Philip, that title makes it sound like you’re a rebel. Is there any truth in that?
Well, it’s not fair if only young people can have a “teenage rebellion”, so maybe mine has come thirty years too late! I feel strongly that, under God, we can each assert our independence and free will in the world, to make conscious choices instead of mindless conformity. But the book title also hints at the fact that we are all rebels against God’s gracious destiny for us.
You must be so excited to have your first book, Destiny’s Rebel published. Tell us about the book.
It is the story of Kat, a seventeen-year-old girl who is about to become Queen. And she’s dreading it, because of the conflicts and responsibilities it will bring. So she runs away, and the story becomes a race against time for her to return and save her people from disaster, while at the same time struggling to accept her role in the Kingdom.
It’s set in an imaginary medieval world, with castles and kingdoms, swords and sailing ships, because those are the stories I love. It’s an adventure story with a fantasy element of the gods in the world, who interact with the characters. So my heroine wrestles with her identity and purpose, but also learns about guidance, healing, duty, service, friendship, self-sacrifice, hope and faith.
How did you come to write it? I mean, teenage fantasy novels aren’t usually the first thing one expects a minister to write.
I must still be a teenager at heart then, because I wrote it primarily for myself! And one old lady who read it thrilled me by commenting: “It made me feel young again”.
After fifteen years as a Church of England Vicar, I became concerned at the absence of older children, teenagers and young adults from our congregations. If they won’t come to us, then I had to go to them, to where they are. So Destiny’s Rebel is written for the general market, to appeal to young readers of fantasy, who might have no prior contact with the Church or Christianity.
I believe that stories are the most powerful medium we have for communicating the important things of life and death, as Jesus did with His parables. In them we can portray the truths of our human experience, about joy and despair, faith and hope, and about God, in ways we can relate to, and be touched by their power. As Christian Fiction Writers, this is the awesome, crucial and humbling task in which we’re engaged.
What other writing have you done?
I’ve written short stories and poems, for both children and adults, and also the occasional blog post, article and writing tips. I think it’s important to try a lot of things as a writer, to discover where our talent and enjoyment lies. But novels remain my first love, for the scope they offer to develop character, setting, storyline and tone.
Philip, we got acquainted through the Association of Christian Writers, a wonderful group of Christian writers mostly based in the UK, how has ACW helped you in your journey as a writer? What other organizations do you belong to?
ACW has stopped me from feeling crazy and alone in attempting this writing business! Because writing is a solitary endeavor, I have valued enormously the opportunities to compare notes with others, to give and receive encouragement to keep going. I’ve also appreciated the critiques in local writing groups, and the constant striving for excellence in our work.
Because I write for young people in the general market, I’m also a member of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
I understand this is the first book in a series. What’s next for Princess Katelin?
I love reading series myself, to develop a love for characters and places across a number of books, but I hate it when I’m left with an unresolved twist or cliff-hanger at the end of a book. I don’t like being forced to buy another book before reaching a resolution.
So my series resolves properly at the end of each novel, with the next one picking up an existing thread, or starting with a new occurrence for the story of that book. I enjoy reaching the end of one story, like a landing between flights of stairs, for my creative mind then to explore “what happens next?”
So Book Two in the Destiny series, Destiny’s Revenge, is set in the same world, about six months after the end of Destiny’s Rebel. It contains many of the same characters and relationships, and some great new ones. It is due for release in September 2016, and I’m currently writing Book Three in the series, Destiny’s Usurper.
What do you like to read?
I’ve always enjoyed fantasy and science fiction, and feel quite at home in imaginary and futuristic worlds, provided they are well-drawn. I also read recent releases in Teenage and Young Adult fiction, but confess that I find many of these grim and depressing. From this stems my desire to write something more wholesome and optimistic. But I enjoy adult fiction too, and occasional classics, where I feel that my literary education has been lacking (because I’m a medieval historian by degree).
What else do you want our readers to know about you?
I’m thrilled to share my life with my wife, Ann, who is a hospice nurse, and our two wonderful children, Mark (12) and Rachel (9). My study looks out on fields and across a valley in Oxfordshire, such that sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe I’m living this particular dream.
Where can our readers find you and Princess Katelin online?
Find Destiny’s Rebel on Amazon.com: here.
And on Goodreads: here.
Find Philip Davies on Facebook: here.
And on Twitter: here.
Posted by Donna Fletcher Crow. A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary, set in Oxford, is the latest in her Monastery Murders series