Andrew Peterson didn't set out to write an award-winning book series for children. As he puts it, he just wanted to write a story his own children would like.
"I'm just a big nerd," Peterson told Christian Headlines.
Peterson was already a well-known Christian musician when he began writing what became The Wingfeather Saga, a four-book series set in a fantastical world that follows the Igiby family in a battle against evil. It became a Publishers Weekly and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association bestseller.
Angel Studios recently released the first two episodes of an animated series based on the books.
"I just really wanted to know what it was like to write a big fantasy story," Peterson told Christian Headlines. "And my kids were at the perfect age when I started writing. And we read a lot together as a family. … I wanted to write the story that 10-year-old Andrew would have loved to have read. And I had these little kids in my house that were the perfect test audience. So I would write a chunk and read it to them every couple of weeks once I had enough to read to them. And I just had this sense that if they cared what was gonna happen next that that was what I wanted.
"Really, I just wanted to tell the very best story I could possibly tell. And, as a Christian, I was kind of just trusting that God would do what He wanted with that."
Readers embraced the series – at least in part – because it portrayed a family unity that is rarely seen in mainstream content.
"The family feels like a real thing, which a lot of times in media, people kind of manufacture conflict – everybody kind of bickers with other and are kind of snarky," Peterson said of mainstream portrayals of families. "I was like, 'That's actually not how my kids were.' They were just nice kids. And we were on the same team. I think sometimes, in some movies, they can make it feel like the parents, and the kids are opposed to each other. I was like, 'That's just not true to my experience. We actually got along most of the time.' We're not perfect at all, but we liked each other. And so I wanted to reflect that in the story.
"A lot of families have told me that they appreciate that," Peterson said.
Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.