Bryan Davis is the author of the “Dragons in Our Midst” series, a contemporary/fantasy blend for young people. Bryan is the author of several other works including “The Image of a Father” (AMG) and “Spit and Polish for Husbands” (AMG), and four books in the Arch Books series. His book “The Story of the Empty Tomb” has sold over 100,000 copies. Bryan lives in Apopka, Florida with his wife, Susie, and their children. Bryan and Susie have homeschooled their four girls and three boys. Although he is now a full time writer, Bryan was a computer professional for over 20 years. Find out more about Bryan at his website, http://dragonsinourmidst.com.
Q. Tell us a little about your latest book.
In Circles of Seven, the third book in the Dragons in our Midst series, the young male hero, Billy Bannister, must journey through the seven circles of the underworld in search of unusual prisoners he has been commissioned to rescue. His female counterpart, Bonnie Silver, goes with him, but she is captured by this land’s evil mistress, the legendary Morgan from the King Arthur legends. Billy has to choose between saving Bonnie and fulfilling his mission. If the mission fails, a great evil will be unleashed on the world, threatening its very existence.
Each of the seven circles represents a spiritual challenge as Billy faces temptations that roughly parallel the seven deadly sins. Readers will follow the two teens through adventures they’ll never forget, and, I hope, they’ll be inspired by the courage, faith, and love of hero and heroine as they battle evil.
Q. Until recently, fantasy books were seldom seen on the shelves of Christian bookstores. It was notable that recently the Christy awards for Christian novels added a Fantasy category. What has changed? Why the sudden growth in Christian fantasy novels?
Christian publishers have known for a long time that fantasy is extremely popular, but they have been unsure how they could produce fantasy novels that would honor Christ first and foremost and how their readers would accept the genre. The Chronicles of Narnia is the classic example of successful, God-honoring fantasy, yet publishers were still skittish about creating new entries for the market.
The Harry Potter series both stalled and ignited the plunge into fantasy. Since these books have been severely criticized in Christian circles, many publishers hesitated to create fantasy works of their own, but the popularity of the series shouted from the rooftops. A few publishers are taking the bold step, answering the call for spiritually based fantasy, and their success is leading others into the genre.
Q. Who are some of your favorite authors of fantasy? How do they inspire you?
My favorite is C.S. Lewis and his Narnia series. He successfully blended a fantasy world with real life, allowing children to journey from their mundane existences into a land of magic and mystery. And along the way, readers learn of the savior of that world, gazing at a picture of the true savior through the pages of a stunning, spiritual portrait. Amazing!
I wanted to paint a similar picture, but not in a different fantasy world. I wanted a story that readers could relate to on an even deeper level, keeping the heroes in our world and bringing the fantasy elements into it so they could see spiritual realities coming to bear on everyday life. That’s what I hope Dragons in our Midst does. I believe it helps readers see that their own lives can be a great spiritual journey without ever leaving home.
Q. Was writing fantasy a childhood dream or something that came on later in your life?
It definitely came later in life. I never appreciated fantasy until I received the inspiration for this series. The problem with most fantasy is the contrived way the heroes often get out of trouble—a new magical power or spell, a sudden rescuer who comes out of nowhere, or some other contrived method. That even happens in Lord of the Rings.
My son finally convinced me to try fantasy with his simple wisdom, “Well, just don’t write it that way.” I try to make sure my heroes succeed through courage, faith, and devices that they already possess and know how to use, yet they are challenged to call upon their resources at a level they never dreamed possible. I believe this is far more satisfying than magical escapes.
Q. What first drew you to the fantasy genre?
I had a dream about a boy who could breathe fire. I told my son about it, and we had a brainstorming session and conjured the premise for the series. Through watching his excited eyes, I realized how powerful the fantasy genre could be. It creates images in young minds that never go away, and if I could infuse spiritual values and virtues into those images, those values would be cemented along with the images.