Last week I introduced you to one of my new favorite authors in my book review of Kingdom Above the Cloud. This week I have the honor of interviewing the author Maggie Platt whose writing creates a space in which readers can explore their Christian faith.
In addition to being a talented author, Platt is the Director of Residence Life at Anderson University, a private Christian liberal arts university in Indiana. When she isn’t working or writing, Platt enjoys sports, gardening, reading, traveling, and spending time with her nieces and nephew. Read our full interview below to better get to know Platt and her writing!
Q) How long have you been writing?
A) I’ve been writing since I was a little girl, and my first clear memory is from junior high. I would lie on my stomach on the floor of my bedroom, scribbling into a notebook all night. I still have those early stories (I’m a writing hoarder… I can’t get rid of anything I’ve written!)
Q) Why do you write?
A) Because I can’t not write (ha!) I have always expressed myself with the written word, and I’m not sure how I would go on without it (a bit dramatic but true!). I worked on Kingdom Above the Cloud for about a decade, and the main goal was never publication. The real purpose of Kingdom in my life was working out my faith and some of my deepest questions.
Q) What is your favorite book and why?
A) This is SO hard. If I had to pick just one, I would say Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I love all of the backstory we get to see, and I think the emotion of losing Dumbledore is beautifully written. This is also a nostalgic pick. I was in college when the HP books were becoming super famous, but I never read them until the summer that HBP was being released. I read the first five books that summer, leading up to the midnight release of Half-Blood Prince. I stood in line forever at Barnes and Noble, and then stayed up all night reading!
Q) Who is your favorite author and why?
A) I know this is super unpopular right now due to everything going on over on Twitter, but I would be an absolute liar if I said anyone but JK Rowling. My answer is not meant to be hurtful to anyone. It’s just the truth. I am amazed at the world she created, but even more so that she was able to weave it so masterfully into our real world, giving us all a little bit of hope that this magical world really exists, but we muggles can’t see it. Her characters are so vivid and funny and tragic. I love how you can witness her writing skills improve with each book. And when you look close enough, she artfully foreshadows just about everything that is to come later in the books. I would love to be half the writer and creative genius that she is.
Q) What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
A) I love reading and writing fantasy, and my favorite all-time series are Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia. However, I also love historical fiction, especially sagas that follow the same families for centuries (my absolute favorite is Paris by Edward Rutherford).
Q) What inspired Kingdom Above the Cloud? What was your purpose for writing the book?
A) It really started with a daydream. What if there was a world full of characters who had mastered either a deadly sin or a fruit of the spirit? I started designing characters and imagining scenes, and it took on a life of its own. By the time I was done writing it, it was a deep dive into my Christian faith on a scale I never expected!
Q) Can you highlight some of the lessons you hope readers take away from Kingdom Above the Cloud?
A) The main character, Tovi, struggles through temptations of all different kinds throughout the story. As I’ve talked to readers, they each connect to the story in different ways, which I love! My hope is that readers will not only see themselves in Tovi, but also that they would know they are not alone in their questions and struggles.
Q) Can you tell us about your own faith journey?
A) Where to start?! I grew up attending church, youth group, and summer camp. But, I didn’t fully commit until late in high school. I had been through some turbulent years, and in the darkest moments I knew I wanted a closer relationship with God. I just didn’t know how to get there! A friend from school started talking with me about faith, and she invited me to her church and a summer conference called Christ in Youth (CIY). On the very first night, I knew I had found what I was looking for. I didn’t go up front for the altar call (that was SUPER unfamiliar to my Presbyterian roots!), but I asked Jesus to be my everything that night. And while I’ve been far from perfect since then, I haven’t ever turned back from that decision. Life has continued to have very high highs and very low lows, and each season has taught me more about Jesus, his work in the world, and his work in me.
Q) Are you currently working on the sequel? If so, can you tell us about it?
A) Yes!! I’m almost done with the first draft. The first book was all about Tovi experiencing Adwin (God) for the first time and starting that incredibly important relationship. The second book is focused on what I think is the hardest part of our faith journeys… listening to God and actually doing what he tells us to do! Obedience, decision-making, and listening (or refusing to listen) are central to the story as Tovi longs to find her brother. Anyone who has read the first book can guess from Tovi’s personality that obedience won’t be easy for her. Her refusal to listen will take her on an unexpected journey to a location on the map that was barely mentioned in the first book.
Q) Can you tell us about your hope and vision for your writing and the Tales from Adia series?
A) I hope that the Tales from Adia will be a long series, jumping to different eras in the history of Adia and the surrounding lands. Right now, the plan is that the first three books will be the story of Tovi and the heirs of Mount Damien. After that, I want to jump far into the future, when the land and different kingdoms are more established. I may someday go back and tell the tale of Ganya and Avi leaving the mountain, but we’ll have to see!
Q) What advice do you have for other authors?
A) Don’t give up! Keep working on your craft. Learn about writing and revising. Learn about the different types of publishing (self, traditional through a small publisher, traditional through an agent and bigger publishing house) and how to write a query/proposal. There is SO MUCH to learn, but none of it will matter if you aren’t growing as a writer and sending your absolute best out there into the world.
Q) What is your favorite Bible verse?
A) This tends to change all the time with whatever season I’m in! Recently Micah 6:8 has been on my mind almost constantly. “What does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Be sure to check out Platt’s website and follow her on social media! You can also order your own copy of Kingdom Above the Cloud
from Amazon here
or directly from Platt’s website.