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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Interview with Jeffrey Allen Davis

Today, I am interviewing Christian author, Jeffrey Allen Davis. I first came across Jeffrey and his books when he requested a review of his Adventure Chronicles. I did not know what to expect as I had not read any young adult novels that involved martial arts. I was pleasantly surprised and now love these novels. I had no trouble deciding to interview Jeffrey about this series.

So sit back and let Jeffrey Allen Davis enlighten you about himself, and his novels, specifically, the Adventure Chronicles.

Book 1: Invasion of the Ninja.
Book 2: Klandestine Maneuvers
Book 3: Gateway to Thera
Book 4: The Quest for Yoshi
Book 5: Buster's Legacy

Invasion of the Ninja (The Adventure Chronicles Book 1)Klandestine Maneuvers: Book Two of the Adventure ChroniclesGateway to Thera: Book Three of the Adventure ChroniclesThe Quest for Yoshi: Book Four of the Adventure ChroniclesBuster's Legacy: Book Five of the Adventure Chronicles

Thanks for stopping by, Jeffrey. Now, tell us about your novels, yourself as an author and a little about you as a person.

Well, I’m married and my wife, Vickie, and I have three children, between us. I’m an ordained minister who has served in the capacity of associated pastor in a small, Independent Baptist church in Southwest Missouri. I currently live in St. Louis, MO, and am a travel agent in my day job. I absolutely LOVE ninja and martial arts movies and everything that I write mixes the martial arts with Christianity. The ADVENTURE CHRONICLES is a storyline that I’ve been planning since I was in high school though it has taken on a life of its own.

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. I used to hand draw comic books about my characters as a child and graduated to prose when I was a teenager and realized that I couldn’t draw a stick figure.

How has your faith in Christ impacted your writing?

My senior year of high school and the summer after, I wrote the first version of what would eventually become Invasion of the Ninja. I wasn’t a Christian then. I printed it off and put it in a binder and put it away, letting a couple of friends read it here and there and, quite honestly, not considering publishing it. About seven years later, my wife and I were moving into our first apartment and I found it in a box. I decided to blow the dust off of it and read it. 
And I was appalled.
The swearing in the book was terrible. The language was easily at an “R” level. But, even worse was how I treated Buster. He was a deeply flawed “Christian” who allowed Amy to sway him into premarital sex easily. He was a Christian as Hollywood saw us. Hypocritical to the extreme.
So I decided to completely rewrite the story. Since I had now been a Christian for four years, things changed. No cuss words. Most importantly, Buster was changed to be the honorable spiritual guide that he has become. He leads the heroes in prayer and offers true, biblically-sound advice to his friends. Concerning his relationship with Amy, he led her to Christ, rather than walking into sin with her.
Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

Not to begin writing. But many of them have inspired me after the fact. When it comes to good combat scenes, I would say that R.A. Salvatore inspires me. As far as genre and style, Frank Peretti.

You have martial arts in all of your stories, including the ones that are not predominantly action books. Were you expecting negative comments in some reviews about the Christian characters using martial arts to maim/kill their opponents (even in self defence)? Do you feel that someone can be a Christian and practice martial arts without it being an offense to, or in conflict with, the Gospel and conflicting with God's command to not kill another human being?

I’ve loved martial arts movies since junior high. I’ve been told that they don’t mix well with Christianity and, quite frankly, I want to prove people wrong.

I was a bit surprised at the negative comments in my reviews. I’ve seen martial arts schools that include Christianity in their curriculum. In fact, I know of a church near me that actually meets in a tae kwon do dojang. I do admit that Book One asks difficult questions about how far we should go to defend those we love. But I definitely don’t think that the martial arts are in conflict with the Gospel.

You “killed” Yoshi at the end of Gateway to Thera, but brought her back in Quest for Yoshi. How did your readers react to her death?
It was surprisingly tough. She is a fan favorite and I hadn’t realized just how much people liked her. One reader sent me an email and told me that I’d put her on an emotional roller coaster.
Aside from Yoshi, do any of your readers seem to latch on to any specific characters?

Dave seems to be a favorite. I’m probably going to take some flack for leaving him out of Buster’s Legacy completely. Mike Noddingham, who is a villain, also seems to have a fan following . . . at least as the villain they love to hate.
Which character is based on yourself? Or is there more than one?
Jamie Raleigh is my ideal self, I suppose. His background, including his home life, is virtually identical to mine. I would hope that, had I proven myself to those who ridiculed me as a child, I would have reacted to the sudden popularity as Jamie has.
Since Shawna and Jamie have ended their relationship, do you have more plans for her?
She’ll have an important role in Book Six. After that, she’ll have the primary role in Book Seven. Then, she’ll settle in as a back-up character in my Christian super hero series that will began after that.
Will we see the fulfillment of the prophecy that was given in Invasion of the Ninja (concerning the fall of the Waruiyatsu)?
Oh, yeah. That will stretch out into Book Nine. LOL.
Does this prophecy further the plot for future installments or is Book 9 the fulfillment of it only?
Actually, as I’d mentioned earlier, I’m going to be writing a super hero series later on. That character will be introduced in Book Six as a former member of the Waruiyatsu who wasn’t bloodthirsty enough for them. She becomes close to Yoshi and will play a major role in Book Nine. While the Adventure Chronicles will officially end with that book, the ripples that come from the fulfillment of the prophecy will work their way throughout her series.
Based on what you have just explained, and to whet our appetites, what can we expect in future plot lines?
LOL. Okay, here it goes:
Book Six, which is with the editor, will solve a mystery that came about in Book Two, as well as finally close a plot line that two of the characters have been metaphorically fighting from the beginning.
Book Seven will have Shawna play the lead role, as a demonically-possessed serial killer stalks the streets of a St. Louis suburb.
Book Eight will bring George back and will be an old-fashioned vampire hunt.
Book Nine will stretch the storyline out to the final week of 1999, centering mostly around the nieces and nephew of Jamie, who is now a teacher at his former high school. In this book, we’ll finally see the fulfillment of the prophecy.

In Book 3, this series took a different direction on two fronts. One, you introduced a fantasy element including a different world with interaction of the characters from Earth and Thera, magic, different human-like species and two, the spiritual elements developed a strong spiritual warfare/demonology theme. What lead to this? I must confess I was jumping for joy when you did this as I felt the Adventure Chronicles needed something to develop it further and this new direction achieved that.
My favorite genre to read has always been fantasy. From the Dragonlance Chronicles to the Prydain Chronicles, I’ve enjoyed the genre since childhood. When I was in college, I remember one of my first fans—a friend named Anna, who read the original manuscripts way before I ever considered publishing them—sat with her boyfriend, another friend, and I and we discussed the stories. The discussion randomly went to how the characters would react to being thrown into fantasy world, a la The Chronicles of Narnia. Over the years, I played around with the idea, even discussing it in a college writing class, only to be told that it wouldn’t work. Apparently, in the specific genre where Earth people go to a fantasy world, those people are universally “average” and become something special on that world. As you can see, the members of Adventure are anything but “average.”
On the other hand, I had already established a literal Christian worldview in my books (as opposed to The Chronicles of Narnia). So, understanding that the God of the Bible was the real Creator of EVERYTHING, I had to find a way for a fantasy world to fit into that worldview. So, elves became another race of human, like Yoshi is Japanese or Louis is African-American. Magic is universally condemned in the Bible, so it is only used by villains on Thera and those who fit the role of “good” mage are merely descendants of the Old Testament prophets. Had the New Testament not mentioned prophecy as a continuing gift, I would have left that part out, as well.
Finally, as the human race is fallen without Christ, I added in the part about the pilgrims from Earth to Thera trying to escape evil, only to bring it with them . . . not being able to escape the fall of their First Parents.
Would you agree with me that this change has furthered this series and you have received positive feedback from this change?
Definitely. I’ve gotten really good feedback from the book and from the fantasy world, in general. But, more than that, it has furthered my “writing universe.” Everything that I write takes place in the same universe and Thera will touch many of my characters.
Had you ever considered that your novels would be awarded any awards, even specifically for their spiritual content?
Honestly, no. I have always written for the joy of telling a story and, well after I became a Christian and decided to publish what I wrote, I realized that I couldn’t, in good conscience, fail to glorify my Savior in my writing. I love knowing that people read and enjoy my stories and, through Smashwords, can see that people from all over the world have downloaded them. But the awards (click here) were a shock to me. An amazingly awesome shock . . but a shock, nonetheless. 
How has the effect of the previous two questions affected your writing?
I will continue to use Thera in future novels. Aside from having a tie-in with the above-mentioned super hero, I am planning a trilogy that will take place after Book Three and detail the war with the inhumans that Elvara mentioned in Book Four.
As for the awards, I can’t begin to explain the joy of hearing my daughter bragging to her English teacher that her Dad is an award-winning novelist. Or hearing my wife brag on me in our Sunday School class.
Of a truth, whenever I’m just “not feeling it,” when it comes to my writing time, I just think about these things and keep writing.

What take home message do you want readers of the Adventure Chronicles to embrace?

I want those who read my books to understand that there is a God who loves them and who is watching them and guiding them, no matter what tough situations that they may go through. That they will see themselves as He does and treat themselves and their bodies as He does.

Anything else you would to say about the Adventure Chronicles?

I am having a great deal of fun writing them and I hope that those who read them enjoy them just as much.

Where can readers find you?
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorjeffreyallendavis

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JeffreyDavisChristianAuthor

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4809718.Jeffrey_Allen_Davis

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Jeffrey-A.-Davis/e/B003UTPRBU

Any closing comments?


Be sure to check out my Amazon page. You’ll find free short stories there. And I’m always looking for beta readers.
Great interview, Jeffrey! Now that you have outlined more about what to expect in the remainder of the Adventure Chronicles and introduced the spin off series, I am more than looking forward to reading these. I am sure your fans and those reading this interview are as well. Thanks for discussing your life as an author and your passion for Christian fiction and martial arts. It's been a pleasure having you as my guest.

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