Tell us about yourself!
Tell us about your books.
The Towers of Light series has been described by a number of reviewer as Little House on the Prairie meets The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s written as a Christian allegory, bringing in elements such as the Armor of God as plot devices to drive the story forward while reinforcing Christian themes.
The books are meant for a third to sixth grade reading level, but I have feedback that families love it as a read aloud. We are a homeschool family that really enjoyed reading aloud. So, I have a lot of experience with keeping a five to seven year old interested while maintaining the emotional depth and story complexity a teen will enjoy.
The series opens on the wild frontier with the mysterious disappearance of the parents of Lauren (12), Aiden (9), and Ethan (5). Because, of course, their parents have to disappear . . . it’s middle grade.
This immediately drives the children on an adventure . . . to make breakfast. Because making breakfast on the frontier is really hard without grown-ups to help. The help they expect to arrive doesn’t come, so the children go to church to get answers.
When they get there, new people are in charge, and they are given fake news about their parents’ disappearance. From there, the children must get help from the wisdom of the Good Book, their three blessed pets, and the Armor of God to embark on a journey to save their parents.
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
The books were designed as family read alouds. So, they’re meant for many different ages with different interests.
Each book gives time to the three main characters to explore their point of view on the events unfolding around them. So, younger kids like animal hijinks and appreciate Ethan’s story and that from time to time, he’s the hero.
I wrote a lot of details around how things work, because when I was in grade school, I loved stories like that. Finally, there’s a fair amount of emotional depth to balance out the action for kids who appreciate knowing how characters feel.
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
The setting is as realistic as I could make it for a fantasy story on the American frontier. The children have to do real things like milk the cow and carry water from the stream in wooden buckets. But they have inventions like windmills and tin cups.
So, it’s not your typical European castle fantasy. I also opted to use real animals common on the American frontier in the 1800s. I did a ton of research to make them as realistic as possible.
However, I did come up with some evil beasts, and because my readers kept asking, a dragon does show up in book six. However, even that is not your typical dragon. It’s made out of “The Darkness,” an evil smoke that corrupts everything it touches.
I also came up with some interesting races of beings that are unique to my story. The Bjorn Born are tiny people that live with bears in a symbiotic relationship. The bears protect the Bjorn Born, and the Bjorn Born clean the bears’ fur. There are also the Iron Priestesses and Steele Brothers, who are people literally made out of metal.
Did I mention giants? These are ten to twelve foot giants, but they do ride moose and bison, so that’s fun.
People ask me sometimes about magic. Fantastic things happen in the battle between “The Light” and “The Darkness.” There are objects blessed with The Light, like the Sword of the Spirit, that drive away The Darkness.
The evil people in the story have some rituals related to making more stuff come from The Darkness, but these generally just involve blowing a horn. So, I tried to make them evil, but not graphically so.
What inspired you to write this series?
When my kids were young, there was 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 I had the knowledge or 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 the uncertainty of being a young parent brought me to the end of myself. However, all of the travel gave me time to study the scriptures and learn from the writing of great Bible teachers.
It was during this time 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 backyard, I saw a sunrise pattern in the wood in the top of the tower.
“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 Samson 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.
I believe you and your children will love it, too.
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve been telling fantastic stories since I could talk. In second grade, my teacher entered the first official short story I wrote in a local newspaper contest, and I was published. So, I’ve had a bug for writing since I was a kid.
However, I didn’t really pursue that route from an education perspective, so it took my kids to reignite my passion for writing.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write every day. It doesn’t matter if today’s writing wasn’t particularly inspired. Just write.
What formats are your books available in?
- Homeschool Unit Studies with each book
Find them here. Use the code amandat (affiliate code) for 10% off your purchase!
What’s next for the Towers of Light series?
My new books generally come out in November, with audio versions and homeschool unit studies trailing a bit. This series should be complete in 2023 with about 24 weeks of curriculum in total. The next book in the Towers of Light Series will be book six, Demolishing the Stronghold.
If you’re in the market for middle grade books, I’d love to share my series with you!
Power Pup is a Christian superhero adventure series for readers ages 9-13.
Calvin Quinn is a long way from the corn fields of Nebraska.
The rookie canine reporter dreams of bringing criminals to justice with his front page headlines, while working alongside famous investigative journalist team Mittens Meow and Alex Digger.
But Calvin has a secret:
He’s also a rookie superhero!
After months of training, Calvin Quinn is ready to hit the streets and defend the innocent as . . . Power Pup!