Blog Days of Summer Interview with Brandon Barr
By KM Wilsher, Blog Days of Summer,
August 2, 2010
KM: Hello Brandon and thank you
for coming by! So, first of all, what books have most influenced your
BB: Books that influenced my life are certainly different than books that
have influenced my writing. Besides the Bible (which my entire life rests
upon) here are some books that have had a exhorting effect on my life: God
Smuggler by Brother Andrew, In God's Underground by Richard Wurmbrand,
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Cross
and The Switchblade by David Wilkerson.
KM: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
BB: Above all, I'd have to say C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury, their fiction
has influenced the way I write profoundly. But I also must add Bruce
McAllister (who has worked face to face with me) and Lars Walker.
KM: What book are you reading now?
BB: Knowing God by J.I. Packer. And I'm currently leafing through my horde
of unread books to find a good fiction to read.
KM: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
BB: There are some authors who are new to me, though they've been around
for a while. The most incredible one being Lars Walker. I now own
everything he's ever written. I read The Year of the Warrior and it blew
me away. He's a master storyteller, and really an undiscovered gem. Every
Christian who enjoys fantasy or historical fiction needs to read that
KM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
BB: I like the word "entity". It reminds me of the Michael Crichton novel,
Sphere. Well, I can name a few supporters outside family. In the beginning
it was the Online Writing Workshop (http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/).
The OWW is a critique group that gave me incredible feedback early on in
my writing efforts. I learned so much, and I can't say enough good things
about that forum. Where else can you have your manuscript critiqued by top
authors? Also a huge support was a local Critique group in my hometown
headed by Bruce McAllister. And lastly, I certainly feel that the blogging
community has been a big encouragement for me. Friends like you, KM, help
to keep me going.
KM: Wow! I agree with you, the blogosphere has been a great encouragement
to me also - including those like you and Mike! So what inspired American
BB: This is a two part answer. First, American Midnight sprang from my own
experiences as a teenager growing up in our morally confused culture. As
young Christians, we grow up surrounded by poison ideals fed to us through
TV, movies, Internet, and every other media source. Morals are just your
own personal tastes, and fame, popularity, image, money, and ones own
immediate satisfaction are the goals of the world around us. In typical
polar-opposite fashion, Jesus said to first love God, and then to love
others as your own self. In American Midnight, our main character, Tania,
is immersed in this self-absorbed culture, she's given up on God because
she feels He's left her. Even still, she feels the emptiness of life
Second, the novel explores the growing polarization between Christians who
believe in absolute truth and unmovable standards set by God, and a world
who wants nothing to do with "old fashioned systems of belief". And if
you've read the novel, the story plays this out to its extreme ends. The
Jewish people had their world turned upside down in Nazi Germany, one day,
that could play out again in new ways, and with new sophistication.
KM: What was the hardest part of writing American Midnight?
BB: It takes a lot of effort to create real, fleshed out characters who
come alive. We went through dozens of drafts, refining dialogue and some
of the more deep character POV moments.
KM: Do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your readers?
BB: I hope we don't take for granted our own freedoms we currently have.
Our world, our country, and our culture are changing quickly. Honestly I
see a future where many young Christians are swallowed up by the world's
view of life and reject their Christian faith (and they reject it for good
reason, because they were set up to have shallow faith to begin with). I
fear too often parents are teaching their children to have only an
emotional, feelings based faith. Christians are more and more abandoning
the intellectual side of Christianity. I see Christians scared of science,
scared of philosophy, abandoning reason, and simply having faith in faith
instead of having faith in Jesus who is Truth, who created science, and
who the chief end of philosophy leads to. Jesus claimed to be the way, the
TRUTH, and the life.
KM: What is up next for Mike Lynch and Brandon Barr?
BB: There's an archaeological adventure story on the horizon. We're hoping
it will be out sometime next year!
KM: And we are all hoping to see that next year! Thanks for your beautiful
answers! I am a big fan of you and Mike.
Stay tuned. Wednesday I will post my interview with Mike Lynch!