The story of Dylan Higgins’ first two novels starts in a bedroom. A lover of the fantasy novels of JRR Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald, Higgins began telling stories to his children, Ethan and Eisley. The stories featured characters with their names, although the characters were older and were twins. They were in possession of a magic lantern and they brought it to a dark land where people didn’t use their eyes and could not see.
Higgins liked the stories and decided to write out the first chapter. Soon he had 14 pages and an idea of where it was going. He created a synopsis of the story and began to outline what he expected to be a trilogy. Upon completion of the first book in the series, Awakening, Higgins realized that his trilogy would instead be four books called The Emblem & The Lantern series. During breaks from his job teaching history and government and serving as the Dean of Men at The Campus and serving as the Worship Pastor at Crosspoint Church, Higgins wrote his novel. Whether it was at Starbucks, Senoia Coffee Company or the Peachtree City Library, Higgins sat down for eight hours at a time and got the words on the page.
“There were times I wrote six chapters in a day,” Higgins recalled. “Sometimes I felt like I was reading it as I wrote it. It was manifesting in front of my eyes.”
Higgins, who also has a passion for music, wanted to incorporate songs into his stories as well.
“Tolkien had songs in his books, like “The Hobbit,” but I never knew what they were supposed to sound like,” Higgins said. To solve this problem for his books, the band The Sleepy Turtles, featuring Higgins, was formed, adding a soundtrack for the books. The band was recently signed to Autumn + Colour Records and will go on tour dates in the Southeast this summer.
“The books and the music make it like a movie without the movie,” Higgins said. “The motion picture is what you see in your mind.”
“Awakening” took one year to write and one year to edit. Higgins has found the process for the second book, “Stirring,” to go much quicker.
“The flow was stronger and there was a more prominent voice as I wrote it,” Higgins said. The voice was so prominent that he went back and revised “Awakening” to feature that voice, re-releasing it last year as almost a 2.0 version of the book.
“Stirring,” is about Ethan’s adventure, while the third book will be Eisley’s adventure. The question is whether or not Higgins’ new child, Sarah Evangeline (Eva) Higgins, who was born only a few weeks ago, will enter these novels.
“Stirring” will be available in e-book format and at places like Omega Books, by the end of this month. The books are published by Hill Harow Books, a publishing company Higgins formed to publish his books and the books of some of his friends.
“I tried to go with publishing companies but was always told that it wasn’t what they were looking for,” Higgins said. “They weren’t looking for books with that style or the Christian elements. It is Christian. The books are about good versus evil, light versus darkness and a creator.”
Higgins studied publishing trends and did his research, finding that he could publish his book in both digital and print and keep full control.
Higgins is excited for his second book to come out and there are two schools that excited as well as they will be teaching the book before the end of the school year.
Higgins and the Sleepy Turtles plan on doing more talks, readings and performances at local schools in the future as well. Somehow, between juggling a new baby, his family, the end of the school year, promoting the second novel and touring with his band, Higgins will find time to sit down and write the third novel. It will draw him closer to the end of the series, but it will free him up to tackle the six other novel ideas he wants to write as well. Higgins is a storyteller and his children, who have listened to the tale unfold from their beds, can attest to that.
For more information on Dylan Higgins and The Emblem & The Lantern series, visit emblemandlantern.com.