I will never forget the first time that I posted a chapter of Miserere on OWW and had a rather aggressive reviewer take the chapter apart. The reviewer took exception to two forms of symbolism that I used: the raven and the cauldron.
The reviewer stated she was sick and tired (for we are never sick without being tired) of seeing ravens presented in a negative light. She then went on to expound on the symbolism of ravens from a neo-pagan viewpoint and implied that if I wasn't such an ignorant Christian, I would understand this.
I also had a line about Rachael shoving her emotions into the dark cauldron of her heart, and that seemed to send the reviewer into another spasm of verbiage about my misunderstanding of the uses of a cauldron.
Of course, I didn't get offended, because I knew the reviewer had no way of knowing that I was once Wiccan and studied the religion during my youth. She also didn't know about my Taoist tendencies nor did she know that I'm not orthodox. I could have easily gotten offended and ranted back at her about how I knew all that but [blah, blah, blah].
I would like to share this:
Lucian came to me in a dream. I dreamed of a tall man with dark hair. He walked with a cane and he was a powerful sorcerer. He stood on a street and spoke to a young man, who was obviously from the late 20th or early 21st century. The boy's name was Peter, and I thought I would write a YA novel about a boy who slipped through time.
The idea settled with me while I took a writing class, but no matter how I tried, I could not make the story work from Peter's POV. My writing instructor told me to write scenes from each of my main characters' POVs and see which one worked the best. It was Lucian so Miserere shifted from a YA to an adult novel.
I've always been interested in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and other early Jewish works. Like I said, I spent my youth on Wiccan and Eastern religions, but as I got older, I wanted to better understand Middle Eastern and Western religions.
Just after the writing class, I was able to take a college course on the Old Testament. We studied the Bible as literature, and I had the best instructor, who really got us to discuss Jewish history, philosophy, and beliefs. During one class, our instructor talked about the Veil that shielded the Ark of the Covenant. As an aside, our instructor told us that Christians believed that when Jesus ascended from the cross, the Veil that shielded the Ark came down.
My corrupt imagination seized on the imagery of a veil that shielded God's glory from man, and thus was born my Crimson Veil that shields Earth from Woerld. Then I started really thinking about Woerld. I didn't want to create an ersatz religion based on a mish-mash of concepts. I wanted a mirror, a reflection of earth and its many religions; and thus was born Woerld and its bastions.
However, (and this is the point that I am slowly dithering toward) I want to be very, very clear so that everyone is on the same page with me and there are NO misunderstandings nor raised expectations and at the extreme risk of offending someone (which is getting harder and harder not to do nowadays),
Miserere is NOT Christian fiction.
I certainly don't want to discourage people (Christian or otherwise) from reading Miserere, but there is a distinct difference between the genres of Christian fiction and fantasy. Christian fiction espouses a specific worldview and the story encompasses that worldview.
I'm not giving you a Christian worldview here. I have written a fantasy that uses Christianity the same way other fantasies use Celtic and Wiccan themes as a religious basis for their characters. That's all.
Think of The Exorcist. It uses Christian themes, is heavily Catholic, but is not considered Christian fiction by any stretch of the imagination.
Miserere is a fantasy, and I believe that people who enjoy reading about other worlds and magic and swords and demons will really enjoy Lucian's story. If you just give him a chance.
With all that said, I have a plan, and I'm working with the good people at Night Shade to give you a taste of Miserere. Then you can decide for yourself.
So stay tuned ... sometime over the next couple of months there will be more to come ...