Featured Author - Michael Chrobak
Who Are the Guardians of Zion?
I get that question from readers a lot. Where did they come from? Are they based on anyone I know? Why are they chosen for this quest instead of a group of angels? So, for this featured blog post, I thought I’d dive into the creation of the Guardians of Zion series and give you a little peek behind the creative curtain.
When I first started writing this series, I had only one character in mind, which was Theresa, the Endlessly Dying Girl. She was born one Tuesday afternoon as I was going through photos from a retreat I had helped with that previous weekend. One of my jobs on the retreat was to be the photographer, and I took thousands of shots. Shots during game time, shots during small group time, shots during meals, during free time, during large group. I thought I had captured every person on the retreat.
But that Tuesday afternoon, as I was looking through the group photos we took on the final day, searching for the one shot where no one had their eyes closed or a strange look on their face, I saw a young woman I hadn’t seen before. I paused, staring at her face. How could I have missed her? I started going back through the photos again looking to find any other photo that she was in. There were none. It was like she had just shown up for that final group photo, like she had been invisible until just then.
I had a long conversation with the Youth Minister of that church about this phenomenon. She said it wasn’t the first time she had experienced something like that, even though she was the one who ran the retreats! There always seemed to be one or two teens who always seemed to melt into the background. That was when The Endlessly Dying Girl was born.
From there, I had to decide why she would have the power of invisibility, and how I could tie that into the Christian faith. I decided to tie her ‘power’ to the way I view charity. To me, for true charity to exist, it must be as invisible as possible. If the person donating gets anything in return, even just recognition for being a ‘good guy’, then it’s not charity, it’s a transaction. Now I had my link. Her power of invisibility would come from charity, which is one of the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
As I began writing Theresa’s story, I started with her being on a retreat and going to reconciliation, though she really didn’t know why she was going. The character of the priest I had created for her to talk to didn’t really fit. I needed someone younger, and someone who had some of the same doubts that Theresa was having, someone who could become her mentor over time. That’s when I decided to make the character a Brother instead of a Priest, and thus Brother Thomas was born.
Next, to really get a good understanding of where the story was going, I had to understand who Brother Thomas was, and so I wrote his backstory. Although at first his backstory was just to help me as the author, eventually I expanded it enough to become the first half of the book. It was then that I knew what my books were going to be about.
For me, writing a book is a lot like any other form of art. I have an idea of what it is that I want to create, but it’s not until I start typing that I truly understand what I am being led to write. Yeah, writing is a lot like faith. There is a tremendous amount of trust involved, and a definite relationship develops with the characters I create. Not like where I talk to them out loud, at least not in public, but one where I really understand why they are a part of the story.
If you’d like to learn more about my books, pop on over to my website at http://michaelchrobakauthor.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter.
Also – don’t forget you have a chance to win one of my books (along with the other authors as well), so click this link and get signed up!
We’ll see you soon!