Interview by Brock Eastman
Featuring the Light of the Last
To Fight What Others Can’t You Must See What Others Don’t
After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.
Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.
It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.
Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America...and his own soul.
Brock: What was your inspiration for writing the Wars of the Realm series?
Chuck: I’ve always felt that if we could actually see the spiritual realm for just a few minutes, it would change the way we live our lives forever. This motivated me to create a semi-futuristic story that would follow the life of a young man who could see the raging battles between angels and demons.
Brock: Tell us about the main characters. Who are they? What makes them unique?
Chuck: Drew Carter is a young man with amazing potential, but is road-blocked by tragedy at every turn. An atheist with a good Samaritan heart, Drew has no idea that he will play a key role in fulfilling the End Times prophecy of the very book he considers mythology…the Bible. After a tragic accident leaves him blind, he slowly regains his sight and sees “invaders” that are influencing the affairs of men. Sydney Carlyle is the pursued and unwilling young Christian girl that gets caught up in Drew’s bizarre world of “alien invaders”. Her pure heart draws Drew to her even though she want’s nothing to do with him. And then there is Drew’s quirky genius friend, Benjamin Berg. Without Ben, the story wouldn’t happen. His intellect and savvy tech knowledge launch the three of them on a wild adventure that culminates in a global climax. But another key character throughout all three books is the angel warrior Validus. He is the last and least of God’s angels. We watch him rise in position and authority throughout six millennia until he becomes the North American Continental commander of the warrior class. Then he is “demoted” and reassigned to protect one single man…Drew Carter. Little does he realize it will be the most intense and challenging assignment of all ages.
Brock: Give us one fact about each main character that no one else knows.
Chuck: Drew Carter’s favorite movies are King Arthur, The Bourne Identity, and Pride and Prejudice, although he would never admit it.
Sydney Carlyle is taking Tae Kwon Do classes without telling Drew.
Benjamin Berg loves the Minions although he would never admit it.
Validus marvels when he watches children play, wondering what it would have been like to be so small and so vulnerable.
Brock: In three words, what is this book about?
Chuck: Intense spiritual warfare
Brock: Do you outline the entire book before starting, or do you write as you go and let the characters take control of the story?
Chuck: I outline and create the primary scenes in my mind before I begin writing. Initially I am very plot driven. Then as the characters develop they literally take over the story, often giving new direction to the plot. In the end, the characters own the tale.
Brock: How do you believe this story relates to the lives of readers?
Chuck: Spiritual warfare is all around us all the time. My hope is that this story will open our eyes and inspire us to live like that warfare is real, as Jesus said it was. In the Air Force, fighter pilots have a saying, “Lose sight, lose fight.” That means that if a pilot is in a dogfight and he loses sight of the enemy, it is only a matter of seconds before he is dead. Often times as Christians we bee-bop through life ignorant and blind to the raging spiritual battle around us. I believe that if we lose sight of the enemy of God, we will lose the fight. This is evident in broken marriages, faltering churches, and young people leaving their faith in droves. I hope these books put a bullseye back on the enemy so we can stand victorious in Christ once again.
Brock: What is your favorite genre to write for?
Chuck: This is tough. My previous books didn’t really fit into any genre. They are historical allegorical fiction. I love writing allegories like those first twelve books, but the Wars of the Realm books in the suspense/thriller genre were extremely enjoyable too. I am also considering science fiction for my next books so I guess the answer is that I don’t know yet!
Brock: What is the biblical background or basis for the series?
Chuck: Modern day pre-tribulation.
Brock: How many books are planned for the Wars of the Realm series?
Brock: Any certain research required for the book, or is it all from your imagination?
Chuck: Light of the Last required quite a bit of research. I love detail and want my stories to be as accurate as possible. I did extensive research on Sobibor death camp in Poland, the CIA, Chicago, Camp David, and viruses.
Brock: How do you strike the right balance in your book?
Chuck: I can’t help it but I am a romantic at heart. All of my books have a measure of romance. I think romance is at the heart of everyone, including God. Why else would He liken the Church to being His bride? My wife however doesn’t like romance at all so she lets me know when I cross the line. She balances me. I also love action and details. I guess I’ve never thought about balance too much. It just happens because I’m a rather odd mix of it all.
Brock: What do your readers think about your latest series?
Chuck: I have had more enthusiasm from my readers for the Wars of the Realm books than any of my previous books. I have a bad habit of writing some major cliff hangers into my books. The response is pretty intense. I guess you could say they love to hate me and can’t wait for book number three.
Brock: How does it feel to have your work published?
Chuck: Light of the Last will be my fifteenth book published, and I can honestly say that I am as excited about this book as I was for my first one. God is so good!
Brock: Why did you choose to focus on a male protagonist?
Chuck: I needed a male protagonist because my message and purpose aligns with Scripture as a result. Saying any more than this would be a major spoiler.
Brock: If your book changed as you wrote it, how is it different than how you originally planned?
Chuck: The scope of the story exploded on me until I was struggling to contain it within the agreed upon length. This was unexpected but necessary to bring closure to the plot and characters.
Brock: Were any scenes or characters cut from the book? Can you give an example?
Chuck: There were a couple of short scenes that were cut to keep the length of the book within limits. One was a scene between Drew Carter and the eye examiner at the CIA medical evaluation facility. The examiner refused to believe that Drew’s eyes were healthy. One of the angels intervened to keep the doctor from discovering the truth about Drew.
Brock: Is it difficult to be accurate to a biblical perspective or biblical facts when writing fantasy fiction?
Chuck: In regard to spiritual warfare, the Bible allows a lot of interpretation and speculation. I tried very hard to let the scriptures be my boundaries that I would not violate and then allowed speculation to take me the rest of the way.
Brock: How do you hope parents will use this book with their kids?
Chuck: My books are YA. I hope that parents will use this book to open their kids eyes to the reality of spiritual warfare and prepare them for the roaring lion that awaits them.
Brock: Where do you like to write?
Chuck: In my mind. I love creating all the scenes and dialog lying in bed or driving on a long trip. When I sit at a computer I usually am just dictating from the story I’ve already written. That can happen anywhere, but usually it is sitting in my recliner near the fire place.
Brock: Are you a full-time or part-time author/writer?
Chuck: I am part time moving to full time.
Brock: How long does it usually take you to write a single book?
Chuck: Six months of consistent writing, four to five hours a day.
Brock: What do you hope readers take away from the series?
Chuck: I hope readers are inspired to jump on the adventure God has waiting for them. I hope they can fully believe that we are in a war but that we are not to be afraid for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!
Brock: Expound on the spiritual themes in the series.
Chuck: The major theme is spiritual warfare. Other themes are repentance, love, loss, faithfulness, reverence, freedom, salvation, and evangelism.
Brock: What is your "how I got published" story?
Chuck: I wrote my first book, Kingdom’s Edge, for my children in hopes of inspiring them to truly understand the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ and to open their eyes to spiritual warfare. After my wife read the story she encouraged me to publish the book so other families could enjoy and use the story with their children. I decided to self-publish this book and the next three. After five years of seeing God expand the reach of the series to families across the country I was exhausted and ready to turn it over to a publisher…if they wanted it. I asked a friend to make some calls and within a day I was talking to an editor from Multnomah Books. After a forty-five minute phone call, it was obvious that God was orchestrating events because Multnomah immediately caught the vision and offered a four book contract within the next few weeks. It was an intense and unusual journey to getting published especially since I didn’t really set out to be an author. Although I often refer to myself as an “accidental author”, I am grateful to the Lord for allowing me to minister to families and young people through my books.
Brock: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
Chuck: Once I could see that the first book I had written was having a spiritual impact on the readers. I would much rather write than speak.
Brock: What are some of the strongest influences on your writing?
Chuck: The Bible is number one, then my heart for family, marriage, and youth. Music also has a big influence on my writing.
Brock: What’s your view on e-books and the new publishing revolution?
Chuck: As an engineer and business owner, I learned quickly that only those businesses that embraced new technology survived. We must adapt and embrace the tech that is going to get life-changing stories into the hands of the next generation.
Brock: What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
Chuck: John Christopher’s the Tripod Trilogy
Brock: In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
Chuck: My faith drives everything. It gives me motivation to know that I am doing something purposeful and eternal. Without faith, I wouldn’t write. So many of the popular dystopian series today appear to be so hopeless. It is my faith that drives me to inspire people to live victoriously for a great and good God.
Brock: Coke or Pepsi?
Brock: Soft shell or hard shell tacos?
Chuck: Soft shell for sure.
Brock: Favorite season?
Brock: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Chuck: Hebrews 4:12 and 1Peter 2:9. These are my two theme verses for my series.
Brock: Favorite pasta dish?
Chuck: Mostaccioli with Italian sausage
Brock: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what are some examples?
Chuck: Yes! I have a Pandora station that plays adventure movie themes like Batman, Transformers, Avengers, and the Bourne Identity. It is very inspirational, but then later when I read my manuscript without the music it isn’t nearly as epic. I’ve hired my daughter to compose music for our audio dramas we’ve produced for each of the books and that helps. Of course the English voice actors with their cool accents don’t hurt either.
Brock: If your life was a book, what would the title be?
Chuck: An Ordinary Guy With and Extraordinary God
Brock: What do you enjoy most about writing?
Chuck: I love talking to young people about the Lord and books that inspire them to live great lives for His kingdom. I get to talk to thousands of families and young people from coast to coast and am so blessed to be able to share my enthusiasm for God in a way that they will take to heart.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my heart with you and your readers!
Author Website: www.WarsOfTheRealm.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChuckBlack.Author
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuckblack1