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Monday, May 12, 2014

GUEST POST by Sharon Bayliss - Wizards and Religion and Magic - Oh MY!

I'm thrilled to host Sharon Bayliss, author of DESTRUCTION, on my blog today. I gave DESTRUCTION five stars (see review here) because I found it to be such an original, intriguing take on magic and wizards in the world. Particularly magic and religion, which is often ignored or sidestepped in books about magic. In real life, people who believe in magic *often* also believe in some kind of religion - they're not mutually exclusive. 
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In my recent release, Destruction, realism was critical. I wanted to show wizards as they would be in the real world. So, a family of wizards living in Houston, Texas in present day are going to have some obvious questions like, "Am I going to get an owl from Hogwarts?" and since the family was raised Christian, they're going to have some more serious questions too like, "Do wizards get into Heaven?"

Here is an excerpt from the book:

While glaring at his sister, he tugged a chain out from under his shirt and pulled it over his head. A heavy silver object clattered onto the counter. A Christian cross.

David didn’t know if this meant Xavier was secretly a wizard or secretly a Christian, or which one of those things seemed more unbelievable.

“Are you a Christian?” David asked him.

“No,” Xavier said neutrally. He grabbed the cross again, put it back around his neck, then tucked it into his shirt.

“Thank you for showing me,” David said to Xavier, who ignored him.

“Our mom gave it to him to use as his object. It’s more powerful as an object than my stone, but I wanted something of my own to build from scratch. The cross comes with built-in magic. Millions of people across the world and across time have used it as their talisman. People sing to it. Speak to it. Put it over the bodies of their dead. It all adds up. But you still have to make it your own, put your own magic in it, or it’s still just an object.” She swished a piece of waffle around her plate with her fork. “You have these in your house,” she said, still looking at her plate.

“Yes,” he said. “We’re Christian.” He didn’t know if she expected any more explanation.

“I thought you might understand then, if you saw his,” she added.

“I do,” he said, even though he wasn’t entirely sure.


Another excerpt:

“I thought you were a Christian,” Emmy said to Amanda. “Have you been pretending all these years? Why even take us to church?”

“What you are is different from what you believe. We can believe whatever we choose to.”

“Do you believe in God?”

“Yes.”

“Do you believe in the Devil?”

“Yes.”

“Can wizards get into Heaven?”

“They have the same chance as everyone else.”

“But you don’t know for sure.”

“Emmy, no one knows for sure. Not about any of this.”

“We know what’s in the Bible. And there are no wizards in it.”

“Are you sure?”

Emmy knitted her brows together. “No,” she said firmly.


And another (I blacked out a spoiler):

“Who were you talking to? Grandma?”

“Actually, it was Lydia Armstrong, you know, from church. She’s the one who always wears those gaudy pins on her blouse.”

“Why were you talking to her in the middle of the night?”

“She’s in my prayer circle.”

“You mean, they’re praying… for us? For this situation?”

Mom smiled a little. “They don’t know all the details. Just that Emmy is missing. As nice as it is to think I can cast a spell and protect my family on my own… I feel safer knowing I’ve consulted an expert.”

“You mean God?”

“Yes, I mean God.”

---
Amanda, the mother in the book, was taught by her parents that miracles that don't come from God are from the Devil. She believes that the only way to be a good and godly person and a wizard, is to deny her magic. So, even as it becomes apparent that denying magic won't be possible, or a good idea, she struggles against it. There seems to be no place in the world for a Christian wizard, but as the story progresses Amanda tries her best to fit that role and stay true to her faith and to her true self, as you see a little bit in the last excerpt.

I'm very proud that I have fans from all varieties of religious and spiritual beliefs, including Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, pagans, agnostics, and atheists. I don't intend for the story to have any specific religious message, but understanding oneself in relation to God (or a lack thereof) is an important theme, and one that I think most people can identify with.

Here is more about Destruction:



Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.
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David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.


Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)





The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

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