So what could possibly compel me to write a world full of mushrooms?
Well, I love mushrooms. That’s a start.
Then there’s the concept of purpose. Purpose is a big deal in life—it brings meaning and identity to us. It has to be supplied by external factors (like a deity), or it’s just a meaningless invention of our heads.
It’s kind of my thing, and I like to talk about it in every book that I write. It’s the unifying factor in all of my works. As an author, you could say it’s my “theme.”
Ayphae fits that theme perfectly. In it, every character struggles with fulfilling their purpose. Reisor, who can’t even remember his past, lacks both a purpose and an identity. He struggles with the only purpose he’s been given—to take care of his siblings—while being given a new purpose. But as the book goes on, he wonders if his new purpose is really what he should be doing.
The siblings, meanwhile are even more directionless. Feselea has taken it upon herself to learn everything she can—and while knowledge and its pursuit is definitely a purpose, it may not be all she is meant to do. Dane has no idea what his purpose is—but he wants to be treated like an adult, even when he acts like a kid. It brings him joy to entertain people…so maybe that’s it? He just doesn’t know.
Finally, we have the three Ayphaeans: Joe, May and Nick. Joe rules Ayphae—his motto is to never let people down. His purpose is pretty clear-cut…but unfortunately, he has absolutely no idea how to fulfill it. He’s been doing the best he can over the past seven years. But now everything is falling apart. If he just knew why, he could see a clear road to fulfilling his purpose. He’d like to blame the aiethepa spore for everything, but part of him wonders what’s really going on.
Nick used to be a pathfinder (a type of ranger). He saw problems in the people’s hearts and realized he should be a speaker. That greater purpose led him away from his first purpose—a difficult but worthy replacement. Now he speaks full-time, as his oratory career has taken off.
And of course, there’s May the scientist. She wants to maintain respectability as a scientist while exploring Ayphae’s wonders. Right now, her immediate purpose is to eradicate the aiethepa spore. Nothing will disrupt her focus.
It’s interesting that Nick and May have the same ultimate purpose: to save Ayphae. But they’re going about it in completely different ways. Nick is targeting the people’s hearts, while May is targeting the parasitic fungus invading the land. One is more conceptual, the other more concrete. And Joe is trying to find a happy medium. But all their paths will cross in time.
So what’s the biggest reason? To tell a story. To inspire people to think. To bring glory to God by creating an amazing world and characters to inhabit it. When we create beautiful stories, we bring glory to the Creator. And that is my purpose.