We are so excited to launch our first ever children’s novel at Spring Harvest 2018!
Written by the Spring Harvest’s Creative Coordinator, Luke Aylen, the story follows Jonah and Summer as they pass through a mirror into a magical kingdom and go on a quest to find the banished king. We managed to get an exclusive interview with Luke and asked him a few questions about writing The Mirror and The Mountain and how it links with the Only the Brave theme for 2018.
Why did you write the book?
At Spring Harvest, we have realised that story is often one of the best ways to unpack things for all ages. Just look at Jesus: he used stories all the time! I have the privilege of putting together programmes like Big Start and so when we chose James as the book we wanted to look at across the event, I had to start pondering how we could communicate it through Big Start. James is a wonderful book, filled with nuggets of wisdom and lessons that apply for every age, but there’s not really a story. I started to bounce ideas around with the brilliant Bob Hartman and we wondered whether it would work to create our own storyline with the lessons of James woven in. As I started to think about some ideas and a plot took shape, it just seemed like something that would work brilliantly as a book. I’m still slightly surprised everyone has agreed!
Where did you get your inspiration from?
When I read, I love magical worlds and fantasy kingdoms. They take us out of our own reality and allow us to be more open to thinking differently. I have a huge amount of respect for the giants of fantasy like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and their influence on the book is quite clear. Since it’s written for the whole family and we wanted 8-12s to be able to read it on their own, C.S. Lewis’s style and approach in particular has been hugely inspirational.
What was the best part about writing a children’s book?
I love having free reign to imagine and dream things up without any limits. Writing a book gives you huge creative freedom as you can use words to build up any sort of reality you like. Children approach books differently to adults. Rather than dipping in to the story, children dive in head first. They live and breathe the world that is created and their imagination lifts it off the page and makes it so much more. I remember reading and rereading my favourite books over and over again. It’s humbling and exciting to think of how entering into the world of The Mirror and the Mountain will impact some of the young readers. But I’ve also been so excited to think about how this book will serve not just children, but the whole family. Even if children read solo, my hope is it will start conversations at the dinner table or that parents will read alongside and engage in the same lessons and story. There are even some questions or ideas in the book of how to link the story more directly to James or discuss some of the Bible’s wisdom that is woven into the story.
How is the book allegorical?
At the event we are unpacking the book of James through 5 daily themes, Face It, Live It, Tame It, Lose It, Finish It. The Mirror and the Mountain follows these same themes with the story addressing each of these five big topics and the wisdom of James. Through difficulties and situations in the story, the characters learn along with the reader how to ensure that we are living out our beliefs. There’s also something of a Christ metanarrative that frames the whole story as the main characters see the impact of a world that denies its true king and experience something of the big story of God’s love for his creation and the extent he goes to in order to restore it.
What do you think is the most important message of the book?
Just like the book of James, I think there are lots of important messages but I believe that something will resonate with every reader, regardless of age. For me, the biggest message is one of perseverance. The book does not shy away from the difficulty of pressing on, the cost of doing the right thing and the bravery it takes to be a disciple.
The book will be released on 23rd March, so you will be able to get a copy before the 2018 event. You can pre-order your copy of the book here.
To find out more about the book and for the latest updates take a look at Luke’s page on Facebook.
Big Start at Spring Harvest this year will focus on the same fantasy theme found in the book. You can find out more about the theme by watching our theme announcement video.