Join me in welcoming DJ Edwardson! DJ Edwardson’s favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. He likes to think that authors who use their initials are better writers but he can’t actually prove it. Although much of what he writes falls in the science fiction and fantasy genres, he likes to call his work “imaginative” fiction and often incorporates elements from multiple genres.
And now onto our interview!
1) When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
Well, I flirted with the idea for a long time. After college I kicked around the possibility in my head for a while, but nothing much happened. Then, a few years after graduation, when I was living in Latin America and I had a lot of time on my hands, this idea came to me. I wondered what the world would be like if there was no more Christianity, no more faith, at least as far as anyone knew. And so I scribbled down like 50 pages in a notebook, but it was full of fits and starts and it never really went anywhere. That was 1995.
Fast forward about 10-12 years later and I found myself in a literature club reading some amazing books and I started to think about the story I’d left out to pasture all those years ago. It turns out another member of the group had aspirations as a writer as well and so we started exchanging rough drafts. I think it wasn’t really until that point, when someone else was reading what I was writing, that I realized that this was my calling, this was what I wanted to do. And from that point on, I never really looked back.
2) Tell us a little about your books.
So I mentioned my original idea for my first book was a world without faith and as I started to explore what that world would be like. Science, or more accurately, technology, became the vehicle for making this happen. Science already does many wonderful things for us. Modern medicine, communications, the internet, all of these are wonderful things. But what if it could do more? What if it could stamp out disease and suffering? Put an end to war? Make us perpetually happy? In many ways science is really on a similar path to religion in terms of the hope it offers to people’s lives. It lacks the power in its current state to fulfill on all that it promises, but many people believe and put their trust in it to the point that they believe one day it really will create a heaven on earth.
My series, the Chronotrace Sequence, is, among other things, a warning about the possible effects of the triumph of science. In the novels that victory comes with a price because, when science can do anything, ultimately it will do everything, maybe even things we don’t want. When given all of this power, even though our intentions might be noble, we lose our humanity in the process. Perpetuating all of these technological blessings becomes the highest good and anything that threatens that good has to be removed. In that way, it’s a bit of a cautionary tale.
3) What are some of the strongest influences on your writing?
C.S. Lewis probably has had the biggest effect on my writing, with Tolkien coming in right behind. In particular a pair of essays by these men, “On Stories” by Lewis, and “On Faerie Stories” by Tolkien, really helped crystallize the way I think about stories. I’d highly recommend them to anyone who wants to write or even who just loves literature.
4) Who are your books aimed at?
I really try to write for everyone. I try to write for people who like science fiction and fantasy, but also those who don’t. I try to focus on the story and the characters and make that the main thing. They just happen to live in different worlds. Some of my favorite reviews are the ones that say, “It didn’t really feel like a science fiction story to me.”
5) In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
Well, because of my faith, there are some basics in terms of where I am willing to take my stories, obviously. One way I like to describe my standard is that writing (and all art for that matter) should emphasize the good, the true, and the beautiful. I’m not the first one to come up with that, but I think it’s a worthwhile formula.
I try to incorporate a spiritual element into what I write. Sometimes it’s very subtle. A character might simply utter a prayer in a desperate moment, for instance. At other times, it’s more pronounced. In the Chronotrace Sequence, for example, there is a spiritual being known as Numinae who represents God. He is working behind the scenes and we learn more about him as the series goes on. His presence, even in the background, allowed me to explore some spiritual themes in a much more direct way.
6) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Romans 8:38-39 has given me a lot of comfort over the years. To know that “nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ” is a tremendous source of strength. When I am struggling I can take refuge in the knowledge that because of the cross, I am and will always be seen as a child of God in my Father’s eyes.
7) Do you listen to music while you write? If so what are some examples?
Always. Sometimes I’ll take a soundtrack and put it on repeat or sometimes just a single song. I usually pick something dramatic or that fits the mood of what I’m writing. For instance I wrote a story with some oriental influences and listened to “Kung Fu Piano” a lot when I wrote it. I actually wrote a series of posts on my website about this, listing my top 5 songs to write to. Here’s the link if you’d like to find out what they are: http://www.djedwardson.com/?s=songs
8) Star Wars or Star Trek?
I have to laugh about this question because I did a series of posts on my web site on this topic as well. It’s such a perennial question for anyone remotely exposed to American pop culture. I actually love both series, but hands down Star Wars is my favorite of the two. It has more memorable characters, a richer universe, and in general is just a better story. Please don’t hate me, Trekkies! I love the crew of the Enterprise, too, just not as much as Luke and his buddies.
9) How would you like to be remembered?
First and foremost as a follower of Christ, a good husband and father, and then hopefully as a good writer as well. Part of the reason I chose to pursue writing was in hopes of being able to spend more time with my family and devote more time to serving Christ.
10) What have you learned about yourself through your writing?
It’s been a tremendous learning experience. I have discovered that I am far more driven that I had thought I was. Frankly, some days I might be too driven. Realizing how much actually goes into getting a story into print has forced me to reflect and pull back a little and realize that it’s okay if it takes my dreams a little longer to happen than what I had planned. I’ve learned to have a lot of patience and be content in all things. In that writing way it has really deepened my faith. I’ve learned to look to God and to trust in his timing.
11) What can you tell us about any future releases you have planned?
Well, speaking of timing…the third and final book for the Chronotrace Sequence, Ascent of the Nebula, will be out late spring or early summer of 2015. I just finished the first draft and I’m going through the first round of edits now. After that, I will be releasing a fantasy short story, followed up by a fantasy novel. I’ve actually had both of these stories waiting in the wings from before I published my first novel, but I wanted to finish my science fiction trilogy before shifting gears and trying my hand at fantasy. I’m really excited about those two stories, though…
Thanks so much for having me over to your site for this interview. I have so much respect for what you guys are doing over at Enclave Publishing. I’m humbled to have been allowed to share with you a little about my books. May God bless what you are doing.
Thank you, DJ, for joining us today. Here is where you can find DJ Edwardson online: