As this week is the week that the authors on the Fantasy Fiction Tour ’08 are going to be posting about me, I thought I’d put up a short introduction to me & to my works for those who might come by to see a bit more about who I am.
My name is L.B., and I grew up in Baltimore, where I was born. My father was a Presbyterian minister there, so I’m what some would call, a “PK,” (Pastor’s Kid). After high school, I went to Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois, not far from Chicago. It was a great place to go to school, and I still think of Wheaton as a home away from home.
Between my junior and senior year at Wheaton, I went on a summer program called “Wheaton-in-England.” While on that program, I had an idea for a fantasy story, which I envisioned as a single book in five parts. Of course, I was only 21 and had no real idea of what I would do with it, but it stayed with me, as you’ll see.
After Wheaton, I went to Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. I thought it was going to be a short stop before going on to graduate school in literature, but while I was there, I had second thoughts about that. I ended up taking a job in St. Louis after graduation at a small Christian school, mostly because a really pretty Australian girl I had gotten to know was a student at Covenant and I wanted to hang around. Turned out to be a good thing, as I married her (and discovered that I enjoyed teaching too). I’m in my 13th year as a teacher, and Joanne and I have been married for 12 years. We have two kids, ages 7 and 11.
In the the ’98-’99 school year, I was asked to teach a class on apologetics. I didn’t know a book that covered the specific things that I wanted to cover, so I started writing packets to hand out to my students. At the end of the year, I looked at my stack of packets and realized that despite my assumption that I didn’t have time to write while teaching, I’d written something very nearly as long as a book. I decided it was time to revisit that idea I’d had in the summer of ’92.
That idea gave birth to The Binding of the Blade, which turned out to be, not a five part book, but a five book series. I started working on the idea again seriously in the summer of 2000, with the help of three former students, James Klousia, and Nathanael and Noah Quay. Their help, along with the help and feedback of my friends, Tom Wenger and Shane Lankford, helped me develop the story and world that I wrote about in the books. So, one thing I’d say to prospective writers who might be stopping by to visit, find friends you trust and bring them into the loop, as learning to take good feedback to heart is crucial to creativity and developing your ideas.
I signed my book contract with P&R Publishing in the spring of ’02, and the first book came out in the spring of ’04. Beyond the Summerland was nominated for a Christy Award in ’05, so I was honored to be a Christy finalist that year – at the Christy Awards dinner, I met Donita K. Paul, who was a nominee that year for Dragonspell. Those who followed the FFT ’08, know that Donita was on the Tour too.
I worked on The Binding of the Blade pretty steadily from 2000-2006, when I finally finished the fifth and final book, All My Holy Mountain. It was strange to be finished, having lived in my fictional world of Kirthanin for so long, but it was satisfying too. It had been a long journey, and it felt good to have made it to the finish line.
What does the future hold, now that The Binding of the Blade is finished? I don’t know, but I’m working on a nonfiction book and trying to get a proposal put together for a new fantasy series also. I’ve written about a 100 pages of the new fantasy book, so I’m beginning to get a feel for the new world and characters. I’m excited about it, but the publishing world is tough, so I can’t say what will happen to the proposal or if anyone will want it. I will, however, keep you posted.
If you have questions about me or my work, leave me a comment if you’d like, or you can go to the website for my series and email me through the “ask the author” section there. Thanks for dropping by!