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So for our 1st book of CSFFBT 2010, “The Wolf of Tebron” by CS Lakin, I had the opportunity to do an internet interview (email Q&A) with the author.  I’ve split the interview into 2 parts, this first part should be spoiler free.  The possible spoilers should be in Wednesday’s post, along with some info on the next book in the “Gates of Heaven” series… “The Map Across Time”.

Why did you pick a wolf for this book?

I wanted to portray God’s loyalty and availability in a way Aslan didn’t represent. I love dogs a lot and feel they teach us so much about God. The wolf is a loyal companion, sticks by Joran’s side through everything he goes through. He is a provider, encourager, and teacher. Yet, the wolf can be fiercely protective, and Ruyah rails against his enemies to save Joran. That’s how I see Jesus—as fighter for us, as he’s the lover of our soul and he will not let the evil one snatch us from his hand.

Does the world this book is set in have a name?

 Fairy Tales do not “name” a different world. It is assumed to be the natural world, or any land in general, but of course, when magic comes into play, the average world is transformed.

Will there be a map put out for the lands in the “Gates of Heaven” series?  

I really dislike maps in fantasy books. They smack of trying to copy The Lord of the Rings by giving their locale some huge importance. If a reader must use a map to understand where his characters are going, then the writer hasn’t done a good enough job in her writing to make the lay of the land clear.

Joran wants to turn down animals when they give him his name, but there’s no Biblical principle to support this attitude.  Why do you think Christians struggle with accepting gifts?

Well, in our world animals don’t do this, so of course there wouldn’t be anything in the Bible to counsel us on that. But Joran’s attitude stems from a respect for their privacy and a feeling that if he’s done a kindness, he needn’t be rewarded. It shows his humility and his good character. It’s not that he doesn’t want a gift; in giving Joran their name, they are relinquishing power to him—so he can summon them at will, as he is unsure he wants that kind of power.

Are we going to learn the story behind the ancient city of Sherbourne?

Sherbourne  is central in The Map across Time, so you will learn much about it and its history in the second installment.

How many books do you think there will be in the “Gates of Heaven” series?

I’ve just completed the fourth tale. I’ve kicked around the idea of possibly ten books in the collection but I supposed we’ll make some decision this year. The Land of Darkness, the third book, should release this fall.

Briefly, what’s the difference between a fantasy story and a faery tale?

There’s a huge distinction between the various subgenres of fantasy and a fairy tale structure. I have some great articles that go into length about this at my website: wwwgatesofheavenseries.com for those who want to examine them. But basically, fairy tales have very specific rules. There is always a task that must be done—usually something nearly impossible, that if gained, will lead to what Chesterton calls “an incomprehensible happiness.” Fairy tales are not just imaginative stories set in other worlds—they are stories that should feel like they begin in our world, an ordinary world, but then transport the character into a world of magic with a very specific end in mind. Think of many of the fairy tales you know—like Jack in the Beanstalk or Cinderella and you will see a pattern like this.

Was one of these sacred sights in The Wolf of Tebron?

…see the answer to this question in tomorrow’s post!

…..

Thank you CS Lakin for your time on this interview, and for a great book.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the “Gates of Heaven” series!

For any readers who have questions for CS Lakin, visit her website at http://www.cslakin.com/  or her blog at http://cslakin.blogspot.com/

To pick up a copy of “The Wolf of Tebron” visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899578888

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more from CS Lakin!

To read what other bloggers had to say, visit the CSFFBT members at:

Noah Arsenault
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
John W. Otte
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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This round of reviews for the Christian Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog Tour (CSFFBT) is for C.S. Lakin’s “The Wolf of Tebron.  It’s the first book in the “Gates of Heaven” series.  I was honored to have the chance to review this book back in August, and you can find my original review here.

Since then I’ve read through the book again, done an internet interview with C.S. Lakin, and gathered some more thoughts on the book.  I’ll be doing 3 posts during this tour, Lord willing.  Tonight’s post is on some additional thoughts I had after re-reading the book, examining further the experiences of Joran.  Tuesday’s post will be the 1st portion of the internet interview with the author.   Wednesday’s post will be the last part of the interview with the author which includes possible spoilers, as well as a sneak peek mention of the next book in the “Gates of Heaven” series… “The Map Across Time”.

Now onto the book…

There are a lot of things the main character, Joran, experiences as a direct result of his jealousy.  Those experiences do a good job of describing what we really go through as a result of our jealousy.  Jealous people often close themselves off from possible realities that might truly heal their pain.  Instead they embrace a goal of vengeance that promises a peace, yet it only causes more pain for everybody.  Rage takes over, and the spirit and mind become blind and imprisoned.  It’s a horrible experience, and sadly people don’t considered how their own actions can cause others to suffer through this.  I myself have had major struggles with jealousy, and they completely sapped the life out of me for many years.  I couldn’t believe how well “The Wolf of Tebron” brought those experiences to life in Joran.  I felt every single bit of his pain!

At one point in the book Joran is so self-absorbed that he’s angry about his companion Ruyah having fun on their journey, and he considers it to be at the expense of his own self.  He thinks others are taking joy in the very things that he feels are ruining his life, and that they are somehow making it worse for him.  And in that, he is not only ignorant of the hearts and goals of others, but Joran is unable to see the joy set before him.  It’s the nature of a focus on self.  We were made for God, all things were made for God.  We’re supposed to suffer when we lose sight of God, it helps bring us back to Him.  It is able to wake us up from the nightmares we make of our lives, and direct us back to the reality which is the very base of our earthly experiences.

This book is good for those struggling with jealousy and rage ruling their lives.  It can help the reader take a step back and watch somebody going through the extremes of what the reader is going through.  The reader will likely wonder how someone was able to so accurately capture all the feelings they’re struggling with because of jealousy.  It will help the reader see not only how it sucks their lives away, but also see that there is indeed a true escape available to them in Christ.

To check out the book for yourself visit   http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0899578888

Also visit the author’s webpage at http://www.cslakin.com/ 

Or her blog at http://cslakin.blogspot.com/

Check out what the others in the tour had to say:

Noah Arsenault
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
John W. Otte
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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God’s people are a thing sought after.  Some want them for their own, others hate God’s sheep, and still others just hate God.  And I’m sure most of the pursuers are a mixture of all three and then some.  It’s dangerous being a sheep in God’s flock. 

Especially since we’ve all, every one of us sheep, called upon ourselves a slaughtering.  We flirt with our enemies.  We tempt them and make them salivate with the thought of dining on our flesh and wearing our wool.

But we have a Good Shepherd, One who will always fight for us and Who will always triumph.  If we turn away from sin, and listen to His voice, then we will always find safe pasture for our souls.

He is not a hired hand.  Some claim to be defenders of the Church, but when it comes down to their very life being on the line… well, they abandon us just as fast as they can.  I’m guessing they’re not even truly employed, but rather they are something more like mercenaries waiting on wages that were never offered or promised.

Jesus isn’t like them.  Like a mighty Lion, He wages war for His Zion.

There has been a problem created by our actions though.  There is a required payment for our sins.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who lays His life down for His sheep.  And because it’s a sheep’s blood that’s required for the sheep’s sins, Jesus took our form upon Himself to satisfy the debt. 

His blood became as our blood, except without the sickness of sin.  He became one of us, and knew our every struggle intimately.  Being found in appearance as a man, the very nature of a servant, He humbled Himself and obeyed death.  And not just death, but death on the cross.  He became the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing, sacrificed.

Some people, not all but some, die for others because they have no choice.  If they’re going to die anyway then they figure they might as well do it for a good cause.  Or maybe, against their own will, their life is taken in place of someone else’s. 

Jesus isn’t like them.  No, Jesus didn’t have to die… ever.  But He layed down His life of His own accord, on our behalf.  And by the same authority given Him to lay it down on our behalf, He took it up and overcame death.

He is the Good Shepherd.

There is a constant blood-lust that hungers for the sheep of God.  But we need not fear the wolf in sheep’s clothing… not when we follow the voice of the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing.

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