Hi, I was wondering, in your books you have a lot of mentions of gods, and spirits and I was just wondering what your opinion on religion is?
Excellent question, excellent question. And oh sure the microphone works for you. So I'm religious, I'm Mormon. Yes, I am. And I've grown up religious, I'm a religious person and I'm fascinated by religion in all its different aspects. One of the things I love about being a writer is the ability that you have to jump into the heads of various different people who are very different from yourself and explore. Like that character coming alive thing, it's really a fun aspect. I feel that, since I am a fascinated by religion, my passion-- and if you are writers you will know this yourself-- whatever you are passionate about translates usually to good fiction, as long as you are willing to approach it from all directions. Where fiction goes wrong is when you allow your perspective to color everything too much and you end up with a story where everybody thinks the same. However if you can allow something you are really interested in to have five or six different characters on different sides of an argument. Because there aren't two sides, there are as many sides as there are people in the world on these sorts of issues. You can show a lot of those different sides and show the way they kind of-- the rough edges bump into one another, then what you are going to be doing is you are going to start exploring what it means to be human and what it means to have faith, or whatever it is you are fascinated by. I find that this is where I find your fiction can get really good.
I love reading fiction, I love science fiction and fantasy I think sometimes-- I do love the escapist aspect of it, getting out of the world and going someplace imaginative, but I think sometimes because we have this escapism-- which is a lot of fun and there are a lot of fun aspects to this-- we miss out on the importance of what fiction does. I think fiction allows you to see through the eyes of someone very different from yourself and experience their life and their role. And when you get done with fiction-- A good piece of fiction I feel it's harder to hate the people because you've lived in someone else's shoes for a while. Maybe that's a very lofty opinion that I have of what my job is where really it is telling stories about magic and knights hitting each other with swords. But that's the soul of what I think is very noble about fiction and I think it was very Tolkien. You get done reading Tolkien and you're like "I can see how these different races in this world, the hobbits and the kings, and dwarves and the elves and I can see how they all view the world differently." I think that does something for us, something wonderful.
One of my favorite books of all time is Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly this is the book that got me into reading. I was a 14-year-old boy, who was not a reader and my teacher handed me this book. This book should not have worked, this book is about a middle-aged woman who is trying to choose between her career and her family, that's basically what the book is because she's been told she could be the greatest magic-user ever by her teacher if she would just focus but she the reason she can't focus because she's got these two crazy little boys who distract her and a husband and things like this. And I read this book and its about the last living dragonslayer who has to go and kill a dragon, except he goes and does it with crossbows ballista instead of a noble ride up with a sword because who does that its stupid. It's great, its from her perspective. I get done with this and I'm like "this was amazing. I loved this book, why did I love it so much?" At the same time my mother had graduated first in her class in accounting in a year where she was the only woman in the accounting program and had been offered a really prestigious scholarship to go along with her education, instead she had me. She felt it was important to stay home with me while I was young. She took care of me and as a teenage boy knowing this I was like "Of course she did, I'm awesome of course that's the right thing to do". And I was reading this book about dragons and I understand my mother better. That's what we can do with this, and I'm kind of going off in weird directions. That's what I love about fiction, that's what I love about science fiction and fantasy.