Brandon King’s

Author Story

My childhood was quite happy, with two older brothers and a younger sister.

My father was often away due to his work (as a pastor of a church), so Mom had her hands full with the four of us until my brothers went off to a boarding school in their middle teens. I spent the majority of my time alone, with just one friend nearby. I experienced considerable isolation in my pre-teen and teen years, as a result.

Even before my teen years, I’d experienced the loss of my best friend, Kia (to Leukemia), and beloved puppy, Tippy (stolen and eventually found, but by then dying of distemper). I was 11.

Junior High school was a terrible experience for me, increasing my isolation. High School was no better. When my oldest brother introduced me to The Hobbit, Tolkien transported me into lands where things made more sense. When he told me about The Lord of the Rings, I read through the trilogy in just three days, sitting in the back of class with the books hidden just under my desk, and then late into the night at home in bed. Soon after these, my brother mentioned The Chronicles of Narnia. I read through the series with similar speed and fascination. I was so moved by the stories and characters these two authors had created, the teenage me wanted desperately to create something that would impact people—especially young people—in a similar way. I wanted to create worlds that captivated them, revealing the importance of loyalty, the virtues of courage and faith, and the transformative power of stepping out beyond your comfort.

It was during my final year of college that my Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, after suffering through almost a year of misdiagnoses. He lived for 3 years, when the average life-expectancy was just over a year. Dad died about 3 weeks after I turned 26. By this point in my life, I’d re-read LOTR annually; Tolkien’s themes of courage and hope continued to encourage me. It was during this time that the idea behind my fantasy series was born.

Eventually I finished my degree, didn’t get to use it like I’d planned (teaching in a university), but put it to the best use I could in serving as a youth pastor. I met my wife who also became a youth pastor. After 5 years of working in this role, she became pregnant—after having been told by a specialist that we would never have a child.

I read to my daughter while she was in the womb and continued into her teens. As she listened to me read after dinner, she too fell in love with Narnia, the Shire, the storylines and myriad characters. Then she read my own fantasy story, chapter by chapter, as I wrote them as a sort of safety valve. My role as a Managing Principal in the financial sector was a miserable one during the Great Recession; writing imaginary worlds into life helped keep me grounded and focused.

My fantasy series incorporates the kinds of themes I love in Lewis and Tolkien, as well as others (like Rowling): good versus evil, sacrifice, courage, faith, family dynamics (kids and parents), creatures who support or impede humans in their quest for making their world better.

So many young people (and older people) are lost, disconnected and polarized from others, finding their purpose and meaning in what and who they can be vehemently opposed to rather than leaning into what they have in common with others.

My mission as an author is to create stories that move my readers to believe (or re-believe) that, like Sam declared to Frodo on the flanks of Mount Doom,

“Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

~Brandon

 

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First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.

C. S. Lewis