Anthony Livingstone’s professional background is completely rooted in music. Not satisfied with the normal performance of music in a concert setting or a band setting, he began to experiment with merging other art forms together with music which gave rise to a new concept of the Christian Opera he developed and saw performed in several churches in Nigeria. As early as the late 90s, he became aware the potential of musically dramatized plays and the enormous emotional response it could bring forth.
Little did he know that writing, a hobby which he engaged in solely for pleasure, would become more precious to him than his first love – music.
His first published novel, The Vigil, was released in 2009. After it sold out, he went on to create a website for training musicians and choristers but ended up mostly serializing his novels in order to get feedback from his readers. Most of his serialized novels can be found on his website, www.artisteacademy.com.
He talks to Joy Ehonwa about the writing process, the Christian Fantasy Genre, and his latest novel which was recently published online as an e-book, Enemy of Darkness.
CN: Your music career spans decades. How did you get into writing?
I got into serious writing when I began to discover many years ago that my interest in songwriting and musical performance was waning. In its place, I began to feel an expansion of my imagination. Very often a whole scenario would play itself on the screen of my mind like a movie…this would usually come to me unbidden.
It is, in fact, the main source of the inspiration I received for my earlier manuscripts which I serialized on my Facebook group page – CHOIR ACADEMY. Those titles in particular which I received on my ‘mental screen’ were:
- The Power and the Glory
I am yet to serialize them on my website; it was years ago.
CN: What was your inspiration for your latest book, Enemy of Darkness?
Enemy of Darkness was written as a result of several revelations I began to get through the study of the Word of God. I felt the best way to explain or illustrate these truths would be to put them in story form, and I got several comments that proved me to be right.
CN: What was your hardest scene to write in this book?
The hardest scene for me to write was the one where Wunmi launched herself spiritually and apparently heedlessly at Lucifer. At first, I toyed with the idea of her martyrdom which perhaps would have made for a more powerful ending, but my emotions got the better of me in the end and I decided she should not die.
The scene shows that even with angelic protection, believers cannot be helped till they take a stand spiritually for themselves, and often times this calls for great sacrifice on their part.
CN: Who are your own favourite authors, and why?
The first book/books that set me on the path of Fantasy (my favourite genre) was Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Next, I read all the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
After getting born again I looked for Christian authors writing in a Christian Fantasy Genre, which I didn’t even know existed before then! I discovered Frank Peretti and found that he had already written books along the lines of epic battles between the forces of good and evil, of angels and demons, which I had been conceptualizing.
Next came Terry Brookes who did not so much write in the Christian Fantasy Genre particularly, but whose novels I found very fascinating.
CN: How do you go about doing research for a book, and how long do you research before you start writing?
The way I write is very simple: I write purely Christian novels and they are all based on one or more revelations that have hit me from the Bible. I then expound those revelations in written form to gain a broader understanding of them; I am a pastor/teacher so that plays a major role. It takes a few days to a week or a little over, meditating on certain revelations till I get the whole picture after comparing Scripture with Scripture.
It then becomes easy to begin to conceptualize a story line which usually has a beginning, a middle and an ending. This may take anything from one to two weeks.
Once I have a beginning, a middle and an ending, I begin the conceptualization of the whole story by writing what I refer to as a General Synopsis; this helps me fill in the blanks in between the beginning, middle and ending – another week perhaps.
It is only then that I can begin a chapter by chapter synopsis and then I start writing each chapter. The interesting thing is that the story does not necessarily come to me in a logical sequence, as in, I may get material for Chapter 8 before Chapter 5.
Eventually, I end up arranging them like a jigsaw puzzle until all the parts add up. The whole process takes up to about two to three months and then I have a complete story.
There have been times however when the story came in perfect logical sequence. This incidentally happened with Enemy of Darkness; I actually ‘viewed’ those epic battles recorded in those ending chapters in my mind’s eye and it was just indescribable!
CN: At the end of Enemy of Darkness, you would want your readers to…?
…know that Christianity is a spiritual warfare from start to finish, a battle that most are oblivious of, and that the mere confession of positive scriptures will not give one the victory. The truth is that believers have to learn how to detach themselves from worldly things and a worldly lifestyle if spiritual things are to become clearer to them. There is too much of the world in the church. The Enemy of Darkness is one who has learned how to love righteousness and hate iniquity, and that is not an easy thing to do for the rest of one’s lifetime. We haven’t yet started living the life of a believer if the life of pleasure, ease and comfort is still preferable to us than the life of self-denial.
Where to purchase Enemy of Darkness:
Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at] yahoo.com