My series of interviewing and focusing on each of the authors involved in the Fantasy Fiction Tour '08 is coming to a close, but not without a crescendo. The hope of all the author is to encourage readers who have experienced one or two of us and our work, to get a better idea of other Christian writers that they might be interested in.
THE MILLER BROTHERS
The Miller brothers have had the distinct privilege of growing up in a CBA Bookstore. As children they learned first hand the value of faith-based stories while helping their parents operate several Christian bookstores and clubs for 30 years. As a result, Lumination delivers more than simply good stories, we bring passion to write and illustrate stories that inspire and illuminate the truth of God's Word in a fresh way.
Christopher & Allan are formally trained with a degree in Computer Animation. They have worked as animators for the popular CBA kids video series, Juniors Giants, and have recently written and illustrated the newly released book The Legend of Gid the Kid and the Black Bean Bandits, the first book in the Heroes of Promise Series (Warner Press Kids).
That's some of the background on these two authors and I had the chance to meet Alan and Chris Miller for the first time during the Northwestern leg of the Fantasy Fiction Tour '08. They are very energetic and creative types that have taken their unique talents and combined them with amazing results. They made the Motiv8 + 2 part of the tour for Canada and Seattle and while in their hometown I had the pleasure of crashing in their basement, which also works as their home studio.
Their digital animation rocks, so be sure to take a look at their website, blogs, etc. They are a big part of the Christian Arts revolution and were also responsible for designing their own cover art, interior design and website.
My friend L B. Graham had an interview with them recently and here are a few excerpts I thought you might enjoy:
LBG: You guys work together, not just on your books, but in your day job – what’s it like working so closely together at not one but two “jobs?” Did you two always work together well? (Ie, any good sibling rivalry stories lurking in your past?)
CHRIS: Allan and I have been blessed to have each other as brothers. I realize not many siblings enjoy each other as much as we do, and it is truly a gift from God that we have been best friends since we were very little. We've pretty much been a team since day one and even went to college together to pursue our passion for computer animation (back in the days before Toy Story...ehem). I find that even though we have similar skillsets (art and writing) there is a key difference between us that really makes the dynamic "work". I'm more of a big dreamer kind of guy, I see the big picture and provide direction and ideas on a broad scale. Allan is more of the details guy, he usually reigns me in so I don't go too far out in left field, and he helps fill in all of the glorious details that make the final product the best it can be.
LBG: I gathered from conversations on Tour that you two trained in computer animation. Did you ever, or do you still, have any aspirations to make pursue use of those skills in video production or film, to be the next “Big Idea?”
CHRIS: Our passion is for storytelling in all of its forms. Film is a very powerful and engaging medium to use, but the key is having good stories to tell. In terms of being the next "Big Idea" the answer is "yes" and "no". Yes - in that we love animation, and would think it is the coolest job in the world to animate one of our stories. No, because our passion is for the teen/pre-teen ages of kids. So we would focus on a different demographic than Big Idea.
LBG: For the uninitiated who might be reading this on my site, how would you introduce your Codebearers Series and the first Hunter Brown book to them?
CHRIS: Fans of Narnia and Pilgrim's Progress will love this book. It is cut from the same vein...an allegorical journey of Spiritual awakening and understanding. Hunter Brown shows us a different kind of hero. Where most stories will say that the hero "has good in them" and they must struggle to find that good to overcome evil...we take a differen approach. In many ways,Hunter is somewhat of an anti-hero. His entrance into the realm of Solandria causes more trouble than it solves.
In the beginning, Hunter thinks he's a pretty average kid, but what he doesn't realize is that he and his friends are secretly infected by an invisible horde of creatures known as the Shadow. An ancient book magically transports him to another realm, where he must search for the only one who can save him from the Shadow's infection. After arrving, Hunter is befriended by the Codebearers and trained in the ways of the Author before finally being tasked with recovering a sacred artifact known as the Bloodstone. Through it all, he must come to grips with the reality that he is not as good as he thinks he is.
LBG: As you work feverishly on Book 2 in the series, what are you free to tell us about where the series is going that will whet the appetites of folks who have already read book one and are looking forward eagerly to book two? (Like my son – so come on fellas, make me a hero and tell me something good I can pass on.)
CHRIS: Hmm...what can I say without giving away too much.
Well for starters, the title is tentatively set to be Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire. Hunter is re-written into the Veil lands, his old home in Destiny, but unfortunately, his best friend Stretch has no memory of their previous adventure, which leaves Hunter alone in his beliefs. Strange things begin to happen, and Hunter quickly realizes that even though his connection to the Shadow has been broken they are still very much alive and well. Oh yeah, and a new threat emerges as a deadly assasin is sent on a mission to destroy the Codebearers Resistance - or what's left of it.