Is there a story behind your book, Liza’s Avenger?
Liza’s Avenger started life as an RPG game I made way back in 2011, but I felt my limited technical ability was holding me back from conveying the story I really wanted to tell, which is why I decided to write it as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project when I was 13. This is where you aim to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I did it – just!
It was entirely pantsed (written without planning) but I was inspired by my favourite childhood fantasy authors such as Cornelia Funke as well as the RPG games I loved playing. In fact, one of the main criticisms of the woeful first draft was it read far too much like a game script. Another element central to the plot is sisters, hence why it’s dedicated to my sister!
What started you on your writing journey?
When I was four I started school and it was at this stage I ‘wrote’ my first story, a thrilling tale about a lost teddy bear. Throughout primary school I wrote quite a few short stories but stopped abruptly for a few years once I entered grammar school. It all came back to me, though, when I met a friend who introduced me to a website where teens write and review each other’s stories. This proved to be a great resource for improving my writing.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I like books that involve journeys of any kind, especially fantasy. I enjoy books that involve a grand quest across unexplored land. I also read the work of non-fiction travel writers like Bill Bryson who can write both informatively and humorously.
When it comes to Christian books I read a combination of old books like Pilgrim’s Progress (albeit put into modern English) and more modern releases such as Lee Strobel’s books on apologetics. If I can find a book that is both Christian and fantasy/sci-fi that is my ideal!
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I have been in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for my entire life. It’s the biggest city in the country but by international standards it is quite small, with a population of around 500,000. Living in the capital city has plenty of perks – you never have to travel far to find what you need. You also don’t need to walk too far before you’re out in the lovely Irish countryside.
Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
I love East Asian countries like Japan, China and Hong Kong. It’s probably because they are so different to home. Ireland tends to be very quiet and spacious, which is nice, but then it’s also fun to spend time in massive cities where millions of people practically live on top of each other. And the food is really good in these countries, of course! I get absolutely no writing done when I’m on holiday.
Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
Various elements of my travels are brought into my writing subconsciously. For example, the main character in Liza’s Avenger is called Hikari which is Japanese for light – fitting for the overall theme of the book. And like many fantasy books my towns are modeled off those in European regions such as Bavaria, with cobbled streets and grand castles.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
There are two main spiritual themes in Liza’s Avenger. For the main characters, it’s finding God in the face of trials and suffering. For the villains, it’s all about how even the lowest can be forgiven and granted salvation.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
It’s hard to pick just one, but 2 Timothy 1:7 is a personal favourite: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It is pinned up on my wall as a daily reminder. We need to trust that no matter how bad a situation seems it is all part of God’s plan and ultimately for our benefit (Isaiah 38:17). Once we give in to fear the enemy can use this to lead us astray.
Thanks for sharing today!
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