#RealmMakers2018 Faculty Spotlight: Wayne Thomas Batson

#RealmMakers2018 Faculty Spotlight: Wayne Thomas Batson

Welcome back to another #RealmMakers2018 Faculty Spotlight. This week we’re getting to know one of our elective speakers, Mr. Wayne Thomas Batson. A round of applause, please.

His bio from our website:

Wayne is an established bestselling author with sixteen books in print. His works have garnered critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and VOYA Magazine. Because of the popularity of Wayne’s books, he has appeared on national television, including the Fox Morning Show and Reuters America. A feature article on Wayne’s pirate novel, Isle of Swords, appeared on the front page of The Washington Post. And Wayne’s novels have garnered nominations and awards including: Mom’s Choice Award, The Moonlighter Award, The Cybill, The Clive Staples Awards, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Wayne is a veteran middle school English teacher of 26 years and writes because all young people dream of visiting new worlds and achieving something that matters.

 

Welcome to the Realm Makers blog. Tell us a little about you and how you got into the publishing world.

{bows low} Thank you for the gracious invitation. I’m Wayne Thomas Batson, but I don’t use my full name pretentiously. I want to honor my Dad who passed away in 2015. His first name was Thomas. Since I’m mentioning my parents, they had a big role in me getting into fantasy. My dad was especially fond of the genre, and both of my parents spent most of their golden years sitting in their favorite chairs and reading lots and lots of books. Even from the high school era, I hoped to become an author, but there was this little thing called money. And so, I had to teach full time. I began writing in earnest because my students hated the old books we had back then. I started to write a story for them to help them with their reading strategies—and to give them a break from dull writing. Turned out, they really liked the story. My students became my first line editors, and, over the course of 13 years, they screened everything I wrote. That brings us to 2004. Off to a publishing conference, and I met a kindred spirit in Thomas Nelson who offered me a contract for my Door Within Trilogy, the first book of which was the story I wrote for my students.

 

What makes you most passionate about writing/publishing?

It used to be that my passion was the thrill of discovery—that series of blessed ideas that roll, one after the other, into your mind, showing you what the story could be! I still love that. And I love reading my stories aloud to my students. I’ve become quite a ham, using accents and costumes, etc. But, now that I’ve been at it for a while (17 books and counting), my passion is to fulfill God’s calling on my life.

A little background about my Christian experience: I’ve never really been one of those people who seem to hear from God all the time. I’ll never come up to you and say, “God gave me this word for you” or “I’m feeling led to open an ice cream store.” But, in writing, I feel like I’m doing the thing God wanted me to do. I can’t NOT write. If I do, the rest of the world and all its pleasures turn to ash. And when I’m writing, I feel as if God just pours out the floodgates of ideas. I’ve had moments of weeping at the keyboard and times when the words that come out of me resonate at a spirit level.

 

What is one very important piece of advice for writers these days?

Write a great story. The rest will take care of itself. Honestly, we can all get so bogged down with book promotion, websites, forums, etc. etc. ad infinitum, that we leave our stories under-written. The story must be first. Hone your craft. Learn from anyone who has anything to share, but mainly get your butt in the chair. That novel ain’t goin’ t’write itself, now is it?

 

If you weren’t a writer or involved in the publishing world, what would you do?

I’m a full-time middle-school English teacher, so I’d likely still be doing that. Twenty-seven years and counting! But, if I have to take teaching and writing off the table, I suppose I would try to be a meteorologist. I’d want to make the focus of my career be severe weather. That has always fascinated me. Heaven help me if I ever see a tornado in person. I’d probably be “THAT” guy who would get a little too close and end up whisked away to Oz or wrecked in a corn field.

 

What are you teaching at Realm Makers this year and why should attendees check it out?

I’m teaching suspense and theme. “What’s Behind that Locked Door in the Attic?” is all about suspense. Suspense is obviously the key to keeping readers interested and flipping pages. But, on a clinical level, how is suspense done? I’d tell you now, but where would be the fun in that? “The Heart of the Story” is my theme-weaving class. Theme, after all, is the dynamic tension in Christian writing. How do we craft each of our stories to be a key Jesus uses to unlock hearts? How do we do that without alienating readers?

 

What are YOU most looking forward to about Realm Makers?

I’m most looking forward to discovering what Realm Makers and its “tribe” is all about. I’m a little late to the party, so I have ZERO experience. I cannot wait to see what happens. I’m going into this with an attitude of “God, surprise me.” Uh, oh. Dangerous prayer.

 

Ah, yes, surprise indeed. Muahaha … I know we’ll all be giving Wayne a warm welcome at the Realm Makers conference. Everyone’s got their NERF guns, right? 

 

Have YOU asked God to surprise you before? How did He answer that prayer for you?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Wow great interview. Reminded me why I am in this calling, and it is a calling. Although I can’t not write, it’s more blessed when I write for God, with God sitting beside me.

  2. Loved this interview! Wayne Thomas Batson’s books hold a special place in my heart, and I look forward to hopefully meeting him at Realm Makers!

    This is unrelated to the post, but I contacted Realm Makers via email about a month ago and never received a reply. I had a question regarding the “conference guest” registration fee. Since I’m still a minor, I will be traveling to the conference with my mom. I was wondering: is the $199 registration fee mandatory for my mom? She wasn’t planning on attending any of the conference sessions but mainly just staying in the hotel room and getting some work done. I would love to save any money I can (being a teen writer isn’t exactly lucrative!) and didn’t know if this was something I HAD to pay. My funds are rather limited, so I’m trying to save as much as possible. Thanks in advance!

    1. Mary, I’m so sorry we didn’t get back to you, sometimes I think the Inbox eats some of our emails. It gets hungry.

      But to answer you question … No, your mom does not need to register as long as she does not plan on attending any of the keynote sessions or meals. But you might want to grab her a ticket to the awards banquet because … awesome! 🙂

      1. Haha, no problem! I completely understand the problem of voracious inboxes. 😉

        Thank you so much! The awards banquet is pretty spectacular so I will definitely consider that. I appreciate all your help and I look forward to attending Realm Makers this summer. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.