About the BookBook: Steal Fire from the Gods Author: Clint Hall Genre: Science Fiction Release Date: November 7, 2023 The Human Alliance knew the war was over when the machines started using magic to cast fire, shake the ground, conjure storms, and part the seas. We fought back anyway. 22-year-old soldier Gunnar Graves lost his faith and his family when a platoon of AI-driven war machines—led by an android fire mage— destroyed his unit. Forced to live in a machine-controlled village and hiding a dark secret, he spends his days trying to learn elemental power so he can take his revenge. After years of failure, his ability ignites when he least expects it. On the run and hunted by the war machines, Gunnar discovers that an ancient, life-based strength has awakened to help humanity fight back. Joined by the other life mages, Gunnar is thrust into a mad world of android overlords, cyborg clans, and evil forces bent on his destruction. To protect his newfound family, Gunnar must discover the truth behind a power he doesn’t understand and wage a war he doesn’t believe they can win.
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About the AuthorClint Hall is a storyteller, speaker, and podcast host. He has been writing stories since middle school, where he spent most of his time in class creating comic books. (Fortunately, his teacher not only allowed it; she bought every issue.) Known for instilling a sense of hope, wonder, and adventure, Clint’s work has been published across multiple anthologies and magazines. Find him at ClintHall.com or “The Experience: Conversations with Creatives” podcast, available on all major platforms.
More from ClintWhen I first heard the song See A Victory by Elevation Worship, I assumed the lyrics, “You took what the enemy meant for evil and You turned it for good,” were pulled verbatim (translated, of course) from the Bible, probably one of Paul’s letters. Despite not knowing exactly from where they came, the words stuck with me. It’s inspiring to believe that God can take the terrible things that have happened to us – or even because of us – and use them to bring about something beautiful. When I looked them up, I found that the lyrics are actually a derivation of what Joseph said to his brothers years after they sold him into slavery. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV) Placing the words within the context of a story makes them even more impactful for me. It’s astounding to think about Joseph’s faith and spiritual maturity to not only offer forgiveness in this moment, but also to recognize the immense benefits that have arisen from such a horrific injustice against him. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much this passage is related to my book. That’s the funny thing about writing stories. You often don’t know what they’re about until you’re done. Steal Fire From The Gods is the most faith-based story I’ve ever written. It’s also the darkest and certainly the weirdest. It’s an action-packed book in which AI has discovered the secrets of elemental magic and used that power to overthrow humanity. But that’s just the concept. This story isn’t about magic robots. It’s about a person undergoing a crisis of faith. And you could hardly blame him. Gunnar Graves and his family did everything the right way. They were faithful, devoted, and kind. They prayed, studied God’s Word, and followed His laws. Then, they were decimated. As a result, Gunnar is angry at God and even at his late parents for their blind faith that – from his perspective – ultimately failed them all. Gunnar spends much of the story trying to harness magic for what he believes is a righteous cause. But despite his altruistic intentions, it eludes him, causing him even more anger and frustration. How could an all-powerful, all-loving God place such an awesome power into the hands of oppressive machines instead of mankind? To make matters worse, Gunnar and other characters in the story have secrets that I won’t spoil in this blog. Suffice to say there are aspects of who they are and what they have done that would cause most people to cast them out if the truth became known. So instead, they hide themselves from God and other humans. More separation. More shame. More darkness. It often feels that way for believers. In our weakness, we can simultaneously be angry at God for what we perceive as injustice – getting what we don’t think we deserve, or not getting what we think we do – while also being convinced there is something about us that will prevent us from ever connecting with His love, joy, and peace. But there is always hope. God often reminds us of His presence by not only saving us from our circumstances but also using our weaknesses as tools to create wonderful outcomes. Paradoxically, good comes about not in spite of evil, but seemingly because of it. As believers, we understand this is not a function of necessity. To bring about this good, God did not need evil to occur. But He will use it to demonstrate His ability to turn the enemy’s own weapons against him. These occurrences wouldn’t make sense outside the knowledge that there is an all-powerful, all-loving Father. That reminder of His presence – that He must be with us because otherwise, such good springing from such evil would be impossible – is in many cases a greater blessing than the good itself. But He will not force these blessings upon us. We are free to choose whether we will trust and accept them. We do so through faith, selflessness, and surrender. That’s where we find the power. That’s where we find goodness. That’s where we find hope. That’s what I want readers to take away from this book.
Interview with the Author
Do you read books in this genre? If so, who do you like to read?
Thanks for having me on your blog!
I do read sci-fi and Max Brooks is probably my favorite author in the genre. Among many other great books, he wrote World War Z, which is marketed as a horror novel, though I feel his overall writing approach to the genre is more akin to sci-fi.
Max’s stories are brilliant and fun, but they also carry important messages about the delicate strands that hold society together and the importance of adaptability. I admire how he balances entertainment and substance.
I also love Pierce Brown. He has an incredible writing voice and a poetic storytelling style. Also, his world-building is fantastic.
What helps you to write? Do you eat snacks, listen to music?
Music is huge for me. I’m always listening to music when writing, and I’m very particular about the roles of my different playlists.
When I write fiction, it’s almost exclusively instrumental music, often movie scores, although I usually remove pieces that are recognizable to the point of being distracting. For example, the scores for the Star Wars films are excellent for writing, but if I hear the main theme or The Imperial March, it pulls me out of what I’m doing.
A few bands and albums encapsulate the tone I want in my work so well that I can listen to them (with lyrics) while I write. These include A Thousand Suns by Linkin Park (my all-time favorite album and the music that inspired me to finally start writing books), I-Empire by Angels & Airwaves, and Vessels 2.0 by STARSET.
What is your favorite hymn and why?
Down in the River to Pray, but mainly because the Alison Krauss version from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack is amazing. It’s a peaceful song, simple and beautiful. The harmonies in that recording are powerful, and I feel like I can see the choir and the church while listening.
What is one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?
Readers might be surprised to learn that I came to faith somewhat late compared to many other Christian authors I know. My family members were believers, but we didn’t attend church consistently. It wasn’t a big part of my life.
I didn’t attend church regularly until high school and only started going then because I was invited to play for the church’s basketball team. To be eligible to play, I was required to attend at least once a month.
Instead of going to the regular service, my parents would drop me off on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights for the youth group, where I eventually built a lot of friendships and encountered Christ.
What inspired you to write this book?
Steal Fire From The Gods came from a bizarre idea I had driving home one day. I have another (unpublished) series in which multiple worlds are at war. The most powerful planet is inhabited solely by war machines, although the other worlds have various magics to fight back.
One day, I asked myself what would happen if the war machines had magic and immediately realized that wouldn’t be fair at all. After that, I came up with this line: “The Human Alliance knew it was over when the robots started using magic.”
The sentence made me laugh, and I called my wife to share the silly idea. Trying to write a compelling story in which an already overwhelming enemy becomes even more ridiculously powerful became a challenge for me.
After that, I came up with everything else – the characters, the backstory, the world, everything. Fittingly, a modified version of that original line is the first sentence that appears in the final book.
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To celebrate his tour, Clint is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.