It’s Release Day // Author Interview

The Glory Writers was established by our beloved Victoria Lynn (and her best friend, Livy Jarmusch), with a shared heart. One that beats with the gnawing ache, to fill the void within the Secular and Christian fiction market. To offer pure and epic stories for the up and coming generations; tales of light against darkness in an age that glorifies evil, rather than the goodness of the Creator. 

As our platform has grown in wisdom and stature– and is continuously growing, as more hands join together across the map on this same, sweet journey– we recently, finally announced a long awaited, dream-come-true: 

We’ve started a press.

The Lord has officially given us the green light, and though we’re being prayerful and thoughtful about how we go about this process, we aren’t slowing down from Godspeed. 

On that note, it only makes sense that “Once I Knew” by Victoria Lynn, our founder, would be the first novel published under our seal. And rightfully worthy are both Victoria, and her precious book, to carry such a mantel into the fiery unknown. 

A [YA] medieval fantasy, OIK is about bodily and soul-bound amnesia. What it’s like to forget who you are, and who God is; the heights some human beings are willing to travel, to unearth their potential and their future…and the depths others go, to bury the past. 

Today, I’m privileged to interview Victoria on her new release, her passion for the art of storytelling, and the Holy Spirit’s power behind her pen. I pray you find inspiration to visit the world of her imagination, as well as revisit your own. 

GW: If you could narrow it down, what five words describe “Once I Knew” and the world of Elira, best?

VL: FIVE WORDS! So rude. LOL! That’s like an insult to a writer. I’ll try. 

Medieval, Generational, Epic, Internal, Battle.

GW: I’d say most (if not all) authors have the habit of hiding pieces of themselves within the hearts of their characters. What part of Obed and Violet, your MC’s— whether that be characteristic, part of their plot, even thematic lesson—belonged to you, first?

VL: Oof, this is such a great question! Honestly. there is something hidden in each of them for sure. Violet’s struggle with anxiety, despite being a strong and well grounded individual is definitely something that I struggled with very personally. So much of her victory and discovery in this area is something that I personally also deal with. 

Obed and his journey with the Lord is also something that was very personal. What God spoke to Him and his redemption story is something that I have very real experience with and oftentimes, felt like the words were for me as much as for Obed. 

Something that also stands out to me in this area is Violet’s struggle with compassion and boundaries. How to be a force for good and light, while also carefully tending to the garden of her heart and keeping the gate closed against the enemy. 

GW: Having read OIK myself, I’d say it’s a gem of a fresh classic within the Christian Fiction community. In your view, what are some new or even uniquely long-forgotten attributes that your book offers readers?

VL: The style of description is very heavily patterned in older books. It’s something that feels like a bit of a lost art and can fall by the wayside in newer books, so the descriptions of nature and the turn of phrase was very purposeful for me, and also hugely inspiring. 

I also think the approach of characters and the ways that the hear and interact with the Lord feels very real to me, it’s written in a way that is heavily influenced by my relationship with the Lord and the capabilities of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Hearing from God and truly hearing His voice outside of simply reading scripture (everything He says should obviously match and align with His word) is something that the church as a whole doesn’t seem to talk much about and encourage, but it makes sense because He is a relational God. Of course He wants to talk to us. This book I hope is a key to people to see how He can and does relate with His children. 

GW: You’ve been extremely vocal about God asking you to lay down your pen for a prolonged season of your life. In light of that, you waited quite a few years to publish OIK, as well as get back into the writing game. What advice would you give to someone who’s struggling with surrendering their dreams and goals to the Lord?

VL: He can carry it and manage it far better than we ever could. Remember that He is truly the author of all, He owns the cattles on a thousand hills, He has the ability to build up or tear down in an instant what many strive years for. Don’t feel like your time away from your pen is a waste because He can do in a moment what it takes others years to accomplish. He is fully capable of doing more with your gift than you could ever imagine. Seek Him on what He wants to teach and show you during this season and use it as an opportunity to grow and dive deeper with Jesus than to waste time or the experience waiting for it to come back. 

GW: The title of your novel, Once I Knew, obviously has many implications that are woven into the the book. Forgetfulness forced by fear and sorrow, and the fight to know who you are when you’re unknown to yourself, to name a few. Within a culture of constant identity crises and spiritual amnesia, what is it that you long for readers to remember, and hope they’re reminded of when reading this story? 

VL: I hope they remember and are reminded that their story matters. God has a distinct and unique call and destiny for each of their lives. You were created with a purpose and even in the pain and the struggle and the overwhelming pressure to change and be something other than who He created you to be, It’s in those moments and those places that your destiny is so much greater. The greater the darkness, the more import you have in turning the tide. The ONLY source of identity is Christ and what He says about us. But we need to be listening. We need to hold fast, and we need to stand our ground. Because we are the light bearers and we can and will turn this tide. 

“Once I Knew” is available on Amazon for digital and paperback purchase. 

Why Christian Authors Should Stop Joking About Torturing Their Characters

I’ve never liked it when authors joke about torturing their characters, and the other day I saw something that made me realize why.

In a Facebook group I lurk in, someone had posted a meme that went something like this: 

AUTHORS: “Look at my character, I love them so much.”

ALSO AUTHORS: “Now watch me break them like a light stick. Look at them burn.”

I rolled my eyes and started to scroll away . . . then froze when I saw the top comment. 

Someone had commented saying that they had always envisioned God like this: in other words, distantly cruel and even sadistic. They thought this joke was an accurate and realistic portrayal of God. 

This comment broke my heart, and it made me realize why authors making jokes about torturing their characters bothers me so much. 

I firmly believe that Christian writers shouldn’t just be striving for excellence in our stories but in our entire attitude towards the writing process. And one way to do that is to stop joking about making your characters suffer. Here’s why. 

First of all, let’s clarify something. 

No suffering is ever funny. 

As someone who’s suffered daily pain for the last eight years, I can testify that there is nothing amusing about it. Thank God, He has helped me preserve my humor through the pain, but the pain itself is not funny. It is something I struggle with daily and, during my lowest points, my flesh tries to challenge the kindness of God and ask, “Why is He letting me suffer?” 

Christians and non-Christians alike are bombarded with the temptation to doubt God’s goodness every day. When confronted with suffering, many people’s first reaction is to question God. We, the characters on this Earthly stage, turn in despair and confusion towards the Divine Author and ask “Why did this happen? You must not care.”

While this challenge can, and should, be answered through Scripture, Christian authors can still be stepping into the breach of this question through the power of storytelling. Believing authors should be representing the kindness of a loving Creator, showing through our writing that suffering has a purpose and that God does not delight in seeing us weep.

But, instead, we have jokes like the one above. 

Look at that person’s comment again; let it sink in for a minute. 

Now ask yourself this question: how many people view God this way because of writers

When we make jokes about making our characters suffer, we can be planting seeds of doubt in people’s hearts.

Yes, I’m mature enough to separate the truth from the joke, but not everyone else is, and we should be mindful of that because authors, in a sense, represent the Great Author. And this is not how God writes our stories. 

God doesn’t sit down in the morning and look over His cast of characters with an evil smile and say, “Who do I get to torture today?” It’s an unimaginably disrespectful and false image. 

Christ writes our stories with care, with compassion, with forethought and foresight. He doesn’t discipline us to torment us, but to refine us. Yes, sometimes God allows the consequences of a fallen world to touch us (sickness, war, and so forth) but that is part of a bigger plan—it is the incentive pushing us back to trust and submission when we wander from our devotion. 

But God never laughs over your suffering. He doesn’t elbow the angels and say, “Watch me ruin this one.” He is the Mender, not the Breaker. 

The now-accepted trope of authors being repressed killers who are creating purely for the enjoyment of imparting suffering to their characters and readers might be largely a joke, but it’s a joke in poor taste, and it has created a toxic standard as more and more authors rush to chime in.

I have a good sense of humor, but I simply don’t understand the reasoning behind this jest. Why would you create something solely for the purpose of tormenting it? Why would you create something only to destroy it? That’s what Satan does. Satan will manipulate situations and mold people to make dreams and hopes and scenarios that he can then kick apart like a pile of blocks. And then he laughs.

I truly feel that there is a devilish bent to these “torture your characters and laugh” jokes, and I think it’s fair to ask . . . 

Why are Christian writers emulating Satan, instead of Christ? 

Rather than reinforce the doubt that pervades human hearts with tasteless jokes about creators enjoying the suffering of their creation, let us write stories radiating with mercy and compassion, stories where the readers can clearly see a greater plan at work in the lives of the characters: a plan for good and not for evil.  

I fail constantly in how I represent Christ and I’m not the best writer in the world and never will be. But this one thing I can say about myself: I do not, in any way, enjoy making my characters suffer. I respect my readers and my characters too much to stoop to enjoying tormenting either of them.

Little human incidents like bumping into annoying people, missing an appointment, stubbing their toe, getting a cold—I smile or chuckle writing these, because they’re the daily little embarrassments, flubs, and miscommunications that keep us (or our characters) humble. 

But when my characters are truly suffering, I suffer too. I have cried many tears over the main character in my series and have been in pain as I crafted his character arc. I have hated his suffering, but injected it into the story with love and care, because I knew it’s necessary. Any suffering is in my books for a specific reason. As the omnipresent creator, I can see the beautiful end I have planned for my characters, and I can see what is needed to bring them to that point. 

I don’t enjoy making my character suffer: I’m trying to make them grow because I know they would suffer more if they were left exactly as they are. 

I do this to try to be an imitator of what Christ does for his children. Through my writing and my attitude, it is my hope that I might reflect even a fraction of this truth: whether you acknowledge Christ or not, He is reaching out to you, working through circumstances in your life to whisper to you, holding out His hand so that when the pain causes you to fall, you might fall in His direction and into His arms. 

By striving to be a thoughtful and empathetic author, I hope to reflect—even a little—the great care of the Divine Author. And that is why I don’t think Christian authors should make jokes about torturing our characters.