Heather Burch is the author of the "Halflings" series and has just released the latest in the series, "Guardian." Burch's initial work launched her into the young adult genre and established her as a prolific author. She took the time to speak with The Christian Post about the series and the young heroine, Nikki Youngblood.
CP: Why did you decide to venture into teen fiction?
Burch: I didn't decide to do this genre, but it should have been a no-brainer. I work with teens, have teens in the house; I should have known that would have been a good fit for me, but I was working on women's fiction at the time. I was just captivated by the "Halflings" storyline … once I started writing, it was like coming home.
CP: Where did you get the idea for the character Nikki Youngblood?
Burch: I'd always thought that the Scripture where the sons of God saw the daughters of men and thought they were beautiful. That was the most perfect playground for me to fictionalize; I think the story had probably been working in the back of my head for a long, long time. When I started writing, it was just there. Something like that, we're not really clear about what the Scripture means, for an author that's too good to pass over.
I think I was always curious. We were youth pastors years ago, and the teens were really burdened that there weren't more books with a Christian point of view. Harry Potter had hit the shelves. Why weren't there more that pointed to God, show that God has power and that's where supernatural power comes from. They wanted to fast, some did it for 30 days with supervision in order to bring about change.
Years later I'm part of what they had prayed about so many years ago. I can see God's hand through all of this, and even that long timeframe. He was preparing me, the market. It had to be the right timing.
Nikki is everything that I would like to be: fearless, strong, powerful, just a really cool character. There are a lot of elements to her character. She was a lot of fun to create.
CP: How does faith play a role in the series?
Burch: In this series, I tend to write about sacrifice … the one that God made for us, the one that we make for Him, the ones that we are willing to make for one another. What will you sacrifice? How far will you go to help your brother or sister? The faith message throughout "Halflings" is probably subtler than a lot of Christian fiction out there; I tried to really be true to the story and the characters.
Now, in retrospect, it's a book that is very easy to hand to a teen who may not be Christian but is curious … it can foster a dialogue. One thing I really think is important, as an author is the commitment that you have with your audience. In this case, they have requested to hear a story, not nonfiction. The purpose needs to be, "I want to tell a great story." Everything else that comes out of this is God.
The "Halflings" series, or at least Nikki's story, will come to a conclusion with the third and final book, but Burch has said there may be room for spin-offs or other stories based on other characters throughout the series.
"Guardian" is available now. To learn more about Burch and the "Halflings" series, visit www.heatherburchbooks.com.