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Interview with author F. Ted Atchley


Today, I want to introduce our guest author, F. Ted Atchley. Ted, can you tell us what genre(s) you primarily write? Science Fiction and Fantasy.


I love it! What type of books do your write?


I write novels, novellas, short stories, and also flash fiction.

I love the variety there. When did you start writing?


That’s an interesting question.


The first answer would be the age of five, when I wrote my very first story. It was about a boy who had a robot who could turn into whatever the boy needed to solve the story problem. Not the greatest thing for tension, but it was fun to write, and I was five. I continue writing through high school, and even some in college, but then I gave it up to pursue a “real job”.

You could say I started writing in 2010 when I started writing fan fiction about an online game I was playing. I eventually entered a short story contest the developer hosted. I didn’t win the contest—didn’t even get out of the slush round—but the process rekindled a love of storytelling and writing. However, I only dabbled in writing. It was a hobby, and not even my main one.


You could say I started writing in 2017. I enrolled in a novel writing course taught by a 21-time NYT best-selling author. What I learned in that course, and the connections I made with fellow authors, transformed my writing. But while I was taking it more seriously, it still was little more than a velleity.


The writing journey truly began for me on a men’s retreat in 2019. On the last day of the retreat, we all found a place in the woods to talk to God. I wanted to know if this author dream was a path God wanted me to pursue, or if I should spend my time and energy on something else. I told Him I wanted Him to say yes, that I should pursue this writing dream, but I would follow whatever direction He gave.


In that moment, God brought some old song lyrics back to my mind. They say, “Your desire is the confirmation the destination is there.” That was enough of a yes for me to make writing a priority like it had never been before. Three years later, at the Realm Makers’ writer’s conference, James L. Rubart was teaching a class and said something that stopped me in my tracks.


“Desire reveals design. Design reveals destiny.”


Said another way, your desire is the confirmation the destination is there. That confirmed to me I was on the right track.


That's deep, and something many could stand to consider.


How many books have you written to date?


I have started several, but I've finished three manuscripts.


Nice. How many have you published?


I have published one novel, one short story, and had a flash fiction story published in Havoc Magazine.


Can you recall what first inspired you to write?


When I started on this journey, I had a dream, perfectly expressed by Flynn Rider in the criminally underrated movie, Tangled.


I have dreams like you, no, really

Just much less touchy feely

They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny

On an island that I own

Tanned and rested and alone

Surrounded by enormous piles of money


Fame never interested me, but money, oh yeah. I dreamed of quitting my job and having the time to write plus spend time with my kids.


But reality soon came crashing down, and I learned that life was mostly a Hollywood fabrication. I needed a better reason to pursue this, even if it never became my full-time gig.


It would take me years, but I found that reason. Author and speaker, Allen Arnold, stated my new dream, just as perfectly as Flynn had stated my first dream.


“to bring into the open things hidden from the time of Eden... through your gifting, with the Creator.” - Allen Arnold


That is so incredibly relatable.


Do you consider your work to be Noblebright?


While I wasn't aware of the term until after I had written my novel, I do consider my work to be Noblebright.


Why?


Story has the power, to borrow a line from Tolkien, to take us "there and back again." Story can take us into the dark, into despair. Grimdark leaves us there. Noblebright brings us back again. To the light. To hope. I feel like that is what my stories do. Together, we go into the dark, but, in the end we come back to the light. Back to hope.


That's a perfect analogy for Noblebright! Is your faith prominent in your writing? If so, why?


Faith is such an important part of my life, it would nearly impossible for me to write an authentic story that didn't have faith elements in it. I try to take the same approach that I feel C.S. Lewis took. The first priority is an amazing story that takes the reader on an emotional journey. But there will always be a deeper meaning for those who "have ears to hear." Well said! So what are some of the most prominent influences (literature, art, entertainment, etc.) in your writing?


Star Wars, The Matrix, World of Warcraft, and my Christian faith.


How do you incorporate those influences into your work without be derivative?


All of us are influenced by what we consume. You are what you eat (consume) is true with our writing just as much as it is with our biology. I endeavor to take those influences, and make something new. I stand on the shoulders of giants. Whether or not I'm derivative is for the reader to decide.


Fair enough. So, what are some of the major themes that readers will find in your work?


I write for people who are just like me. They struggle with feeling like they are hopeless, worthless, or useless. They believe they will never measure up and never be enough. My characters battle these same issues.


But I found something. A truth. The Truth. And understanding my relationship to that Truth lead to me to finding love, acceptance, worth, value, meaning, and purpose.


Through my stories, I seek to point my readers to this same Truth, and I tear down every barrier and smash every warped philosophy that stands in the way.


That's powerful! What book of yours should we be reading today?


The Key to Reality.


Using just five words, give us a taste of what we can expect in that book.


Fast-paced, intriguing, unique, sci-fi, portal.


And where can we find The Key to Reality?


Anywhere books are sold - https://books2read.com/keytoreality


Ted, what is the best way for us to follow you and your work?


You check out my linktree at http://linktr.ee/tedat, but the best way would be to visit my website and signup for my email newsletter.


Thank you for joining us today, Ted! Any parting thoughts?


Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog. I'd like to offer all your readers a free short story prequel to The Key to Reality.

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