I am happy to post this interview with author Benita J. Prins, fellow lover of all things Tolkien and a great writer in her own right too! I read her fantasy, Sea of Crystal, Sea of Glass recently and recommend it to all. Read my review here. I look forward to reading her other, Starscape, and also any other books she will write!
Describe your guiding values in four words.
Faith, truth, goodness, and beauty.
What are your main themes or concerns?
One of the most prominent themes that I try to portray in my writing is sacrifice – sacrifice for the greater good of mankind. The characters in my books always have to make the choice to give up something dear to them. Another aspect that always makes it in is the presence of a higher power. Although each of my fantasy worlds has a different way of functioning, God is always there controlling it all.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas from other stories, my own fractious imagination, and day-to-day incidents (real life is so extremely interesting). Often I’ll be reading a book or watching a movie, especially fantasy, and some aspect of the story will take root in my mind. I’ll start wondering about various other ways the author could’ve developed it rather than the one he chose, and eventually I end up with a completely new idea. Sometimes entire books spring from that process.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations in writing?
My greatest inspiration is the Catholic Faith. That sounds trite, but the Faith is so deep that you can dig forever and never find the bottom. Just reading the Catechism brings up so many questions that I can explore beneath the surface of a story! In the end, each of my stories finds its root in the story of salvation. I think it was C.S. Lewis or someone similar who said that, ultimately, that story is the only story that really exists. Every other story is merely an extension of it.
What are you reading now?
Mainly required reading – college is insane. When I can find spare time, I’ve been picking my way through some P.G. Wodehouse novels that I finally was able to get my hands on. (Project Gutenberg is a blessing.) Wodehouse was a twentieth-century English humour novelist; his books are hilarious, largely because of his mastery of the English language. If you’ve never heard of him, you may be familiar with the Jeeves and Wooster TV show from the 1990’s, with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. If you’ve never even heard of that, I would likely to heartily recommend you search out some books by Wodehouse. The Jeeves stories are arguably his best.