Here's an interview with author Kathryn Dahlstrom.
1. Q. In Children of Angels, 13-year-old Jeremy is a human/angel hybrid. What was your inspiration for that idea?
A. When I took producer Hal Croasmun’s intensive screenwriting course, the Pro Series, I was required to use his brainstorming methods to come up with a blockbuster movie idea. I prayed hard, pondered many fantasy premises, and then hit on the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6 and Numbers 13 in the Bible. Angels came to earth, took women as their wives, and their children grew up to be Nephilim—“Heroes of old, men of renown.” For me as a writer, that was a fantasy up for grabs! I wondered, what if the genes of the Nephilim resurfaced today in a kid? What if he could suddenly do everything an angel could do?
2. Q. What do you say to parents who might be concerned about fictionalizing the Nephilim?
A. Today’s Christian parents know good make-believe when they see it. Nephilim means “fallen ones,” and it’s a very apt description of a human/angel hybrid. It’s pure fantasy to have their genetic material resurface today in a super-concentrated way, giving the new Nephilim angel powers. And that’s where the fun comes in! Yet I want parents to know that the fundamental truth in this story is that God is real. Heaven exists. Jesus Christ is Who He said He was: the Son of the Most High God.
3. Q. Does Children of Angels contain any references to magic?
A. Not a bit. I know that glorifying the occult is a real danger with children’s fantasy. Children of Angels does the opposite. My main character, 13-year-old Jeremy, fights dark spiritual forces in all-out warfare using heaven-wrought weaponry. It’s medieval sword fighting—sometimes in mid-air, since these combatants have wings.
4. Q. Are you concerned that some young readers might be frightened when Jeremy fights demons face to face?
A. Children of Angels is clearly labeled for 9-to-14-year-old readers because yes, this story is too intense for most younger kids. For tweens, I kept the demons stout, animal-like, and knobby rather than gruesome, dark, and oozing evil. They’re loud and obnoxious. I don’t show them possessing anyone. They’re nasty fighters, so they give the story all the action it needs. Remember Frank Peretti’s demons? I pulled mine back a notch or two. Evil, yes, but more in a mean way.
5. Q. Beside demons, who else opposes Jeremy?
A. Jeremy has to contend with Louisa Prouse, director of the Higher Humanity Institute, a private school that she created for the handful of Nephilim teens in the world. She lectures that they’re the first to reach humanity’s next level. When Jeremy counters that they’re half-angels, she scorns him in class for believing in such things. And the conflict is launched!
6. Q. How does your story portray angels?
A. I make them as close to scriptural angels as possible. Therefore, they don’t have angst or identity crises! Their one passion is to serve the Lord of Hosts. Primarily, they’re warriors. Jeremy’s own guardian angel, Asiel, cares as deeply for his young charge as a brother would. But he can’t understand human foibles and weaknesses and doesn’t let Jeremy dwell on them.
7. Q. Spiritual warfare is a heavy topic. How do you adapt it for kids?
A. I put as much fun as possible in this story. Lots of humor, lots of exciting action. The first part deals with Jeremy’s shock when he learns he’s a Nephilim and then as he tries to get his head around what’s happened. Every fantasy needs to do that. It’s called giving the reader a feel for the new world or the fantastical things in the story. Then the problems start, leading to the showdown.
8. Q. What do you hope your readers will get from the story—in addition to a good read?
A. I want them to realize that they can be warriors, too. Even kids! Jeremy learns to use heavenly weaponry. My readers, younger and older, can learn to use the weaponry we have as Christians: prayer!
9. Q. Many authors would love for their stories to go book-to-film. What have you done, if anything, to help the project go in that direction?
A. I trained in screenwriting, a very specialized and difficult craft. By the push of God, I’m gaining a large, fast-growing Hollywood network, many of them Christian filmmakers. And to be a producer on a friend’s project, a family fantasy more in the “Lemony Snickett” style, is immensely exciting!
10. Q. What other writing have you done for kids?
A. I’m the author of the six-book Good News Club series, published by Child Evangelism Fellowship Press. They’re tween fiction set in inner-city Los Angeles, based on the real Good New Club I ran at Jordan Downs Housing Community.
For more about CHILDREN OF ANGELS visit http://childrenofangels.