Can Dragons Make Christian
By Sharon B. Siepel
What kind of book makes your kid turn down fast food,
walk into walls while reading, or forget about playing Playstation for
a day? Wouldn't you love it if that book were infused with Biblical
principles and great theology? Raising Dragons is that kind of
Raising Dragons, a contemporary fantasy, centers around a teen named
Billy whose breath suddenly has the capacity to set off fire alarms. Flaming
halitosis would mortify any youth. However, the harassing he gets at school
is only the beginning of Billy's problems. There is his family's secret dragon
past, a friend with an equally disturbing deformity, and the men that are
trying to kill them all.
As it turns out, Billy's father is a dragon turned human 1,500 years
ago. Merlin, who is portrayed as a Christian prophet, helps to transform
a group of good dragons into humans in order to save them from the
evil dragon slayers. The dragons must have faith in The Maker alone
in order to be transformed. Yet, a millennium later the slayers are
still intent on eliminating all dragons and their offspring. In this
first book of the series, Billy comes to see that sacrifice and faith
are necessary elements of salvation.
since C.S. Lewis has Christian literature produced an author who could
weave ancient legends, ancient truths, and modern characters into
such a compelling story. Young people won't be able to put this adventure
down and adults will delight in the depth of spiritual truths they
can draw from this book.
Raising Dragons, by Bryan Davis, is to be released July 26,
2004. It is the first of four books in the Dragon in Our Midst
series. The second book, The Candlestone, will be available
in September. The quartet is to be an allegorical look at the Biblical
story of redemption.
Bryan Davis began dabbling in writing some ten years ago in an attempt
to teach his seven children how to write well. While attending classes
and writing conferences in order to improve his craft, he received
positive feedback from editors. Believing God was asking him to dedicate
his life to writing, Mr. Davis quit his job of twenty years as a computer
technician to write full-time. Within a year after making this leap
of faith Mr. Davis had contracts for two non-fiction books as well
as the four books that make up the Dragons in Our Midst series.
Recently I was able to ask Mr. Davis about Raising Dragons
and his thoughts regarding Christian fantasy.
Sharon Siepel: What prompted you to write Raising Dragons?
Bryan Davis: I wanted to reach children with the Truth. I
asked my own children what type of book to write. My oldest son immediately
suggested fantasy. I wasn't a fan of fantasy, because it seemed to
me that the characters would develop magical powers to get them out
of the situation they were in. I wanted my characters to use the gifts
God has given them along with strength of character, faith and perseverance
to work through their problems. So my son said to write a fantasy
Siepel: What are some of the spiritual truths you are trying
to convey in Raising Dragons?
Davis: This book helps young people understand their ability
to gain victory in spite of what they might perceive to be handicaps
or weaknesses. It shows them how spiritual truths are to guide us,
and that faith in God is the way to conquer evil. It encourages young
people to pursue high ideals and trust in God-inspired truth.
Siepel: What is the difference between good fantasy and bad
Davis: Good fantasy is a blend of survival and worship, the
use of God's gifts to bring glory to him. It is a vision, the mind's
dramatic sketch of what we were meant to be. It demonstrates faith,
hope, and love--the three abiding gifts--wielded in integrity and
nobility, and illustrated in ways that our culture will never forget.
Siepel: When you walk into a Christian bookstore and search
for books geared toward young adults, you don't find much of a selection.
Do you think there is an audience for this type of book?
Davis: The audience is there. I hear from parents all the
time who are searching for great stories that point their kids to
God. The reason I wrote this book is because there is not enough out
there. A lot of the current books center around a bad kid who learns
to be good in the end. I wanted to write stories about good kids,
kids that have been raised with decent values, who are challenged.
I like stories where the conflict comes from the outside and the characters
are forced to draw on their strengths and faith in God to overcome.
Siepel: Still, fantasy might be seen as kind of risky among
Davis: The Christian publishing world has been slow to embrace
fantasy. Harry Potter has made fantasy a pariah in some circles,
and many are cautious about the effects fantasy can have on impressionable
minds. Even if a story creates heroic characters who honor virtue
and point to God as their source of strength, a publisher may still
balk if it perceives a difficult market. The Chronicles of Narnia
and Lord of the Rings have proven, however, that virtuous fantasy
has tremendous potential. These works have been treasured by millions
of people all around the world.
Siepel: What do you say to parents who may be wary of introducing
their child to the world of fantasy?
Davis: We have an opportunity to create strong soldiers for
Christ by using the power of story, even through the pages of the
impossible. If parents will allow fantasy its proper place, as an
inspiration toward holiness, allowing powerful images to create God-honoring
models in children's minds, authors will be moved to create more of
those fantastic images. As the market grows, as book-buyers seek heroes
displaying faith-empowered integrity and strength, more publishers
will have the freedom to take a chance on these works. Working together,
we can use this genre to capture hearts and minds with champions of
virtue, images that will reach in and ignite the flame, setting free
the hero or heroine that God has implanted in the hearts of children.
Siepel: Why dragons?
Davis: Kids are fascinated with dragons. Also, in the Bible
Job describes a dragon-like creature. I wanted to write a book with
a fantasy element, but one with a strong reality feel. That is also
why all supernatural elements in this book are clearly shown to be
from God, not magic or witchcraft.
Siepel: You dedicated this book to your oldest son, James.
What part did he play in the writing of this book?
Davis: James, now twenty-one, was fourteen when he suggested
that I write a fantasy novel for young people. He actually wrote the
beginnings of the story. We brainstormed together and I used his input.
Without James, this book would not have been written.
Siepel: The main character of the story is a teen named Billy.
Who is Billy?
Davis: Billy is a compilation of my three sons. He stems from
the strengths I see in my boys. As a father, I desire nothing more
than for my children to come to Christ. I wrote Billy as an unbeliever
who is seeking. Through him I wanted to show a realistic spiritual
journey from a masculine perspective.
Siepel: What are your hopes for Raising Dragons and
the rest of the Dragons in Our Midst series?
Davis: My prayer is that young people would see the potential
they have in Christ. They would see that God has given us all the
ability to do great things for Him.
Will Raising Dragons send the market for Christian fantasy
soaring? Given Bryan Davis' mastery of storytelling, it certainly
has the potential to give this genre new wings.
Sharon Siepel is a freelance writer from Goshen, OH. You can contact
her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may learn more about Bryan Davis by visiting his Website at http://www.daviscrossing.com.
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