WHY?

FAQ/FSC (Frequently Spoken Conversations)

Got a question for Laura? Post it here or write to her at laurapopp (at) ymail.com!

Q: Why do you write?

A: The same reason I exist. I was called to write, just as I was called into being. How’s that for a philosophical answer?

Q: Uh…OK. So I guess the real question is, “Who? Who called you to write?”

A: King called me.

Q: Who’s King?

A: Man, you haven’t read my books? That’s OK. King is awesome. That’s what I call God. He made everything, and He’s given each one of us a purpose.

Q: Then what’s your purpose?

A: Ultimately the same as everyone else, to know King. Personally, I feel closer to Him through writing, which is a tiny reflection of creation.

Q: Why write science fiction and fantasy?

A: I get to invent all kinds of new creatures and worlds. I think King delights in that, and it’s a kind of worship for me.

Q: Worship? Isn’t that like…singing in church?

A: That’s one kind of worship. I believe our entire lives can and should be continuous worship in the fulfillment of our True Purpose. In whatever I do, whether writing or teaching or missions or simply doing the dishes, I try to do it for the pleasure and glory of my King.

Q: So you’re a Christian writer?

A: I’m a follower of Jesus who happens to write. Christian fiction has to stick to a certain pattern. Usually the hero has a crisis and learns to trust God more. That’s not what I write. You won’t find the words “Christian” or “church” or “Jesus” in most of my books. What I do is more subtle and metaphorical, kind of like C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Q: Can you give some examples?

A: Sure. In almost every book, I have what I call “the sacrificial character.” This character represents Jesus or “Prince,” and selflessly gives him or herself in order to save someone else. See if you can find this character in Treasure Traitor; there may be more than one! This book also has a lot of themes dealing with sin, atonement, and forgiveness. Some of the places and nearly all the characters have names that mean something. Several are Greek like “Charis” meaning “Grace,” “Agape,” meaning “God’s Love,” and “Xulon Chrio” meaning “The Cross of Christ.” They aren’t perfect representations of their names, but they do teach Renagada (the main character) about these virtues.

Q: What did you hope to accomplish with these “metaphors.”

A: I just want to make people think. It’s my hope and prayer that people will encounter God as they read my books and that eventually they will decide to dedicate their lives to serving Him. As Rena discovers in Treasure Traitor, we all must serve something, whether our own selfishness or a greater Purpose.

Q: I’m not really into all that. Will I still like your books?

A: Some professional editors who read Treasure Traitor didn’t even catch the faith references. That stuff is there if you want to find it. If not, they’re still good stories.

Q: Cool. When did you come up with all this?

A: The Kingdom and Hierarchy universe first swirled through my head at the age of five in the form of games I used to play with my friends. The original characters were called the “Super Sisters” (later the “Super Siblings” so my brother could play) and they all had a different magical power and fought against the evil Zechiel from the Hierarchy. Today those characters are called the Lord and Ladies of Light and they fight the Guardian, but they aren’t really the good girls (and guy) anymore. The worlds they lived on have grown into an entire galaxy filled with different races, cultures, creatures, and languages.

Q: How many stories are in the series?

A: Treasure Traitor is part of a trilogy featuring Rena and Acha. For the entire Fate’s War series about the war between the Kingdom and the Hierarchy, I’ve outlined over 200 novels, comic books, plays, movies, musicals, and even an opera! I’d love to make the series into a TV show.

Q: That’s a lot! How is all this organized?

A: The overall Fate’s War series can be broken up into stand alone novels and mini-series based on pairs or sets of characters who play a major role in the Hierarchy/Kingdom conflict. I’ve already completed another mini-series about a space traveling rock band from Earth who find themselves right in the middle of the war serving as go-betweens and eventually peace advocates. (That particular sub-series, however, being my first attempt at writing, is now in a dusty file on my laptop and will probably never see the light of publishing without serious revamping. A piece of writerly advice: Don’t make your first project a super long novel series. Start with short stories. The learning curve is a lot faster.)

Those five books and the Treasure Traitor trilogy actually start in the middle of the time line, when the war resistance is in full swing. The overall Fate’s War series begins with the story of the Keeper of the Kingdom, how she became ruler of half the universe, and what began her rivalry with the Guardian of the Hierarchy. Xulon-Chrio and Charis from Treasure Traitor also have their own book, as do some of the monara societies.

Q: What’s up with the body bender, General Kyra? She creeps me out. Why’d she transform into Rena, and what’s she got against her family?

A: Oh, just you wait! All her loose ends tie up in the second book. She’s a major player in the overall series. She even has her own trilogy!

Q: What was your inspiration for the Hierarchy?

A: I love European-based fantasy like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, but I decided at an early age there wasn’t enough other cultures to balance it. I read a lot of Middle Eastern and Asian fairytales as a kid, and I fell in love with Arabian Nights. That’s where I got the setting. The desert is almost a character in Treasure Traitor, providing a lot of the conflict and background. Much of the culture comes from my time abroad, particularly in India. The clothes that Rena wears, the appearance of her people, and some of their customs come from the south of that country.

Other things, including her Kakra language, are based on Japanese, with high and low forms of speech. I did most of the revisions while living in Japan as a missionary and teacher, so if parts of the book seem heavily influenced by Japanese culture and world-view, that would be why!

Q: What was your inspiration for the Kingdom?

A: A past imperialistic Europe, especially during the Crusades, only with special powers. They believe in King and call themselves Kingdom Seekers, but their beliefs are really whacked. Not a lot of love from them. Their elemental-based abilities come from Ancient Greek, Norse, and Japanese mythology. Terria, my favorite country, is based partly on the old culture of white settlers in my own Oklahoma. Terrians grow grain, are very patriotic, extremely devoted to King, and promote large, strong families, though they tend to distrust foreigners and other races. At the same time, Terria probably has the highest hope for peace of any country in the Hierarchy/Kingdom universe.

Q: What do you do in your “real life?”

A: Right now I teach English to refugees and immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens. I also teach Japanese over Skype. You can contact me if you’re interested in taking lessons, or if you just want to chat about other countries. Other interesting facts are listed on my Bio page.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I always write about my latest projects on my Blog pages. Those posts are listed on a sidebar.

Q: When’s your next book coming out?

A: Keep checking my Events where I post my upcoming releases, speaking, & book signings!

Q: Will you speak at my school, church, or writers’ group?

A: Sure! Feel free to email or snail mail me. See the Contact page.

Q: Will you read my writing?

A: I get a lot of requests like that, and I can’t answer them all! My best advice is to join a critique group online or in your local area. That way you can have a bunch of people who will get familiar with you and your work and help you grow over a period of time. You will also learn a lot from the process of critiquing other people’s writing.

Q: How do Terrians say “Good bye?”

A: “May King grant ye full fields, cheerful children, and a sharp sword.”

Got a question for Laura? Post it here or write to her at laurapopp (at) ymail.com!

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