Laura K. Cowan, novelistA Brief Interview

Q: You write contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and spiritually oriented literary fiction, which is a bit of a mouthful. What does that mean? Who will enjoy your stories?

A:  The short answer is that my stories are all about the healing power of love and about dreams, in every conceivable way. But my books are also written from the perspective of someone who believes many things are possible in this world that most people have been told are impossible and so they shy away from them. The mystical, supernatural, and spiritual elements of life are all around us, and I like to bring the things we think are impossible into the natural world in a literal way to give people the opportunity to expand their faith in life and the world around them–in God, whoever he turns out to be after we’ve seen how deep the rabbit hole goes. The people who will love my stories are spiritual seekers themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a Christian or not (well, maybe my first book will go down easier if you’re a Christian, but maybe not!). If you are interested in exploring the world through the lens of faith, hope and the possibilities of the world, you will love my stories.

Q: You seem to hold some very strong opinions about the supernatural and spirituality. Are your books a way to bring others to your way of thinking?

A: My aim is never to tell people what to think. It is to invite people to engage with their spirituality, to consider things in a light they may never have before. I believe that we grow and come to life only when new possibilities are suggested to us, and I trust my readers and respect them enough to find their own way from there.

Q: But no one seems to agree on anything anymore. Climate change, religion, politics. How can you trust your readers to find their own way when everyone is working with a different set of facts and different experiences?

A: I used to worry a great deal about this, but if you take your faith away from the ideas you believe are truth and put it instead in a God who is big enough to take care of helping people find him if he exists, that changes the equation pretty radically. My job is not to be a savior for anyone. It is to love people and to invite them to engage with their experience of life, with intellectual honesty and openness to the things we can’t possibly say we know for sure. We all have to hold some of our beliefs a little more loosely to leave room for God to change them if he wants to, and ultimately I don’t want to be known as someone who was right about everything. I want to be known as someone who loved people on their journey to healing.

Q: Your first novel, The Little Seer, involves prophetic dreams and a church split, both of which you have experienced yourself. Is this your story?

A: No, The Little Seer is not autobiographical. I drew on my experiences of a painful church split and prophetic symbolic dreams to write this story, but I want to be very clear that none of the characters in my novels are patterned after any real people, and this story is not my own. In many ways my own story is even harder to believe. Truth really is stranger than fiction. But please don’t walk up to people I used to know and ask them if they behaved like these characters in The Little Seer!

Q: The Little Seer has a lot of religious content. Will all of your work be along similar lines?

A: Not exactly. The common threads in my work are love, a spiritual focus, and a fascination with the supernatural and with dreams, which I think are essential in helping one fully understand a person. My first book deals with a young girl’s relationship with her faith, God, and a church community that is falling apart, but my upcoming titles examine spirituality and the supernatural from different angles–from lost mystical traditions of spirituality to speculative stories that are closer to dark fantasy or magical realism. My rule is this: no boring stories. And I believe there is enough about life that is so fascinating that it is nearly unbelievable to keep me busy for a very long time.

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