Today, on the blog, I’d like to introduce you to Annie Douglass Lima! I’ve hosted part of her blog tour in the past, and I’d like to just have her talk personally now, so you can meet the amazing and sweet author behind an incredibly original series!
Hello, Annie! What first inspired you to write about slavery and martial arts?
Annie: I’ve had the idea for the Krillonian Chronicles growing in my mind for the last few years. It started as just a picture of the setting and its culture (with legalized slavery), and the plot and individual characters emerged little by little. The martial art of cavvara shil didn’t enter my imagination until just before I started drafting The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Me: I’ve read both now, and they’re such a fun look at a totally different earth! Speaking of earth, how many different places have you lived, and what is your favorite?
Annie: I’ve traveled to 21 different countries and lived in four of them (Kenya, the United States, Indonesia, and Taiwan). There are things I love about all of them, but Kenya, in particular, will always have a special place in my heart, since that’s where I grew up. Right now, though, I’d have to pick Taiwan. My husband and I have lived here for the last ten years, and it’s definitely home.
Me: Wow, that’s so fascinating! What are you currently doing in Taiwan?
Annie: I teach 5th grade in a missionary school called Morrison Academy. It’s a great school in a great location, and I love my job and my students! Oh, and in my free time, I write.
Me: A teacher after my own heart. ❤ So which character in the Krillonian Chronicles is your favorite?
Annie: All my characters are special to me in different ways (every author has to say that, right?). One that was especially fun to write, though, is not actually even a real character. Steene is constantly arguing with his conscience over the morality (or lack thereof) of owning a slave. He imagines his conscience’s exact words as it responds to him, complete with body language. I enjoyed giving his conscience a little personality of its own. For example, after one particularly lame argument on Steene’s part, “his conscience rolled its eyes and refused to dignify that with a response.”
Me: Hahaha. I love Steene. I’m convinced he’s a male ESFJ, which is super unique in fiction! 😀
Annie: Some of my characters seemed to take matters into their own hands and decide they wanted a different role than the one I had planned for them. For example, City Watch officer (the equivalent of a police officer) Kalgan Shigo ended up playing a much bigger part in the first book than I had anticipated. While still a minor character, he is a more important one than he was originally supposed to be, and he plays a different – and much needed – role in Bensin’s life. I loved watching him take charge and step into the position he wanted!
Me: I’ve got a character, the goofy, sweet, ditzy stepmother in the book I’m writing right now! 😀
Annie: However, my favorite character in this series is definitely Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist. The struggles he is forced to go through make him stronger, and I admire him for his perseverance and determination to meet his goals no matter what. He is willing to sacrifice himself for those he cares about, and while his choices aren’t always the wisest, he is committed to doing what he feels is right. Society is against him, since he’s a slave and has few rights, but that doesn’t stop him.
Me: Bensin’s a loyal, protector ISTJ. 😀 So, as I’m busy Myers-Briggs typing your characters for our audience… what’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your books?
Annie: Hmm, good question. I’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of a lot of encouraging comments, but some of the best have come from my students. I always read at least one of my books to my class every year, and there’s usually someone in each class who will tell me I’m their favorite author or that was the best book they’ve ever read. Another form of (unspoken) compliment is when I catch a student sneakily reading one of my books behind their desk when they should be working on an assignment. (As you can imagine, that puts me in a difficult position, as the teacher and the author sides of me wrestle with how to respond!)
Me: Haha! I love that! So how do you think we, as Christians, can safely get more involved to help with modern slavery?
Annie: Prayer is always a powerful weapon. I suggest taking a look at a little devotional book called 30 Days of Prayer to End Sex Slavery by Alana Terry and Precarious Yates. It contains a lot of information to build awareness as well as suggestions for how to pray about this worldwide crisis.
Me: Ooooo, I love books with ways to pray in new ways!
Annie: I contacted Alana Terry, a friend of mine, and asked if she had any additional suggestions for how Christians can help. She has researched and written both fiction and nonfiction on the topic of modern slavery, so I knew she would have ideas. Alana suggests, “look at your budget and decide if any of the goods you regularly consume can be replaced for fair-trade products. Coffee, chocolate, and tea are some of the goods that are most notoriously created from slave labor.” Even if you can’t afford to buy everything fair trade all the time, how about choosing at least one thing to change? For example, maybe you could decide to only buy fair-trade coffee for a year, and encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
Me: Something so few of us think about. 😦
(Readers, be aware that Alana Terry’s books are very adult in nature and not being officially recommended on this webpage. Read all of these topics at your own risk! ❤ )
Thank you so much, Annie! I love your heart as a teacher, author, and advocate for others!