Journey to Allen Brokken’s Towers of Light Series

K.A.:
Allen Brokken is on the blog today, talking about his upcoming release, Light of Mine! It’s the first book in his Towers of Light Series, a Christian fantasy series aimed at middle-grade readers.

It’s good to have you here, Allen! Before we launch into all the behind-the-scene fun, tell us about your series.

Allen:
The Towers of Light series insightfully examines childlike faith from the perspective of three small children, facing insurmountable problems… and succeeding, by faith and grace alone. It introduces Lauren (12), Aiden (9), and Ethan (5) who bear the responsibility of keeping their Father’s newly constructed Tower of Light shining in his absence. This become more imperative when Father goes missing, and Mother goes to find him. The children are left to fend for themselves as trusted family friends begin to disappear and strangers take control of their rural enclave. The children must use their wits and the wisdom of scripture to shine their light to defeat the evil threatening to extinguish the tower of light.

K.A.:
Facing a situation like that would be daunting enough for an adult, but three kids? Wow. What an adventure! Where did the idea for this series come from?

Allen:
When my kids were young there was really nothing better than getting out of my car at the end of a long day at work and having my three little kiddos run up to me and give hugs because Daddy’s Home!  As a Father of three young children I was very concerned about the direction society was taking.  I wasn’t sure that with how things were going that I had the knowledge or the skill to train them up in the way they should go, as the Bible directs.

Then in 2008 I took a new job that had me traveling four days a week.  It was one of the hardest times of my life, the stress of a high pressure job, the loneliness of being on the road, and uncertainty of being a young parent really brought me to the end of myself.  However, all of the travel gave me a lot of time to study the scriptures and learn from the writing of great bible teachers. 

It was during this time that I began to write stories for my children.  At first I brought my children’s stuffed animals to life for silly adventures.  But then one day while we were putting together a play fort in our back yard I saw a sunrise pattern in the wood in the top of the tower.  I thought:

“What if there was a Tower of Light shining God’s goodness over the children and their animals?”
“What if the children experienced the indwelling of the holy spirit in a real way like Sampson or David?”
“What if the full armor of God was physical armor they could use to defeat the darkness?”  
As I shared my story with my children, they loved it. 

K.A.:
How special for them—to have their father connecting with them through stories while traveling. And including their stuffed animals too.

Tell us about the research that went into writing this story.

Allen:
For me novel writing and book publication were the research topics. The setting is really based on old prairie mid-west architecture, dress and customs. I was surrounded by all of that growing up. Although I did visit Historic Williamsburg Virginia, Silver Dollar City and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Missouri and the Old Threshers Reunion in Iowa to get specific on things related to horses, and 18th and 19th century technology for later books.

K.A.:
What’s the most interesting discovery you made?

Allen:
That writing a novel isn’t like writing software. I’ve been in Information Technology for almost 25 years. My whole professional career has been about getting stuff out that’s “good enough” and reworking to better in the next iteration. Apparently books don’t work like that. I figured that since I originally published an eBook I could just iterate on it until it was good enough. That’s not really how it works. In the end I do have three major editions of what has become Light of Mine, but the 3rd is the last. I got an amazing editor, S.D. Grimm, and creative team Loriann Weldon of Magpie Designs, Gen Gavel, Teddi Deppner, J.J. Johnson and my son Ethan Brokken helping with the end-to-end marketing, promotion, cover design and all that. But it took three years to get here.

K.A.:
Very true. I’m a huge fan of Easter eggs. Any hidden references, details, or tidbits readers should keep an eye out for?

Allen:
So if you are paying attention there are a number of non-English words in the book.  There’s a code to them.  If you break the code it gives away who is on the dark one’s side very early in the story.

K.A.:
Cool! I’ll be on the look out for the code. Is there anything you can tell us about your plans for the series?

Allen:
Book two, “Still Small Voice” is at the 50% content edit point and should be ready for release in June of 2020. One of the characters from Light of Mine, the Acolyte of the Dandelion Order has a big role to play in “Still Small Voice”. I’m going to put on a contest to name that character in December.

Along with that God, willing I’m going to be doing NanoWrimo for the to be named third book in the series. So if you decide to get invested in Light of Mine the series will be coming quickly. Since I’m a bit of a discovery writer I’m not sure if Book 3 is the end of if it’s going to 4 or 5 books just yet. I’ll know more at the end of November.

K.A.:
Light of Mine, the first book in The Towers of Light Series, releases November 3rd and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

And to celebrate the release…

Every Friday in November, Allen will be doing a #FollowFriday post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. He’ll select one random follower from each and send them Limited Edition 3d printed Lego Compatible weapons so you can make your own “Lego Me” like the kids in the book!

K.A.:
Allen, thanks for giving us a backstage tour of your Tower of Light Series. Looking forward to reading it!

About Allen Brokken

Allen Brokken is a pastor at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. Follow his endeavors @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and http://www.brokken.net. Your children can grow their own faith and love of God by following the adventures of Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan (plus their pets!) at instagram.com/towersoflight.

 

 

*** View past features here. ***


Interview with Laurie Lucking, Author of Common

Friend and fellow ACFW sister Laurie Lucking has graciously stopped by for an interview today, as part of her blog tour. Her debut young adult novel, Common, releases tomorrow – just in time for Valentine’s day! More about Laurie and the details of her upcoming release party (with tons of great prizes) are provided at the end. Be sure to check it out!

First, let’s introduce the story of Common.

Common-cover_smallOnly one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it— the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Purchase a copy of Common here.

Without further ado, please welcome Laurie Lucking!!!

I’m really glad you’re here, Laurie. Much of the writing journey requires hard work,  patience, and persistence. So tell me about the moment you first found out Common would be published: where were you, what was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate?

I was in the kitchen, glancing at my open laptop as my sons finished lunch. The computer was super old, and I could only see the initial line of the e-mail at first—I was so tense / excited while I waited for it to open! Then there was definitely some screaming and jumping up and down, plus SO MANY tears. After I read the e-mail a few more times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I called my husband. The poor guy had to cut me off after a few minutes of rambling because he couldn’t understand me well enough to know whether my crying was from being happy or sad :) I had a chance to go out with some friends that evening, which was perfect timing! I couldn’t accept the offer right away because I had some submissions out to other publishers as well, but I had a feeling Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing would be a perfect fit, and that has been confirmed ever since we signed the contract!

Moments like that are such a treasure. I’m so happy for you.

On the road to publication, was there ever a moment you felt utterly discouraged? What quote or scripture inspired you to keep you going?

Ha, more moments than I can count! This writing journey is such a roller-coaster ride. One day you figure out a new angle to your story or get great feedback from a critique partner, and you adore writing and know this is what you’re meant to be doing. Other days, you realize you have to cut the chapter you just wrote or someone else wins the award you were hoping for, and you wonder why you bother and whether it’s worth all this hard work. At least that’s how it goes for me :)

I find music really inspiring, and the lyrics of “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle get me every time when I’m feeling discouraged:

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You

It’s such a powerful reminder that everyone experiences hurdles and setbacks in their lives, but God is so much bigger than all our problems and we need to trust Him with our dreams and aspirations.

Amen! Such a powerful song.

Tell us about Common. Is there a theme or message you hope resonates with readers?

Common is the story of a shy, hard-working servant girl, Leah, who happened to find the same closet hideout as the prince as a little girl and still maintains a secret friendship with him. At first, her biggest problems are teasing from stable hands and trying not to develop feelings for Prince Raphael since they could never be together. But her life gets much more complicated when she discovers a plot against the royal family and has to try to save the day!

The primary theme that I hope readers take away from Common is that no matter how “common” someone seems, we are each unique and capable of doing extraordinary things. There’s also a message that God is always with us and has a plan for us, even during the hardest parts of our journey.

Beautiful message.

Do you have a favorite line or scene in the book? If so, what is it and why?

That’s a tough one! I think my favorite scene is when Rafe finds Leah crying in their closet and comforts her. We get to see a very sweet side of Rafe in that scene, and it’s one of those timeless interactions almost anyone can relate to. Plus, in friendship-turns-into-romance stories, I love those crucial turning points where the friends start to view each other in a different light, and the crying scene is definitely one of those moments for Leah and Rafe!

I love that their friends first. Friendship is an important aspect of any romantic relationship.

If Common became a movie, who would you want to see cast as Leah, Gretchen, Prince Raphael, and Princess Penelope? Where would be the ideal filming location?

Annalise Basso has a great look for Leah, with that red hair and a certain air of sweetness. Logan Lerman has an earnestness about him that would work well for Prince Raphael. Georgia Simmons seems to be a lot of fun and has great freckles, so she’d be my pick for Gretchen. And Maia Mitchell has the gorgeous dark hair, dark eyes combination I picture for Princess Penelope.

As for location…Dunrobin Castle in Scotland would be a stunning place to film the scenes in Imperia! Glonsel Palace in Trellich is supposed to look more imposing, so I picture that as something like Castelo de Guimaraes in Portugal. In between the two, we’d need some time in the mountains, but there are plenty of areas in Europe that would work for that! I would, of course, need to go along to all of these locations to supervise :)

Great choices! I can already imagine Common on the big screen. Thanks so much for being here today, Laurie.

Thank you so much for inviting me to stop by and share about Common!!

About the Author

Laurie-Lucking-HeadshotAn avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Connect with Laurie on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Goodreads, or Pinterest.

Celebrate with Laurie!

Don’t forget to join us Thursday, February 15th at 8pm for Common’s Facebook release party! Author Laurie Lucking, along with her co-hosts, Laura A. Grace, Jebraun Clifford, and Michele Israel Harper, will be chatting about all things Common and giving away lots and lots of prizes. RSVP here!

You can view the blog tour schedule for Common here.

In case you missed it, you can pick up a copy of Common here.


Clockwork and Spaceships Interview

On October 13th, Clockwork and Spaceships graciously hosted my very first interview, discussing the release of “The Warehouse Tour” and the story behind it.  As a fledgling author, I cherish the opportunity and wanted to share it with all of you.

The full interview is available on Clockwork and Spaceships. Please take a moment to check it out, let me know what you think.

Thank you all for your support. It means so much to me.