G.P. Taylor, Shadowmancer (Audio and Transcript)

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Well welcome everybody. Our next guest’s debut novel, Shadowmancer, was originally self-published, became a word-of-mouth hit. The book has been described in the British press as “hotter than Potter,” and is the first in a trilogy. It’s now available, Shadowmancer is, in the United States. And in addition to all of this, our next guest is vicar in the Yorkshire coast area.

Q. He is Graham Taylor, publishing under the name G.P. Taylor. Graham, thanks for joining us this afternoon.
A. It’s great to be with you.

Q. You know, this is a wonderful story in so many ways because there’s a story behind the story, and everybody is picking up on the fact that you had a varied career, including early on in your teens a stint in the music industry. What was that all about?

A. That was all about being a rebellious teenager and running away from home and going to London, where the streets are definitely not paved with gold. And I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t play an instrument, so what was the next thing I had to do was get involved with working for a record company.

Q. And what kind of groups were you involved with at that time?
A. You name it, I was involved with them. Some very strange ones. I did a couple of gigs with a band called The Stranglers, and the Sex Pistols, and Elvis Costello, and Adam and the Ants. And you name it, I was involved with them, lugging their gear up and down the stairs of various nightclubs in the land.

Q. Now you ran away, had a lot of fun, got into some trouble undoubtedly, but not long after that you changed your occupation and you actually did social work. Is that right?
A. Well yeah, that was a bit like God stepped into my life. You know, he turned up big style. I was involved in the occult as a teenager and into all sorts of weird and wonderful things and wasn’t leading a godly life. I wasn’t a Christian. I didn’t come from a Christian home. And one night I woke up, I looked in the mirror, and I asked a blessing. I said, Oh God, there’s got to be more to life than this. And that was the first time I ever felt God speak to me. And he said there was.

Q. Now had you ever had any exposure to church?
A. No. I didn’t go to church, because looking the way I looked then I didn’t think I was going to get a very warm reception. My local churches were a bit dry, but very liberal churches. I didn’t think they knew what they believed in anyway.

Q. Now how did you get involved in the occult?
A. Well it was simply I wanted to know what happened when you died. I was one of those¢â‚¬¦ There’s millions of kids out there who are very hungry to know what happens when we die and what are the big questions of life. Why was I here? And to me the church was portraying a God who, you know, had gone off, wasn’t involved anymore. And there was no power, no majesty, no authority, no miracles anymore. And I thought, well, I don’t really want to get involved in that. They were all arguing amongst themselves all the time, and it’s not the place for me to be.

Q. So what actually, having dabbled in the occult and having learned the hard way that the streets of London were not paved with gold, what actually made you turn to Christianity? And who did you go to?
A. Well I bumped into a group of people. I came back home to the north of England when I felt this word inside me say, go home and I’ll find you a job and I’ll find you a wife. And it was such a powerful feeling that I thought, I’ve got to obey this, whatever it is. I now know it was God speaking to me. I went straight back home to my parents’ house and got involved in being a volunteer in a day center for seniors, for retired people. And there, the strange thing was is that all these people who were the staff, used to huddle up together every now and again and, you know, pray. And I thought, what are these guys doing? And they had something about their life which I wanted. There was something about them which was completely different. And through their witness, a very genuine witness to me, they answered the questions I was asking. And they had a God who was powerful, who wanted to come into our lives, who wanted to transform me, and who loved me. And that was it. I just couldn’t get over this fact that I was loved. And so very gently they’d invite me to church. And like a lamb I just followed on.

Q. Well you know what, you’re raising a very interesting point ¢€œ and we’ll come back to this story line in just a moment ¢€œ but one of the things that I’ve really wondered is with all of this stuff happening in film and music and in fiction that are triggers for spiritual thought, it seems to me that that’s the best they can hope for, is to be a trigger, that in fact what you experienced in actually seeing a Christian life is still what it takes. In other words, there’s only so much you can do with media. Do you agree with that or not?
A. Exactly. The best gospel that a person could ever read is yourself. You know, it is you and it’s your witness, and it’s your reality of your walk with the Lord. And then they can start reading the scriptures themselves or finding out about Jesus and about the nature of God. But I think it’s down to the media, the books, the films, they’re all triggers, and I think they’re all part of the jigsaw. If I look back into my life and how I actually became a Christian, I realize that there were people praying for me. There were some girls at my college who didn’t like the way I was and saw the destruction in my life. And they, one of them came up and challenged me and said, you know, I’m praying for you. I’m praying that you’re going to become a Christian. And I laughed in her face. She was called Ruth, and I remember laughing in her face and saying, do not waste your time.

Q. Isn’t that amazing.
A. And she did. She went away and prayed and prayed. And I realized that another piece of the jigsaw, once God’s got his hand on you, you’re not going to get away.

Q. Now it sounds like a defining moment in your spiritual journey was when you actually heard from God. And that’s interesting because some of the characters in the book, Shadowmancer, are unbelievers and yet you can tell they want to believe. Now what was it that led you then to actually becoming a clergyman?
A. Well it was again these people around me kept on saying, you know, I think God is saying that you should take your faith another step. And I kept saying, you must be joking. I’m not going to be a vicar, that was the last thing I wanted to be. You know, I didn’t want to wear a dress and all the rest of it they do over here. And I didn’t think I wanted my faith put in a box. And the more the years went on, the more it became obvious that that’s what God’s plan was for my life. And I even ran away to the police force thinking that he will not call me out of the police force. I’d never read one thing in the Bible about a policeman being called. I thought, this is a safe place to be. Anywhere, knowing God, is not a safe place to be because he’s going to get you wherever you are. Sure enough.

Q. Well you actually got beaten within an inch of your life, I understand. I mean, God took some serious steps to get your attention.
A. Well yeah, he does. He uses every situation. And if he wants you, you better come gently. Because if you don’t come gently, he’s going to rough you up and get you there in the same time.

Q. Now interestingly enough, having come out dabbling in the occult your first church, as I understand it, St. Mary’s of Whitby, has a connection to the occult. What was that all about?
A. Well, there’s a guy called Bram Stoker who wrote a book called Dracula when he was on holiday in Whitby in the late Victorian Period. He sets this very well-known story in Whitby. And it became an instant best-seller. And he pictured Dracula being buried in the churchyard on the top of the cliff at Whitby. And sure enough, my first church was St. Mary’s in Whitby, with Dracula’s grave there in the middle of the churchyard.

Q. Now interestingly enough, that also gave you opportunity to kind of have a spiritual ministry, didn’t it, among people interested in the occult, because there were so many visitors coming to the church.
A. Well every year we got about 3,000 people who thought there were vampires still living in Whitby on Halloween and parading through the channel dressed in black with vampire teeth. And these are people aged from like 15 to 75. And we would get all these people coming to the churchyard and coming to the church. And the great thing is is that it’s holy ground. And as the keeper of the holy ground I would stand there at midnight on Halloween and welcome them into the churchyard and welcome them in the name of Jesus. And say, come on in, you know, this is holy ground.

We’re going to pick up there when we come back. Our guest is Graham Taylor, G.P. Taylor. Best-selling book, Shadowmancer. We’re going to get talking about it in just a minute. I thought you’d want to know the rest of the story. And we’re finding that out. We’ll be back with more right after this. Don’t go away.

(Break)

Well this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re talking with a most interesting fellow. G.P. Taylor is the author of Shadowmancer, and first he was in great demand in Britain as this book became a best-seller, and now as it is released in the United States, same thing happening here. And now there’s another one coming out in Britain. A very, very busy man.

Q. I’m fascinated with the fact that your interest in the occult early actually tied back in when you were a pastor. And among the things that I read about your experience there at St. Mary’s was that you actually got involved in some exorcisms. And that, some people think that is something that only happened centuries ago, but for people that are dabbling in the occult it actually in their, at least in their spiritual journey, can be a part of the process of their healing. Talk about that for a minute.
A. Well the thing is that if you get involved in the occult, then you are going to invite all sorts of very negative spiritual forces into your house and sometimes into yourself, or to attach themselves to you. And I firmly believe there’s no other way of getting rid of these things other than by the name of Jesus. And in my ministry over the last 20 years I’ve seen that happen so many times. And it always comes down to Christian prayer that houses ¢€œ and people can be delivered from oppression of negative spiritual forces ¢€œ and it’s something which, every time it happens just wonderfully astounds me when you can see people and places transformed by the love of God.

Q. Wow. So what was it that made you decide to write? You talked about a ministry of 20-some years. So you’ve been involved in a parish ministry for a long time. Were you kind of writing during that time or did it come more kind of instantaneous than that?
A. Well not at all. I’d lecture on the occult and the New Age, but because of my background it’s my natural interest. And I think it’s one of the biggest threats to Christianity as such, that we need to have an informed response as to why kids are getting involved in that sort of thing. You know, witchcraft is the fastest growing faith system amongst 14 to 17 years olds in the UK. And the church needs to have a response. So I was out there talking to a church group in another town about the threads, the dark and sinister threads through children’s literature, because there are lots of things in children’s literature that are linked into the occult.

Q. Give me a couple of quick examples.
A. Well, there’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and things like this. And Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass. In Pullman’s books they talk about God being senile, God being a liar. And these are things that we, as Christians, should be able to respond to. Not with a knee-jerk response, but with an intelligent and informed response to what they’re doing. And so I would go to church and I would talk about the issues and then I would say, you know, this is what we should as a church be praying about and what we should be doing. And at the end of one of these nights this woman came up to me and said, I think you should write a children’s book. You should write a book, but have the main theme of a God who’s triumphant. And on the way home this stuck with me. And it was one of those God-moments. I thought, hm, is God speaking to me through this woman?

Q. Had you ever been interested in writing prior to that?
A. Not at all. Not at all. But you get to know when God’s involved in something. And I thought, oh heck. You know, if this is true then I’d better think about. And then my spirit started to race. I started to get excited within myself. And I thought, yeah, there’s something going on here. And I drove back home over the Moors. And the Moors are like huge hills. And it was raining and pouring and thunder and lightning. And it was very, very dark. It got so dark that the head lights on the car, you know, were just being taken into the darkness. And there, about 20 miles away, there was a lighthouse. And this lighthouse was beaming out light. And you know, the gospel of John just came, you know, and the light came into the world and the darkness could not quench it. And I thought, yeah, here we go. And so a book about smuggling and witchcraft and magic and angels and this young boy called Raphah who comes to England in a very dark night in a storm and brings with him this wonderful truth of Riathamus, the king of kings. And it literally just came like that. And the next day I sat down and started writing and¢â‚¬¦

Q. And so in that motorcycle ride you got the light theme, you got the Raphah theme, you got a lot of pieces just in that moment.
A. Just in that moment. And then as I mulled it over, it just grew and grew and grew and grew. And as I started to write it just grew and grew. And there was no plan to the book, there was no plotting out. It was literally sit down and start writing at page one and finish at page three hundred and whatever, and it just all came.

Q. Now it’s a trilogy. Right?
A. It’s a thematic trilogy. The same characters don’t appear in each of the three books, but the same themes occur and the same circumstances occur.

Q. So did you get more than the one? Or did you get all three kind of in your mind at that time?
A. No, I got one. I got the first one. And then when I sat down to write the second one, it just came. I’d been reading in Revelation about Wormwood, the comet, which was going to strike the earth. And there’s that line where it says, “And many shall die from its bitterness.” And I thought, here we go. And also I’d been very moved to write about the Kabala, because the Kabala is a very growing faith system in America. So Wormwood is about the Kabala and about a young man who gets involved in the Kabala and¢â‚¬¦

Q. In Jewish mysticism.
A. And he’s into this mystical sort of occultic thing. And he gets lost. And it takes an angel coming back to put him on the right track again.

Q. Now in your talk about themes in popular culture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Philip Holman’s work. I’ve interviewed Philip. Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago I interviewed the author of a new book, What Would Buffy Do?, which is a theology of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is very interesting. Did you ever talk about the Harry Potter theme at all? Had you read Harry Potter?
A. Well, I’ve got to admit, I’m one of these Philistines who has never read Harry Potter, never been motivated to read Harry Potter at all.

Q. And you didn’t see the movie either?
A. I’ve seen the movie. From what I’ve seen of the movie, there’s not a lot of witchcraft in it. You know, I’m an authority on Wicca and paganism. And what she does is more party-time magic. There are some vague references to things that are taking place, but there are no spells in it. But the problem is, is that if it doesn’t attract people into the occult, why has the Pagan Federation of Britain appointed a youth officer to deal with all the inquiries from young people who’ve read Harry Potter and all these other books and now want to become witches?

Q. Now what do you say, you know, I read an interview ¢€œ actually I think it was in People magazine ¢€œ where you made the comment that your book, Shadowmancer, is not a Christian Harry Potter. And yet it is a book that weaves together magic, witchcraft, and a very, very clear Biblical literacy. So talk about how that all relates and why it is that young people are so fascinated with witchcraft, and how it can actually be used as a bridge to gospel?
A. Well firstly, what we’ve got to come to an understanding is that kids want to come into a relationship with a god. They want to come and find out why they’re here on this planet, and that is why they’re reading all these books. And we as a church, should be out there saying, we have got the answers to you. We have got a God who’s powerful, majestic, and all-loving. And the reason why they’re reading it, these books, is because there’s a desire within us all to worship God. And so it’s quite a natural thing that they want to know about these things. Shadowmancer is not a Christian book per se. It is a book where good wins out over evil. And the way good wins out is because three kids come together under the guidance of a guy called Raphah, and they start praying. And Riathamus, which is a name which means king of kings, he turns up and he, at certain times, helps the kids through. And there’s also an angel. So it has a Christian underpinning, whereas all these others don’t. And it’s a book which is a secular book for secular people, and yet has the moral code of J.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, and it really ends there. And it’s become such a success he’s not number one in the New York Times best-seller list for children.

Wow. We’re going to pick up there when we come back. Most interesting story. Our guest is Graham Taylor. His book is Shadowmancer. Best-seller in Britain, now best-seller in the United States. We’ll hear more about the story line, the characters, and a little bit more about how this whole thing happened with Graham Taylor right after this. Don’t go away.

(Break)

Well this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Graham Taylor. G.P. Taylor is the author of Shadowmancer. Another one coming out is Wormwood.

Q. Is Wormwood out in Britain now?
A. Yeah. Wormwood is definitely out. We’ve had the queues to prove it. It’s been amazing. On Saturday I had a book signing and I was mobbed in a book shop. And we had to have security guards and scratch barriers and they had to bring stuff in from another store. So Wormwood is definitely out.

Q. Man, that is amazing. Now, let’s talk about the story line and the characters in Shadowmancer. I read a quote that you said, “The problem with the villains in children’s books is that they aren’t scary enough.” And you definitely came up with some scary ones in this. Tell us about Obadiah.
A. Well Obadiah Demurral is an Anglican priest. He’s the vicar of the Parish of Ravenscar, and he’s a guy who was once an itinerant preacher. He went round, you know, preaching on haystacks. He just wanted to speak out the word of God. And yet, he fell from grace. His own greed and his own lusts took him over, and it took him to a very, very dark place. So much so that Obadiah wanted to become God himself. And he knew that if he would get hold of a thing called a Keruvim, which is it was an artifact from the Ark, that he would be able to gain power over God, or thought he could get power over God. And he becomes corrupt, he becomes a liar, he becomes a cheat, and yet he still keeps on preaching hellfire and damnation in his church, and yet he’s living this lie continuously. And we won’t say what happens to him.

Q. Now how do your fellow clergy react to the fact that your bad guy, who’s a genuine scary character, is a vicar?
A. Well they all come up and say, Graham, is it me? Is it me? Am I Obadiah? I was in a signing in London and in the parish of Robin Hood’s Bay there used to be a priest called Leon [Carvery], who’s an American guy. And you couldn’t meet a more godly man and a more lover of Jesus than Leon. And yet he was in London and he came to see me at a shop in Piccadilly. And he said, Graham, you’ve set this in my old parish. Is it me? And I said Leon, this couldn’t be farther from you. You know, you really love the Lord, you pray, your life is all about Jesus. And this isn’t about you. And he said, is it the bishop? And I said, well, it could be.

Q. So you drew inspiration from a number of places but you weren’t writing about any one character. Now it’s set in the 1700s.
A. It is indeed.

Q. And the place is important. Because Yorkshire, as I understand it, is often thought of as a place where there’s a lot of kind of interesting kind of spiritual heritage.
A. Well yeah. Yorkshire is a place that I heavily speak to paganism and the occults. It’s one of those areas that for centuries has been a battle between the principalities and powers of heaven or hell. And St. Hilda herself came to Whitby and very famously she cast out the serpents into the sea. And everybody says that she cast out the snakes. But wherever you see the word serpent, you’ve got to always think, you know, what is the spiritual context behind this? And there was some sort of spiritual warfare going on there that she took command over and cleared the place. But there is, there’s always been this tension between good and evil. There’s lots of folklore, and we have lots of ghosts and demons and all sorts of legends, et cetera. So you know, it’s a place that we just carry on ministering in.

Q. Now you make a reference to John Wesley.
A. I do.

Q. And was Wesley involved in ministry in Yorkshire?
A. Wesley was involved in ministry in Yorkshire in a very big way. He used to travel by horse from Scarborough to my parish here in Cloughton and then to Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay and then over to Whitby. Preached in Whitby many, many times. Many people were saved under his ministry. And he got banned from preaching in the churches because he kept on saying that people had to be saved and know Jesus. And the ministers at the time didn’t know Jesus. And so they didn’t like what he was saying.

Q. Well the line in Shadowmancer is, “He’ll turn you from women, drink and smuggling.” I mean, it was like this is not a good thing.
A. He did all the time. And to think that Wesley was such a powerful preacher because he was so full of God’s holy spirit that he didn’t care when people were throwing bricks at him. And he got bricked in Scarborough and just kept on preaching.

Q. Well now, meanwhile back to our bad vicar whose assistant is the hapless Beadle ¢€œ talk about a very, very sad character ¢€œ Obadiah is, in addition to being an unbelieving backslidden, power-hungry vicar, he is a shadowmancer, which is the title of the book. What is a shadowmancer? And where did you get that idea?
A. Well it was from the word necromancer, which is somebody who conjures with the dead. So he was a man who conjures shadows and the shadows of these dark spiritual creatures that he tries to control.

Q. You’ve already mentioned that he desired to be God. He wanted to harness the power of a particular artifact that he had learned about. What was that Keruvim? What in the world was it?
A. Well if you read in the Old Testament, there’s an awful lot written about the Ark of the Covenant. And the Ark of the Covenant had peculiar supernatural powers. And if you went near the Ark of the Covenant, you know, you could be electrocuted, as if this force came out from it. Such was the power of what lay within it. And I just wanted to go with that sort of imagery. You see, a lot of people treat God as if he’s a wimp. And God isn’t a wimp. You know, God is creator of the universe and he’s not somebody to be blasphemed against or treated lightly. And I wanted to give some muscle back to God, some power back to God. And the idea was is that this Keruvim has been stolen from a village in Ethiopia and it’s been taken to England. And Raphah is sent from Ethiopia to recover it, to bring it back. And in Demurral’s warped imagination he believes that if he can get hold of this, then he can do something supernatural with it against its creator. And he wants to take God over.

Q. Now our heroes are unlikely. They’re kids. Thomas and Kate. And Kate is¢â‚¬¦ Well tell us about Thomas and Kate real quickly.
A. Well Thomas and Kate are two basically orphaned kids living an urchin’s life. One of them the dad’s an alcoholic so she’s not got any kind of support. Her mother died during childbirth, and all this sort of thing. And they’re not believers. They’ve never heard of God. They’ve lived lives without God. Very much similar to me really. Thomas and Kate and me, you know, how I was at their age. And I often wonder what would I be like if somebody had come along at say the age of 12 or 13 who really knew the Lord and, you know, would have transformed my life in a different way. And so that’s the image I was playing with. And also the fact that they were kids taking these people on. Because I think kids are more open to the gospel than we give them credit for. Kids are more open to things of the holy spirit than we give them credit for.

Q. Now I’m going to just tick off some of the kind of spiritual manifestations. You’ve talked about the Keruvim. The Eye of Stone. What’s that?
A. The Eye of Stone. Basically it is an image, an old pagan image of being able to focus power on it. It’s a folklore tradition that we have in the UK.

Q. Seruvim.
A. Seruvim and Keruvim, it’s cherubim. It’s another Seruvim. It’s not corruption, it’s a translation, transliteration of the Hebrew. We’re talking about angels here, big 8-foot tall angels. Because every time I read about angels in kids’ books, they’re always these little babies with wings. And angels aren’t like that. If you read the scriptures you’ll see that angels are huge. And if you find them at your back you better be careful because they’re going to give you a hard time. And I wanted to put angels back on the map as being powerful, supernatural creatures.

Q. Now we’ve got the fallen Seruvim which are called Glashan.
A. Glashan. Yeah, Glashan dress from head to foot in black leather. They’ve been transmuted and as time goes on and their wickedness increases so they become uglier and uglier.

Q. And they’ve got green eyes.
A. Green eyes and ginger hair. I’ve got ginger hair. And I wear black leather when I’m on my motorbike. It’s a kind of a tongue-and-cheek thing of me reminding myself, always be wary when you’re not with the Lord.

We’re going to be back with some concluding comments from our guest, Graham Taylor. G.P. Taylor is the author of Shadowmancer. Lots of interesting characters, lots of spiritual manifestations, and underneath it all there is a structure of hope and the power of God, the living God. We’ll be back right after this.

(Break)

Well this is Dick Staub back with you. G.P. Taylor is our guest. He’s the author of Shadowmancer. Just a moment ago in the background I heard the sound of children, which is great because it reminds us of the importance of kids. I heard laughter. And it’s important to understand what kids are reading, what kids are interested in, what kids are fascinated with. And Graham has already reported that among 14 to 17 year olds witchcraft is the fastest growing religious fascination in Britain, and the same is true here throughout Europe, France, country after country has seen this fascination with the occult. So we should not be surprised that it has entered the mainstream of popular culture, and Shadowmancer is a book that connects to that fascination and therefore is written for the broader culture, but also has at the heart of it some power that is rooted in ancient Biblical stories. The character that we’ve already mentioned, Raphah, is a healer from Cush. We have Abram who appears later. I’m not going to tell you about him. We have these evil characters like Glashan who are doing battle with the Seirizzim. And then we have the ultimate battle between Pyratheon and Riathamus. Now just talk about that dynamic.
A. Well the dynamic is that it all keys on Pyratheon wanting to really take over the world. And Pyratheon uses people as puppets. He offers them everything and then when it comes to payback time he just takes everything from them. And I wanted to use the character of Jesus, but I couldn’t call him Jesus because it’s at a time when, you know, Jesus is being stripped from books. C.S. Lewis is having all the allegory taken out of his books and it’s not trendy in the UK to actually have out-and-out Christian characters. So I have to fly beneath the radar, as it were. And I came across the word Riathamus, and it’s a name give to King Arthur, and it means king of the kings. And I only know one king of the kings, and his name is Jesus. So Riathamus takes on Pyratheon. I didn’t want to call him Satan so he’s called Pyratheon, which is the fire god.

Q. You know what’s interesting is I’ve read some reviews where people say this is, you know, this book is outright Christian. And that’s interesting to me because we’ve essentially, both in the UK and the US, are in Biblically illiterate cultures. For somebody to really understand more specifically what you’re talking about, they’d have to know Isaiah where holy, holy, holy is prayed. And Thomas has a dream. They’d have to know the “I am” stuff. And apparently they do, because people, even without you mentioning Jesus, they’re coming to the recognition that this is about the great, almighty, powerful God.
A. Well if you read some of the people who are actually putting these things on Amazon, or whatever, you’ll notice that they all believe in one thing, and it’s not Christianity. And they’ve read this book and something has witnessed in their spirit and told them that this book is not from their god. And this is a great thing. In fact, a lot of people who read the book are being very challenged if they’re in the occult or in the New Age movement. They’re getting very, very challenged. And they’re quite angry. They’re as angry as anything. And they’re writing stuff about me and they’re saying that I should give up writing and¢â‚¬¦

Q. What age group did you write for?
A. Pardon?

Q. What age group were you writing to?
A. I wrote for any age group. My books are read by more adults than they are children. I just wrote the book and I didn’t want it to be set for children or adults, I just wrote a book. It’s more in the style of Robert Louis Stevenson and J.R. Tolkien than as the style of J.K.Rowlings. I wrote the book for people to read and it’s been read throughout the world. And some people absolutely love it and others, who are not on that sort of wavelength, absolutely hate it. Although I’ve had quite a lot of emails from witches who have adored it. But there are certain ones who read it and they get challenged by what’s in there. And something witnesses to them and they just don’t want to know.

Q. Now in addition to the criticism that it’s too Christian, you’ve got other people saying it’s too pagan. You’ve got the Scrying Bowl, you’ve got Divining Cards, even though they’re criticized. You’ve got Azimuth, you’ve got the Dark Side, you’ve got Wiccaman, you’ve got a demon that possesses two humans, Dunamez. You’ve got the Eye of Stone. You’ve got stuff that people say is occultish. What do you say to the Christian parent who’s saying, what is this? What is this occult stuff in a book that is written by a Christian? What do you say to them?
A. Well I’m going to tell them straight that we’ve got to play a level field here. If the kids don’t read Shadowmancer, they’re going to go and read something else. And at least in Shadowmancer what they’re getting is, they’re getting a balanced story. They’re getting the stuff which is, you know, the occultic stuff and depiction of the occult, and yet they’re getting a very powerful message of light conquering darkness. And I think what you’ve got to do in a story to make the light even brighter, you’ve got to set the darkness at its darkest point. And that’s what I do in Shadowmancer. Shadowmancer has got lots of darkness in it. And yet when you’ve read the ending ¢€œ and we won’t give it away ¢€œ a very powerful light. And I’ve had kids write to me. One girl wrote to me the other week and she said, “Before I read your book I didn’t believe in God. Now I know that I do.”

Q. Wow. It doesn’t get any better than that.
A. And for a little girl to write that, you know, is fantastic.

Q. How has this thing changed your life?
A. Well in all honesty it hasn’t. You know, I still carry on doing what I do. And when we finish now I’m going to go and cook dinner. And be a dad. And I’ll leave it here and pop through and Kathy will be popping out to go and see some friends. And I’ll go and make dinner and she’ll come back and we’ll carry on.

Q. Now what are you making for dinner tonight?
A. Tonight is prawns and salad because I’ve got to lose some weight. Tuna pie for the kids, prawns for me. But it’s a case of it hasn’t changed me. I’m a Christian and I’m not going to get changed by, you know, $6 million film deals and being number one on the New York Times best-seller list. There’s more important things. The most important thing for me is knowing the Man who created me.

Q. There is going to be a film.
A. Yeah, we signed a film deal. The film is being done in Hollywood. It’s being done by Fortitude Films. And they’re really keen on doing the story. When it went to number one on the New York Times best-seller list they thought they had a hot property and, you know, it’s just been selling by the bundle. I’ve even been told that it’s going to rival Left Behind. And I’m not sure what Left Behind is because I haven’t managed to come down to over here yet. But whatever Left Behind is, apparently we’re going to rival it.

Q. Well now, I read somewhere that you’ve had conversations with the [Lizeratti] in London. And I’m wondering how is the kind of literary community relating to a guy that never really thought of writing a book, sat down and wrote a best-seller the first one out, and even now isn’t that, you know, not reading all the stuff that everybody else is reading. What’s that like?
A. Well if you want to know what I’m like, just read the character St. Paul. You know, so I sent Peter. I’m the guy who goes and puts my two feet in it. I say the wrong thing at the wrong time. A big burly guy who is not really part of the London scene. And I don’t think they can handle it very well. Some of them keep saying, and you didn’t train? You haven’t got a degree in English literature? And all this sort of thing. No. Well how did you do it? Well I just sat down and wrote it.

Q. You actually had to sell your motorcycle to publish¢â‚¬¦ You published this yourself first and then when it took off you got Faber & Faber, a huge publisher, to pick it up. You got a new motorcycle, I’m assuming.
A. No, I haven’t. I’ve got two very old ones in the garage which were just given to me by a friend of mine. And she wanted me to look after her bikes because she can’t ride them for awhile.

Q. Wait a minute, with all the money you’ve made, you haven’t gone out and bought a new bike?
A. Listen. There’s far more important things to do with my money than spend it frivolously on a motorbike. I tell you. There’s a lot of things that God wants to do, I think, and I’ve got to be very careful with his money because it’s not mine, it belongs to him and he can put a cull in it whenever he wants to.

Q. Now when will Wormwood be out in the States?
A. Wormwood is going to be out in September. I hope it doesn’t cause as much of a stir over there as it does over here. I think Madonna is pretty hot under the collar about the book at the moment.

Q. Why is that?
A. Well she’s taken up with Kabalism, along with Britney Spears. And there’s a big message in there.

Thank you so much for being with us. Graham Taylor has been our guest. The book is Shadowmancer. It’s available in your bookstores now. And in addition to that, in September Wormwood will be out in the United States. Thanks for being with us Graham.

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