Today, we have a guest post written by Ariel Paiement, a fellow Christian author and good friend of mine! Enjoy!
To start off with, let me thank Joanna for hosting me here on the blog for this guest post. I really appreciate her and her willingness to help me out, and I’m seriously very excited to kick the blog tour for On Twilight’s Wings off with her here on her blog! As promised in the blog tour schedule, I’m going to talk about themes today! If you noticed, that’s a common topic of discussion for this blog tour much as the concept of good vs. evil and truth vs. lie was a big theme for Bane of Ashkarith’s blog tour. Today’s discussion centers around choosing themes, or, more accurately, themes choosing me. Let’s get right into it.
When I was thinking about the issue of themes with On Twilight’s Wings, I had a harder time than usual figuring out what the themes were. They should’ve been extremely obvious, but they weren’t to me. Go figure, right? The author has the hardest time figuring out what the deeper message of the book is, and I wrote it. But at any rate, I did. This series is intended to be Christian fantasy (and by that, I mean the type that is not only influenced by Christianity but also included Christianity and God in the story). This intent isn’t immediately apparent in On Twilight’s Wings because, as was the case with so many things, the book was set up work necessary for the rest of the series. It was the foundation for the house or the roots for the tree. Nothing else works without it, but the direction the series is going to take isn’t, I think, one the readers may be entirely expecting. Hopefully, by the end of the blog tour, those who have followed along will have a good idea of what to expect, but newcomers may not. So, I suppose I’ll be continuing the trend of complex, twisting storylines that leave readers guessing and wondering where things will go next. Not entirely a bad thing as long as no one’s confused.
But as I was trying to figure out what the themes were for On Twilight’s Wings, I realized something about the book as well as everything else I write. All of them have themes that lead back to some Christian value or moral code, but I didn’t put them there intentionally. I rarely sit down prior to writing a book and decide, yes, this is the Christian value or moral code I want to plant in the story. I just don’t work that way. The only themes I’ve ever actively chosen were ones that made direct commentary on the society I see around me and the problems I see us heading headlong into if we keep doing what we are. But those are more societal commentary than they are Biblical themes. The Biblical themes in my story are often entirely unintentional.
They end up in the story because those values and believes are so much a part of my makeup as a person and my thinking patterns or my thoughts at the time that they bleed into the story quite unintentionally. I would say that, rather than choosing the theme, the theme chooses me. It chooses my story, and I believe that in many ways, God guides each story to the theme He wants given. I know some more ultra-conservative groups might recoil from my work in disgust because it isn’t always openly centered on talking about God, doesn’t always avoid issues they consider taboo to even bring up, and certainly doesn’t avoid magic in any and every form. That’s fine. They have a God-given conscience, and they should be using it. If my work doesn’t fit with their conscience, that’s not an issue to me. But I do believe that God has been very much a part of my growth as a writer and has brought into my work a maturity to the writing that comes in many cases from the themes presented as much as it does from the words and the story itself.
On Twilight’s Wings definitely fell into the category of the theme choosing me. So much so, in fact, that I initially couldn’t decide what the theme was. That might be because there were multiple themes in the end. The entire story is one about love, revenge, bitterness, and choices. The resounding story of each character’s life is that there is always a choice and one’s choices make them what they are. Sometimes, bad choices are made. Sometimes good. In the end, though, every individual has choices. Some are predetermined, I believe. They will do what they will do, and nothing would change it. No difference in circumstance or environment would alter that choice. But nonetheless, even if that choice was set in stone before they ever made it, they still made a choice. They still wanted to do what they did. None of us ever, of our own volition, truly makes a choice we don’t want to make, do we? On Twilight’s Wings really hones in on that and the way that our choices, especially when it comes to loving others or hating those we feel did us wrong, will either build us up or tear us down, and we will have no one left to blame in the end.
To me, this ties in very well with the remainder of the series where the characters are confronted with Highest, the deity who represents God or Christ. They have to make a lot of different choices, among which are the choices of whether to trust this new God they don’t yet know and whether to work with Him or reject Him. Their choices here, as the second book starts to reveal, are very much according to the will of Highest, but they still will make a choice that is in line with what is in their hearts. As Scripture says, out of the heart, man speaks, and as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. This plays a very important role as the characters have to choose what paths to follow. They’re given plenty of chances to follow darkness instead of light, and in some cases, characters take those chances. In other cases, they don’t. But in every decision, they move according to their thoughts and their hearts’ desires even as Highest orchestrates everything toward the final showdown between the two sides in a physical and spiritual way.
I couldn’t have planned the theme better myself. Had I tried, it would’ve felt forced and entirely too obvious. But as it is, as things turned out when the theme chose me instead of my choosing the theme, the book works and is able to both entertain and teach or warn about the costs of decisions that lead us in the wrong directions.
Having had so many cases where the theme chose me and God directed me without my even realizing it, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have no desire to wrest control of this part of the process from God because I have no doubt that I would ruin the beautiful depths that He instills into my writing through the themes He wants presented if I were to try to make it happen on my timetable and in my way. I know other Christian writers have their own stories of how God guides and directs them in their writing. Themes are my story of His guidance and direction in my work.
Ariel’s new book, On Twilight’s Wings, has been released.
Until a few months ago, Cat’s only worries were about her foster parents and whether she’ll be shipped off to another boarding school over the summer. Dealing with a painful past and a friendless existence were at the top of her priority list.
All of that is about to change.
Shortly after she finds out that she’ll be remaining home for the summer, the visions, headaches, and terrible pains start. Then a new guy shows up in her quiet neighborhood, and, suddenly, her visions are showing events surrounding him and other strange beings.
Nothing is as it seems.
In this new world, nothing is the way it was, and everything requires her to become more than a frightened foster kid trying to make it through the day. She’s determined to get answers, but the more she sees in her visions, the less certain she is that she wants those answers.
But answers are coming.
Like it or not.
She likes to spend time coming up with new ideas or in wild flights of imagination. If asked what she spends most of her time doing, she’d tell you that she spends most of it working either of her part-time jobs and writing. Life gets to be hectic, but she enjoys her part-time teaching and editing work as well as writing whenever she has a spare moment.
She is the author of several short pieces, including On The Narrow Way and Rith’s Disciple (both of which are published in Port and Key’s anthologies), In Darkness Lost, and of the Legends of Alcardia series. Her newest novel, On Twilight’s Wings, is a YA fantasy novel and the first in a YA Christian fantasy series with the second one, On Anarchy’s Wings, releasing in the beginning of 2021.