As you know I promised to interview more Christian authors on my blog and here is the next one! A very different kind of fairytale by E. Kaiser Writes.
Hi Elizabeth – thanks for joining me today. I have been looking with great interest at your new series – Thaw.
E.K. I am very happy to be here and I am very excited about this new series.
Well I have to say first of all that I am not usually a great fan of fiction – not even Christian fiction – but I must say I am very interested in your new series because of the strong Christian messages which run throughout. You seem to have woven these into your stories in a very skilful way.
E.K. Thank you. That is what I have tried to do because there are many fairytale messages out there which can be very misleading. For example, I feel like Disney has dominated the fairytale area with the message of “Do whatever you feel like”, but that is a detrimental message. Often we feel like doing very unkind things, if not sometimes downright bad. The Lord’s perspective isn’t “follow your heart”, it is “guard your heart”.
I couldn’t agree more. In fact, Proverbs 4.23 says that doesn’t it! ‘Above all else, guard you heart….’ So could you tell me, and my readers, just what are the key Christian themes in the ‘Thaw’ series?
E.K. We are all born with flaws and strengths, and those are often linked together. The Lord makes us the way we are for a purpose, and it is our job to figure out that purpose and how to make our flaws not overpower our strengths. The balancing act of finding that harmony can only be started when we stop making excuses for ourselves, or viewing ourselves as “victims of fate”… We must step up to the plate and say, “This is how He made me; and I am going to work hard to become the very best version of that.”
So many times fairytales depict their main characters to be basically at the mercy of events, whereas I believe we are never at their mercy. Life happens to us without our consent, but we always have the ability to choose how we react to it.
This is key, I think, and something the Winter Angel eventually points out to Ilise: she says “do not think others have no burdens because they are not like you. Theirs are unique to them, and may be harder for them to bear then yours are for you.”
That is great and again based squarely on Scripture. Proverbs again! ‘Each heart knows its own bitterness’ Proverbs 14.10.
E.K. Yes absolutely. Another major current, is personality differences react in different ways, but they all need the same lesson. To put ourselves aside and concentrate on what is the right thing to do. The characters in these books are distinctly aware that their lives are watched by the Great King, but the two main girls allow themselves to get very much off track as they grow up, and then they have to struggle past that toward a better understanding of maturity.
I contend that we can’t be emotionally or mentally mature without a corresponding degree of spiritual maturity, and it’s really only spiritual strength that can give us what it takes to overcome our inner problems. Often that is grown in times of stress, and so if we’re looking in the right direction during our time of trouble we can emerge better & bigger for it. And in that way He has set it up so that even our greatest trials can become enormous gifts in retrospect.
The Thaw books are by no means allegorical or doctrinally-charged… but they are written from a deep perspective of hope in the Eternal, and so everything in them is laced with that; instead of the sometimes rather “dark art-y” view a lot of modern day fantasy has developed into.
In this way, I hope young and old alike can enjoy a fantasy world underpinned with wholesome morals, and maybe some of them can be encouraged to keep fighting the good fight within themselves as well.
That sounds excellent to me. So what made you focus on these particular books and themes?
E.K. These three were the first to come. They grew out of a scenario that came and got stuck in my head. But the basis is that we are always masters of our fate if we will only give the worrying and fear over to the true Master, and focus on what we can change instead of what we can’t.
As I have said, I feel like Disney has dominated the fairytale area with the message of “Do whatever you feel like”, but that is a detrimental message. Often we feel like doing very unkind things, if not sometimes downright bad. The Lord’s perspective isn’t “follow your heart”, it is “guard your heart”.
In the end we all feel bad impulses, but it is our actions that determine who we really are. By separating what we do from the way we feel at that moment, we can win out over our worser impulses, and become better, stronger people.
Characters all throughout this series find themselves in various fairytale situations, but instead of being hopeless, (which our girls in the first 2 Thaw books are unwisely tempted to do,) our characters learn that by sticking it out, and refusing to give up, triumph can be achieved. That good will win over evil every time. Even when it seems impossible.
Because, that’s what fairy-tales, (when properly told,) can do best!
What a great lesson for us all. To keep on and refuse to give up, even when the path is difficult. Now having read a little about your books I am particularly interested in your theme of ‘ice maidens in real life’, so give us the back story on how Ilise’s problems actually exist in our world too, and possibly in us.
E.K. Okay! Yes! As I said above, part of maturity of every kind is separating actions from feelings. Different personalities process life differently, but while some just keep reacting to everything they feel, others of us try to keep from reacting by quitting feeling.
I know this somewhat from personal experience, I was the kind of middle child that clammed up. The worse things got the further I retreated inside, telling myself that things couldn’t hurt me if I could just stop feeling them.
Ah yes! Personal experience means you write straight from the heart!
E.K. I hope so! I believe we show our greatest power when on a peak of emotion, and as kids that’s often when we behave the very worst.
Ilise is a special gift a la the Snow Maiden; when her barren parents build a baby out of snow, their many years of prayers are answered and they are given the child they have so long yearned for. But with her special origins comes the ability to freeze, (opposite the Snow Maiden tales, in which the poor child always melted away) Her parents have no idea how to deal with that; and soon all three of them are freaked out about her future and what her strange-ness could possibly end up in. Thinking that she can use her strength to shut down her emotions, she goes about doing so; but emotions are not the problem. They are with us always.
Not being able to disconnect feeling from acting is the problem; and this is a lesson that Ilise takes a while to learn.
I wish someone would have told me about this as a child, it could have saved me a lot of anguish in my youth; where I struggled with black depression that I felt guilty for even feeling. For although we can choose to refuse joy, sorrow is not negotiable. It took me many years and some very highly educational books before I realized that we needed to always welcome joy in all its forms; for it was the raft to help us through the sad parts of life.
Becoming an “ice maiden”, a “cool cucumber”, or whatever other name there is for it, is an easy choice. It feels like you’re really getting somewhere… that you are truly protecting yourself from the sharp stings of everything around you. But it doesn’t. And it can lock you away in a place where you aren’t sure how to escape, and then all you have is the sorrowful parts of the world to keep you company… all of your days.
Those of us who have slipped down this path need to take heart, because we can reverse this process. We can “learn how to melt”… and for the most part, the damage we might have done in our pursuit of this goal is generally minor. Most of it is done to ourselves… and if we can stop gnawing on the past, assess the future realistically, but with hope, and then step out with determination, we can break the icy chains and open up to the happy side of life.
In some seasons there may not be much happiness around, but if we can just take each moment mindfully, there are little things in every path. We just have to be more open to noticing them and taking them into our hearts.
Gratitude is a huge part of this, as well; and there are a ton of “happiness experts” that extoll the virtues of simply being grateful. This is true, and can help a lot.
But most importantly we have to take that first step; quit keeping our hearts on ice, and quit “freezing” the people who are close to us, because it only makes ourselves chillier than before.
Well that sounds a really great message to me and I can’t wait to read some more of your books. I will put the links below for others to click on and find them and in the meantime thanks so much for joining me.
E.K. A real pleasure. Thanks for inviting me and enjoy the books.