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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Author Interview - William D. Burt

Anne: Today our interview is with William D. (Bill) Burt, a prolific writer of young adult fantasy fiction from Salem, Oregon, who also is an interpreter for the deaf.
There's one question I ask all the authors visiting with us here: What inspired your story?
Bill: That's a very good question.
After cutting my teeth on Tolkien's works, I later discovered The Chronicles of Narnia while working at Oregon College of Education (now WOU). God then laid on my heart a desire to create a work of fantasy combining Tolkien's cosmological depth with Lewis's allegorical richness. Whether I have succeeded in that ambition I will leave for others to decide; suffice it to say a number of my readers have compared my series favorably to Narnia. (The King of the Trees plots and symbolism are unique to me, of course.) Ultimately, the Holy Bible remains the inspiration for all my titles—past, present and future. Each one begins with a Bible verse that encapsulates the main message of that particular title, and each book recapitulates Christ's redemptive sacrifice and victorious resurrection for humankind. In The King of the Trees especially, I also draw heavily upon my childhood experiences.
Anne: Who exactly does “The King of the Trees" represent in this book?
Bill: The King of the Trees is God, essentially. In my series, He goes by the name of “Gaelathane” and first appears to Rolin in the guise of an old man in white robes. He possesses all of God’s attributes, including independent self-existence and pre-existence, omniscience, creativity, immortality, holiness, righteousness, mercy, and love.
Anne: What would you say is the central metaphor of the series?
Bill: The series revolves around what I call the “Torsil-principle.” In the books, Torsils are trees that transport climbers into other worlds. In my books, a towering tree known as the “Torsil of torsils” leads not only to all Gaelathane’s worlds, but also to His home, a deathless paradise called Gaelessa, symbolic of Heaven. Since this Tree of trees is the only torsil to Gaelessa, it represents Christ, Who is the only way to Heaven. As Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” Moreover, the Tree gives its life for the salvation of all torsil worlds. It’s important for readers to remember, however, that I’m not trying to remake Christ in the image of a tree, any more than C.S. Lewis was attempting to recreate Him as a lion.
Anne: How do your faith and spiritual life play into your storytelling?
Bill: I would not be writing if it not for God's intervention in my life. He literally saved me from dying of anorexia nervosa when I was in college and tasked me with writing for Him. The King of the Trees series is actually an extended, Biblically based allegory. I feel it is extremely important to provide young people in particular (as well as adults) with Christian alternatives to the secular fantasy works in circulation now.
Anne: Thanks for your input today, Bill. I want you to know I enjoyed your first book, and I think others will, too. Readers, if you will visit my blog for yesterday with the book review of King of the Trees, you will find links to his books and where to buy them. There's also a link to Bill's website if you click on his name at the top of this page.
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