Every book has a general theme. Just ask any English, or Language Arts teacher. When my boys are doing book reports and they ask me, “Mom, what’s the theme in my book?” My answer usually is, “What did you learn from it? What did your characters learn? How did they change?”
As I write, I try to keep these same questions in mind. How are my characters going to grow? What do they need to learn? How will their experiences help the reader?
Since it’s easier for me to write with empathy if I understand what my characters have suffered, or faced, their growth often relates to something I struggle with, or have struggled with, and what I learned.
In Keeper of the Last, the second book in The Ninth Chosen series, the main theme deals with facing our fears in order to rise up to our potential.
As a person who deals with General Anxiety Disorder and depression, fear is a big part of my life, as is trying to find the best ways to face it. It is a continual process, as my characters also realize. Often as you overcome one fear, another rears its ugly head. Battling our own personal demons can feel as difficult as battling a literal terrifying monster.
But reality is far different from fantasy, and far scarier. We don’t have special powers or magic swords to fight our demons and this lack of tangible weapons to fight our fears often makes us feel controlled by them.
The trick is realizing the power we do have that is far greater than any magic, and then having the courage to call on it whenever we need it.
Tolen, one of the main characters in my books, has a big task ahead, one that requires he master his current fears in order to succeed. Blaze, a young boy who understands fear better than anyone, teaches Tolen a few interesting truths about fear that are vital to his success.
“There are three things you must remember as your fear tries to take you—this is key to your success.” Blaze looked each of them in the eye. “One—you are stronger than your fear. Two—you must accept your fear as a possibility. Three—your fears are only as real as you allow them to be...
“…the darkness within us—anger, hatred, jealousy—each of these are the byproduct of fear. Because that is true, it stands to reason that fear is a choice…
“…Before you can try to face your fears you must decide you are stronger than them…
“…We must accept the unknown with faith that we are strong enough to see the task through, move forward despite the pain, and rise when we fall…
“We are only as strong as we are weak. Turn your weakness—your fears—into power, and nothing can stop you.”
I don’t claim to be an expert in fear. I only know what I have faced myself, the truths that have helped me, and continue to help me, overcome my fears and anxieties. It is a continual process. Darkness fears light and so it is constantly trying to overcome the light within us. But the dark always flees from the light—always. Even the tiniest glimmer, the smallest flame from a match, cannot be overcome by a world of darkness. Light always wins.
When the fear appears, when the darkness pushes against the light, I try to remember three important truths:
1) You are stronger than your fear. Fear is a choice, an action or reaction, to the real problem.
2) Accept that bad things can happen. We may fail. But this is not the ruling factor. This is only a reality. How we decide to act on that reality is the real ruling factor. We cannot always control our situation, but we do control how we deal with it
3) Your fear is only as real as you allow it. Fear, bottled inside, has power. Take it out, analyze it, find the root cause and you’ll almost always find a way to fight it and win.
We all have light within us, and we are far more powerful than the darkness that fights against us. May you all find your power and prevail against your fears,
“Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day:
We are not of the night, nor of darkness.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5
The Ninth Chosen: Keeper of the Last is available for preorder on Amazon.