Sojourn for Ephah is really a tale of two characters, and each came about in their own way.
No need for all the details, but essentially we both said some bad things that had nothing to do with what the fight was about. I was so angry I began wringing my hands while chanting, “Calm down. Just calm down.” Almost like a prayer. But I wasn’t speaking to a deity, I was speaking to myself.
I began to wonder under what circumstances a being might pray to itself. And thus Ephah--along with her brief stint in a foreign universe--was born.
Thomas, on the other hand, was a direct reaction to what I’d been reading. It seemed like every spec-fic story containing a monotheistic religious leader wound up the same way--with the individual denouncing their god, fleeing from faith, and in a few cases, killing themselves. All because some new scientific discovery clashed with their dogma. I think this is an unrealistic--and now, rather stereotypical--take on people of faith.
Human beings don’t tend to let their worlds come crashing down that way. Someone of real conviction (religious, political, moral, etc.) tends to respond to new, contradictory information in one of two ways--either they deny it, or they incorporate it.
What happens when you have a political conversation with someone whose views strongly oppose yours? What happens when you present facts that clash with their beliefs? They either explain how those ‘facts’ are nothing of the sort, explain how those facts actually make their point, or they accept the facts and let their beliefs evolve. It’s doubtful, I think, that they’ll do a one eighty--denouncing all of their pre-conversation convictions--or crumble into suicidal oblivion.
New scientific principles aren’t likely to be seen by a religious person as a tragedy there’s no escape from, because that’s just not how people are built.
So, I wanted to write a character that embodied the real-world tendency to incorporate new information, and came up with Thomas (I suppose I also wrote a character that embodies the rejection aspect: Bishop Krier). Thomas is intelligent and open minded, and never backs away from his faith simply because he’s learned something new.
I think Thomas and Ephah are a perfect philosophical and psychological match, and I hope you enjoy their story.
--Marina J. Lostetter