Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fantasy Books of Interest to Writers, Guest Post by Janalyn Voigt

Fantasy Books of Interest to Writers

DawnSinger: A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?


WayFarer: When an untried youth ascends to the high throne of Faeraven, his mistakes tear kingdoms apart and allow just one chance at redemption. He must humble himself before the man he banished.


Be sure and participate in Janalyn Voigt's Rafflecopter giveaway of a $20 Starbucks card. The winner will be announced on her website Saturday, February 15th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I asked Janalyn a question that I was curious about. Her writing is beautiful. If you read her books, you will see what I mean. Her words are like art in motion, creating a storybook world full of adventurous beauty. Here is my question and her answer:


LORILYN:  What authors would you recommend a writer wanting to write fantasy read?

JANALYN:  I knew I’d face this question one day and have to admit the truth. Apart from discovering the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as an adult and having Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz read to me as a child, I haven’t been exposed to many fantasy authors. I think this worked in my favor since people who read my fantasy stories tend to describe them as different and my voice as original. The fantasy authors I’ve read probably influenced my novels in subconscious ways, but if I’d read more fantasy I might have had to work hard to avoid overused prototypes within the genre.

When you allow other authors to influence your writing, there is a danger of being seen as a writer of derivative works. It is one thing to be compared favorably to Tolkien and quite another to be said to copy his writings. Readers of the epic fantasy genre do expect certain elements, but for a writer to stand out originality is important. That might seem a contradiction in terms, and striking a balance can be quite a dance, but to become established as a fantasy writer on your own merits it must be done.

Having said all that, there is value in reading good books of all kinds. Several fantasy authors are in my to-be-read pile. 

Eric Wilson, one of the endorsers of my debut novel, DawnSinger, has a Jerusalem Undead series I’ve wanted to pick up for a while now. I’m not really into vampire stories, but I attended a reading of one of his novels and found it quite good and glorifying of God’s power.

Tosca Lee’s Demon became an instant classic. It would be interesting to discover why. 

I enjoyed reading one of Donita K. Paul’s Dragonkeeper stories and would consider reading more of them. 

Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue by Chuck Black is an important book about the dangers of addiction. I’d like to read more by this author.

Someone once tried to insult me as a writer by complaining that my writing was like Stephen Lawhead’s. I took it as a compliment and now want to read his books, especially his Pendragon Cycle.

I’d like to find out why Ted Dekker is so popular. 

Jill Williamson’s Blood of Kings trilogy has a place on my shelves. I plan to read it this year.

Someone who read both my DawnSinger and Morgan Busse’s Daughter of Light emailed to tell me he found the stories remarkably alike. That piqued my interest, so I’ll be catching the books in her Follower of the Word series. 

After reading Michael Duncan’s Shadows, I was so impressed that I now have to read Revelation, the next in his Book of Aleth series. I’m a little prejudiced since Michael is a friend, but I predict great things for this gifted storyteller. 

I’ve heard good things about Bryan Sanderson’s Mistborn series. 

Frank Peretti, who started the whole speculative trend in the CBA, is releasing a new book, Illusion. 

James L. Rubart writes intriguing supernatural fiction novels, and I want to catch up on reading them. Rooms is his first novel. 

After David Burrows and I met online and discovered our mutual love of epic fantasy, we exchanged books. I’m looking forward to reading his The Prophecy of the Kings series. 

Michelle Griep has a medieval time travel novel out entitled Gallimore and a Viking time travel novel entitled Undercurrent. Both sound wonderful. 

Not but not least, Lorilyn Roberts has a beautiful young adult story entitled Seventh Dimension: The Door that I’ve been meaning to catch.

I’m looking forward to discovering more great fantasy authors in the future.

Care to share your own favorites?

LORILYN:  I am laughing because we share similar favorites. I love C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The first author that turned me on to Christian fantasy was Frank Peretti. Then I fell in love Randy Alcorn's fiction books. I suppose it was Randy who made me want to write fiction as I saw him weaving Christian themes into contemporary issues, like Down's Syndrome and abortion. I don't know why, but until then I thought that would be taboo - that no one would put controversial subjects like that in a Christian book. But his books have opened my eyes to possibilities yet unexplored in Christian writing.   
I grew up reading science fiction and mystery, like Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, and only in recent years have I given myself permission to indulge my childhood passion for fantasy once again. I suppose I spent too many years reading court transcripts as a court reporter. I keep telling myself all those years I took depositions (which I didn't enjoy) will show up in a book down the road. Who knows what kind of fantasy I might turn those stories into.
I also want to read novels by Ted Dekker and Michael Duncan - books by both are on my Kindle, as well as Malo Bel. New authors I have read in the last year that I enjoyed are Emma Right, Kevin Mark Smith, Michael J. Webb, and Martin Roth. Their books are in the Christian suspense/thriller category as well as fantasy.
I have never worried about copying the styles of other authors. But one person who read Seventh Dimension - The Door compared my writing to Australian fantasy author Isobelle Carmody, so I hope to read one of her books soon.
It's been great, Janalyn, having you visit the John 3:16 blog. I hope our readers will check out your books, which I highly recommend, with the links below. 





Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Tales of Faeraven, her epic fantasy series beginning with DawnSinger, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams.
Janalyn is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA.
When she's not writing, Janalyn loves to discover worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

Author Site for Janalyn Voigt: (author journals, travel journals, guest journals, and book news)
Site for Writers: Live Write Breathe (teaching articles plus free How to Edit PDF)


  1. Great post & loved learning more about your writing, Janis! Makes me want to read your books even tho I'm not so much into reading that genre. Still, a different writer w/her own style . . . interesting!

  2. I enjoyed this glimpse into youre books and also your TBR pile

  3. It's fun to read about authors and their voice. Sounds like a great read. I'll mention it to people into your genre.

  4. Thanks for hosting me at this site, Lorilyn.

    Caroline, thanks for the compliment. I've been told that my books read like medieval historicals, if that's of interest.

    Tracy, This was just a portion of my TBR pile. Your Wind Over Marshdale definitely has a place in it as well.

    Robin, word of mouth is so important to writers. Thank you.