I am so excited to share this with you. I love Janalyn's writing and I know you will, too.
What I Discovered In the Vale of Shadows
By Janalyn Voigt
As a writer, I like to think I’m in charge of the story I’m writing. I spend time in reflection and prayer, and then create a plot line. My outline consists of one or two paragraphs to summarize each chapter, and then one- or two-sentence descriptions of what will happen in each scene. It’s the bones of my story that I then flesh in, and you’d think I’d be able to stick to it. Most of the time, I do. But sometimes the story just sort of…happens.
One day, while I was writing a scene in Wayfarer, book two of my Tales of Faeraven epic fantasy trilogy, with High King Elcon, the main character, seeking the DawnKing, an allegorical figure who represents Jesus, in the deep forest. It should have been a simple matter to find him and return to pressing business in the form of a gathering battle at the high hold. However, Elcon floored me by taking a turn into the Vale of Shadows, a fearsome place and a story location I hadn’t known existed. Did I mention that I like to think I’m in control of my characters, too?
I had to stop writing and give some thought to Elcon’s maneuver. What was he up to? And then it hit me. Of course that is where we can expect to find Jesus. He dwells not just within the forest of our lives, but in the darkest valley we can descend to. Whether that valley is one of sin, despair, or even the shadow of death, he waits for us there. The Bible puts it this way: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” Psalm 139:7-8 (NIV).
Take a moment to revel in this knowledge by watching this joyous video by Greg Long.
Writers are cautioned not to say God wrote your book, and I don’t believe that happens except when it came to writing the Bible. However, there are times writers need to move over and let God breathe life into our stories. I knew then how the scene I was writing would have to change. Sometimes writers get to surprise their characters. It was not a matter of Elcon finding the DawnKing, but the opposite. There is nowhere we can go that God cannot find us. This is the measure of His love for us. In Wayfarer I took the opportunity to illustrate this poignant message.
Wayfarer can be read as a standalone story, but reading DawnSinger, the book one in the fantasy trilogy first will make the experience is richer. It is available in print or digital formats at most online stores.
First there was DawnSinger:
A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?
Now the sequel:
When an untried youth ascends to the high throne of Faeraven, his mistakes tear kingdoms apart and allow just one chance at redemption. He must humble himself before the man he banished.
For all you e-readers here are the links:
But for those of you who love to smell the pages, here is the link for a paperback:
About Janalyn Voigt
As children, my older brother and I would beg my father for bedtime stories, and he would give them. His deep voice rumbled against my ear at his chest as he unfolded stories of exotic places like Oz and Neverland. My imagination carried on with the tales even after he closed the book for the night. When eventually he stopped reading stories, I began creating my own.
Within a few years I’d become storyteller of my neighborhood. The other children would gather in a circle on our lawn while I invented stories to entertain them. No one, including myself, thought of this as anything unusual. It wasn’t until my sixth-grade teacher pointed out my ability to spin a tale that I and my parents took note. This is how at the age of twelve I decided to become a novelist. At it turns out, the fulfillment of that dream took a few more years than planned.
Find out more about Janalyn, her closet writing office, and her books at the author website for Janalyn Voigt.