I've had the idea for the Oren Letters in my head for a year and a half now. Throughout this time I have realized that the manner in which I have written this book is motivated by two very strong love/hate relationships with literary genres, that of allegory and fantasy.
First is allegory, I will start by saying I am a christian. While the Oren Letters is ultimately built to be an allegory, I hope it entertains and captures the imagination of others just as much if not more so than other believers. I love allegory for the simple reason that a person need only look to one of Christ's many parables to realize the power they hold. Some christians hold allegory with disdain but I take Christ's use of parables as more than enough evidence of their power and use. So I love allegory in its various forms for the fact that it portrays the incomprehensible in tangible ways. However, I have disdain for allegory because I have yet to see it done well. Some people claim that Tolkien's work is allegory, The Foreword to the Second Edition in the front of my copy attests to quite the contrary, so I will leave his work alone. I believe that my distaste for allegory lays on one thing, a good deal of it does not challenge the reader. I feel that a good deal of it has been dumbed down so that nobody misses the message, but I don't want to insult my readers, I want to challenge my readers and engage their minds.
Now for fantasy, I vehemently love and hate fantasy. I love the idea of these epic worlds with thousands of years of history and extinct races and hidden cities and mythical monsters. I hate magic systems, I hate rescuing princesses, I hate sword fights (mainly because its been done to death, yes it was intended), and I hate the token horse chase through the woods. The fantasy genre has been squeezed into this mold, requiring that there be magic, swords, and dragons, and I'm tired of it.
This is why I write. I recently listened to Ender's Game and at the end there was commentary from Orson Scott Card and he noted that there were two reasons that people started to write, I forgot the first because it wasnt why I wrote. However, the second I remembered because it applied to me. He said people write because they believe that they can do it better. I believe I can do it better. I write because I don't believe that the fantasy genre has to fit into the box its been placed and I believe that allegory can be amazing when done well.