by C.S. Elston
Admittedly, I’ve told this story before. But it answers a question I get asked a lot and, with the recent release of “The Four Corners of Darkness,” I thought it would be appropriate to, once again, share the inspiration behind the series.
I was driving down the 101 freeway just north of Los Angeles, California, somewhere between Studio City and Sherman Oaks about fifteen or sixteen years ago. Looking out the side window of my Jeep Wrangler as I passed by a sea of houses and apartment complexes, I don’t know why I was thinking about this but, all of the unhappy home environments that exist all around us entered my mind. I thought about the fact that a lot of people who feel unloved, really are in fact loved. They are just in an environment where the people who love them either don’t know how to say it or show it, or they’re too wrapped up in their own problems to recognize the ones they’re causing in the lives of the people they love by simply not expressing the love they really do have deep down. Sometimes, we just overcrowd that love with so much self-created, negative clutter, that no one can see it because it’s like a wonderful gift hidden in the back of the closet where no one will ever have the opportunity to enjoy it.
That got me thinking about how quickly someone’s attitude could change if they were faced with losing the person or people they love. Somehow, that translated into this fantasy world called Kadosh, which is a Hebrew word that means “set apart for a Holy purpose.” In the books, people are being yanked out of the real world and separated onto islands, presumably, for eternity. So, while God intends for these people to love one another, the fact that they are not doing that in the real world gives the demon ruler of this fantasy world the ability to pull them into his realm where he can keep them apart from one another.
Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. And, in an extreme situation like that, the aforementioned gift is going to find itself through the clutter in a hurry. Then what do you do? When love and regret overwhelm you like that, you can’t keep it inside. You must let the people you have those feelings for know about it. In the case of the Snyder family in “The Four Corners,” that means an incredible journey lies ahead. Ultimately, the risk is worth the potential reward.
The sequel, “The Four Corners of Darkness” is inspired, at least in part, by a one-act play I acted in while attending college at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. I think it was called “Doors” but, I can’t remember for sure and, I have no idea who wrote it. But the play was about a bunch of people who seemed permanently trapped in a house. The doors were locked and couldn’t be opened, and the windows had bars on them. It was an allegory about sin and salvation. Ultimately, someone from the outside, who had been there before and been shown the way out, had to go back inside and pay it forward. In the same way, while the Snyders and a bunch of others find their way back home at the end of the first book, their youngest child, Kinsey, recognized the responsibility that came with that accomplishment. He knew they would have to go back and show those who didn’t take the journey with them the first time, that there is, indeed, a way to get out and go back home. Now that the second book is out, I guess I’d better get to work wrapping this story up with the final installment of “The Four Corners” trilogy. . .