Here’s all the deep secrets the paparazzi keep hounding me for. Be forewarned, there are pros and cons to reading this. While you could massively dominate if Trivial Pursuit ever comes out with the “Dean Briggs Edition,” you’re also now in my inner circle. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s really a win.
I’m an author, father of eight, and waaay too prone to twisting my ankle whenever I attempt a pick-up basketball game in my old age. Thanks to my wife, I’ve become a Starbucks Verona coffee snob and now enjoy drinking freakish amounts of the stuff, but only with real whipping cream. I was Editor-in-Chief of my college newspaper—but don’t count my tpos against me. I worked in radio until I couldn’t stand it any longer (3 months), ran my own marketing company out of my home, and also founded, served and, ultimately, failed at pastoring a church. (Actually, it’s easier than you think).
I grew up reading a little science fiction and a lot of fantasy. I write fantasy for young adults from a Christian worldview, but don’t let that scare you away, because the last thing I’m interested in is preachy, trite, trivial little stories. No, this is straight-up, edgy, magical stuff. Check it out at HiddenLands, Amazon or your local Christian bookstore to get a taste. By the way, I’ve had some fancy people say really nice things about my books.
If you’re wondering—”Why fantasy?”—the first reason would be because I loved reading it growing up and, whenever I can find a worthy author or title (thank you, Patrick Rothfuss), I still enjoy it immensely. My favorite authors of yesteryear include: Tolkien, Lews, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursila K. Leguin, Susan Cooper, Madeline L’Engle and Lloyd Alexander (just to name a few). The Legends of Karac Tor follows the epic tradition of High Fantasy with the sweeping tale of four brothers who get stranded on another world, and must live as Champions in spite of the odds against them. Together, they must find their courage, battle overwhelming enemies, face their pain, and never quit searching for home. In case you’re interested, my agent and publicist is Rebeca Seitz at Reclaim Management.
Okay, there you go. Still reading? Hmmm…can’t shake you quite so easily. Okay, here’s a little more. To a certain degree, I feel shaped by loss, certainly none more painful than the heartache of watching my beautiful wife succumb to cancer at age 36. I’ve lost quite a bit: lost friends, lost time, lost opportunities, etc. You get the picture. Now in my early 40′s, I’m learning to pray at IHOP-KC, and, in the words of Eugene Peterson, extending my stride with “a long obedience in the same direction.” You know, get up, dust off, admit that I’m not a superhero (Q: Why does no one else act surprised?) and move on. For me, a big part of moving forward was the urgency I felt to help my sons reclaim their lives.
So here’s the second and more important answer to the question, why fantasy? Because it was in the aftermath of losing my wife in 2005 that I decided to create this heroic journey as something my four sons could relate to. They are the heroes, the central characters. Thus was born a new and paradoxical genre: SASF—Semi-Autobiographical Speculative Fiction (whew!), wherein I actively weave elements of my life and family into the plots of my novels. It’s been fun! Most gratifying, my stories are not only giving people a great read, but they’re changing lives. “It has been a long time since I have been so captured. Your book was a wake up call to real life,” said one reader named Jade. Another, Carin, from South Africa, said, “I think the part of the book that touched and changed me the most was when Sorge said: ‘…we all pretend to sleep in some way or another. Likewise, we all must choose the moment of our waking.’ Thanks to you, Mr. Briggs, I have decided to wake.”
Miraculously, in the kindness of God, I was given my own dazzling, second chance to wake up and smell the Verona. I met a red-haired beauty named Jeanie, a young widow who had previously lost her husband in an auto accident. To both of our surprise, we fell madly in love and married. Crazy, huh? Brady Bunch got nothing on us! Now, along with her four children, the arrows in my quiver have now doubled, ranging in age from preteens to early 20′s. As you can imagine, my home is a place of noise, laughter—children growing. On a regular basis, I find grace where I least expect it, but more to the point, grace finds me. I’m so thankful. Likewise, in parallel to my life, my series is taking some surprising new twists. The plot thickens, as they say.
On my blog, I prefer to write about more personal topics: faith, discipleship, failure, hope and family. These are subjects I’m passionate about and fairly experienced in. DeanBriggs.com is divided into three parts: Fantasy, Fatherhood and moving Further On for the sake of the Kingdom and your family. My agent is negotiating both fiction and non-fiction deals for me, so we’ll see how all that unfolds. Lastly, if you’re wondering who has influenced me most, my spiritual life has been greatly enriched by my late father, Benny Briggs, father-in-law, Duane Miller, and also the writings of Beuchner, Willard, Packer, Nee, Lewis, Johnson, Frangipane, Eldredge, Nouwen, Bickle, Manning and Chambers, in no particular order. Still interested in more? Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.