on that point. Far too many of the shape shifter stories fixate on darkness and end of the world scenarios. My own stories always focus on the hope and the way Light battles and defeats darkness. Even when darkness seems to be winning, there is always a spark of hope instead of nothing save despair. Tiger's Paw isn't an apocalyptic story and while there is peril, there is a strong sense of hope.

      DeAnna's right that I can put characters through a LOT lol but there is always hope. I hope you enjoy Tiger's Paw when it comes out. :)

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  4. Welcome, Kimberly! I'm so glad for the introduction--thanks, DeAnna. I enjoy fantasy novels from time to time, so I'll be looking for Tiger's Paw.

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    1. Thank you, Susanne. I hope you will enjoy it. :)

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  5. I don't think you'll find her stuff too dark, Anita. I haven't read TP yet, but her other writing never leaves me feeling hopeless or too dark, no matter what she puts her characters though before the end.

    I think you'll enjoy it, Susie. Many indie authors haven't put in enough time learning their craft, but that's not the case with Kimberly. She knows how to tell a good story and tell it well. :D

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, DeAnna, and for inviting me to share with y'all. :)

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