Vance Kessler's writing style could be called "Informal Theology." He loves studying God and presenting truths about Him in a way that is relatable. Vance's writing is interesting, easy to read, and easy to understand. You will find very few big, fancy church words in his writing. His latest joy has been in writing Christian Science Fiction. He manages to put God's truth into the gripping fictional realities he creates.
Vance loves reading non-fiction Christian books about various aspects of God or about Christian living. Vance is also an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy. His favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Timothy Keller, William Craig, N.T. Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Chan, A.W. Tozer, Orson Scott Card, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, Neil Gaiman, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien.
Vance Kessler is a native Georgian and lives there with his lovely wife and his two wonderful children. Vance loves to study the Bible and has been studying it for over 30 years. He is a quiet person but if you get him started talking about spiritual matters it is hard to get him to stop.
Vance was born in Savannah, Georgia. He has a long Christian heritage to draw from. Vance was raised in a strong Christian home with a father who started and preached at two different churches. He is a direct descendant of the Salzburgers. The Salzbugers came over from Salzburg Austria in the 1700's to escape religious persecution and to worship freely in the United States. The oldest standing church building in Georgia was built by the Salzburgers, right down the road from where Vance's father was born and raised.
Why Vance Writes and Why You Might Want to Try
Prior to writing my first book, I hated writing. Occasionally, I had to write reports or documentation for work, but I dreaded each one. Today, writing stories that glorify God brings me immense joy and fulfillment. What happened?
Before I started writing, I had recently finished reading through the Old Testament, and a thought occurred to me: "Pretty much all the heroes of the Old Testament messed up big time." I found that extremely encouraging. If the pillars of faith could mess up that bad, I was in good shape even though I had done some bad things myself. If God's grace covered them, it could cover me too.
Immediately after that realization, a thought popped into my head: "You should write about that." Even though I was driving alone, I still looked around to see where that came from. I knew I hadn't said or thought it because I hated writing. I tried to dismiss the thought, but it stuck with me. Because the idea wouldn't go away, I gave it a shot to see what would happen. That way I'd know if the idea was from God.
It was hard at first. I struggled through several chapters and then bought several books on writing non-fiction. They helped tremendously, and I kept going. After I finished my first book, I had learned a lot. My faith had grown, and I had new insights to share about God. I'm not saying my first book was something amazing, but I was happy with it.
I kept writing and enjoyed it more with each book. While writing my fourth non-fiction book, the thought of writing a fiction book entered my head, but I didn't think I was creative enough to ever write fiction, so I dismissed the thought. Or tried to. It kept coming back and finally stuck with me. As I was finishing that non-fiction book, I started thinking through the implications of what I was writing about. That led me to an idea of how life could exist on other planets while honoring Romans 6:10: The death he died, he died to sin once for all (NIV). That was the biggest hurdle I saw to writing Christian Science Fiction that had life existing on other planets.
After breaking through the Romans 6:10 barrier, I felt I needed to help people understand that we should not limit what we think God is capable of. Also, I have always loved Science Fiction, and the thought of Science Fiction that glorified God excited me. I'd not been introduced to Christian Science Fiction at that time.
So, that's how I got to where I am now. My writing history is not uncommon or spectacular. The point of telling you all this is that I originally thought I'd stink as a writer and hate doing it. Even though some people will probably say I do stink, I love writing. I've grown tremendously through this God-given passion. If I never sold a single book, I have profited eternally from the spiritual growth I gained from working on these books. Writing has been one of the greatest blessings of my life, and I didn't even want to start.
I'm not saying every person should be an author, but if you feel a prompting or an urge to write about something, go ahead, try it. See what happens. You may not know the right techniques or how to structure a plot at first, so learn. Read stories you love, and read books that teach you to write. If God has placed that desire in you, He will also enable you to fulfill it.
There is one other thing I'll encourage you to do. Even if you write about trolls or aliens, weave an important concept about God throughout your story. Don't simply write clean stories. Make it your goal to glorify God in whatever you write. Not in a preachy way that will turn readers away, but in a way that will attract Christians and non-Christians alike. Help people know more about God through what you write. If nothing else, you will learn more about God from writing.