Monday, July 23, 2018

Do you have themes that you find yourself writing about over and over? (With Nadine Brandes!)

I am so, so excited to have Nadine Brandes here today. I feel like I've been having a "Nadine Has a New Book Celebration" ever since I read Fawkes way back at the start of February! *throws the last of my confetti* I loved Fawkes so much and had to wait until July 10 for everyone else to get to read it too so I could talk to people about it. Gah! The agony!
Okay, I'm thinking you all are probably not all that sympathetic to my plight. I think you're all like, "Hey, no fair! You got to read Fawkes in February! What gives?"

Tee hee. Yeah... I was super lucky to get to read a PDF copy for endorsement purposes, and did I mention that I LOVED IT?

Here is the description of Fawkes.

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father's plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage.The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn't do something soon, he'll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot--claiming it will put an end to the plague--Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas's choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there's no turning back.

And here is Nadine's bio, in case you're like, Nadine Who?

Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and Fawkes. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband plan to live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom. You can visit Nadine on her website at

Welcome to Go Teen Writers, Nadine! Come and answer our first panel question of the week:

Do you have themes that you find yourself writing about over and over?

Nadine: Yes! I noticed this with my most recent book—my fifth book!—that I always seem to be addressing the question “What is my purpose in life?” and how every single life, no matter its situation, has a mighty purpose in this world. I kind of like that I keep seeing that theme slip in. ^_^

Stephanie: Friendship, forgiveness, and bravery are a few of my favorites. These are all things I struggle with, not surprisingly.

Shan: Fear. Always. Everything I write is about confronting fear. Fighting even when you’re afraid. Refusing to let fear win. And also faith. This takes shape in a zillion different ways, but I always seem to circle back to what my characters believe in their heart of hearts and how that touches on everything they do.

Jill: When I first started out, I wrote a lot about purpose. In Replication, Martyr the clone believed his purpose was to die, and Abby thought that was totally misguided. That theme came naturally out of the story without my planning it. 

I still write about purpose some, but more so these days I'm writing about the discovery of who we are. Are we going to be ourselves or someone else? Wear a mask? Are we going to be defined by what others think or say about us? I'm writing about that in the new books I'm working on, but also the courage it takes to finally stand up to others and the world when you realize you haven't been yourself and you're ready to. So that's loosely tied to purpose, I suppose, but it's also about identity and calling. About not being willing to live a lie. Fighting for that integrity.

What about you, writers? 

Do you have themes that you find yourself writing about over and over?


  1. Duty and honor. Also, the topics I write about tend to lean towards people groups that come with a negative bias (so far, Confederates and Police officers). My goal is to humanize them, let people see that they have lives, hopes and dreams just like everyone else while busting some myths surrounding them and their history. It's so much fun!

    Another recurring theme is sharing the Gospel, as I want to include that in every book I write. Along those lines, I've written a lot about Christians seeking out God's call on their life and actively looking for ways to serve Him. There's a lot of work to be done!

  2. It always takes me forever to discover what theme I have in a story, but a lot of times I end up writing redemptive themes. A lot of my characters have skeletons in the closet, and they have to come to grips with them. Also, purpose tends to come up fairly often.

  3. True beauty and true strength are things that tend to come out a lot in my stories, as well as redemption—I like to write bad boys, but only when I know that they’ll be redeemed later on.

  4. Your book sounds amazing, Nadine! Wonderful themes, all of them.

  5. I often find myself writing about faith, fear, deception, truth, despair, hope, and the need to resist evil whatever the circumstances. My current manuscript is not quite as deep as the one from which I've drawn most of these themes, and it deals more briefly with the ideas of greed, selfishness, lies, the withering pursuit of power, and strength through unity.

  6. Fabulous themes, everyone. These are really great!

  7. Thanks so much for hanging out with us, Nadine! Purpose does crop up in your writing, for sure. Love that answer.

  8. This is a very interesting question you have brought up. Everyone's answers are super cool, it's fun to see what other writers have done. Although I have not written that many stories in my short life I find I write a lot about redemption. I think reoccurring themes come about because of ourselves. What we struggle with the most or what we wish to share. They tend to be something we believe strongly about and are so deeply rooted in our being that they are a part of us. At least that is what I have seen in myself.
    Thank you guys for writing this blog for us. It is a huge blessing.
    - Book Dragon

    1. You're so right, Book Dragon. When we are being true to who we are, themes come out naturally. <3

  9. Oh, wow. This is such a super interesting question (and love your answers!).

    I find I write about relationships (of all sorts) and identity the most. Also choices, life, and God.

  10. This is such a cool question! I find that I often write about redemption and, like Nadine, purpose in life. Those ]two things are messages I want to teach to myself and because of that, they find their way into my writing.

    1. Ooh, I love that you said that, Sarah. That you write about things you want to teach yourself. That's so true! We write to explore and learn. Very wise.

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