Brae Wyckoff - What Determines One's Destiny?
Brae Wyckoff is an award winning and internationally acclaimed author and Amazon bestseller, born and raised in San Diego, CA. Brae's passion for mysterious realms and the supernatural inspired him to write The Orb of Truth, the first in a series of fantasy action adventures This book won Best Christian Fantasy Award for 2013 and has been voted #1 in several categories, including Best Indie Fantasy Book, Epic Fantasy Worth Your Time, and Fantasy Book That Should Be Required Reading. Brae is currently the Director of Kingdom Writers Association based in San Diego where he is working with writers of all levels to encourage and empower them to pursue their calling as authors. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his latest book, Demons and Thieves.
Please give us a short introduction to what Demons & Thieves is about.
Here is the tagline:
A thief in search of his destiny.
A man in search of his son.
The Messiah fated to meet them both.
Demons & Thieves is a fast-paced, riveting tale of demonic powers that bring destruction, of unconditional love that brings restoration, and of man's ultimate choice toward one or the other.
What inspired you to write the story of the two thieves on the cross?
I simply pondered their story many years ago and asked the question, “Who are the two thieves on the cross next to Jesus?” That is what started me on this crazy adventure of discovery. This is not a book about Jesus. This is a book about choices, about these men who ended up on the cross. It is their story, BUT there is also more to it. Both thieves denied Jesus on the cross and one, just a few verses later, changes his mind and asks Jesus to remember him. I was prompted with another question, “What changed his mind?” That next question really opened the door to one amazing storyline that weaves two stories together. The two thieves and the two demons called Legion. It’s crazy good.
You seem to be very involved in training other writers, cultivating their passion to write. Why is this important to you?
After completing my 4th published book (3 epic fantasy and 1 children’s book) I felt compelled to help other writers step into their calling. Deep down I have the gift of encouragement. The main life-line that writers absolutely need is encouragement. One day I decided to call some writers together and talk shop and the next thing you know we have a full-blown association. Kingdom Writers Association known as KWA now has over 150 members and it is quite incredible to watch others finally step into their calling. One member the other day said, “I finally caught up to my destiny.” That truly warmed my heart. www.KingdomWritersAssociation.com
Your book seems to pose the question: What determines one's destiny? Why did you find this an important question to explore?
I believe there are many possibilities to one’s destiny and they culminate from our decisions, our actions, our responses to life and situations. In Demons & Thieves, I wanted to explore the mind of the thief who accepted Jesus. What decisions did he make from a child to adulthood that changed him and set him on this epic course of life? Then I did the same with the man who was possessed by the demon named Legion. Who was he? How did he get possessed? And what happened after he was set free? It’s an incredible journey of discovery. After that, then the big story is how these individuals overlap one another. People constantly contact me around the world how they had to read through it twice, sometimes three times, to take the epic journey again and again. The Bible quite literally comes to life and when you read the story of the two thieves you won’t ever read it the same. These thieves now have names and their story matters. The same goes with the demon named Legion.
How much research did this book require from you to make the history part feel authentic? What was the most interesting aspect of your research?
It took many years in my craft to be comfortable writing about such a topic. Not many people can take on such characters that are sealed within The Bible and bring them to life in a way that is entertaining and yet doesn’t go out of bounds of what we know to be true in the scriptures. We come across some interesting characters we know or at least we think we know in Demons & Thieves, taken from The Bible. I have had many comments about Barabbas’ character, outside the main characters, that I depicted. The most common is, “I never could have imagined Barabbas the way you brought him to life.”
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I was a pool player (billiards) and won several awards in Las Vegas and San Diego. My dad was semi-pro and played with many pool sharks from the movie Color of Money with Tom Cruise.
I’ve also acted in Hollywood and was a main actor in a dinner theater in San Diego.
Many similar Christian fiction books do not deal with demons. Why did you decide to include them in this book?
Frank Peretti was really the first Christian to write about demons and he is such an inspiration. You put that with my experience as a Dungeons & Dragons gamer in my youth and my wild imagination and I go places not many will go. One of my beta readers said, “Brae, you write dangerous.” I love that. Yes, I do. I love telling bold stories and taking the reader on an amazing adventure. The story in Demons & Thieves doesn’t revolve around the demon but instead the man possessed by the demon.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I think there is a piece of the author in every story. With that said, the questions that I take the reader on are questions that I had or still have. My stories whether they are epic fantasy or historical fiction, or a children’s book are personal. There are personal facets laced throughout, weaved surreptitiously, or boldly expressed in my storytelling. It sparks something in my readers. They relate to certain characters. They are pulled into a story where they have no choice but to finish it.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
I can tell you my advice is to write what you know and make up the rest. However, this usually applies to fiction writers only, right?
There are what I call the “Three Demons” that writers combat. The demon named ‘Isolation’ wants to get you alone and whisper into your ear and spirit that you are not worthy to write and that no one cares what you will write about. The second demon is named ‘Perfection’. Writers get caught in an endless cycle of making sure each chapter is perfect before moving on and never finish their manuscript. Years will pass and they are still on chapter 3 and continuing to tweak the first two chapters before it, never having anyone read it and give them feedback. They can’t release it yet because it just isn’t perfect. And finally, the third demon is named ‘Passivity’. If ‘Perfection’ is the silencer of a storyteller, then ‘Passivity’ is the assassin. This is the killer for all writers. I’m going to write a book, but never do. I’ve got a story to tell but doesn’t. I don’t have time. I have kids. I have a job. An endless amount of excuses and writing just becomes a pipe-dream and a hobby and never takes form.
It is time to just sit down and pour out your heart and soul onto paper. It doesn’t have to look pretty or perfect. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Just get it out. Once it is out then you can go through and rewrite, shape it, develop it, form it into the story it was always meant to be.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve got a few things I’m working on. I just started writing the first draft for the sequel to Demons & Thieves. That’s right, a sequel. What happens to the thief on the cross that didn’t accept Jesus? Well, he goes to hell. I’m taking our reader on a fantastic journey into the depths of darkness and well, let’s see what happens.
I’ve got a third children’s book I just outlined called The Dragonfly and Princess Juliet. I’m in editing for a Kingdom Writers Devotional to encourage writers to go after their destiny as a Christian scribe. I’ve got tons of great stories to be told from fiction to historical and who knows what other genre I will venture into. Remember, I write dangerous.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wattpad, Goodreads. I’m pretty much everywhere and easily found since I’m the only Brae Wyckoff out there. I love interacting with people so don’t be shy.
Here is the Amazon link to Demons & Thieves- https://www.amazon.com/Demons-Thieves-Brae-Wyckoff/dp/0999789082/