Tag Archives: christian writer

Author Interview: PG Badzey

Author PG Badzey writes the Grey Riders trilogy of epic fantasy fiction. His novels are unique for their perspective on Christianity in a fantasy setting and for using science-based magic systems. I’m honored to introduce this upcoming author here on No Wasted Ink.

Author P G BadzeyI am Pete Badzey (my author name is PG Badzey) and I am an author of epic fantasy fiction. Although my background is in engineering (I have spent 29 years in the aerospace industry), I have loved books and writing since childhood. My mother and one of my brothers were both English teachers for a time and I grew up surrounded by stories, storytelling, and literature. My novels are unique in that they feature Christian characters in a fantasy environment and use a science-based magic system.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in my teens when my high school teacher told us to free-write whatever we wanted. As I was a big sci-fi fan at the time, I wrote a scene of a space battle. I enjoyed it so much that I made it my hobby. When I went off to college I even gave short stories to my siblings as Christmas presents, with them as the main characters, because I didn’t have any money. By my college years, I had moved on to Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Katherine Kurtz, so these were my primary influences in gravitating towards fantasy. Later, I read more books by a variety of authors, from Louis L’Amour to Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. Some of the works were very good, but I felt dissatisfied with others and decided that, someday, I was going to try to write my own novels and do better.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I had three short fantasy stories accepted by an online fantasy humor magazine named Dragonlaugh back in the 1990’s. When I first picked up the payment check in the mail, I felt that I had become a writer. Of course, I was technically a writer long before that, but at that time, at least, I felt I had made enough of an impression on someone else to convince them to publish me.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I have self-published an epic fantasy trilogy, the Grey Riders series, and the first book is Whitehorse Peak. It’s the story of a group of young mercenaries in a race against an evil cult to find an ancient, secret weapon near the wilderness on the border of a great kingdom. It follows their adventures, relationships, secrets and challenges as they also find out that their exploits have been foretold by a prophecy. The novel is really a coming-of-age story, similar to what recent college graduates might experience as they head out into the world, except the environment is medieval fantasy. The main characters all have to learn to work together towards a common goal even though they are different races, backgrounds, and religions. The trilogy is rare in fantasy fiction because some of the characters are Christians in a fantasy environment. It also has a science-based magic system, something that comes naturally to me since my vocational training is in science and engineering.

What inspired you to write this book?

I really wanted to offer an alternative to many works of fantasy that didn’t offer a positive approach to faith and religion and treated good and evil as if they were political parties rather than defining forces in the universe. I also saw a lot of fiction in a medieval fantasy setting that was either casually dismissive or openly hostile to Christianity, which I thought odd since Christianity was intimately involved in the real-life medieval world in both positive and negative ways.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend towards immersive realism, where I try to involve all the senses of the reader (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) as much as possible to bring the imaginary world of the Grey Riders to life. This is challenging since many of the creatures and environments (not to mention magic!) don’t exist in the real world. I have also been described as a very “visual” writer whose works read like a movie, which is accurate since I have to envision scenes and events in the novels in my head and play them out before I can write them down.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Whitehorse Peak is the name of a mountain that is key to the quest of the Grey Riders. It is part of the geography I created for my D&D game and it was inspired by names of actual places cited in many of Louis L’Amour’s Western novels.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are several messages that I think are important: the value of friendship, acceptance of others despite differences, selflessness, the courage to do what is right, and faith in God when all seems hopeless. I try to show these ideals in the characters and their choices (some of which are right and some of which are wrong) to inspire readers to strive towards these positive goals in their own lives.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

I was partly inspired to write Whitehorse Peak by the close friendships I had with the young engineers I met on my first job – we all played D&D together and I felt that our relationships had the makings of a great story. The main characters in Whitehorse Peak are based on the characters that my friends played in the game and the plot lines are based on their adventures. We are still in contact with each other many years later.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

In fantasy, the following authors are inspiring to me: JRR Tolkien (because of his lyrical style and understanding of the role of myth in history), CS Lewis (for his ability to bring religious concepts into a fantasy setting), Terry Brooks (for his creativity and sense of adventure), Katherine Kurtz (who showed how to integrate the medieval Church in fantasy), and C Dale Brittain and Christopher Stasheff (for showing how to meld magic and religion with a sense of humor and fun). These authors all grasp the heroic ideal while showing that a true hero always strives to do what is right even when sacrifice is required.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

C Dale Brittain has been a mentor to me, always answering my questions, pointing out pitfalls, offering advice when asked, and being supportive of my efforts. We still correspond occasionally and I am grateful for her kind attention and helpfulness.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Bookfuel designed the book cover for Whitehorse Peak (and indeed, for the entire trilogy). I chose them because they took the time to really get to know the story I was telling in the novel and try to integrate key symbols and concepts into the cover art. They have been extremely easy to work with and have designed three first-rate covers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writers are so often told “no” by agents and publishers without any explanation as to why our writing was not accepted that it is easy to think that we stand no chance. It is important to realize a few things – first, that the new publishing universe has resulted in an oversupply, so patience and determination are really critical virtues; second, that writing improves if it is a regular discipline and if we are willing to learn from others; third, that writing a novel is only part of the work and that marketing is more time-consuming and fourth, that writers should really enjoy what they do for its own sake, not for the goal of becoming a millionaire and being world-famous. If you reach even one reader with your message, that is a victory.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope that they like Whitehorse Peak (and its sequels, Eye of Truth and Helm of Shadows) and take the time to think about them. I am always glad to hear constructive feedback, both positive and negative, and don’t mind if people disagree with me – it would be an odd world if we all thought in lock-step. I would hope that they read all three books and stay on the lookout for more in the continuing series. I intend to be writing for many more years with great stories to tell and would like readers to journey with me.

Whitehorse Peak Book Cover.jpgPG Badzey
Huntington Beach, California, USA

Whitehorse Peak

Cover art by Bookfuel


Book Review: A Wrinkle In Time

Book Name: A Wrinkle In Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
First Published: 1962
Newbery Medal Winner: 1963
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award: 1964
Sequoyah Book Award: 1965

Madeleine L’Engle was born in New York City. Her mother was a pianist and her father a writer, a critic, and a foreign correspondent. L’Engle traveled with her family a great deal as a child. She was clumsy and quiet, making her appear to be unintelligent to her instructors. This view caused her to retreat into a world of books where she began writing stories and keeping a journal at an early age.

L’Engle studied at Smith College from 1937 to 1941. After graduating cum laude from Smith, she went out on her own and lived in an apartment in New York City. It was not much later that she met Hugh Franklin, an actor. They married in 1946 and had their first child a year later. More children would follow as the years went by, including a daughter that they adopted.

After their first daughter was born, L’Engle and her family moved out of the city into a 200 year-old farmhouse known as Crosswicks in Connecticut. Her husband gave up acting and they opened a general store to gain income. L’Engle had published several novels at this point and would continue her career as an author at Crosswicks while she had more children and took on the role of motherhood. However, during these early years, she experienced many rejections to her work. This caused her to feel the guilt that she was not pulling her weight financially for her family. In her early 40’s, she determined that she would give up writing altogether. She and her family decided to return to New York City so that her husband could resume his acting career. Before they went to the city, the family took a ten week, cross-country, camping trip. As L’Engle traveled, she studied a book on quantum physics, and the ideas for her now famous book A Winkle in Time came to her. She resumed writing. Once the novel was completed, she shopped the book to thirty publishers before Farrar, Straus and Giroux bought the novel and published it in 1962. The book was a success and returned L’Engle back to writing as a career.

When the family moved to the city, L’Engle became a teacher at a local episcopalian school for a time and a volunteer librarian at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, both located in New York City. She gradually shifted from librarian to a writer-in-residence at the Cathedral, spending her winters in New York and her summers back home at Crosswicks. L’Engle went on to write dozens of books for children and adults and became a successful author, winning many prestigious awards and spending her august years traveling to speaking engagements in addition to her writing.

In September of 2007, Madeleine L’Engle died of natural causes. She is buried in the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, New York City.

A Wrinkle In Time begins as fourteen year old Meg Murry is unable to sleep due to a thunderstorm. She finds her family along with their new neighbor, Mrs Whatsit in the kitchen. During the course of conversation, Mrs Whatsit mentions that there is such a thing as a tesseract. It is a theoretical mathematical concept that Meg’s scientist father had been working on before his mysterious disappearance.

Meg’s five year old genius brother, Charles Wallace, declares the next day that they need to go on a mission to save their father and Mrs Whatsit returns to help them, along with her two friends, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. The three turn out to be supernatural aliens who decide to transport Meg, her genius little brother and the boy next door named Calvin, through the universe by means of tesseract, a fourth-dimensional phenomenon that folds the fabric of space and time.

Their first destination is the planet Uriel, a world filled with happy centaur people. The children learn from the three aliens, former stars, that the universe is under attack from an evil force that appears as a dark cloud known as The Black Thing. The Earth is shown to be partially covered by this darkness, although our religious figures, philosophers and artists have been fighting it off, which is revealed to the children by The Happy Medium and her crystal ball.

The Children are next transported to the planet Camazotz which is dominated by The Black Thing. All the people that live there are controlled by a single entity. He is a red-eyed telepath that is able to cast a hypnotic spell over the children’s minds. This telepath claims to know the location of Meg’s father, who is trapped on Camazotz. Charles Wallace, the five year old telepathic genius, allows himself to be controlled by this man so that they can learn where their father is. As it turns out, Dr. Murry is near IT, the the disembodied brain that controls the planet.

The good doctor uses the power of the tesseract to escape with Meg and Calvin, but Charles Wallace is left behind. Meg almost dies when she travels through The Black Thing because Dr. Murry does not know how to protect her from its influence. The arrive on the nearby planet of Ixchel with Meg frozen and paralyzed. One of the creatures of Ixchel cures Meg and she nicknames her, Aunt Beast.

The Trio of original aliens return and charge Meg with rescuing Charles Wallace from IT. They each give her gifts before she leaves. Mrs Whatsit gives her love. Mrs Who quotes a passage of the bible to Meg. Mrs Which tells Meg that she has something that IT does not. When Meg returns to Camazotz and the place where IT is housed, her little brother is still under it’s control. She realizes that the power of love is what will free her brother.

When I was growing up, there were few science fiction books that featured heroines as this one did. I was a nerdy, young girl who liked math and science and I felt an instant rapport with Meg Murry, the smart, independent young woman with a gift for math and who traveled through the universe via quantum physic theories. It was like nothing that I had read before. This book is one of the reasons I grew to love science fiction.

The combination of science and Christianity was unusual for the time and it sparked many controversies over the years by both the people that feel that religion has no place with science and by Christians who felt that their faith was not being represented in the manner that they wished. To me, controversy is a sign of a great book. Most of L’Engle’s work has a Christian tone through it, similar to that of author C.S. Lewis’, a Christian writer she is compared to. It has been 50 years since A Wrinkle In Time was first published and it is still a revered favorite of children all over the world and brings a warm fuzzy to those of us who read the book years ago as children.

Disney made A Wrinkle in Time into a movie in 2003, but the author was not very happy with this version. Disney has retained the rights to the novel and is in plans to reboot it in the near future. One can hope for a better outcome this time around.

The novel was adapted as a play by John Glore in 2010. The stage adaptation debuted in Costa Mesa, California, with productions following in Bethesda, Maryland; Cincinnati, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Orlando, Florida; Portland, Oregon; and other cities.

A Wrinkle in Time Book Cover The Time Quintet:

A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
A Wind in the Door (1973)
Many Waters (1986)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)
An Acceptable Time (1989)