Posted on Sat, May. 22, 2004
Shadowmancer is 'not rocket science; it's a thriller. I want people to keep turning the pages,' says Graham Taylor.
Vicar copes with literary blessing
By SUE CORBETT
A small bookstore in Southern Virginia is packed when Graham Taylor pulls up, a half-hour late, to autograph copies of his first book, Shadowmancer.
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Taylor, dressed in the rumpled costume of the author-on-tour -- dark clothes with tennis shoes -- listens empathetically while the bookstore owner, glancing frequently at the impatient crowd inside, taps her toe.
Taylor has the chauffeur pop the trunk and lifts out his enormous plastic suitcase, laying it on the street. Beneath his souvenirs, his shirts and his socks, he unearths a copy of his unlikely runaway hit, a book dubbed by the British media as the ''Christian Harry Potter.'' He signs it for the woman, shakes the boy's hand, and prepares to face the rest of his public.
''Oh, well,'' he tells his publicist. ``That was the copy I was saving for Pat Robertson.''
The idea for Shadowmancer formed after Taylor said in a talk that he believed the Harry Potter books were being marketed to kids too young to understand the message. He felt the balance of power in the Potter books tilted too much toward evil.
''So a parishioner challenged me to write my own children's book,'' Taylor said. It took nine months. When he finished it, he paid 80 quid (about $80) for a critique through an online editorial service.
Indeed, part of Shadowmancer's success lies in its embrace by church-goers, who have found contemporary relevance in Taylor's allegorical story about an apocalyptic battle between good and evil. Though Taylor says he did not set out to write a story with an overtly Christian message, the symbolism is heavy.